Smoked Pork Crown Roast

Smoked Pork Crown Roast

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If you’re looking for something to feast on for a holiday or any special occasion, then this smoked pork crown roast may be exactly what you are looking for. 

This roast has that certain wow factor that will impress your family and friends and give them that good to the bone barbecue flavor goodness they crave.

We know, this smoked pork crown roast may look intimidating at first, but don’t let the presentation fool you. It’s actually two racks of pork strung together to create the appearance of a crown. 

roast ready to smoke

What Is A Pork Crown Roast?

A pork crown roast is basically two pork loins with the ribs still attached. The bone rack is trimmed (frenched) to expose the ends of the bones. When the roast is strung together it looks like a crown, hence the name.

David injecting meat

How To Buy Bone-In Frenched Pork Loin – What to Look For

If you know what to look for you can make a pork crown roast for a fraction of the cost. 

  • A pork crown roast is made of two 7 to 8 bone center cut sections that weigh between 4 and 5 pounds each with the bones Frenched.
  • Typically, a bone-in pork loin is packaged flat and more than likely in separate packages. But you may be able to find them packaged in a set of two like we did.
  • Purchase two equal-sized racks that are the same weight and about the same length and thickness. This will give you equal size-chops that will cook evenly which makes for a juicier result. 
  • If you cannot find pre-cut meat in the grocery store, talk to your local butcher to see if you can special order a couple of racks. If you special order the meat from your butcher ask them to cut the racks from the same pig. They will mirror each other perfectly and it will be easier to form into a crown.
smoked pork crown roast on grill

What is Smoked Pork Crown Roast?

The racks of pork loin are shaped into a crown, injected with our pork and poultry brine, and rub with our homemade pork spice rub. Then we put the pork on the smoker and slowly smoke it for about 5 hours gently with hickory wood. During the last hour of the cooking, we slathered the crown roast with barbecue sauce, before taking off the smoker to rest and carve.

The Ingredients

  • 8-10 pounds Bone-In Pork Crown Roast (Frenched)
  • Pork Brine (see the recipe card at the end of this post)
  • Pork Rub (see the recipe card at the end of this post) or use your favorite

Recommended Equipment and Supplies

smoked pork crown roast carved ready to eat

How to Prepare A Pork Crown Roast For Smoking

We’ve outlined some key points below that will help you with the finished presentation. If you are not after the presentation, simply lay the racks of ribs flat on the grate and smoke them indirectly until they are done.

racks of pork with bowl of brine

STEP 1: BRINE THE PORK

We use our usual pork and poultry brine for smoking meat. The brine has a nice balance of sugar, savoriness, aromatics, and spices that pair nicely with pork. You can always use your favorite brine recipe if you have one that you think will work better.

How To Brine The Meat

For this recipe you have two options for brining the meat:

  1. Brine the pork crown roast for 8 to 12 hours
  2. Use a meat injector to inject the meat with brine just prior to smoking it.

We have tested this recipe both ways and could not tell any difference in flavor or texture. Really it’s ultimately what you have time for.

Option 1: To Brine The Meat Overnight:

Combine the brine solution in a large bowl or bucket. Whisk the solution until the salt dissolves completely. Then pour over meat inside an airtight container. 

Use a zip-top bag to seal the brine up against the meat, sealing out all the air. If you brine a lot, we recommend getting a Briner Bucket.

injecting meat with brine

Option 2: How To Inject the Pork Crown Roast:

If you don’t have the time to brine the meat overnight, an injection of brine will ensure you end up with flavorful and moist meat. David uses a meat injector to inject the brine solution into the meat, so you will need an injector to do this.

  1. To inject the meat, combine the brine solution in a large bowl. Whisk the solution until the salt dissolves completely. Allow the brine to sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes. This will allow the red crushed pepper flakes to rise to the top, which will keep the meat injector from clogging up.
injecting meat with brine solution
  1. Submerge the meat injector into the bowl of brine solution. Fill it with the brine solution. If the meat injector clogs, simply push the plunger slightly to release some brine solution. Then pull the plunger back again to continue filling the injector with brine.
  1. Plunge the needle into the meat, while pushing the plunger with a slow and steady force. Withdraw the needle gradually with each plunge. 
  1. It’s important to minimize the number of holes you put into the meat. You can do this by angling the needle in 2 or 3 different directions using the same entry point. Continue to inject the meat until the meat cannot hold any more liquid and the brine solution begins to leak from the holes.

STEP 2: TRIM AND SLIT THE RACKS

Unless you special order your bone-in pork loin from a butcher already trimmed, you will need to trim up the bones. The racks we purchased were Frenched, but they were still a little meaty.

Remove the pork from the brine solution and pat them completely dry with paper towels. 

  • CLEAN UP THE RIBS – Trim off any excess meat or bits of connective tissue from the bones. (optional)
  • REMOVE THE SILVERSKIN – The silverskin will not render and should be removed. It can be found under the rack of ribs just like any other rack of pork ribs. Removing the silverskin will not only help the rub penetrate the meat better, but it will also help the crown roast flex and shape up a little better.
  • SLIT THE RIBS – Make a vertical slit every two bones across the rack about 3-inches long and 1-inch deep. This will make the rack more flexible and easier to form into the crown.

STEP 3:  FORM THE “CROWN” 

  1. Use a bundt pan to help form the “crown”! Place the racks with the bones out into the bundt pan. Use a piece of string to tie up the two end bones on each side. 
  2. Once both ends are secured, lift the two racks out of the bundt pan and place them onto a clean work surface. Use your hands to help shape it into the “crown” shape. 
  3. Then use a long piece of string to wrap around the racks at the thickest part, just under the rib bones. Tie it pretty tightly into a circle. You will notice the bones start to bow outward like a crown.
  4. Secure another string around the top portion of the rib bones and one across the bottom to help keep it in shape.
rubbing meat with dry rub

STEP 4: RUB YOUR MEAT

Now generously rub the meat with the dry rub. This is David’s favorite part! Make sure to apply the rub all the way around the roast including the inside the top and the bottom.

STEP 5: FOIL CAPS

The crowning jewel of this jaw-dropping presentation is aluminum foil. Tear off small squares of aluminum foil and place them on the ends of the rib bones. They will gently smoke to a golden rose color making it look like gold!

setting up charcoal and wood inside grill

How To Smoke Pork Crown Roast

The first time we smoked a crown roast, David used our Texas Original Pit offset smoker. For this demonstration, he used his Weber Performer set up with the snake method to show you don’t need a fancy smoker to smoke meat. (watch our video for a brief demonstration)

tongs dropping hot coals onto charcoal snake

Step 1: Fire up the Grill or Smoker

Preheat the grill or smoker to 225 to 250 degrees F.

Weber Performer with probe thermometer

Step 2: Smoke the Pork Crown Roast

When the grill is hot, place the crown roast in the center of the grill and probe it with a probe thermometer, if using.

Place the lid on the grill and bring the temperature back up to 225 to 250 degrees F, using the vents to regulate the temperature.

Knowing the temperature inside your smoker or grill is crucial. Even if your smoker or grill has a temperature gauge, we highly recommend that you purchase a digital BBQ thermometer such as Smoke™ from Thermoworks. Read more about that HERE.

smoked pork crown roast on grill

Step 3: Low and Slow

Check the temperature of the grill every hour, staying as close to between 225 and 25o degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid. Only open if you need to add more charcoal or wood.

checking temperature of the smoked pork crown roast with Thermapen

Step 4: Test for Doneness 

After two hours open the lid. Check the temperature of the pork to see where things are. This will give you an idea of how much more time it will take to smoke the meat.

Tips:

  • There are a lot of variables that determine how long meat should smoke. As always it is more important to focus on the temperature rather than the time. 
  • Smoke the pork until the internal temperature is at least 145 degrees F (medium rare) at a minimum. A 7 to 10-pound pork crown roast typically takes about 2 ½ to 3 hours to reach 145 degrees smoking at 250 degrees. 
  • Check the meat in several places around the crown with an instant-read thermometer, such as a Thermapen by Thermoworks. 

We like our pork well done, so we like the internal temperature somewhere around 160 degrees F.

brushing the smoked pork crown roast with bbq sauce

Step 5: Saucing The Smoked Pork Crown Roast

During the last 30 – 60 minutes of smoking, baste the pork with your favorite barbecue sauce using a brush or mop. 

How often and how much sauce is up to you. David normally bastes with a generous amount of barbecue sauce every 20 to 25 minutes or sauce.

Step 6: Rest the Meat

When the meat is done, carefully remove it from the smoker or grill. Place it onto a platter or cutting board. Tent with foil and allow it to rest as you would with grilled or roasted meats. 

Rested meat holds on to more of its natural juices. This also keeps your platter or cutting board from flooding with meat juices when you slice into the pork. A good 20-minute rest should do.

carving the roast

Step 7: Slicing and Serving Smoked Pork Crown Roast

First, cut and remove the butcher’s twine from around the smoked pork roast. 

Next, slice the pork roast in between the rib bones into slices The pork ribs are naturally about ½ to 1 inch thick. If you want them thicker you could cut them into double-rib portions.

Serve drizzled in extra barbecue sauce or with sauce on the side.

WATCH OUR VIDEO ON HOW TO SMOKE A PORK CROWN ROAST

smoked pork crown roast carved ready to eat
hand holding up chop from the smoked pork crown roast with mountain view

Y’all this is some good eating! If you’ve never smoked a pork crown before, you have to try this recipe. If you do, let us know how it turned out in the comments below!

smoked pork crown roast
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Smoked Pork Crown Roast

Smoked pork crown roast is an impressive way to present pork while still giving your guests that good to the bone bbq flavor they crave!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
20 minutes
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 14
Calories 690kcal

Ingredients

  • 10 pounds Bone-In Pork Crown Roast (2 racks Frenched)

Brine

  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1 large apple sliced
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

Pork Dry Rub or use your favorite

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper omit or reduce if you don't like spice

Instructions

STEP 1: BRINE THE PORK

  • Brine the pork crown roast for 8 to 12 hours
  • Use a meat injector to inject the meat with brine just prior to smoking it.

OPTION 1: TO BRINE THE MEAT OVERNIGHT:

  • Combine the brine solution in a large bowl or bucket. Whisk the solution until the salt dissolves completely. Then pour over meat inside an airtight container.
  • Use a zip-top bag to seal the brine up against the meat, sealing out all the air. If you brine a lot, we recommend getting a Briner Bucket.

OPTION 2: HOW TO INJECT THE PORK CROWN ROAST:

  • If you don’t have the time to brine the meat overnight, an injection of brine will ensure you end up with flavorful and moist meat. David uses a meat injector to inject the brine solution into the meat, so you will need an injector to do this.
  • To inject the meat, combine the brine solution in a large bowl. Whisk the solution until the salt dissolves completely. Allow the brine to sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes. This will allow the red crushed pepper flakes to rise to the top, which will keep the meat injector from clogging up.
  • Submerge the meat injector into the bowl of brine solution. Fill it with the brine solution. If the meat injector clogs, simply push the plunger slightly to release some brine solution. Then pull the plunger back again to continue filling the injector with brine.
  • Plunge the needle into the meat, while pushing the plunger with a slow and steady force. Withdraw the needle gradually with each plunge.
  • It’s important to minimize the number of holes you put into the meat. You can do this by angling the needle in 2 or 3 different directions using the same entry point. Continue to inject the meat until the meat cannot hold any more liquid and the brine solution begins to leak from the holes.

STEP 2: TRIM AND SLIT THE RACKS

  • Remove the pork from the brine solution and pat them completely dry with paper towels.
  • CLEAN UP THE RIBS – Trim off any excess meat or bits of connective tissue from the bones. (optional)
  • REMOVE THE SILVERSKIN – The silverskin will not render and should be removed. It can be found under the rack of ribs just like any other rack of pork ribs. Removing the silverskin will not only help the rub penetrate the meat better, but it will also help the crown roast flex and shape up a little better.
  • SLIT THE RIBS – Make a vertical slit every two bones across the rack about 3-inches long and 1-inch deep. This will make the rack more flexible and easier to form into the crown.

STEP 3: FORM THE “CROWN”

  • Use a bundt pan to help form the “crown”! Place the racks with the bones out into the bundt pan. Use a piece of string to tie up the two end bones on each side.
  • Once both ends are secured, lift the two racks out of the bundt pan and place them onto a clean work surface. Use your hands to help shape it into the “crown” shape.
  • Then use a long piece of string to wrap around the racks at the thickest part, just under the rib bones. Tie it pretty tightly into a circle. You will notice the bones start to bow outward like a crown.
  • Secure another string around the top portion of the rib bones and one across the bottom to help keep it in shape.

STEP 4: RUB YOUR MEAT

  • Now generously rub the meat with the dry rub. Make sure to apply the rub all the way around the roast including the inside the top and the bottom.

STEP 5: FOIL CAPS

  • The crowning jewel of this jaw-dropping presentation is aluminum foil. Tear off small squares of aluminum foil and place them on the ends of the rib bones. They will gently smoke to a golden rose color making it look like gold!

SMOKE THE PORK CROWN ROAST

    STEP 1: FIRE UP THE GRILL OR SMOKER

    • Preheat the grill or smoker to 225 to 250 degrees F.

    STEP 2: SMOKE THE PORK CROWN ROAST

    • When the grill is hot, place the crown roast in the center of the grill and probe it with a probe thermometer, if using.
    • Place the lid on the grill and bring the temperature back up to 225 to 250 degrees F, using the vents to regulate the temperature.

    STEP 3: LOW AND SLOW

    • Check the temperature of the grill every hour, staying as close to between 225 and 25o degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid. Only open if you need to add more charcoal or wood.

    STEP 4: TEST FOR DONENESS

    • After two hours open the lid. Check the temperature of the pork to see where things are. This will give you an idea of how much more time it will take to smoke the meat.

    STEP 5: SAUCING THE SMOKED PORK CROWN ROAST

    • During the last 30–60 minutes of smoking, baste the pork with your favorite barbecue sauce using a brush or mop.
    • How often and how much sauce is up to you. David normally bastes with a generous amount of barbecue sauce every 20-25 minutes or sauce.

    STEP 6: REST THE MEAT

    • When the meat is done, carefully remove it from the smoker or grill. Place it onto a platter or cutting board. Tent with foil and allow it to rest as you would with grilled or roasted meats.
    • Rested meat holds on to more of its natural juices. This also keeps your platter or cutting board from flooding with meat juices when you slice into the pork. A good 20-minute rest should do.

    STEP 7: SLICING AND SERVING SMOKED PORK CROWN ROAST

    • First, cut and remove the butcher’s twine from around the smoked pork roast.
    • Next, slice the pork roast in between the rib bones into slices The pork ribs are naturally about ½ to 1 inch thick. If you want them thicker you could cut them into double-rib portions.
    • Serve drizzled in extra barbecue sauce or with sauce on the side.

    Notes

    Brining: We have tested this recipe both ways and could not tell any difference in flavor or texture. Really it’s ultimately what you have time for.
    Pork is done at 145 degrees F. We like our pork well done, so we like the internal temperature somewhere around 160 degrees F.
    Tips About Temperature:
    There are a lot of variables that determine how long meat should smoke. As always it is more important to focus on the temperature rather than the time.
    Smoke the pork until the internal temperature is at least 145 degrees F (medium rare) at a minimum. A 7 to 10-pound pork crown roast typically takes about 2 ½ to 3 hours to reach 145 degrees smoking at 250 degrees.
    Check the meat in several places around the crown with an instant-read thermometer, such as a Thermapen by Thermoworks.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 690kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 64g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 204mg | Sodium: 2697mg | Potassium: 1226mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 366IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 3mg
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