- 15 Posts. Joined 4/2012
- Location: anaheim CA
- Points: 10
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Welcome to the family!
Never did a center-cut myself, always whole loins, but if the fat-cap is on, score it with a knife in a cross-hatch pattern, then dry rub...scoring helps it to render down without the shrinkage baring the meat so much...looks cool when finished and gives some crispy fat if you're into it.
The loin is a mild flavor, so I don't like to cover it up with heavy or intense spice blends. I like rosemary, thyme, a bit of sweet basil, a pinch of sage, cracked black peppercorn, minced dried garlic, some kosher salt, onion powder, and Spanish paprika. If that's not in your kitchen, maybe Lawry's or Tone's lemon-pepper blend? It has garlic, pepper, lemon and a few other hints which go well with pork, poultry, beef, fish and veggies.
Smoke fat-cap up with apple/cherry, apple/pecan @ 225-250* to internal temp of 155*...cover with foil in a pan, foil not touching meat, and rest for 45-60 minutes...carry over should take it to 160* while resting before you slice it up. With USDA inspected pork, you finish @ 145* internal, but some folks are bit squeemish about pink meat/juices in pork...I'm one of them, btw. I go for 160* carry-over for med-well, still very juicy with just a touch of pink inside. Sharp or heavy smoke woods should be used (hickory/mesquite) sparingly with pork loin. Even cherry by itself can be a bit strong for smoking pork loin depending on your preferences, but I find blends to be very good. If it's dry, it's over-cooked.
If you have time, and it's fresh pork (not cryo-vac packed) you could brine it (soak in salt-water/spice solution) for a couple days (or several) refrigerated, then follow the above, only reduce or omit the salt in the rub.
Do you have a digital thermometer to check internal temps with? Can't really go by time with a smoker, is why I'm asking, but it should take around 4-6 hours depending on the smoker and how well you can maintain temps. Also, verify/calibrate smoke chamber thermometer if you haven't already...or just use a second probe for chamber temp monitoring.
Oh, don't stick your temp probe in until after about 90 minutes or so. This will keep the intact whole muscle nature of the meat if you don't cut into it or poke it with anything, and less restrictive cooking time/temp is allowed for internal temps (40-140*/4-hr rule doesn't apply).