Pork loin. For many people, the first things that come to mind are “dry” and “blah”. We’re going to change your mind with this recipe!
Pork loin is a very versatile and inexpensive cut of pork that has become a favorite for so many outdoor cooks because you can make it smoky and rustic or dress it up for guests all while still being moist and tender.
The key, as with many meats, is in the dry brine. Get started at least a day or two before the cook by giving the loin a good coating of salt. Then sit back and let the salt work it’s magic in the fridge. The result will be an oh-so-juicy, delicious piece of meat that will put pork loin back on your menu.
When picking out your meat don’t be afraid to buy a whole loin. This will allow you to make a decision later about whether to cut it down into roasts, chops or even cubes. For this recipe you’ll want to buy one of the larger roast sections. You won’t find different grades of pork, as you do beef, in the market. So make your buying decision based on weight for how many you’ll be feeding and the shape of the loin so it will cook evenly. An even shape means even cooking.
The first step of prep is to dry brine 2 days in advance. A two-day brine will give you the juiciest result because it takes time for the salt to work all the way into the meat, but you can cut down the brine duration if you’re short on time. To dry brine simply apply ½ tsp of kosher salt per pound of meat (if using table salt, use ¼ tsp per pound). Once you have salted the loin, wrap it up and place it into the fridge for up to 2 days.
At this point, your loin is a blank canvas. Use whatever flavors or seasonings you’re in the mood for. Remember to use salt-free rubs since salt was applied generously during the dry brine. That said, one of our favorite rubs is below:
– 2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
– 2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
– 2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
– 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
– 2 Tbsp cooking oil
– pinch of salt
– fresh cracked pepper
Combine the finely chopped rosemary, thyme and basil in a bowl. If using dried herbs cut the amount of each down to 1 Tbsp. Add the finely minced garlic. Next, add in about 2 Tbsp of oil to create a paste, then apply the rub all over your pork loin roast. After the paste has been applied to all sides of the loin, take a pinch of salt and apply it to the outside just to season the herbs. (NOTE: do not add too much as you have already salted the meat with the dry brine.) Lastly, take some fresh cracked pepper and apply it to the outside.
We’re going to cook the loin at 325˚ to 350˚ F, so follow the lighting instructions for a long duration hot & fast cook.
Once your grill is up to temperature, place the pork on the indirect direct side. If you’re wanting to add smoke flavor to your pork now’s the time to add a chunk or two to the coals. We recommend Apple or Pecan. Cook for approx. 1.5 hours until the loin reaches an internal temp of 140˚ F degrees in the deepest part of the meat.
About half way through the cook (approx. internal temp – 90˚ F) flip the pork loin over to ensure even cooking. (Note: we’re not worried about the side closer to the coals cooking quicker but for even cooking top-to-bottom) Once it’s flipped close the lid and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 140˚ F.
Once your pork loin reaches 140˚ F, take it off the grill, cover it for about 10 -15 minutes and allow it to rest up to 145˚ F before you slice into it and enjoy.