Smoked Pork Crown Roast

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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!

Helpful Information
  • 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
What You'll Need
  • 10-18 bone pork crown roast
  • Spicy mustard
  • Jeff's original rub 
  • Apple/Honey Brine for Pork Crown Roast (recipe below)
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 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
  1. Place 3 quarts of cold 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 mixture to the 3 quarts of water in the pitcher.
  4. 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.

Preparing the Pork Crown Roast

Place the crown roast on a pan with a rack, a Weber grill pan or even just a sheet pan for seasoning.

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

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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.

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Don't forget the middle..

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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 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.

Here's 9 tips to help you further with your pellet smoker

Once your smoker 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 pan with a rack or a Weber grill pan, you can just place the rack on the smoker grate to make it easy.

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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.

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.

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

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4.9 from 8 votes

Smoked Pork Crown Roast

If you want to do something that will make folks say, “Wow!” at the Christmas dinner table, there is nothing quite like a smoked pork crown roast.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 20 minutes


  • 10-18 bone pork crown roast
  • Spicy mustard
  • ¼ cup Jeff's original rub
  • 1-2 gallons apple/honey brine
  • Apple Honey Brine
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 1 qt. of apple juice or cider
  • 1 cup of coarse kosher salt
  • 3 TBS of Jeff's original rub
  • cup of honey


  • 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.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Tried this for the first time for a family Christmas meal and it was a big hit. This will be on the short list again sometime soon – pretty easy and a Wow presentation as promised.

  2. 5 stars
    Used on a 10 bone roast. Cooked on a Traeger pellet grill for New Years eve dinner. It recieved rave reviews from everyone. Brine and spice mix was perfect.

  3. 5 stars
    I followed your recipe with no deviation. It was a Christmas dinner HIT!! A neighbor who joined us (he a bbq master), commented how moist it was and perfectly tasty. Thank you for this keeper of a recipe.

  4. Jeff, I have used this recipe (or a slight variation) several times & it never disappoints. Costco carries this roast every year around Christmas and I usually buy a few for the freezer. Truly one of my favorite meals. I smoked one last weekend and it was fantasitic…. maybe one of the best things to come off of my pellet smoker in a while. In my opinion, the key is using a good thermometer and cooking it to 145 degrees.
    Forgive me, but instead of using your rub, I used a maple jalepeno rub from Cabellas and it was truly fantastic. Oddly, with my leftovers, when I heated them up it was not nearly as flavorful.

  5. Jeff,
    I Love your site. I’m preparing this for Christmas Day and I have two questions. 1: what size roast do I need weight/slices for 8-10 guest. 2: I live 3 hours from our Christmas gathering, can I smoke the roast a day or 2 before, wrap, refrigerate, transport and warm without drying it or over cooking. Help! Lol

    1. Jesse, Most crown roasts are 14-16 bones and that will feed about 10-12 people if you want extras for the bigger eaters. You can definitely cook this a day ahead (2 days ahead means it will likely start to lose some freshness by the time you eat it). Just make sure to not exceed 145°F when you cook it so it will not be dry. Place the roast in a large pan covered with foil. to reheat, pour about 1 cup of water or chicken broth down in the pan, cover tightly with foil and reheat at 275°F for 45-60 minutes or until it reaches a good eating temperature in thickest part. Slice and enjoy.

  6. This app is great. I enjoy reading about it. I am preparing for tomorrow smoked pork. Question about Pork loin Roast 3.29lb What temp. should be set for smoked pork? And how long to smoke the pork?

    1. Pork loin can take up to 4 hours if you maintain 225-240°F. They can often get done sooner so be sure and use a thermometer. Lean pork such as loin that has never been ground or punctured is actually done and safe to eat at 137°F but USDA recommends taking it all the way to 145°F. I usually cook to about 140 and let it coast up to 145-ish once I remove it from the smoker and it is always tender and juicy that way.

  7. Hey Jeff,
    Just got this recipe for the first time. Like most people, we do Christmas at a relatives house. We are about 15 minutes away. Will it hurt to put the roast in a cooler for up to an hour? If so, should the removal temp be lower?;
    Thanks & Merry Christmas!!

    1. It won’t hurt it to rest for an hour.. I would wrap it in foil, place it in a cooler and then fill in the extra space in the cooler with some towels or something similar to help insulate. If you remove it from the smoker at 145°F, which is not terribly hot, it should maintain that temperature without rising more than a few degrees over the the course of an hour.

      And yes, you could probably remove it from the smoker at 142°F or so to give it a little room to rise to 145 during the long rest in the cooler if you wanted to.

  8. Hi Jeff. Can you smoke the roast without making a crown? Same basic temp and time? Thanks for all your great recipes and rub.

    1. I only started doing the printable versions about a year ago so most of the older ones don’t have that feature yet. I will eventually get all of them done ;-)

  9. This looks absolutely delish. I’m going to give this a shot for our Easter Sunday dinner. I will be getting my Big Green Egg prepared tonight so all I’ll have to do tomorrow is fire it up. This way, I can focus on preparing the crown roast. Wish me luck.

    1. Just an update ….. WOW this turned out to be the most tender and moist pork ever! It cooked MUCH faster in my Masterbuilt electric that anticipate. 2 6lb crown roasts, brined in applejuice , kosher salt and water for 9 hours, smoked at 130 degrees on pecan chips. This cooked FAST in 2.5 hours – much faster than anticipated.

      Does any one think brined meats cook faster?

      Family was super pleased…. thanks!

  10. Hi,

    This recipe looks great and I intend to try it!

    I just wanted to mention that I think you want to add Apple Juice to the ingredients bulleted list for the brine recipe :-)

    Thank you for all of your hard work; I’ve made numerous recipes from this site and have yet found anything short of awesome!

  11. I did this yesterday for Christmas Eve. I bought a 20 rib heirloom pork roast from a meat packer, brined it and smoked it for 4.5 hours to get to 140 degrees.  The presentation was beautiful, I even found the YouTube video to make the paper caps!  The heirloom pork was so flavorful, and nothing close to supermarket pork.  Even the color was very pink, not that pale white we are used to.  20+  guests last night and there's no trace of that roast this morning. Thanks for great recipe and Merry Christmas!

    1. Great comment! Cooking for 15 people Christmas day, this recipe looks like the perfect choice.
      Paper Caps? where do I go. Decorative?
      Heirloom Pork…not aware of this, but I’m sure my butcher will. Do you still think this is the way to go?
      Any variations from how you cooked as to how Jeff suggests?
      I’m at high altitude, 6,500 feet. Thanks!

  12. Jeff,

    Thank you for your pork crown roast recipe. You usually make things look so easy.

    I was thinking of trying your apple cider brine for a cown roast. I had very good luck with it on my man size pork chops/

    Do you have any suggestions for stuffing the crown roast?



  13. Hi Jeff. Love your rub, sauce, and weekly recipes. Smoked 3 butts a couple of weeks ago per your “fast Bourbon” recipes. Got rave reviews from everyone. Questions about brining these crown ribs: Will it be OK to brine overnight or so? Will brining 10-12 hrs do any harm? Does the process essentially stop once meat is saturated? Thx for the help and recipes. Keep ’em coming.

  14. jeff, i have a old smoky mtn smoker, cooker, gas. am interested in a new one under $500. any suggestions? i ordered your book and still waiting for it's arrival. up to now i have only did baby back ribs and beef ribs . the beef ribs were very non professional, the beef brisket the same. and have had decent luck with baby back . hoping your book can teach a very OLD man new tricks. ken

  15. Hi Jeff, I really enjoy reding all your receipes. Rgarding the Pork Crown Roast I didn't notice any instructions about slicing between the ribs before making the circle and then tying.  It seems to me this would need to be done.

    1. Bill,

      This is something that my butcher does and I think most butchers will do for you. I usually leave things to the professionals since that is not my forte. It is true that this is important to make it bend around correctly.

      1. Thanks for the reply Jeff and I'll definately have the butcher cut between the ribs for me.  One butcher told me that he could order what he called inside loin cuts which allowed more uniform size than ordering the full loin so I'm going to try doing 2 of the inside cuts to make a big crown roast, but with the smaller servings.