Smoked Pork Crown with Gooseberry Glaze

Pork crown is a classic example of taking something as simple as a pork rack and turning it into something magical. A beautiful centrepiece that is sure to bring a smile on everyone’s face around the table. If you want to impress or simply try a new spin on pork, this is the dish to do it!


Date Posted:

September 11, 2023

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Now here is a dish that’s fit for royalty! Pork crown is a classic example of taking something as simple as a pork rack and turning it into something magical. A beautiful centrepiece that is sure to bring a smile on everyone’s face around the table. If you want to impress or simply try a new spin on pork, this is the dish to do it!

Pork crown can be labelled as a pork roast but it’s much grander in scale and is delicious when smoked. This bad boy can look intimidating at first glance, but it’s not that hard to make. All you really need to do is take two racks of pork and shape them into a circle (or crown as we like to call it) and tie it with some butcher’s twine. If you still feel a bit worried that you won’t get it right or you simply want to save yourself the effort, just ask your local friendly butcher to do it for you. Problem solved!

What’s also quite fun (and tasty to do!) is that you can stuff other food inside the centre of the pork crown for added flair as well as a scrumptious side dish. Awesome if you do it with potatoes, rice, chorizo sausages, apples, mushrooms and so much more – try it or if you prefer just go solo with the pork, either way it will come out delicious!

Pork also pairs very well with a sweet glaze and for this recipe we made a fresh gooseberry glaze to complement the wonderful natural flavour of the pork that has been smoked low & slow with some Firesmiths cherry wood chunks.

It’s a meal fit for a king and will leave your guests satisfied and smiling! Enjoy!

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 4 hours
Resting Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 4 hours 40mins
Ideal Internal Hero Smoker & Grill Temperature: 110°C
Ideal Cooked Serving Temperature: 60 – 62 °C

Recommend Cooking Method: Indirect using the heat diffuser with the pork crown placed horizontally on the cooking grate

Smoked Pork Crown with Gooseberry Glaze

Servings: 6-8 people

Optional: Place 2 / 3 Firesmiths Apple or Cherry wood chunks within your charcoals / briquettes to impart further flavour


 Pork Crown:

  • 2 x Pork racks, tied into a crown shape. Roughly 2kg in weight.
  • 2 x Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x Tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 x Tbsp cracked blacked pepper
  • 1 x Tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 x Fresh lemon
  • 1 x Red onion
  • 1 x Packet of garlic baby potatoes

Gooseberry Glaze:

  • 1 x Tbsp fresh sage leaves
  • 1 x Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 x Tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 x Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 x Tbsp red wine
  • 1 x Tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 x Fresh lemon
  • 2 x Tbsp gooseberry jam
  • 1 x Tbsp honey

Apple Cider Vinegar Spritz:

  • 1 x Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 x Cup of water
  • 1 x Spray bottle


  1. Light your Hero Smoker & Grill according to instructions placing the heat diffuser in place as you will be doing an indirect cook.
  2. Preheat the Hero smoker to a medium temperature of around 110°C – 120°C.
  3. While waiting for the Hero Smoker & Grill to reach the desired temperature start preparing the pork crown.
  4. If you want, you can trim and remove the fat cap (if not done by your butcher already – be sure to ask) you can. We prefer in this recipe for the fat cap to stay on, with the upper part of the fat cap slightly trimmed, as it renders beautifully and continues to baste the pork as well as slowly dripping on the charcoal below – creating a further smoky vapour that is simply delicious. Your choice but highly recommend that you keep the good stuff on!
  5. Next take each rack of pork and using a boning knife or fillet knife, make small slits / cuts in between each bone – roughly 4cm-5cm. This will enable you to “flex” the ribs and form a crown.
  6. Place the two pork racks on your Firesmiths Hardwood Chopping Block (line with foil for easier clean up). Make sure the bone side of the racks are facing out. Start by tying the two roasts on one end so the meat and bones line-up.
  7. Using butcher’s or kitchen twine wrap it around the end bone of each rib and tie it tightly together.
  8. Bend the end of each roast and connect the remaining two end bones together to form a circular crown with the bones pointing upwards and then secure the remaining two bone ends with more butcher’s twine.
  9. Feel free to shift around a few bones to make the shape as uniform as possible and then tie-off with the two / three additional pieces of butcher’s twine around the entire “circle” of the roast.
  10. Note, you can ask your butcher to do all this pre-prep for you if you want to save time and effort but it’s not that hard to do yourself.
  11. Now for the seasoning, with the pork crown placed upright, use the olive oil, soya sauce, cracked black pepper, coarse sea salt to season it and give it a final squeeze of fresh lemon.
  12. Turn the pork crown over and seasoning in the same way as prior listed step. If you need to use a bit more spices and oil to cover it thoroughly go for it as pork can take it.
  13. Turn the pork crown back upright and stuff the cavity in the middle with some red onions (roughly sliced) and packet of store brought garlic potatoes.
  14. Place the pork crown on the Hero Smoker & Grill and cook for 4 hours.
  15. Every hour check on the pork crown internal temperature using the Firesmiths instant read thermometer and spray all sides with the apple cider vinegar spritz using a spray bottle.
  16. As the pork crown cooks, start preparing the gooseberry glaze by simply mixing all the listed ingredients in a small bowl. Be sure to mix well, cover and then place in the fridge.
  17. Once the pork has reached roughly 58°C remove the pork crown and allow it to rest for 10min.
  18. At this junction, you can either serve the crown as is (placed in the centre of the table to get all the wow’s from your guests) and serve with the gooseberry glaze before carving into individual pork chops – OR you can show all your guest the pork crown, get the wow’s and then cut the pork crown into chops to give it a final sear to render the fat a bit more (recommend and the method we used in this recipe).
  19. Sear the pork chops over high heat for 3-5min per side and then brush with the gooseberry glaze.
  20. Serve and enjoy a feast fit for a king!

Firesmiths notes:

  • When you purchase the meat, you will want to buy two bone-in racks of pork (typically 7-8 bones per rack). Aim for the same size and weight to make a neat and even crown.
  • We used potatoes and red onions as stuffing, but you can try many other combo’s i.e. chorizo sausages, rice, apples, carrots, mushrooms etc. Experimenting is part of the fun after all. Give it a try.
  • The same goes with sauces / glazes, pork goes well with sweet flavours so give it a try.
  • Use an apple cider and water mix to spritz the pork crown every hour. This is important to keep it moist and tender. You can also use apple juice or even just water.
  • Remember that it is ok to cook to temperature and not to time. Use our thermometers to help you take all the guesswork out should it take longer to cook than the time stated in the recipe. If it’s not yet done in 4 hours leave it in for longer until up to the right temperature.
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