Don’t wait for special occasions to make this Grilled Pork Loin Roast. This is one of our camping dinner recipes that uses a few simple ingredients and requires very little prep.
Pork Loin vs Pork Tenderloin
This pork roast recipe calls for a pork loin, not a pork tenderloin. These are totally different cuts of meat. In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s a brief overview.
Each is considered a lean cut of meat, here are the main differences:
- Comes from the back of the pig
- Is larger than a pork tenderloin
- Is tougher than the tenderloin
- Is the muscle that runs along the backbone
- Is smaller than a pork loin
- Is more tender than the pork loin
That means different things when it comes to cooking. Because it is smaller and more tender, a grilled pork tenderloin cooks faster and is best grilled over a medium-high heat.
Because it is larger and tougher, a pork loin is best cooked slower over a low heat.
For our recipe, we will develop a nice flavor with a hot, quick sear. Then, we’ll reduce the temperature to slow cook the meat for about 1-1.5 hours until the meat reaches 145 degrees F in the center at its thickest part.
Campsite vs Home Grilling
When you grill a pork loin at home on a regular grill, you use indirect heat. If you have a 3 burner propane gas grill, you use the two outside burners while leaving the middle burner off so you can do indirect cooking with the meat in the center of the grill.
If you’re cooking over a full-sized home charcoal grill, you’ll typically set all the coals on one side of the grill and you’ll cook the meat on the indirect heat side.
Camping grilled recipes are generally made using smaller equipment (like single-burner propane camp grills or small Smokey Joe charcoal grills) and we don’t have the luxury of 2-zone cooking with direct heat and an indirect side of heat. We typically cook directly over an open flame and regulate the temperature of the grill with various methods.
Prepare In Advance
I love my Spicy Dry Rub because it’s great on beef, chicken and pork. I make a batch and store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry location for up to 1 year.
The combination of spices makes it a little sweet with a touch of heat. You’ll use brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, dry mustard and chili powder to create this spice mix.
This is one of our easy camping meals this is super-fast to prep. There’s no chopping, just prepare the meat, let it get to room temperature and start cooking!
Cooking Methods & Equipment
You’ll need aluminum foil to tent the meat before slicing and to create a make-shift cover if your grill doesn’t have a lid.
This is one of our camping grill recipes that can be made over a propane or charcoal grill. Propane is easiest because you’ll start with a high heat to sear the roast then lower the temperature for slow-cooking. Be prepared for approximately 1-1.5 hours of cooking time.
If you’re making this as one of our easy campfire recipes, you can either cook on a cast iron reversable grill/griddle or directly on a grill grate. Make sure you’re using a good hardwood, like oak or mesquite, something that imparts a nice flavor to the meat.
Step 1. Prepare the meat. Use paper towels to pat dry the roast, rub with olive oil and season with dry rub.
Step 2. Let stand before grilling. Set the roast on a counter, allow it to get to room temperature before grilling, about a half hour – 1 hour.
Step 3. Preheat the grill to high heat, 450-550 degrees F. If you don’t have a digital thermometer on your grill, use the “hand test”: hold the palm of your hand about 5 inches above the heat source, pull it away before it hurts, 2-3 seconds = high heat.
Hand Test For Cooking Temperatures
You don’t need a thermometer to determine the temperature of your heat source for cooking. Here are steps for the “hand test”.
- Hold the palm of your hand about 5 inches above the heat source (campfire coals, charcoal briquettes, propane grill etc.) you’re using for cooking. (Make sure nothing is flammable, like clothing or jewelry.)
- Pull your hand away from the heat before it hurts and note how many seconds have passed. Example: 6-7 seconds = medium heat.
Step 4. Sear meat. Place the roast directly on the cooking grate over high heat and sear on all sides with lid open (or closed if windy conditions and you’re having a hard time maintaining temperature), about 15 minutes total.
Step 5. Reduce grill heat and slow cook until roast is done. You’ll be cooking the roast at 325 F degrees (8-10 seconds with hand test) with the lid closed. Turn roast every 15 minutes for even cooking on all sides. The roast is done when the center of the meat reaches 145 F degrees on a meat thermometer, cooking time will be about 1-1.5 hours.
Step 6. Let stand, slice and serve. Transfer the roast to a baking sheet or large platter, cover with tinfoil and let rest about 15 minutes before cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.
What To Serve With This Recipe
When I’m serving a main dish that takes up my entire grill, I like to serve sides that can be cooked in my Dutch oven or on my camp stove. Simple steamed broccoli and instant mashed potatoes will keep the meal really easy.
If you want to get fancier, try these Dutch Oven Potatoes Au Gratin that are rich, creamy and deliciously cheesy.
This Broccoli Sunshine Salad is served cold and tastes so good with a simple homemade dressing, bacon, raisins and sunflower seeds.
Use my camping menu planner to stay organized when planning meals for your next trip. It’s FREE and you’ll get it delivered instantly to your inbox!
This 3 pound roast will feed 6 adults which means we usually have leftovers. I place individual slices in a food storage bag and keep them in a refrigerator or cooler. They make great cold sandwiches with a little mayo and mustard on bread. They’re also great reheated in a small saucepan with your favorite BBQ sauce and served hot on buns.
The Worcestershire sauce and beef broth provide tons of flavor to these bone-in pork chops in this Dutch Oven Pork Chops And Rice recipe that cooks together in one pan. It’s a great option if you’re looking for gluten free camping food ideas.
Italian flavors are used to create these Cast Iron Chicken Breasts With Balsamic Vinegar, Mushrooms & Tomatoes.
If you want an alternative to a roast pork recipe, try this Camp Oven Roast Beef. It uses beef chuck roast and potatoes that are cooked together to create a hearty meal with a Mexican flavor profile.
A simple marinade turns a tough cut of meat into something tender and juicy. Try this Grilled Flat Iron Camping Steak when you want a quick-cooking grilled meat. It’s also a great option for low-carb diets if you’re cooking keto camping food.
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Grilled Pork Loin Roast
- Weber Smokey Joe Portable Grill (if cooking with charcoal), Portable Tabletop Gas Grill (if cooking with propane), Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill-Griddle (if cooking over a campfire)
- 1 (3 pound) boneless pork loin roast (not pork tenderloin)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Spicy Dry Rub (see * Note) or your favorite dry rub for pork or chicken
- Prep meat by patting dry with paper towels. There is no need to remove the small fat cap.
- Rub all sides of the roast with olive oil and dry spice rub, patting the spices so they stick to the meat.
- Let the seasoned pork loin stand on counter to get to room temperature before grilling, about a half hour – 1 hour.
- Preheat a gas or charcoal grill (or campfire coals) to high heat, 450-550 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer on your grill, use the “hand test”: hold the palm of your hand about 5 inches above the heat source, pull it away before it hurts, 2-3 seconds = high heat.
- Place meat on grill grate directly over high heat and sear on all sides with lid open (or closed if windy conditions make it difficult to maintain grill temperature), about 15 minutes total.
- Reduce temperature to low heat (see ** Note), approximately 325 F degrees (8-10 seconds with hand test), grill pork loin with the lid closed. If your grill doesn’t have a lid, create a dome shaped loose-fitting cover using a piece of aluminum foil to enclose the sides and top of the roast. Turn roast every 15 minutes for even cooking on all sides.
- Cook the meat until thickest part of the pork loin reaches an internal temperature on an instant-read thermometer of 145 F degrees, about 1 or 1.5 hours.
- Remove from heat, tent with foil and rest on baking sheet or large plate for about 15 minutes before slicing.
- Cut 1/2 inch slices and serve hot.