Project Smoke – Bourbon Smoked Pork Loin

Steven Raichlen shows us how to make the perfect smoked pork loin, wrapped in bacon, and covered with a bourbon glaze.


  • 1 center-cut pork loin (2.5-3lbs)
  • 3 tablespoons whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite Barbecue rub
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons whiskey
  • Barbecue Sauce optional for serving


  1. Step 1: Butterfly the pork loin: Using a very sharp knife, cut the roast almost in half lengthwise through on side (stop about 1 inch from the opposite side). Open the roast up as you would a book. Sprinkle the inside of the roast with 1 tbs of the whiskey and let it marinate for 5 minutes. Sprinkle a 1/3 of the rub over the inside of the roast. Spread the mustard on top with a spatula, then sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the mustard. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbs of whiskey on top of the brown sugar. Fold the roast back together (like closing a book) and sprinkle the remaining rub over the outside.
  2. Step 2: Cut four 12 inch pieces of butcher’s string. Position the pieces of string on the work surface so that they are parallel and roughly 2 inches apart. Place a slice of bacon across the strings so that it is perpendicular to and in the center of them. Set the roast on top of the bacon, positioning its long side parallel to the bacon. Place a slice of bacon on top of the roast. Press the remaining 2 slices against the long sides of the roast. Tie each piece of string together around the roast so that they hold the slices of bacon against it. Set the pork roast aside.
  3. Step 3: Preheat the Memphis grill to 300 degrees for indirect grilling. (This is higher than “Low & Slow” but it helps crisp the bacon).
  4. Step 4: Make the glaze: Combine the butter, brown sugar, mustard, and whiskey in a saucepan and boil until syrupy, 4-6 minutes. Set the glaze aside.
  5. Step 5: When ready to cook, place the pork roast on the hot grate. Cook the roast until cooked through, 1 to 1.5 hours. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the side of the roast: the internal temperature should be about 160 degrees. Start basting the roast with some of the glaze after 30 minutes and continue basting every 15 minutes.
  6. Step 5.5: (optional if you have the direct flame insert): Gives you a candy crisp crust: use your genie tool to install your direct flame insert, put the grill in direct flame mode at medium, place the pork loin over the insert. Baste one final time to caramelize the sugar and the glaze
  7. Step 6: Transfer the cooked roast to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes, then remove and discard the string. Slice the roast crosswise and drizzle any remaining glaze over it. If you like, serve barbecue sauce alongside.

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