I was able to spend Saturday grilling and swimming with my brothers. We decided to grill a pork loin. After thinking about it for a little while, we thought we would try smoking it on the charcoal side of the grill. Here's what you need:
Charcoal (I used all natural hardwood lump - awesome stuff)
Wood Chips (I used Apple smoking chips)
4lb Pork Loin
1lb Bacon (I used apple smoked)
Mix all of the seasonings in a bowl. My brothers did this part while I was cleaning up the kitchen. I'm not positive how much of each they used but they literally mixed it until it smelled good...
Rub the seasonings into the meat. Once the outside was covered, we snipped the cords tying it together, opened it up, and finished rubbing in the seasonings. Follow that up by wrapping the whole loin (still open, not folded back together) in bacon, holding it together with toothpicks.
At this point, we prepped the grill. If you want to speed up the process, light the charcoal before you prep the pork.
For starters, we made a pouch out of foil for the apple wood chips. Place a few handfuls of the wood chips in the foil and poke a few holes in the top. We also soaked a separate handful of wood chips in warm water.
The charcoal - I decided to try out the natural lump charcoal. This was the first time I've ever used it and I'm pleased to say I love it! I used a chimney to light my charcoal over the burner on the grill. Worked like a charm!
Once the coals are ready, dump them on one side of the grill. If you can, lower the charcoal on that side as well.
At this point, I put the wet handful of apple chips directly on the coals and placed the packet of dry apple chips on the grate above the coals. You want the chips to smoke. If they aren't smoking or if they are on fire, they aren't working with you.
Now it's time to add the pork! I put it on the top rack opposite of the coals.
Now, every 45 minutes I turned it - side to side, flip, then side to side again. This adds up to 3 hours. I found I dried mine out too much so I recommend turning it every 30 minutes. I believe pork needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. If it hasn't yet reached this point, cook the loin for a little longer. Also, every time I turned the loin, I checked to make sure the coals were still burning. If more charcoal is needed, don't be afraid to add to the pile to keep it lit. I ran the grill at about 300°F the entire cook time. Here is how it looked at each turn:
If, at this point, you feel the bacon needs charred, feel free to carefully cook it over direct coals for a short amount of time. We did this with the opened packet of wood chips sitting below on top of the coals - added extra smoke and reduced the chances of a flame up. The following picture you can see the foil packet open directly on the coals - this definitely produces a lot of smoke!
And the final product:
If you'll notice, the pork was developing a bit of a smoke ring inside the bacon.
My final thoughts - the flavor was fantastic. A 4lb loin and my go-to pile of potatoes is more than enough for 5 people (though only 3 of us ate it with a bit of leftovers). I do feel I cooked it too long (or too high of a temperature). If you try this recipe, adjust one of the two conditions. Only because I'm not crazy about dry meat, I'm giving this a 6/10. If the pork was more moist, it would easily be an 8/10.