When it comes to the Christmas feast, my theory is “go big or go home”. You want to do something that will make folks say, “Wow!” and there is nothing quite like a smoked pork crown roast when it comes time to make a great impression for the folks you love and care about.

A pork crown roast is basically a couple of pork loins with the ribs still attached, formed into a circle and tied together at both ends.

The way the bones jut out on top make it look like a crown and thus the name was given.

You don't usually see these sitting in the store ready to buy, you normally have to special order them a day or two ahead of time from your butcher or high-end grocery store meat market.

A Christmas centerpiece like no other, let me show you how to smoke this bad boy!

Important Information
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Brine Time: 6-8 hours
  • Cook Time: 3.5 – 4 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 230°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 145°F
  • Recommended Wood: Pecan
What You'll Need
Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats-- you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

How to Make the Honey/Apple Brine for the Pork Crown Roast

Note: to read about brining, read our page on brining meat.

This recipe makes 1 gallon of brine. Depending on how big your crown roast is, you may need more than this. Adjust recipe as required.

Ingredients:

Instructions

  1. Place 2 quarts of cold filtered water in a gallon-sized pitcher and stir in 1 cup of kosher salt until the salt is dissolved
  2. Add 1 quart of apple juice (or apple cider), 3 TBS of my original rub and 1/3 cup of honey to a sauce pan and heat over low heat (a gentle simmer) for about 10 minutes. The heat helps to bring out the flavors of the rub and melts the honey so it can mix better with the liquid.
  3. Add the 1 quart of heated apple juice/cider with the rub and honey in it to the 2 quarts of water in the pitcher.
  4. Add enough ice to fill the pitcher and make it 1 gallon. Stir to melt the ice and potentially cool the brine to less than 40 degrees.

Brining the Pork Crown Roast

Place the pork crown roast down in a large brining bag, lidded plastic container or other non-reactive container. Cover with cold brine and refrigerate for 6-8 hours. I like to use the large 2.5 gallon ziploc bags for this task.

To contain any possible leakage, place the bag with the pork crown roast and brine into a large stock pot or mixing bowl before placing it into the fridge.

After brining, rinse the roast with cold water to remove any salt still present on the outside of the roast.

Preparing the Pork Crown Roast

Place the roast on a Bradley rack or a Weber grill pan or sheet pan for seasoning.

Pork crown roast after brining

Apply spicy mustard to the top and sides of the pork crown roast to help the rub to stick to the meat.

Apply mustard to roast Spicy mustard rubbed in

Now for the fun part! Sprinkle my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) all over the pork crown roast and massage it in with your hands. Be sure to get the rub into the narrow cuts between the ribs.

Add the rub all over

Don't forget the middle..

Add rub to the middle

The pork crown roast is now ready for the smoker.. wasn't that easy!?

Getting the Smoker Ready

I wanted a lot of smoke flavor so I decided to use my Meadow Creek wood smoker even though it was 16°F and the ground was snow covered.

You could also use another smoker or grill of your choice if you like as long as you maintain the same temperature recommendations.

The pecan I wanted to use had snow on it as well.

A little snow don't stop me!

Snow covered pecan wood

Use whatever smoker you have and set it up for smoking at about 225°F.

Once it is holding steady, you are ready to smoke!

Smoking the Pork Crown Roast

Place the pork crown roast on the grate of the smoker.

If you used a Bradley rack or a Weber grill pan, you can just place the rack on the smoker grate to make it easy.

Pork crown roast on the grate

I recommend pecan wood but you can also use apple, cherry or even hickory, if you so desire, with great results.

Smoke the pork crown roast until it reaches about 140°F in the thickest part of the meat. Our ultimate goal is 145°F but it will go up some during the resting period and we don't want to overcook this at all.

When it reaches 140°F, remove it from the smoker and place it on the counter covered with foil for about 20-30 minutes to allow it to rest.

During the resting phase, it will continue to raise in temperature for a few degrees and the internal juices will redistribute throughout the roast.

Serving the Pork Crown Roast

Set the finished smoked pork crown roast on the table and wait for everyone to ooh and ahh a bit before slicing it.

Finished smoked pork crown roast

Remove any twine used to hold the smoked pork crown roast together and slice between the bones.

Serving the smoked pork crown roast Beautiful pink and juicy meat

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Purchase the Formulas for Jeff's Rubs and Sauce
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Jeff's Original Rub Recipe
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I recently purchased both recipes. The files did not come thru right but Jeff was prompt to get it fixed. I tried them both last weekend and they were a huge hit. I followed his burnt ends recipe to the letter and my neighbors thought I was some master chef! Thanks Jeff!  -Susan T.

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Thank you for the great advice. Followed your rib recipe and everyone loved them. Used your rub and sauce. On point!  -Charles W.

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.

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.

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.

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Jeff's Smoking Meat Books

Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

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It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

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