Grilled pork loin is exceptionally lean and flavorful, making it ideal to cook up on a gas or charcoal grill. With a few simple tricks, you will find it is easy to grill pork loin to perfection over an open flame!
I have a thing for pork loin. I always have. It is cheap, flavorful, and did I mention cheap? Back when I was young, broke, and single I used to survive on $50 a week for groceries. Pork loin was my 'indulgence purchase'. This lean cut of meat tasted way better than chicken breasts and I could stretch a pork roast into multiple meals. It's the poor man's tenderloin.
Pork Loin vs Pork Tenderloin
Just to clarify, pork loin and pork tenderloin are not the same things. Pork loin comes from the back of the pig, is considerably larger and not quite as tender as the tenderloin. The tenderloin is the muscle that runs along the backbone. Though they are both lean, their size difference makes them poorly suited to substitute for each other in recipes.
Grilled Pork Loin
The mild flavor of pork loins makes it ideal for grilling. Like my Grilled Country Style Ribs, the meat really soaks in the flavor of the grill, making it infinitely better than anything roasted in your oven. However, since pork loin is fairly lean, you have to be careful not to overcook it, or it will dry out. Also, since it is such a large cut of meat avoiding high temperatures is best or the exterior will dry out before the interior is cooked.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pork loin - As stated above, a pork loin roast is different than a pork tenderloin. Since the loin is larger it is important to buy the right cut of meat.
- Seasoning - I enjoy the robust flavors of paprika, black pepper, onion, garlic, and mustard powder blended together. However, if there is another recipe you find that sounds better to you, you can still follow my cooking process even if you aren't using the same seasoning.
I love this recipe because you can use the seasonings I list, or your favorite dry rub. Either will work great. However, I would avoid using a rub with too much brown sugar, as it tends to burn quickly.
How to Grill Pork Loin
If there is any silver skin on the pork loin, this can be trimmed off with a sharp knife prior to cooking. Next, pat the meat dry with a paper towel and rub the loin with oil. The oil helps the seasoning stick when you dust it liberally with your seasoning mixture.
The best way to grill pork loin is to use indirect cooking. The basic premise of indirect cooking is to have your heat source on the opposite side of the grill from where you place your meat. This creates a more gentle heat around the pork loin, allowing it to more slowly come to temperature. If you set the pork loin directly over the heat source, the exterior would be dry, blackened, and burnt by the time the interior was safe to eat.
How Long to Grill Pork Loin
A 4-pound pork loin takes me 1 hour and 45 minutes to grill with a grilling temperature around 325 degrees. However, this isn't an exact science since the size of your pork loin and grill temperature fluctuations will cause your grill time to vary.
Grilling Hack: My secret weapon when grilling roasts is this double probe digital thermometer. Seriously the best thing ever. I stick one probe into the thickest part of the pork loin to monitor the internal temperature and rest the second probe on the grill grate next to the roast to monitor the grilling temperature.
What sauce to Serve with this dish?
Leftover grill pork loin should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator and enjoyed within five days. It will be best to reheat it in individual slices gently in a skillet set to medium or medium-low heat. My personal recommendation is to use leftovers to make an incredible pork loin sandwich.
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Grilled Pork Loin
- 4 pound Pork Loin
- 1 tablespoon Cooking Oil (such as Olive Oil)
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Mustard Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Pepper
- 1 dash Cayenne Pepper
- Salt (as needed)
- Rub pork loin with cooking oil and lightly salt all sides of the pork.
- Mix remaining seasonings together and liberally dust all sides of the pork roast. Any unused seasonings can be discarded.
- CHARCOAL: Light 1 charcoal chimney full of briquettes and pour onto far side of the grill. Place pork loin on opposite side of the grill.
- GAS GRILL: Set burner on far side of the grill to medium heat and place pork roast on the opposite side of the grill.
- Adjust grill temperature to be near 325 degrees by adjusting vents on charcoal grill or burner on gas grill.
- Rotate pork roast every 15-30 minutes to ensure each side cooks evenly.
- Pork loin is done when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees when tested with an instant read thermometer, approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Then slice and serve.
This recipe was originally published on FoxValleyFoodie.com July 27, 2018.