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Few have experienced how good the smoked rack of pork can be and, while it's simply a pork loin with the ribs still attached, I'll show you how to make this thing pop with flavor. When Abi tasted it, she said, Wow! and I have to agree.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Brine Time: 8-12 hours
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Smoker Temp: 225°F (107°C)
- Meat Finish Temp: 140°F (60°C)
- Recommended Wood: Hickory, cherry mix
What You'll Need*
- Rack of pork (mine had 8 bones and weighed ~5 lbs)
- Jeff's Texas style rub – this is something I sell as a recipe or a finished bottled product depending on whether you want to make it yourself or buy it ready to use. Savory, slightly salty and goes perfect with almost everything you want to cook.
- Jeff's original rub – this is something I sell as a recipe or a finished bottled product depending on whether you want to make it yourself or buy it ready to use. This one is sweet and spicy without going too far in either direction and creates an amazing crust on smoked meats.
- Minced Garlic – I love to use freshly peeled garlic when I have the time and energy but don't be afraid to use the jarred stuff if you are short on time.
- Coarse Kosher Salt – In this recipe I add a little extra salt with the rubs so I can get some dry brining action during its overnight stay in the fridge. This flaked coarse ground salt by Mortons is what I always use and since I use the same type/brand all the time, I have a really good feel for how much to use.
- 1 Stick of Butter – I used this to make the butter/rub mop that was basted onto the meat during the cooking process.
*Actual amounts can be found within the recipe instructions and/or in the recipe card at the bottom of the detailed instructions.
What Exactly is a Smoked Rack of Pork?
A Smoked rack of pork is the rack of pork cooked in the smoker or with some kind of a way to add smoke to it which makes it really delicious.
But, to break it down further a rack of pork is the pork loin or at least part of the pork loin with the back ribs still attached.
My rack of pork was center cut and had 8 bones. It was already frenched (meaning the meat/fat from around the tips of the bones were removed to make it look more fancy) and it weighed in at approximately 5 lbs
Let's Get Started on this Smoked Rack of Pork
Step 1: Add the Garlic
Place the rack of pork down into a half-size foil or stainless steel pan to help reduce cleanup.
I wanted this one to get a lot of flavor from the garlic and of course, I could have added some herbs as well but I opted not to.
I used a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic on the top then used my hands to spread it out evenly over the top and sides of the rack of pork.
Step 2: Apply the Rubs
Lately I've been getting really good results by using my Texas style rub and original rub together on the same piece of meat. Together they are even better than they are separately.. some things are just that way.
First I applied the Texas style rub all over the top and sides of the pork roast then I applied a fairly equal amount of the original rub in the same way.
Step 3: Salt for Dry Brining
To dry brine almost anything, we usually add about ½ teaspoon of salt per pound. For 5 lbs of meat that allows for 2-½ teaspoons which is just under a tablespoon.
My rubs do have some salt but not much and I tend to use quite a bit more than the recommended ½ teaspoon per pound,
I opted to use a tablespoon of coarse kosher salt on each side of the rack of pork and it was perfect in my opinion.
I recommend that you start with ½ teaspoon per pound and if you find it's not salty enough you can go up from there. Once you find the right amount of salt per pound that you and your family like, you can use that to calculate the salt for all of your dry brining.
Since this was the top side, I sprinkled a tablespoon of course kosher salt evenly over the top of the meat.
Step 4: Pause for 20 Minutes
I needed to flip the meat over and prepare the other side but if did that right away, some of the rub and salt would fall off and it would not be as perfect as it could be.
Thus we wait for the salt to begin to pull juices to the surface so it can create a paste and then once that happens, it's a lot safer to do the flip.
I waited for about 20 minutes and it was looking pretty good.
Note: If you're in a real hurry, you can cheat by spraying the top of the rub/salt gently with water and then you only have to wait about 5 minutes for the moisture to do it's thing.
Step 5: Flip and Repeat
I then flipped the meat over to the other side and repeated the garlic, both rubs and the remaining tablespoon of salt.
Step 6: Into the Fridge
Place the rack of pork into the fridge where the salt will work on the meat all night. It will end up tasting better and being more tender because of it.
Step 7: Get the Smoker Ready
The next morning or approximately 8-12 hours later, fire up the smoker and if your smoker uses a water pan, feel free to fill it up.
Setup your smoker for cooking at 225°F (107°C) with indirect heat and enough wood for about a 4 hour cook.
Once the smoker is ready, place the pan with the rack of pork into the smoker. You can also lay the rack of pork directly on the grate if you prefer to cook it outside of the pan.
Step 8: Making a Smoked Rack of Pork
I typically cook these at 225°F (107°C) and it typically takes about 4 hours to finish. This latest one was cooked just a little hotter at 250°F (121°C) using a hickory and cherry mix for smoke. At 250°F (121°C), it took right at 3 hours to finish.
It's wise to remove the smoked rack of pork a little early so the carryover cooking can bring it on up to it's perfect safe temperature of 145°F (63°C) during the rest.
While the smoked rack of pork is cooking, baste it a time or two with a butter/rub mixture which consists of a stick of melted butter and 2 tablespoons of Jeff's original rub.
This basting mixture adds another layer of flavor and keeps the meat moist while it cooks.
Step 9: Finish and Rest
When the meat reaches 140°F (60°C) as measured by an instant read meat thermometer such as the Thermapen or a leave-in thermometer such as the Smoke by Thermoworks, it's time to remove it from the smoker.
Bring the pan into the kitchen and place a piece of foil over the pan loosely.
Allow the smoked rack of pork to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing into it. during this time it will raise a few more degrees in temperature and the juices will settle down a little bit so less juice is lost when you cut into it.
Step 10: Slice and Serve
Slice the smoked rack of pork between the bones and serve immediately. If you have any au jus down in the pan, spoon a little over each slice or you can dip the slice in the juice just before serving.
Smoked Rack of Pork
- Place the rack of pork down into a half-size foil or stainless steel pan for ease of cleanup.
- Add 1 TBS of minced garlic onto the top of the roast and spread it evenly with your hands.
- Sprinkle ½ TBS of coarse kosher salt evenly onto the top of the meat.
- Let it sit for 20 minutes before continuing.
- Flip the meat over carefully and repeat the garlic, rubs and salt on the other side.
- Place the pan with the rack of pork into the fridge overnight or for 8-12 hours to allow it to dry brine.
- Prepare the smoker for cooking at 225°F (107°C) using indirect heat. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up. Use a mix of hickory and cherry for smoke or whatever smoking wood you have available.
- Once the smoker is ready, place the pan with the meat into the smoker or you can lay the meat directly on the smoker grates if you prefer.
- Let the rack of pork cook until it reaches 140°F (60°C) as measured by an instant-read thermometer or a leave-in thermometer.
- Baste the sauce a couple of times during the cook with 1 stick of melted butter mixed with 2 TBS of Jeff's original rub.
- Once the meat reaches 140°F (60°C), remove it from the smoker and let it sit in the kitchen with foil tented over the top for 15-20 minutes. During this time the temperature will continue to rise to its safe temperature of 145°F (63°C) and the juices in the meat will settle down.
- Slice the meat between the bones and serve immediately.
- If there is any au jus in the pan, spoon a little over each slice as you serve it.