Perfectly Smoked Pork Loin 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

May 21, 2014

We can't resist recipes that claim perfection. This one's certainly easy, and it produces moist, flavorful meat. Here, the blend of spices and a long marinade keep this cut moist on the grill.

You will need to stay fairly close to the grill for this one, in order to adjust the vents and help maintain a steady temperature.

You'll need to prepare a perforated aluminum-foil packet of soaked/drained hickory wood chips (placed on the burners or in the coals).

Make Ahead: The meat needs to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Servings: 6 - 8
  • 4-pound center-cut pork loin
  • 15 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion(8 ounces)


Use a sharp knife to cut 15 slits all over the pork loin that are each 1/2 inch long and 1/2 inch deep. Insert a clove of garlic in each one.

Combine the salt, cumin, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, orange juice, lemon juice, sherry, oil and onion in a food processor; pulse to form a blended marinade.

Place the loin in a large plastic zip-top bag, then pour the marinade over the meat. Seal, pressing out as much air as possible, and massage to coat evenly. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium (375 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal; when the coals are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 5 or 6 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames.

Place the foil packet of hickory wood chips in the coals or on the burner.

Remove the loin from the marinade; it's okay to leave some marinade on the meat. (Discard the remaining marinade.) Place the loin on a sheet of heavy-duty foil or in a shallow aluminum baking pan then place on the grill. Close the lid and cook for 20 minutes, then open and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees. Cook (covered or uncovered, as needed) for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork registers 150 on an instant-read thermometer.

Let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. It slices easily when completely cooled and refrigerated overnight.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Virgil's Barbecue Road Trip Cookbook," by Neal Corman with Chris Peterson (St. Martin's Press, 2014).

Tested by Andrew Sikkenga.

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