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Father’s day is this Sunday and I want to start off by wishing all of you Dads a wonderful and happy Father’s Day. Being a Dad is a big deal and it’s only right that it should be celebrated at least once a year;-)

I truly love being a dad and I am sure that all of you do as well.. it has it’s moments but in the end there is no better fulfillment in life than in being a parent.

Having said that, I hope all of you have made your wish list known to your family.. there is no better time than now to ask for that new smoker, new smoking or grilling gadget or whatever it is that you want. You deserve the very best and your family knows that I am sure.

This edition brings us to think about smoked pork loin, something we have not done in a newsletter before. It is lean, easily dried out and many folks shy away from it for fear of not being able to get it tender, juicy and flavorful. I am going to show you a few tips and methods for making it wonderful and after tasting it, I think you’ll be glad you gave it a shot.

What You’ll Need

  • 8-10 lb Pork Loin
  • 2 lbs thin sliced bacon
  • Jeff’s rub and sauce recipe
  • Link sausage such as andouille (pre-cooked to 160 degrees F)
  • Baby spinach
  • Sliced almonds
  • Peach pie filling
  • Butcher’s twine

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recipe-ad-rubMy rub is not only great on ribs and all pork, but it is absolutely amazing on poultry, beef, fish, seafood and even vegetables like corn!

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The Preparation

Most pork loins are way more than my family can eat at one sitting so I normally cut them in half and freeze one of the halves for another day. In this newsletter I have used both halves to show you a couple of variations.

I have taken one of the halves and stuffed it with sausage and wrapped it with single slices of bacon. The other half has been butterflied, stuffed with peach pie filling, sliced almonds, baby spinach leaves, wrapped with a bacon weave and then tied up with butchers twine to hold it all together.

As you can see, you can get as fancy as you want to or you just do something quick.

Sausage Stuffed Pork Loin

To stuff it with sausage you simply use a long sharp knife to cut about a 1 inch slit all the way through the pork loin. Then slide the link sausage through the hole until it comes out the other side. Use more than one piece if necessary to make it stick out slightly on both ends.

Cut the slit in the pork loin Stuff the pork loin with sausage

**Note: make sure the sausage is pre-cooked to 160 degrees before stuffing it in the pork loin. Since we are only cooking the pork loin to 145 degrees, the sausage links, which are made from ground sausage would not be entirely safe to eat. Precooking them corrects this issue.

You can use a little olive oil or butter to make this job easier but I usually just make the hole slightly larger than it really needs to be and it has no problems.

Spray or brush a little olive oil onto the outside of the pork loin half and apply my rub to liberally. It’s a thick piece of meat and my rub is not super salty like most rubs so you can apply it generously for lots of flavor with no fear of getting it too salty.

Once the rub is applied, lay out your bacon on the counter if you want to do a really neat job or if you are in a hurry you can just drape it over the pork loin. Either way will not effect the taste at all.. just the way it looks.

Laying out the bacon Applying rub to the meat

I tried to set a good example and do a real neat job for the pictures but if I was just cooking for myself, I might not be so fussy about it.

All wrapped up in bacon End view of the sausage stuffed pork loin

Butterflied and Stuffed Pork Loin

Butterflying pork loins is not be forte for sure and this is really something that you need to watch at least once to get a good idea for how it’s done. I suggest looking it up on youtube.com and you will find some pretty decent videos to show you the ropes.

I try to get the pork loin about 1/2 inch in thickness all over once it’s laid out flat and it as you can see, it certainly does not have to be perfect. Once it’s rolled up, the imperfections just sort of go away. The main thing is that you don’t cut through the meat anywhere causing your stuffing to leak out.

Once it’s butterflied and laid out flat, spread about 4-5 heaping tablespoons of the peach pie filling onto the top then sprinkle some of my rub generously on top of the pie filling.

pork loin butterflied and covered with peach pie filling Sprinke my rub on top of the pie filling

Next lay on some almond slices and a layer of baby spinach leaves just before rolling it all up. You could also use pineapple slices, pecans, cheese, bacon crumbles, etc.. whatever you like to stuff it with. Get as creative as you dare.

A layer of almond slices and baby spinach leaves All rolled up

For this one, I am going to show you how to get a little more fancy with it and use a bacon weave instead of just laying the slices over the pork loin. For more information on how to weave bacon, see my instructional pictures HERE

Tip: I forgot to do the weave on wax paper and I had a heck of a time getting that wrapped around the pork loin without the weave coming apart. Make the weave on wax paper and it will make it a lot easier.. trust me!

On this one, I applied my rub to the bacon weave instead of the pork loin. No reason.. just made sense to me;-)

Bacon weave Apply rub to bacon weave

Here is the pork loin all wrapped up in the bacon weave.. ain’t it pretty?! I also decided to tie the pork loin up with butchers twine to hold everything together better. This is also something that’s not hard to do but you really need to see it done in order to figure it out. It’s pretty easy and if you look on youtube.com you’ll find several videos that make this really simple. With a little practice, you’ll be doing it like the pros!

Bacon weave around pork loin Pork loin tied up with butcher's twine

Preparing the Smoker

Prepare your smoker for cooking at about 225 degrees for around 4-5 hours depending on the thickness of your pork loin, your smoker temperature and how often you open the door to peek or baste the meat.

I have folks ask me all the time to give more information on getting the smoker ready for smoking but there are so many types of smokers and every brand and model requires different things to really get it ready.. I can give you the basics but you really have to learn what makes your particular smoker “tick” by just using it.

Here’s a little information on the different types of smokers and some tips for each to help you get the most out of it.

Charcoal/Wood

If you have a charcoal or wood smoker then it’s a matter of putting enough charcoal in the firebox or by letting enough wood burn down to coals to be able to maintain the heat at around 225-240 degrees.

I highly recommend using all lump charcoal unless you have a fairly large smoker with a good sized firebox.

Use enough charcoal to maintain your heat then place 5-6 fist sized chunks of wood on top of or next to the coals to produce smoke. I like to use small splits sized at about 3 inches in diameter and 10-12 inches long instead of chunks when I have them available.

Do NOT soak the wood as this is not necessary in most cases and will prevent you from getting the smoke that you need. This is only a recommendation.. if you soak the wood and it works for you then go for it but I have found it to be non-effective in my cooking.

NEVER close the vents or dampers on your smoker all the way while you are cooking as this will cause improper airflow and could impart a bitter taste onto your food. I usually recommend leaving all of the vents and dampers open at least 1/4 of the way.

Use the firebox damper in tandem with the chimney or top vent to control the draft and temperature in the smoker. As a general rule the more open the vents, the higher your temperature will go. The top vent or chimney also controls the smoke flavor to some extent in that the more open it is, the faster the smoke exits which reduces the flavor of the smoke on your food.

To increase the smoke flavor on your food.. close the top vent or chimney to about 1/4 open.

My favorite charcoal smoker of all times is the 22.5 inch Weber Smoky Mountain. It is very consistent, produces great tasting food and is easy to setup and operate.

Electric

This is a huge variety of smokers so it will have to be somewhat generic. If you don’t have a controller for the heat then plug it in, place 4-6 wood chunks close to the heating element and let her go. If it has a water pan, then fill it all the way up as this will help to regulate the temperature.

If you do have a controller such as the Masterbuilt, Cajun Injector, etc. then set the temperature at 225 and let it preheat for 30 minutes or so before you are ready to use it. Be sure to use the water pan if it has one and follow the manufacturers instructions for using chips, chunks, pellets,etc. for smoke.

Do not soak the wood chips even if the instructions tell you to do so, I recommend wrapping dry chips in foil and poking a few holes in the top to let the smoke out unless there is a special box already made for the chips or pellets.

If you have an electric smoker with an automated feed for the wood such as the Bradley, Treager, etc. then follow the manufacturers instructions carefully.

If it has a top vent, then it is used to adjust the amount of smoke flavor that gets into your food. If you want more flavor then close it to about 1/4 open. If you want less smoke flavor then open it up to 3/4 or full open. Over time you can adjust it more or less to give you the amount of flavor that you like.

My favorites in this category is the Bradley smoker which can be used completely hands-off using the automatic feed for the wood “pucks” and the controller which keeps the temperature right where you want it and even has separate timers for the smoke and the heat.

Gas/Propane

Very similar to electric in a lot of way except that generally, the heat control is simply the knob that adjusts the flame from low to high and everywhere in between.

The bottom vent is mainly to give a little air to the burner and for creating a draft for the smoke. Keep the bottom and top vents open about 1/4 of the way for best results. Fill the chip box all the way up with dry wood chips to maximum smoke flavor.

Adjust the flame to give you 225-240 degree temperature and if it has a water pan, be sure to fill it to just below the top to help regulate the temperature and the moisture in the air.

Gas smokers are better than electric in the regard that you can still get a really nice smoke ring. This is usually not the case for electric smokers. Smoke rings are not an indicator of flavor by any means but if it’s important to you then go with a gas smoker instead of electric.

For best results in getting good smoking action with a gas smoker, place the chip box in the smoker at about the same time you place your food in and leave the smoker set on HIGH with the door slightly open to keep the heat down. This will get the chips to smoking within about 5 minutes or so. Once you see plenty of smoke coming out, close the door and adjust the flame to maintain your desired temperature.

My favorite gas smokers are the ones made by Landmann known as the GOSM or Great Outdoor Smoky Mountain. I have the “Big Block” version and I thoroughly enjoy using it from time to time.

Smoking the Pork Loin

Once your smoker is going and maintaining 225 degrees, place the meat directly on the grate or use a Bradley rack like you see in my pictures to make things real easy.

Butterflied and stuffed pork loin Sausage stuffed pork loin

Use the water pan if you have one to help regulate the temperature in the smoker. This also creates humidity in the smoker which reduces the natural drying effect of heated air.

Keep the smoke going for the entire time if possible but if you can’t, then at least for 3 hours. I used an equal mix of peach, pear, cherry and apple chips for this pork loin and kept it going the whole time.

I did not baste the pork loins until the last 30 minutes or so at which time I brushed my barbecue sauce onto the sausage stuffed half.

It took about 4.5 hours for both pork loin halves to reach 145 degrees at which time I pulled them out and let them rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Sausage stuffed pork loin finished Sausage stuffed pork loin sliced

Butterflied pork loin finished Pork loins sliced

145 Degrees for Pork.. What’s Up With That?

The USDA has recently declared that parasites are no longer a problem in the United States when it comes to pork and therefore 145 degrees F is the new safe temperature. This is welcome news when it comes to cuts such as pork loin which is extremely lean and dries out so easily during cooking. Whereas the old 160 degree safe temperature made it almost impossible to enjoy juicy pork loin, at 145 degrees it is very possible.

Summary

Sausage Stuffed Pork Loin

  1. Purchase a 8-10 lb pork loin
  2. Cut the pork loin in half (use both as I did or freeze one for later)
  3. Cut a 1-inch slit all the way through the center of the pork loin lengthwise
  4. Stuff with link sausage
  5. Spray or brush olive oil onto the pork loin and apply my rub generously
  6. Drape bacon over and/or around the pork loin
  7. Place on a Bradley rack for easy moving to and from the smoker
  8. Smoke at 225 degrees for 4-5 hours or until it reaches 145 degrees in the center of the pork loin
  9. Brush with my barbecue sauce about 30 minutes before it is finished cooking
  10. Let it rest for about 10 minutes then slice and serve

Butterflied and Stuffed Pork Loin

  1. Purchase a 8-10 lb pork loin
  2. Cut the pork loin in half (use both as I did or freeze one for later)
  3. Butterfly the pork loin so that it lays flat and is about 1/2 inch thick
  4. Stuff with pie filling, almond slices, and baby spinach leaves or your choice of vegetables, cheese, pie fillings, etc. making sure to apply some of my rub and even some sauce for an extra shot of flavor in the middle.
  5. Roll the stuffed pork loin back up into a roll
  6. Spray or brush olive oil onto the pork loin and apply my rub generously
  7. Make a bacon weave and wrap the bacon around the pork loin
  8. Tie the pork loin up with butchers twine and place on a Bradley rack for easy moving to and from the smoker
  9. Smoke at 225 degrees for 4-5 hours or until it reaches 145 degrees in the center of the pork loin
  10. Let it rest for about 10 minutes then slice and serve

Get the Recipes for Jeff’s Rub and Sauce


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***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

Love the sauce and rub
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Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well! ~Peter S.
I tried the rub on a beef
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..I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while. ~Darwyn B.
Love the original rib rub
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
 Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future! ~Michelle M.


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About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

4 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Teresa Rivard June 9, 2016 at 7:46 am - Reply

    Love your rub and bbq sauce.
    I want to rotisserie a pork loin using my back burner plus want too add smoke flavor any ideas. I tried a smoke box back buner not heat it and u cant use any other when that is on.

  2. Mark Craddock July 8, 2015 at 11:13 am - Reply

    I am doing a Andouille, bacon wrapped pork loin…your recipe calls for the sausage to be cook to the correct temperature first…But my sausage is already pre-cooked from The store..do I still need to heat it up before stuffing it into the loin..????

  3. Charles Barholt April 20, 2014 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Hello Jeff, I am planning on smoking a whole pork loin and was just wondering if I should hang it or just lay it on the smoker grates after I have applied my rub. I am planning on using apple wood chips in my Perfect Flame Smoker. I would appreciate any suggestions you my give me. Thanks again, Charles Barholt

  4. Jamie Saraduke September 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Jeff,

    Your products are amazing! Well worth the small price you ask.

    Been smoking for 15 years or so and find your rub easy to modify to one tastes. The sauce is my wife’s favorite. Gonna try the sausage stuffed pork tenderloin today.

    thanx soo much

    Jamie in Elizabeth Colorado

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