This Smoked Pork Loin Recipe is extremely easy to prep, smoke, baste and serve! We made a tangy Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce to brush on. Make sure you reserve some for later. It was so good, we added more when we served it.
🍽️ Why This Works
Large Serving – If I am going to spend time at the grill, I want the meal to last a while! This large pork loin freezes well and will last us for several meals throughout the week.
Simple – There are only three ingredients for the smoked loin: spray oil, a dry rub, and the pork loin itself. If you want to simplify it even more, use a bottle BBQ sauce instead of making your own.
Hands Off – This is a great recipe that will feed a crowd and yet can be hands off. Once you put it on the smoker, you can walk away as long as you peek at it to check the temperature, unless you are using a wireless thermometer.
📝 Ingredient Notes
Pork Loin – Our butcher cut ours down to four pounds. If you don’t see one at the size you want, just ask and they will almost always cut it down. He even trimmed the fat for us.
Spray Oil and Dry Rub – A very light spray of olive oil and a liberal coating of your favorite BBQ rub is all you need. Make sure to cover all sides.
Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce – Wow! Was this delicious! It uses Dr. Pepper, ketchup, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and granulated onion. To give it a bit more of a kick, increase the red pepper!
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Grilling Forks – Hands down, using lifting forks will make all the difference in the world. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to use large tongs or a spatula and it slipped, creating a mess. These will puncture each side and make lifting a breeze. I use a pair like these.
Long Basting Brush – Grab a large basting brush to brush on the BBQ sauce. I prefer one between 12″ and 18″ long. The one I linked to is around 13″ and is long enough to keep your hand further away from the heat of the grill. Silicone bristles also work the best and the clean up is a breeze. This is a must-have grilling accessory.
Wireless Meat Thermometer – This is a recipe where you want to closely monitor the temperatures. It will tell you when it is time to baste with the BBQ sauce, and when it reaches the desired final temperature.
Step One: If your butcher didn’t trim the fat on the loin, spend a few minutes to do it yourself. It is easy, but don’t get carried away. Having a thin fat layer adds a lot to the flavor.
Step Two: Spray both sides (and the ends) with a light coating of olive oil. This is a binding agent that will allow the BBQ rub to stick. Alternatively, using a little bit of olive oil and brushing it on works just as well.
Note: You can use yellow mustard instead of the olive oil. I don’t understand the chemistry, but after it has smoked, you can’t taste any of the mustard, so don’t think it will change the flavor of the meat.
Step Three: Rub all sides of the pork loin with a dry rub. I used a BBQ Brothers variety, but use your favorite. Be generous here. When it is done, and you slice it, you’ll appreciate having that nice crust.
Step Four: Preheat the grill to 250°. If using a charcoal or gas grill, set it up for indirect heat by adding a ceramic plate setter or turning off the center burners. If you are using a pellet grill, just dial in the temperature.
Step Five: Add your wood chips. I used pecan, but pork works well with a wide variety of species. Use my handy Wood Smoking Cheatsheet for more options. I do recommend staying away from Mesquite and some of the other more robust flavors. It has a tendency to overpower the meat.
Step Six: Add the pork loin to the grill and insert the meat temperature probe. Close the lid and let it smoke until the internal temperature reaches 135°.
Step Seven: At 135°, baste the pork with the Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce. The instructions to make the sauce are in the recipe card below. Turn the pork loin over and baste that side as well.
Step Eight: Close the smoker and let the pork continue to cook. When it reaches 145°, it is done. Remove it from the grill and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
This is a great recipe if it is your first time smoking something. It is very forgiving, and the key to success is monitoring the temperatures.
A good wireless meat thermometer with an alarm is ideal, but old-school meat probes work well too. Just don’t forget to check it!
You don’t need any special dry rub or BBQ sauce. Use ones you already enjoy!
Minimize the number of times you open up the lid as heat escapes every time you do. Using a wireless thermometer helps minimize this.
Rotate the roast if you find some areas are heating up more than others.
Don’t apply sauce or mop it too early as it will cause the exterior to get very dark and almost black. Try to apply 1-2 times the last 10-15 minutes. That is all it takes to allow it to stick and keep the glaze in tack.
What is the Difference Between a Pork Loin and Tenderloin?
The tenderloin is the long, thin cut of meat that runs along the spine and, as the name implies, is extremely tender. The pork loin comes from top back side of the animal and is very lean, especially if you trim off the fat cap.
My bacon-wrapped smoked pork tenderloin is heavenly with its bourbon honey mustard glaze!
Storage and Reheating
After this cools, cut thin slices and store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days. If freezing, wrap it tightly with Press-n-Seal and store in freezer-safe Ziploc bags. I wrap meal-sized portions before placing it the Ziploc, as it is easy to take one out to thaw, reheat, and serve.
Making the Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce earlier in the week is the best way to save time with this recipe. In fact, I think it tastes even better if you give it time to rest in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Additions and Substitutions
Rubs | This is an amazing way to alter the away the pork tastes and it’s a simple swap. Go crazy with the rub varieties out there and try something new.
Sauces | You don’t have to have a sauce on this at all. That part is optional but it really takes this up a couple notches when you have the sticky glaze on the outside. We made our own Dr Pepper Sauce this time but you could make a spicy Habanero BBQ Sauce that is used on the Grilled Chicken Drumsticks or the Smoked Pumpkin Bourbon BBQ Sauce. If you don’t have the time, stick to your favorite bottled version.
Brines | Another way to mix it up is to brine this overnight but it isn’t necessary. Simply look at the photos and see it is already dripping in juices without it.
Deeper Flavor | Create a cross hatch pattern like we did on the Double Smoked Ham to make the flavors go deeper into the pork. If you are one that want a deeper smoke flavor, then cross hatch!
Marinating | Marinating the loin to infuse deeper flavor is a great idea. Simple make ½-¾ inch cross hatch marks on the top and place in your favorite marinade for three hours before smoking.
These are all grilled and complement the pork loin perfectly!
At 250°, it will take about two hours, but it is more critical that you cook it until it reaches 145° according to the USDA.
A good rule of thumb is that it takes ½ hour per pound. So, our four pound cut took right at two hours. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 145° though. That is the real key!
Always leave a good layer of fat on and keep that fat at the TOP when smoking. If you put the fatty side down, the fatty juices will fall into the smoker and not penetrate the meat.
Mild woods like apple, cherry are popular as well as hickory. Mesquite is very robust and isn’t a popular choice.
Only if it’s super thick. Leave a good layer on so it can keep the roast moist.
Depending on the butcher, some will leave it on. You should remove it before starting out.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Smoked Pork Loin with Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce
- 4 lb Pork Loin
- ¾ cup BBQ Rub your favorite
- Spray Olive Oil
Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce
- 12 oz Dr Pepper
- 2 cups Ketchup
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- ¼ tsp Onion Powder
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 tsp Coarse Salt
Dr Pepper BBQ Sauce
- Combine all of the ingredients into a small pan and stir well over medium-high heat.
- Bring it to a gentle boil and then turn it down to medium low for 15-20 minutes. This will help it thicken slightly.
- Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool, which will allow the sauce to thicken a little bit more. After it cools completely, add it to a covered container and refrigerate for up to three days.
Smoked Pork Loin
- Set up grill/ smoker to INDIRECT heat to 250 degrees. Once it is up to temperature, add in your smoking wood. We used pecan this time but you can use apple or cherry for a mild taste or go for hickory for a more robust punch of flavor.
- Remove any silver skin, but keep a small layer of fat on the pork. May times, the butcher will trim this for you.
- Give all sides of the pork loin a very light spray of olive oil and then generously rub your favorite dry rub over all sides.
- Place the pork on the smoker at 250° and allow it to cook until the internal temperature reaches about 135-140 degrees. At that point, brush on the BBQ sauce and let it continue to smoke.
- When the temperature reaches 145°, it is full cooked. Remove it from the smoker and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.