As I was preparing for this weeks newsletter, I knew that I wanted to show something that would work great on Mother's day especially with lots of family coming over to spend the day with Mom.

Smoked pork loin became the obvious choice and after cooking it and tasting the tenderness and juiciness this particular method produced, I knew that this would be an easy winner in many households this coming Sunday or almost any other special day for that matter.

Not only is smoked pork loin a great choice in terms of flavor, it is also lean and healthy right up there with the white meat of chicken and I know that will also be something a lot of Mom's will appreciate.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours (can vary based on thickness and whether you tie it up or not)
  • Smoker Temp: 225-240°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 145°F (do not exceed this temperature)
  • Recommended Wood: Cherry and apple mix (or any fruitwood)
What You'll Need
  • Half pork loin (Buy the whole loin and cut it in half or just buy a half if it's available. If you need more meat, cook both halves and double the recipe on the herb rub) Very little shrinkage so about ½ lb per person
  • Olive oil (extra virgin is best)
  • Jeff's original rub recipe (purchase the recipe here)
  • Herb rub (recipe below)
  • Cooking twine

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recipe-ad-rub

Smoked pork loin is pork and even though it is very lean, something about pork just makes it go so well with my rub. In this recipe, I made an herb rub with some of my original rub recipe mixed in and it was so good, I was eating the mixture by itself! You will enjoy it as well.. I just know it.

promise you’ll love my dry rub/seasoning recipe and my barbecue sauce recipe or you don’t pay!

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Make the Herb Rub

Below are the general amounts needed to make this herb rub. Note: if you must use previously chopped or dried herbs, it will end up being around 2-3 TBS of thyme and 1 tsp of rosemary to give you an idea of the ratio. Rosemary is very strong and only a little is needed in comparison to the thyme.

Ingredients:

  • About a cup of fresh thyme sprigs (hard to measure things like this.. just a good handful)
  • 1-½ sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of my original rub (purchase rub recipe)
  • ½ cup of olive oil (you may opt to use more if it's not liquid enough)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients into a food processor for best results or you can chop herbs and garlic by hand and mix with the oil and rub until well combined.

Garlic cloves did not make it into the picture.. they were shy 😉

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Prepare Meat for Seasoning

Remove as much of the fat from the outside of the meat as possible including the silver skin with a sharp knife.

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I like to cut off the tapered end to square it up (if applicable)

You don't have to but it does make it look nicer in my opinion.

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Make diagonal cuts on all sides about ¼ inch deep to give the rub extra surface area to stick to.

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The pork loin is now ready for the seasoning process.

Season the Pork Loin

Brush on some olive oil to help the rub to stick.

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Apply a good coat of my original rub (purchase the recipe here) all over the pork loin (top, bottom, sides and ends)

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Apply the Herb Rub

Place about half of the herb rub on the top side of the pork loin and rub it all over the top and sides of the meat.

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Flip the pork loin over and put the other half of the herb rub on the bottom side and more on the sides and ends wherever needed.

Refrigerator Time

Place the rubbed pork loin into a bowl with a lid (I like to use the Ziploc® bowls that you use a few times then throw away but your choice here).

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Put the bowl with the pork loin into the fridge for about 4-6 hours or overnight is even better.

A few minutes before you are ready to smoke the meat, take the pork loin out of the fridge and place it on a Bradley rack or some other pan to make it easy to transport out to the smoker.

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Tying it up

Tying up the pork loin is a very good idea in that it makes the pork loin round instead of oblong and this will help it to cook more evenly. It also makes the roast look better in my opinion.

I simply cut 7-8 strings and tied a basic knot on each one.

I recommend tying a string around the meat about every inch or so all the way along the pork loin half.

If you look closely at the picture below, you can see how I did it.

If you would like to learn how to tie it up as a butcher would, here's a video which does a great job explaining and showing how to do it.

2014-IMG_3797

Getting the Smoker Ready

I used my GOSM propane smoker for this smoked pork loin with a mix of apple and cherry but you can use any smoker known to man or even a grill as long as you can maintain 225°F and provide some smoke to the heated environment.

For those of you who have gas smokers and specifically the ones made by Landmann or Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain, I mentioned a while back that I could fill the chip/chunk pan with pellets (like the ones made for pellet smokers) and get 4+ hours of smoke. Well, this is a great method but I did not feel like I was getting as much flavor from the pellets as I normally do with actual chips and chunks of wood.

Recently I have been placing 6-8 chunks of wood in the wood box and then filling it the rest of the way with pellets. This method has been giving me the more pronounced smoke flavor that I wanted with the longer smoke times (3-4 hours).

At any rate, whatever smoker you have will work just fine as long as you are able to maintain a temperature in the 225-240 °F range for about 3-4 hours straight with minimal need to open the door or lid.

Get the smoker preheated to 225°F and once it is holding steady, you are ready to smoke.

Smoking the Pork Loin

Place the pork loin directly on the grate or use a Bradley rack.

Let it smoke cook for about 3.5 – 4 hours or until it reaches 145°F in the center of the meat using a tested digital probe meat thermometer. When it reaches 145°F, remove it immediately from the heat, it is done.

If you have a water pan in your smoker, be sure to use it. It does a lot of good things for the smoking environment and should be used whenever possible.

I recommend adding smoke for at least 2 hours but it also completely fine and even recommended to add well-vented, light smoke for the entire time it is cooking. I do this almost without fail and I love the well pronounced smoke flavors that I get in my charcoal, electric and gas smokers by using this method.

Slice and Serve

The pork loin will cool down quickly so with it only being 145°F in the center when it is finished, there is not a good reason to let it sit and rest for any length of time in my opinion. Remove the cooking twine if you tied it up, slice into ½ inch slices and serve immediately.

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Special Notes

Watch the Temperature of the Pork Loin

If you don't remember anything else, remember this: the most important thing you can do to make sure that this pork loin comes out juicy and tender is to use a trusted, tested meat thermometer and when it reaches 145°F in the center, it is done. Remove it from the smoker immediately.

In fact, I like to remove it at about 142°F knowing that it will continue to cook for a few minutes even after I remove it and should come up another 3-5 degrees.

In years past, we were taught to cook pork to a much higher temperature and this resulted in something that just wasn't as palatable as it could have been. The USDA has now informed us that 145°F is completely safe for pork and it has been music to my ears and my stomach ever since.

Smoker Temperature

Maintain as close to 225°F in your smoker as possible and DON'T trust that factory thermometer.. it is most likely not accurate.

If you have a digital probe meat thermometer, (you should try your best to get one if you don't), push the probe through a potato horizontally and lay the potato on the grate right next to the pork loin or whatever meat you are cooking. This will give you an accurate reading of what the meat is experiencing.

The potato is just a device to hold the thermometer probe up off the grate but you can eat the potato when you are finished if you want to.

I recommend the “Smoke” by Thermoworks for a “leave-in-the-smoker” thermometer and the Thermapen for checking the temperature of the meat on the spot (it reads in about 2 seconds and I never cook without it anymore.

Yep.. He Said it!

Even if you DON'T have a smoker YET, this entire method will work great in the home oven using the same preparation and temperature recommendations. Having said that, this recipe is SO much better done with smoke and that is a fact.

You owe it to yourself to get a smoker, even if it is a cheap one or a 2nd hand one found at a yard sale and learn how to use it.

You will soon find yourself using the oven less and less.

Why is the Meat Pink?

If you cook the pork correctly and call it done at 145°F in the center, it will probably be a little pink as you can see in the picture below.

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For this reason, you may have folks ask you why the meat is pink and, if they are really out of touch with reality, they may even insinuate that the meat is not properly done.

All you can do is try to educate them and hope they accept the facts as they are today and not as they were in yesteryears.

Perfectly done whole (unground) pork will be a little pink and should be juicy, tender and tasty. If it's dry and tastes like a hockey puck, it's most likely overcooked.

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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
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
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
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
..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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Printable Recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
Herb Rubbed Smoked Pork Loin
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
I created this recipe especially for Mother’s day but it would also be good on any other special occasion or perhaps on an ordinary day when it’s just a family dinner get together. Whatever the reason, this recipe will fit the bill.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • Half pork loin (Buy the whole loin and cut it in half or just buy a half if it’s available. If you need more meat, cook both halves and double the recipe on the herb rub) Very little shrinkage so about ½ lb per person
  • Olive oil (extra virgin is best)
  • Jeff’s rub recipe
  • Herb rub (recipe below)
  • Cooking twine
Instructions
Make the Herb Rub
  1. Add the following ingredients to a food processor and mix until well combined: About a cup of fresh thyme sprigs, 1-½ sprigs of fresh rosemary, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 heaping tablespoons of my rub, ½ cup of olive oil
Prepare the Meat
  1. Trim off all exterior fat
  2. Make diagonal cuts into the meat about ¼ inch deep and about 1 inch apart all over the meat
  3. Add a good sprinkling of Jeff's rub all over the meat and work it in good
  4. Add half of the herb rub to the top of the pork loin and work it into the top and sides of the meat
  5. Flip the meat over and apply the other half of the herb rub
  6. Place the loin in a lidded container and place in the fridge overnight
  7. About 30 minutes before ready to smoke, remove meat from fridge and tie it up using kitchen twine to make it nice and round instead of oblong
Smoke the Pork Loin
  1. Preheat smoker to 225°F
  2. Place the pork loin directly on the grate and let it cook for 3-4 hours or until it reaches 145°F n the center of the roast.
  3. Remove from the smoker and carve into ½ inch slices
  4. Serve immediately
 

About the Author

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

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

  1. Randy Hohbein May 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Ok Jeff, I need your advice. I have purchased your tub recipes and bought your book. I see you using your Bradley smoker a lot and figured it was time to up grade to some thing I could just set and leave. I have an Acorn, similar to Green Egg, smoker, grill now. I love it, but don’t like the worry about what’s the temperature doing. I looked at Bradley and saw a lot of bad reviews. So I looked at a Traeger smoker and a Camp Chef, wondering if you have any thoughts on these, compared to the Bradley?

    • Jeff Phillips June 7, 2017 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your patience. I do have a Bradley and I like it a lot however, it does struggle some in colder weather. If you live in a mild climate, this may not be an issue for you. The smoke flavor you get from the Bradley is out of this world good and it also has the ability to produce smoke without heating up the smoker.. this allows you to smoke cheese.

      I have a Traeger and just recently received a Camp Chef Woodwind with the side sear box. Both are great pellet smokers in my opinion but I am really excited about the features on the Camp Chef Woodwind. There’s an ash cup on the bottom so you don’t have to vacuum out the ashes like you do on the Traeger and most other pellet smokers. The Woodwind also has a special chute for removing the pellets.. makes it really easy to change out wood flavors. You can’t get much easier than pellet smokers and if you go to the Camp Chef website and watch their video on the Woodwind, you’ll be able to see all of the features. Check them out at http://www.smoking-meat.com/camp-chef

      The Bradley and the pellet smokers are set it and forget it smokers once you set them up. Great for cooking while you are working, relaxing or even sleeping.

  2. David L Bean May 15, 2017 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Jeff — one of your best, my man. I did this yesterday for Mom’s Day and it was outstanding. My cook went really fast — I was done in 2.5 hours, and I was smoking at ~225 on a Weber Smokey Mountain. Marinated overnight…used apple wood. Even the fussy kiddies liked it.

    I also learned how to do the butcher’s net thingey from the video link. I’m feeling awfully dang proud of myself.

    Only one issue for me: I smoked a couple of these to 140 then wrapped them in foil for the ride to Mom’s place. Once there, I finished them in a 400 degree oven to give them a little crispiness on the outside and make sure they got to 145 for safety. This was a great plan until I pulled the tray they were on out of the oven with a cheap oven mitt my folks had. That mitt held the heat out for about 8/10ths of a second…just enough time for me to get the tray out of the oven and half way to the stove top…but not any farther. Yep, I dropped those suckers while concentrating on not vocalizing the salty language flowing through my brain at the moment. ‘friad that cheapo ikea rug in the kitchen will be forever embedded with rosemary, thyme, and garlic. But, I got them off the floor in under the 10-second rule, and everything tasted just great!

  3. Harry June 30, 2016 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Could not find the continuation for the smoked wings recipe. Sounds great. I have done them on the grill but not smoker. Need for the 4th

  4. Walter Freeman May 10, 2016 at 12:50 am - Reply

    Made this recipe for Mother’s day. Quite tasty.

    Still eating the remains as cold pork sandwiches. Cooked a 3 lb portion of pig-pork tenderloin using apple-cherry wood smoke for about 4 hours at low temperature (~230°F), but did not get it off of the Primo Grill/Smoker quite quick enough and internal temps got to 150°F. Still tasty and juicy, however but not as pink as expected.

    Jeff, 1 cup of thyme (leaves only) is about 28 grams, and 1.5 springs of rosemary (leaves only) is less <1 g. I would wholeheartedly recommend that you specify ingredients in recipes by weight. With the ubiquity of digital scales these days, this is no hardship for the serious cook. Using volume measurements just doesn't cut it for many recipes.

    Similarly, I used a scale to weigh out the volumes which you gave in your rub recipes, but will not repeat those measurements here for obvious reasons. Weight, not volume, is far and away more accurate and reproducible.

    Owing to several factors, I let the pork tenderloin marinate in the EVOO, thyme, rosemary, rub mixture for about 30 hours in the refrigerator before tying up the roast and cooking it. Came out fine.

    You could taste the thyme which was not overpowering, and just get a hint of the rosemary. The cherry-apple smoke was also fairly subtle as smoke goes. Overall a good balance of flavors for a naturally tender piece of meat.

    I did trim off as much fat and silver skin as possible from the roast, but since I was tying the roast, I took those scraps and laid them on the top surface of the roast before tying. Why waste the extra bir of basting that comes from the fat in this particularly lean cut?

    I did discard those scraps and along with the string, of course, before serving as both had served their purpose..

    The remains of this roast as mention makes a great sandwich served cold between two slices of bread or toast with not much else save a little salt and pepper. I generally thick slice the cold roast at about 3/8" or about 90-96 g per slice.

    The leftover roast, if there is any, would also go well if cubed and placed in a salad. It is tender, tasty, low fat and low in calories for a protein source.

    Definitely a keeper. I will cook this again as I have plenty of pork tenderloin in the freezer.

  5. Taco Joe March 25, 2016 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    I want to make this recipe for Easter as.my file loves it. But I don’t have time Easter morning to cook this what with church and all. Can I make this the day before
    If so, any other recommendations on preparing?

  6. Leslie Klee April 3, 2015 at 2:10 am - Reply

    Jeff I have a unique situation I have a home size Factory smoker Built inside a Pressure Cooker made by Emson from New York. I bought the thing 2 0r 3 Christmas’s ago. The capacity is 5 Quarts . There is a recipe instruction manal , with recipes for Beef, Pork, Chicken Vegetables. However I am interested In smoking Oysters and smoking Ling Cod. I am reluctant to use it the smoker as it is so unique. Apparently thing can be smoked within 60 minutes. Could you send me some suggestions though E-mail or through your Weekly Newsletter. I have read 50- 100 books including yours on Smoking meats, etc. Nobody covers suggestion on Smoking Ocean caught white fish or Oysters . All smoking methods are Based on the use of Propane BBQ’s .Please Help.

  7. Frank December 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Jeff,

    This website and your book are my bible to smoking!! Thanks for all your help and recipes! Question on the smoked loin….since it has a tendency to dry out easily, can I still brine and smoke per the recipe?? How long to brine??

    Thanks!

    • Jeff Phillips December 19, 2014 at 11:46 am - Reply

      You can definitely brine it if you like with a 1 cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of liquid ratio for about 6-8 hours.

      If you will make sure to remove it when it reaches 145°F, brined or not, it should be quite tender and juicy.

  8. Shari October 8, 2014 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    It looks wonderful! I am wondering if you think it would work to slice and put into roasters as we would make a lot of this to serve for a fundraiser… Thanks!

  9. Craig Hastings May 8, 2014 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Jeff, I really love your newsletters and the food has always been fantastic. However, I have a confession and hope I don’t offend the die hard smokers out there. For Christmas my sons got me a new grill. It is called the Orion Grill and they got it at Bass Pro Shops I think. Anyway, it is not a smoker as it cooks at a higher temperature but it does allow use of wood chips and does a very good job. In its design the charcoal is always outside the grill and this forms like a convection oven inside the grill itself to do the cooking. This keeps the heat circulating and allows the food to cook quickly yet still remain juicy and tasty. You can add wood chips to the inside to create the smoke and I am surprised how much smoke flavor the circulating heat can infuse into the meat. I made some pork ribs last week and they were done in just over 1 1/2 hours. My family couldn’t tell them from those out of a smoker. I have tried several other of your recipes in it and they have all turned out fantastic yet in shorter time. This just makes for a great compromise when you don’t have time for the full smoke method. Have you heard of this grill or have you tried it yet. A chef friend recommended it and I’ll have to admit it is getting used more and more around our place. I’m trying a brisket next I think.
    Once again thank you for the newsletter and the rub recipe and keep the good news coming. Keep up the hard work.

    Craig Hastings
    OKC

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