This is a very simple smoked pork loin recipe. You can sometimes go overboard with trying to add more flavors to meat yet other times it's best just to go back to basics. So here you have my smoked pork variation on roast pork with apple sauce.
Rather than using apple sauce I've plumped for an apple flavored glaze using Calvados – Apple brandy from Normandy, France. To further add apple flavor I've chosen to go with Apple wood chips.
You can brine your pork joint before hand if you choose. A brine will help keep the moisture in the meat but on this occasion I don't think that it's necessary. I found that seasoning with salt and pepper and then basting the meat with the Calvados apple brandy glaze every hour or so delivered ample flavour.
The beauty of smoked pork loin (in addition to this wonderful apple brandy glaze) is that it doesn't take so long to cook as a pork butt for example. That's because the loin is a relatively unused muscle in the animal therefore without too much connective tissue - the stuff that we need to break down when cooking low and slow.
So it's a naturally tender cut of meat needing less cooking time and that means that the best way to serve a smoked pork loin is by slicing rather than pulling it apart.
Dependent on size, a pork loin can cook in as little as 3 hours whilst smoking the meat at 225°F (110°C) and the best way to check for doneness is to use a temperature probe and look for an internal meat temperature of 160°F (70°C).
That temperature might seem a little low, certainly environmental health would argue that you need to take it up to 75°C (170°F). I find however that when you take the joint off the heat and rest it for 15 minutes prior to serving, the temperature in the meat will equalise and rise by as much as 5°C (9°F) in the process therefore optimising the balance between safety and succulence.
Preparation Time:- 10 mins (to make the glaze)
Cooking Time:- 3 hours approximately
Total Time:- 3 hours 10 minutes
There's really nothing to preparing the pork joint other than to season well with salt and pepper because the flavor is in the glaze and the wood chips. With so much apple in this recipe it makes sense to use citrus flavored wood chips or indeed apple.
To prepare the glaze place the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring up to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the bitterness of the alcohol to burn off.
Set your smoker up with a water bath at 110ºC or 225ºF and cook for about 3 hours. Mop on the glaze every hour taking care not to drain food chamber of all it's heat. The humidity generated by the water bath will prevent the glaze from burning.
Use an instant read thermometer to check you have reached 160°F (70°C) in the core of the loin and when ready, remove from the heat and allow the smoked pork loin to rest for 30 minutes before carving.