Smithwick Ale Brined Pork Loin and Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Want to eat the most flavorful, tender, moist and perfectly seasoned beef, chicken or pork dish? Try brining it for a few hours.  Brining meat makes it taste better because the meat becomes perfectly seasoned inside and out through osmosis.  The meats proteins are denatured, broken down and restructured while the salt and flavors in the brining solution get deep into the meat fibers.  I brined a boneless pork loin shoulder in beer, specifically Smithwick Ale, a darker Irish-style ale, with kosher salt and a zesty blend of Mexican/Barbecue seasonings.  It was the best pork shoulder/loin I ever grilled.  To compliment the pork, I made a home-made barbecue sauce using the same beer that I used for brining the pork and adding a mixture of other unconventional ingredients, such as Coke and Soy Sauce to the sauce.  This may become my signature summer barbecue sauce and grilled pork dish.

Beer Brined Pork Loin/Shoulder Ingredients:

  • 3 to 5 Pounds Boneless Pork Loin Shoulder - trimmed of excess fat and silver skin and butter-flied open
  • 1 - 12 ounce Bottle of a Darker-style Ale such as Smithwick Ale, Dock Street or your darker ale of choice
  • 1/4 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Cup NO-Salt Mexican or Barbecue Seasoning - a combination of cumin, paprika (smoked or hot), garlic and onion powders, oregano, thyme, ground black pepper.  


  1. Use a large container with a tight fitting lid for brining the pork.  Trim and clean the pork and fillet it open so that it's flat and about the same uniform thickness.  Filleting the pork loin open will make the brining process work better by getting into the meat better; it will also cook quicker on the grill.
  2. Put the pork loin into the container so that it lays in it flat and evenly.  Pour the beer, kosher salt and Mexican or Barbecue seasoning over the pork; put the lid on the container and gently shake the container to evenly distribute the beer, salt and seasoning over the pork.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to over-night. 
  3. Before you are ready to cook the pork, take the container from the refrigerator and remove the pork, draining the excess brining solution and discarding it.  Do not reuse it or use it to make a sauce.  It's had raw meat in it and it's excessively salty - a bad combination!
  4. Preheat your grill to medium high for 10 or 15 minutes.  Grill the pork for 15 minutes on the first side and for 5 to 8 minutes on the second side.  During the last 5 minutes of cooking, brush barbecue sauce over the pork loin.  Pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit , or there's not trace of pink remaining and the pork meat is totally white.
  5. Remove the pork loin from the grill and place on a plate; lightly cover the pork with tin foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.  Serve hot, warm or cold with barbecue sauce.

Home-Made Barbecue Sauce with Ale and Cola Ingredients:

  • 1 - 8 ounce can of NO-Salt Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Smithwick Irish-Style Ale or Darker Ale of Choice
  • 1/2 Cup Coke or Cola of choice
  • 1/4 Cup Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Molasses or Sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce (such as Kecap)
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 or 3 Garlic Cloves - finely minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Thyme


  1. Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour the mixture into a 3 or 4 quart sauce pot and bring the mixture to a boil then immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the barbecue sauce is reduced by a quarter and the sauce thickens and tightens. 
  2. Barbecue sauce will hold for up to 1 month in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.  Makes 2 cups.


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