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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 at your Christmas dinner table.
A pork crown roast is basically one large pork loin or a couple of smaller center cut 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.
You can also buy the bone-in pork loins and tie them up yourself if you wish but I prefer to let the butcher do it.
A Christmas centerpiece like no other, let me show you how to smoke this bad boy!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Brine Time: 6-8 hours
- Cook Time: 3.5 – 4 hours
- Smoker Temp: 230°F (110°C)
- Meat Finish Temp: 145°F (63°C)
- Recommended Wood: Pecan
- 10-18 bone pork crown roast
- Spicy mustard
- Jeff's original rub
- Apple/Honey Brine for Pork Crown Roast (recipe below)
Note: to read about brining, read our page on brining meat.
This recipe makes 1 gallon of brine. Depending on how big your pork crown roast is, you may need more than this. Multiply recipe as required.
- 3 quarts of water (¾ gallon)
- 1 qt. of apple juice or cider (¼ gallon)
- 1 cup of kosher salt
- 3 TBS of my original rub
- 1/3 cup of honey
- Place 3 quarts of cold water in a gallon-sized pitcher and stir in 1 cup of kosher salt until the salt is dissolved
- 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.
- Add the 1 quart of heated apple juice/cider mixture to the 3 quarts of water in the pitcher.
- Note: Let the brine cool in the fridge for several hours before using. it must be below 40°F at all times during the brining process.
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.
Apply spicy mustard to the top and sides of the pork crown roast to help the rub to stick to the meat.
Now for the fun part! Sprinkle my original 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.
Don't forget the middle..
The pork crown roast is now ready for the smoker.. wasn't that easy!?
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 can use any smoker or grill of your choice as long as you maintain the same temperature recommendations.
Use whatever smoker you have and set it up for smoking at about 230°F (110°C).
Note: if you are using a pellet smoker, you'll get more smoke flavor if you start out on the lowest setting (“smoke”) and leave it there for about an hour before turning up the heat.
Once your smoker is holding steady, you are ready to smoke!
Place the pork crown roast on the grate of the smoker.
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 (60°C) in the thickest part of the meat. Our ultimate goal is 145°F (63°C) 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 (60°C), 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.
Set the finished smoked pork crown roast on the table and wait for everyone to ooh and ahh a bit before slicing it.
Remove any twine used to hold the smoked pork crown roast together and slice between the bones.
Smoked Pork Crown Roast
- Make the apple/honey brine by adding the water to a gallon container then mixing in the salt until the mixture becomes clear.
- Combine the honey, apple juice and rub in a sauce pan over very low heat for about 10 minutes to melt the honey and incorporate the original rub.
- Combine the mixture in the sauce pan with the water/salt brine and place in fridge for several hours to cool before using.
- Place the crown pork roast into a brining container and pour the brine mixture over it to cover.
- Refrigerate container with meat/brine for 6-8 hours while it does it's magic.
- After brining, rinse residual salt from meat
- Coat pork crown roast lightly with spicy mustard such as Dijon.
- Apply about ¼ cup of Jeff's original rub to all sides of roast.
- Leave meat on counter while you get get the smoker ready.
- Set up smoker for cooking at approx. 230°F (110°C) using indirect heat. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
- Once the smoker is ready, place the meat on the grate and cook for ~4 hours or until the internal temperature of the meat registers 140°F (60°C).
- Remove the meat from the smoker and rest on the counter covered with foil for at least 20 minutes. During this time, the carryover cooking will allow the meat to rise on up to a perfect 145°F (63°C).
- Slice at the table and serve.