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Fire up the smoker for Easter dinner this year

For much of the country, Easter Sunday typically falls during a time of year when the weather outside is still pretty chilly. But this year Easter falls on the third Sunday in April, increasing the chances that temperatures will be more spring-like and less reminiscent of winter.

Warmer temperatures on Easter Sunday means hosts tasked with cooking Easter dinner might be able to expand their culinary horizons and avoid the stove. Though they might not have considered it before, hosts might want to fire up their smokers to give their families something delicious and different to dine on this Easter Sunday. If the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse, electric smokers can typically be used indoors, but check the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm that.

Big meals are part and parcel for Easter Sunday, this recipe for “Pork Loin Roast with Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze” from Karen Putman and Judith Fertig’s “Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Food” (Robert Rose) is a great way to take advantage of warmer Easter weather while still ensuring everyone has a full belly by the end of the meal.

Pork Loin Roast with Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze
Serves 4 to 6

1 boneless pork loin roast (about 2 lbs.)
4 cups apple juice
1⁄2 cup Brown Sugar Rib Rub (see below)
1 cup hot pepper jelly
Additional apple juice for spraying

  1. Rinse pork under cold running water and pat dry. Place in a large sealable plastic bag and pour in apple juice. Seal bag and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.
  2. Remove pork from marinade and pat dry. Discard marinade. Sprinkle dry rub over the surface of the meat, coating evenly. Set aside.
  3. Prepare a fire in your smoker.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt hot pepper jelly over medium-low heat. Keep warm by the smoker.
  5. Place pork directly on the smoker rack, add wood to the coals and close the lid. Smoke at 225 F to 250 F, spraying with apple juice every 30 minutes, for 2 hours. Brush with hot pepper jelly, close the lid and smoke, spraying with apple juice every 30 minutes, for 1 to 11⁄2 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pork registers 160 F for medium, or until desired doneness. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Brown Sugar Rib Rub
Makes about 31⁄2 cups

2 cups packed dark brown sugar or granulated maple sugar
1⁄2 cup fine kosher or sea salt
1⁄4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika
1⁄4 cup chili powder
1⁄4 cup ground lemon pepper
1⁄4 cup granulated garlic
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme

In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, paprika, chili powder, lemon pepper, garlic, black pepper, basil, and thyme.