Affordable and large enough to feed many people, a smoked rack of pork makes for a great meal on holidays and special occasions.
Don’t be fooled by its large size, it is easy to prepare and cook, especially on a smoker.
Smoked Pork Rack
Like the pork loin, this cut has a mild flavor and is fairly lean, but it has a nice fat cap which helps provide additional moisture and flavor through the cooking process. It is sourced from the upper portion of the loin primal.
I used a rack of pork from Snake River Farms. We’ve worked out a deal for Smoked BBQ Source readers to get 15% off all orders over $99 with code SMOKED15.
The bones come frenched, exposing them for better presentation and flavor.
Each rack of pork weighs around 6 pounds and is between 10-12 bones in length, easy enough to serve 8-10 people.
I went for a straightforward presentation, but if you want a real show-stopper, check out our Smoked Pork Crown Roast, which uses the same cut of meat.
Tips and tricks to help you get the best results when smoking a rack of pork:
- Trim or score: While it’s important to choose a rack of pork with some fat, you’ll want to trim off any excess fat before smoking. This will help to prevent flare-ups and ensure that the pork cooks evenly. If you leave the fat cap, remove any excess and score the cap in a cross-hatch pattern to allow your rub to penetrate into the meat.
- Use a BBQ rub: A BBQ rub is a blend of spices applied to the pork before smoking. This not only helps to flavor the meat but also creates a delicious crust on the outside. For this cook, I used our Smoke Kitchen Honey Garlic Rub.
- Use fruit wood or pecan: I recommend using apple, cherry, or pecan as it pairs well with pork.
- Spritz: To help keep the pork moist while it smokes, spritz it with apple juice or apple cider vinegar every hour or so.
- Use a meat thermometer: To ensure that your pork is cooked to the right temperature, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145°F.
How to smoke a rack of pork
Start by trimming any excess fat on the rack of pork. I like to leave the fat cap on as it helps keep the meat moist.
If you elect to leave the cap on, score it with a sharp knife (like our Smoke Kitchen Boning Knife) and dry brine the pork by sprinkling it with kosher salt and leaving it uncovered in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
Because a rack of pork is a large cut of meat, brining will help keep the it moist.
After your pork has dry brined, slather the entire rack with dijon mustard and cover with an all-purpose bbq rub.
I like to use something sweet and savory that will compliment the natural flavors of the pork best, so I used our Smoke Kitchen Honey Garlic rub and coated the entire thing.
You can go with any good smoke wood, though.
Every hour or so, spritz with apple cider vinegar to help with moisture retention and crust formation.
The cooking time for a rack of pork will depend on the size and thickness of the pork, as well as your desired level of doneness.
Generally, a rack of pork will take approximately one hour per pound to cook at 225°F. For example, a 5-pound rack of pork would take approximately 5 hours to cook at this temperature.
Once the interior of the pork reaches 145 degrees, remove it and rest for 15-20 minutes.
Then slice between each bone and serve as is, or make a creamy dijon sauce for that extra pop of flavor.
This is a great sauce that’s easy to make and goes well with a rack of pork.
- 1 rack of pork
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp BBQ Rub I used our honey garlic rub but any pork barbecue rub will work great. If you brine the pork make sure you use a rub that isn't too salty.
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
For the Dijon Cream Sauce (optional)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- Remove any excess fat and dry brine your rack of pork overnight in the refrigerator. If electing to leave the fat cap on, score with a sharp knife. You can dry brine by sprinkling kosher salt onto the rack of pork and refrigerate uncovered overnight.
- Remove pork loin from the refrigerator and brush off any excess salt. Then coat the entire rack with dijon mustard and coat evenly with our Smoke Kitchen Honey Garlic BBQ rub (or any rub of your choice).
- Smoke the rack of pork at 225°F until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. You can spritz the pork each hour with apple cider vinegar.
- Rest for 20 minutes and slice between each bone. Serve with dijon cream sauce if desired.
For the Dijon Cream Sauce
- Heat your pan to medium low heat and add each ingredient, stiringtogether to combine.
- Turn off the heat once the parmesan cheese has melted and the sauce is warmed up. Serve immedietly.