Recipe for Pork Loin - with Cherry BBQ Sauce
Recipes for Pork Loin
It’s hard to beat a good recipe for pork loin, and this cherry pork loin is awesome. In fact, I have lots of recipes for pork loin, and we enjoy the meat often. I’m not referring to pork tenderloin here, by the way. I’m talking about the cut of meat from which pork chops come. Sometimes I make a boneless loin, but I actually prefer a bone-in loin. That way, I get some ribs included, too. The ribs on the back of the loin are my favorite part! Recipes for pork loin can be cooked in the oven, in a slow cooker, on the grill, or on a smoker. The following recipe for pork loin can be cooked with indirect heat on a grill, in the oven, or on a smoker.
How Long to Cook a Pork Loin
Friends and family members often ask me about how long to cook a pork loin. I try to explain to them that it depends on the cooking method and temperature. There’s no one correct answer. More important than cooking time is the internal temperature. Cooking times can vary a lot, even on or in the same type of cooking device. For example, when we cook meat outdoors in cold, windy weather, it usually takes a little longer than it would on a warm, calm day.
How long to cook a pork loin? Until it’s done! According to the latest recommendations from the USDA, a pork loin cooked to 145 degrees and allowed to rest at room temperature for three minutes is safe to eat. I suppose I’m still a little old fashioned here, however. I prefer my pork cooked to an internal temperature of at least 155 degrees. After resting for a few minutes, the internal temp will rise to around 160 degrees.
Roast Pork Loin
Roast pork loin can be cooked in the oven. There are several ways to go about seasoning the meat. Some cooks use a mixture of herbs and spices on the outside of the roast, much like a BBQ rub. Others cut slits in the meat and insert fresh herbs and spices there. Another way to season a roast pork loin is to use a marinade. I prefer using the rub method.
Some pork loins can be very lean, and in that case, you’ll need to add some sort of fat to the outside of the roast. I like to cook the loin in a large, deep metal roaster. That way, I can close the lid for most of the cooking time and remove the lid for browning. I generally cook roast pork loin, covered, for about 2 hours at 325 degrees. After that, I remove the lid and continue cooking for about another 30-40 minutes.
If you don’t have a roasting pan with a lid, you need one! They're really handy for cooking poultry and meats in the oven, and we even use ours on the grill. Without a proper roasting pan, you can cover the pork loosely with foil for the first two hours of cooking time. As with a lidded roaster, remove the foil for the last stretch of oven time.
Discount Roasting Pans:
Smoked Pork Loin
Smoked pork loin is our favorite way to cook the cut of meat. Our smoker has a built-in water pan, so I don’t have to worry much about drying out the meat. The moist heat and the long, slow cooking keeps the flesh tender and juicy. For smoked pork loin, I add just a little oil to the BBQ rub sometimes, but it’s really not mandatory. For roasted pork loin in the oven, however, I use a little more oil in the rub. Of course, this depends on how lean the loin is to begin with. Like all cuts of meat, some pork loins are leaner than others. Don’t be tempted to remove any fat on the exterior of the meat. As the fat heats and melts, it will help flavor and moisturize the lean muscle tissue. If you want to remove the fat, wait until the meat is done to do so.
The wood you use for smoking is something you’ll need to decide on beforehand. For this recipe for pork loin, we used pecan wood – it’s our all purpose, go-to wood for smoking. If you prefer more cherry flavoring, try using cherry wood for smoking. We use an electric smoker, and we prefer Brinkmann smokers.
Discount Brinkmann Smokers:
Some people seem to think that BBQ rubs are just for meats cooked on a grill or smoker. A BBQ rub, however, can add a lot of flavor to meat roasted in the oven, too. I almost always use BBQ rubs on porkthat’s baked,roasted, grilled, or smoked. Sometimes I even use a spicy rub on pork cooked in the crock pot.
When you’re making BBQ rubs for smoked pork loin, you can stick with traditional rubs, if you like. These will work for roasted pork loin, too, but you might want to make a rub that’s a little different than the usual BBQ rub you might use on smoked or grilled pork. Some tasty suggestions include rosemary, fennel, parsley, thyme, and sage.
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- 5-7 pound bone-in pork loin
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cherry syrup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons oil, (adjust for amount of fat on loin)
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Rinse meat and pat dry. Remove silver skin from back of rib section with a knife. Place roast on a shallow baking pan lined with two layers of foil.
- Combine remaining ingredients for a wet BBQ rub. Rub the pork loin all over with the mixture.
- Fold up top layer of foil around pork. This will capture and hold any excess wet rub. Add more foil to cover top of pork, if needed.
- Place pork loin in refrigerator and leave it for several hours or overnight.
- For roast pork loin, follow the instructions above, baking at 325 degrees for about 23 minutes per pound. For smoked pork loin, place the meat on a wood smoker, rib-side up. Smoke until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Meat should stand for about 10 minutes before carving.
Cherry Sauce for Pork
Many people enjoy a cherry sauce for pork. The two flavors are wonderful together! To make a fairly easy cherry sauce for pork, use cherry preserves as a base. To a cup of the preserves, add ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, two tablespoons brown sugar, one tablespoon butter, one teaspoon minced garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves. Combine the ingredients is a small saucepan and heat over high until the mixture reaches a boil. Reduce heat immediately and simmer until sauce reaches desired thickness – usually just two or three minutes. This cherry sauce for pork can be used on the pork for the last 30-40 minutes of cooking, or it can be served on the side. It also makes a good dipping sauce for pork fingers and ribs.
Cherry BBQ Sauce
Since we were smoking this loin, I decided to make a cherry barbecue sauce as well as the cherry sauce for pork. I sometimes like for folks to have options! This cherry BBQ sauce recipe is quick, easy, and yummy. It’s great with pork loin, pork chops, pulled pork, chicken, and turkey.
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup cherry syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon salt
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for one minute. Remove and stir. Return to microwave and cook for one more minute, or until sugar is completely dissolved. For more heat, add cayenne or chili powder. Chipotle powder is also a tasty addition to this barbecue sauce. Serve with pulled pork, pork chops, chicken, pork steaks, pork ribs, smoked turkey, or with any recipes for pork loin.