I’ve been experimenting with different cuts of pork roasts (from the pork butt to pork shoulder) for years. Now, I’ve finally found the best pork roast recipes done on a smoker. These recipes include the classic style, spicy-smoked, and applewood-smoked version with cider gravy.
Over the years, I discovered something special about these smoked pork roasts. The crispy outer layer, the mouthwatering smoke ring, and the delicious, juicy, and tender piece on the inside always hit the spot on your palate. Did I mention it’s also loaded with good amount of nutritional calories, filling you with energy for the day?
So, in this article, I will walk you through the step-by-step instructions for preparing and smoking the most delicious pork roasts you’ve ever tasted. Let’s get started and smoke some pork!
The Best Smoked Pork Roast Recipes to Try
Here’s my selection of the best delicious smoked pork roast recipes for any occasion:
Recipe 1: Classic Smoked Pork Roast Recipe
Are you new to barbecuing and want a recipe that’s as straightforward as possible?
This classic smoked pork roast recipe is what I began with while starting out as a rookie chef. It’s a great option for any home cook that wants to get into smoking.
Ingredients for 6-8 Serving Size
- 1 (4-5 lb) bone-in pork shoulder
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- Hickory wood chips for smoking
- Smoker (charcoal, gas, or electric)
- Meat thermometer
- Large mixing bowl
- Paper towels
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
Step 1: Preparing the Rub and Pork
Combine the yellow mustard, sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix well to form a dry rub.
Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels and then generously coat it with the dry rub, covering all sides of the piece of meat.
Cover the entire roast with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or overnight) to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
Step 2: Cooking the Roast
Start by preheating your smoker to a low and slow cooking temperature of 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, take some hickory wood chips and add to the smoker according to your manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Place the roast over the indirect heat of the grill or in your smoker and close the lid. If you use a smoker like the Big Green Egg, you can get indirect heat from the ConvEGGtor plate setter.
Let the pork roast smoke under low heat until it registers an internal temperature of 195 to 200 degrees. This should take approximately six to eight hours and you can check this using a temperature probe.
Once done, remove the pork from the smoker. Then wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
- For a more flavorful roast, inject the roast with a marinade before applying the rub. This will help to infuse the meat with moisture and flavor as it smokes. It can also help develop the famed smoke ring. If you’re interested in a result with a smoke ring, I suggest using the P setting on your smoker. You can find this in a Pit Boss, for example.
- Be sure to keep an eye on the temperature of your smoker throughout the smoking process. It can fluctuate with changes in weather and wind.
- If you’re short on time, smoke the pork roast at a higher temperature (up to 300 degrees). Be aware that this may result in an end product that is tougher and “less smoky.”
- If you have leftover meat, refrigerate it for two days in an airtight container.
Recipe 2: Spicy Smoked Pork Roast Recipe
This spicy smoked pork roast recipe is perfect for a crowd. You’ll have a juicy and flavorful center that will satisfy everyone.
Ingredients for 8-10 Serving Size
- 1 (5-6 pounds) pork butt
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- Wood pellets or chips
- Pellet smoker grill
- Instant-read meat thermometer
- Large mixing bowl
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
- Basting brush
Step 1: Prepare the Pork Meat
Start by mixing all the spices and seasonings in a bowl; that is, the paprika, onion powder, garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, oregano, and sugar. I’m not using yellow mustard here, unlike in the classic recipe. I believe yellow mustard is too mild for a spicy recipe.
Continue by rubbing the spice mixture over the roast until it’s perfectly seasoned. Then, wrap the pork in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight). I do this to allow the flavors from the prepared pork rub to get into the piece of meat.
Step 2: Smoke the Roast
Add some wood pellets to your smoker. Again, hickory wood pellets such as the Traeger Grills All Natural Hickory Pellets go well with pork butt roasts. Depending on your smoker type, this should be either in the dedicated chips tray, smoker box, or in the wood pellet hopper.
Light your smoker and control the temperature with the knob or from the dedicated app to a slow cooking heat as low as 225 degrees. Next, place your prepared pork roast fat side up on the smoker grates. Don’t forget to close the lid.
As usual, you’ll need to smoke the pork until the core reads at least 195 degrees. How long it takes, once again, depends on the size of your roast. I don’t think a 5-pound roast should take more than 10 hours.
Don’t forget to baste the pork roast with apple cider vinegar and chicken broth every hour during the cooking process. I do this to keep the meat moist and enhance its flavor profile as it smokes.
Step 3: Rest and Serve
Once the roast reaches the desired doneness level, remove it from the heat. Wrap in a foil and let the meat rest for around 20 minutes. This helps the moisture in the meat to regroup around the protein and don’t get tough.
Serve the spicy smoked pork roast with your favorite sides, and enjoy!
Recipe 3: Apple Wood-smoked Pork Roast With Cider Gravy Recipe
I suggest that you try this recipe if you want a flavorful dish for a family gathering. The smoky flavor of the pork roast pairs perfectly with the sweet and tangy cider gravy. Let’s give this a try.
- 1 piece of boneless pork butt roast (about 5 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 cups apple juice or cider
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Applewood chips for smoking
- Smoker or grill with a smoker box
- Meat thermometer
- Roasting pan
- Aluminum foil
- Small saucepan
Step 1: Prepare the Pork
We’re starting the process with the roast meat this time. Wash it under a running tap and dab it dry with a towel. Now, pick it up and rub it with olive oil, and set it aside. Mix the spice ingredients in a small bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, rub the spice on the pork, including the sides. Next, place the pork in a roasting pan and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Smoke the Pork Roast
Start by preheating your smoker to a low temperature of around 225 degrees. Once the smoker or grill has reached the temperature, add the apple wood chips to the smoker box, chips tray, or whatever you’ve got.
Place the roasting pan with the pork roast in the smoker or grill and close the lid. Smoke the pork for 6-7 hours or until you see the internal temperature is at 195 degrees with your thermometer, of course.
Remove the roast from the smoker or grill and let it rest for 20 minutes. While the meat rests, it’s time to make the gravy.
Step 3: Make the Cider Gravy
Pour the pan drippings into a small saucepan. Add the apple juice or apple cider and chicken broth to the saucepan and boil. Next, you need to take a small bowl and whisk the cornstarch and water in it. Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Cook the gravy for a few minutes until it thickens. Finally, strain the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps.
Step 4: Serve the Smoked Pork Roast With Cider Gravy
Once the gravy is ready, slice the smoked pork roast with a sharp knife. Then serve it on a platter or individual plates. Drizzle the gravy over the smoked pork and serve any remaining gravy on the side.
Note: This recipe is a basic one. However, I sometimes like to customize the gravy to my taste by adding additional seasonings and herbs. You can even add a splash of wine, apple juice, or apple cider vinegar for a more complex flavor.
How to Choose Your Pork Roast?
When choosing the perfect pork roast for smoking, there are some essential factors to consider.
The Type of Pork Roast
First, let’s dive into the most common cuts of pork used for smoking.
- Boston butt: The Boston butt, which we also call pork butt comes from the upper arm, neck, and pork shoulder blade region. The pork butt is typically used for pulled pork. It has plenty of marbling and connective tissue, making it an ideal choice for smoking.
- Pork shoulder: Another great option for a smoked pork roast recipe is the pork shoulder, which is similar to the Boston butt. The pork shoulder is slightly leaner but has enough fat to keep it moist and tender during smoking.
- Pork loin: If you’re looking for a leaner cut of meat, the pork loin may be a good choice. This cut comes from the back of the pig, but it can be a bit dry if not cooked properly.
- Pork belly: Finally, there’s pork belly, where bacon comes from. Pork belly is quite flavorful, thanks to its high-fat content, but it can be challenging to get the texture just right.
What to Consider?
When selecting roast meat for smoking, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the best quality meat.
- Look for marbling: The more intramuscular fat a cut has, the more flavor and moisture it will have when smoked.
- Check the color too: The meat should be deep pink or reddish. It might be past its prime if it looks gray or has a greenish tinge.
- How the pig was raised: Choose pork that was raised without antibiotics or hormones and from farms that prioritize animal welfare. One way to be sure is to trace the meat to an ethical farm.
- Your serving size: Choose the right size based on how many people you’re serving. A general rule of thumb is to plan a half pound of meat per person.
1. Is a Pork Roast Good for Smoking?
Yes, a pork roast is an excellent choice for smoking. Smoking infuses the meat with a delicious smoky flavor and helps turn the roast into tender and juicy meat.
2. How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Pork Roast?
A good rule of thumb is to smoke the roast over indirect heat at around 225-250 degrees for about one-and-a-half to two hours per pound. So, a 5-pound roast would take approximately 7.5 to 10 hours to smoke.
3. How Long Does It Take to Smoke a 3-pound Pork Roast?
A 3-pound pork roast will take around four-and-a-half to six hours to smoke at 225 degrees. But keep in mind that cooking times can vary depending on the meat’s thickness, the smoker’s temperature, and other factors.
There are several delicious recipes for smoked pork roast. My favorites are the classic style, spicy smoked, and the applewood smoked version with cider gravy.
Remember, the key to a great smoked pork roast starts with the proper cut of meat. Make sure that you season it generously and cook over low and slow heat until it reaches the required internal temperature. With the right equipment and technique, anyone can master the art of smoking a pork roast and impress their family and friends with a delicious and tender meal. So, give it a try, and you’ll be glad you did!