Whole Pork Tenderloins can be found in just about every grocery store. It’s a fairly inexpensive cut of meat to marinate, rub, and cook low and slow on a smoker. And for large groups, it makes a perfect and easy dish to serve… one that is different and will have your quests complimenting you all night.
The Whole Pork Loin is found on either side of the backbone on the hog. It is normally about 30″ long and can be divided into different “roasts”. You’ll see them referred to as “Top Loin Roast” or “Center Loin Roast” these are cuts that have been trimmed of the ribs and packaged as a smaller, more manageable piece of meat.
I prefer to buy the whole pork loin from Warehouse Stores such as Costco or Sam’s and do the trimming myself. It’s rather easy and with a sharp knife you can do this yourself in no time.
First you’ll want to remove the meat from the packaging and give it a quick rinse. Next trim off the Silver Skin (the thin, “silver colored” skin) as well as any excess fat that may be attached. After a few minutes of trimming, you should be left with a clean piece of lean meat.
Removing all of the fat is not necessary but any large deposits should be removed. The smaller pieces of fat will render during cooking and keep the meat moist. At this point you can divide the whole loin into smaller sections or leave it whole. It depends on the size of your smoker and how many people you want to serve.
The loin can be used for several things: It can be cured and turned into Canadian Style Bacon, cut into Pork Chops (Loin Chops), cut into Country Style Ribs, or Smoked Whole. But with this recipe, we are going to smoke the loin whole. This is a perfect recipe for a backyard BBQ or a large party.
To Smoke it whole you’ll need a few things:
• Smoker for indirect cooking
• Wood and Charcoal for fuel
• Killer Hogs’ “The BBQ Rub.”
• Meat Thermometer
Pork loin by itself doesn’t have very much flavor, but the great thing about it is that you can instill just about any flavor you like into it. I do this by marinating the whole loin overnight.
The marinade consists of:
• 1 cup Apple Juice
• 1 cup Pineapple Juice
• cup Olive Oil
• cup Garlic Red Wine Vinegar
• cup Dijon Mustard
• cup Maple Syrup
• cup Molasses
• 2 TBS Kosher Salt
• 1 TBS Cracked Black Pepper
• 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
• 1 tsp Garlic Powder
• Fresh Thyme, Parsley, and Oregano (a few sprigs of each chopped together)
Combine the ingredients for the Marinade in a large stock pot and gently heat. You don’t have to bring it to a boil; just heat it enough to combine the flavors
Cool the marinade and place the Whole loin in a large container. I use a 3 Gallon Zip Lock Bag but any container big enough for the task will work.
Pour the marinade over the loin and refrigerate it overnight or at least 4 hours. More flavor will enter the meat the longer you let it sit in the marinade.
When you’re ready to cook the loin, remove it from the marinade. Allow the excess marinade to drip off before applying the next step.
Now it’s time to season the Whole Loin.
I use The BBQ Rub. because it has the perfect amount of sweetness, flavor and heat… but you can use whatever seasoning you prefer.
First you start with a slather of Dijon Mustard all over the loin and then dust it with The BBQ Rub..
Allow the Whole Loin to rest while the smoker is coming up to proper smoking temperature. You smoker needs to be at 225 degrees with light smoke. For wood I use cherry. The cherry smoke adds a nice mild flavor to the loin and will not over power it with a harsh flavor.
Once the smoker is up to temp., place the loin on the grate and enjoy a cold beverage. The hard work is done and now it’s time to let the smoker do its job.
Maintain 225 degrees and in 2 hours check and see what the internal temperature is reading. The target temperature is 145 degrees and it will take approximately 3-4 hours to get the loin to this temperature.
If you over cook it, the meat will be very dry, and that is why I start checking the internal temp at 2 hour… and then continue to check it every 20 – 30 minutes until I reach an internal temperature of about 135 – 140. Once I reach this internal temp, it’s time to start glazing your pork tenderloin.
For my pork tenderloin glaze, I like to mix pineapple juice and bbq sauce 50:50 and brush the outside of my tenderloin. Also, you can add apple jelly, preserves, honey, or anything sweet to the outside of your tenderloin at this time. Adding a sweet glaze at the end will compliment the pork flavor and keep it from burning.
Keep a close eye on the glaze because it will turn dark rather quick. It’s important not to have the heat too high when glazing. The caramelizing sugars can go from rich, sweet tasting to dark bitter in minutes.
I like to let the glaze sit on the pork tenderloin and “bake on” for about 30 minutes.
When the loin hits the desired internal temperature, 145 internal, take it off the smoker, loosely tent your loin with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
Taking it off the smoker at 145 and resting it will allow the natural juices to redistribute throughout the meat. This is an important step and should not be skipped. Don’t worry about your pork tenderloin “cooling down” because after the resting period it will still be very hot… but you won’t lose all of the juices as it would if you cut into it immediately.
On you have rested, it’s time to slice the loin into serving portions and enjoy.
The suggestions for serving are to simply cut the tenderloin into medallions (about 1 – 1.5 inches thick) and fan these onto a platter – adding a bowl of your 50:50 BBQ sauce and pineapple juice on the side for dipping.
Or you can place your medallions on slider rolls and serve with a side of spicy or Dijon mustard.