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Smoked Pork Loin

Smoked Pork Loin
No meat lends itself better to smoking than pork. A bone-in pork loin roast can be smoked in about 2 hours, and the result is a woodsy aroma and juicy, sweet-smoky meat. The chips of choice are any fruitwood, such as apple or cherry, although mesquite is nice, too. Near the end of the smoking, add several large branches of fresh rosemary to the fire to emphasize that rosemary has been rubbed onto the pork. Serve the flavorful meat with herbed mashed potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. grated orange zest
  • 1 Tbs. grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. thawed, frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground coarse pepper
  • 1 bone-in pork loin roast, about 3 lb.
  • 5 large fresh rosemary sprigs, each 6 to 8
      inches long
  • 4 or 5 handfuls wood chips, preferably apple or
      cherry, soaked if using charcoal

Directions:

In a small dish, stir together the chopped rosemary, shallot, orange and lemon zests, olive oil, orange juice concentrate, salt and pepper. Smear the mixture evenly over the pork loin. Place in a dish, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before smoking.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect grilling over medium heat. Oil the grill rack.

For a charcoal grill: Fill a drip pan half full of water and float 1 rosemary sprig in it. Place the pan in the center of the fire bed. Sprinkle 1 or 2 handfuls of the wood chips on the coals. Place the pork, bone side down, on the grill rack over the pan. Cover the grill and smoke the pork, without turning, until done to your liking, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours for medium (slightly pink at the center and juicy). Add more chips to the fire in 3 or 4 additions, add coals as necessary to maintain the temperature, and add another herb branch and water to the drip pan as needed. About 10 minutes before the pork is done, dampen the remaining rosemary sprigs in cold water and toss onto the coals.

For a gas grill: Place a shallow pan half full of water at the edge of the grill rack and float 1 rosemary sprig in it. Add the wood chips to the grill in a smoker box or perforated foil packet. Place the pork, bone side down, on the grill rack away from the heat elements. Cover the grill and smoke the pork, without turning, until done to your liking, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours for medium (slightly pink at the center and juicy). Add another herb branch and water to the pan as needed. About 10 minutes before the pork is done, dampen the remaining rosemary sprigs in cold water and toss onto the grill rack.

To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the roast, away from the bone; it should register 140°F. The temperature will rise another 5° to 10°F while the meat is resting.

Transfer the pork to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Cut into thick slices and arrange on a warmed platter. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Grilling, by Denis Kelly, Melanie Barnard, Barbara Grunes & Michael McLaughlin (Oxmoor House, 2003).