Smoky pulled pork heaven!
Pulled pork at home!
It's pretty miraculous how the simplicity of long smoky heat can transform an ornery piece of meat like a pork shoulder, into the succulent and tender masterpiece that is BBQ pulled pork.
There is really nothing difficult about making fantastic BBQ pulled pork, all it takes is patience, and a good steady low smoky heat.
The best cuts of meat to use for pulled pork BBQ are from the shoulder or jowl region of the pig. These well muscled cuts have some of the best possible rich pork flavor, and enough fat throughout to slowly self baste the meat to tenderness. The upper pork shoulder is better than the lower part, and this is often sold under the name of a pork but roast.
If you know a good butcher, and are looking for smaller pulled pork BBQ, try getting the jowl. This is, in my opinion, the very best part of the pig. The meat is rich with fat, and incredibly tasty. You can get about 3 or 4 pounds with a full pork jowl.
Some people will call for a spice rub to be slathered over the meat (this will make the "bark") and if you want to do this, it is best rubbed on the meat the day before you're going to start cooking your meat, but I think that the meat is best prepared simply, with just a bit of salt and freshly cracked black pepper all over the meat. This can be applied just before placing the meat in the cue!
You want indirect heat for this, so if you have a big BBQ, you can easily do this on a conventional gas grill. Just keep the meat as far from the heat source as possible, or it will burn during the long cooking time.
You want to cook this at 250 degrees Fahrenheit; you can go as high as 300, but no higher. You don't want to go lower than 250, as you will start to dry out the meat before it is cooked.
You can use whatever smoke you like, but it must be a hardwood. Softwoods will give off a gummy resinous smoke that will make the meat acrid and bitter, and very untasty! Any fruit tree wood will be great. Some common woods used are oak, hickory, mesquite or applewood. You can usually buy bags of wood chips for BBQ at hardware stores. Be sure to soak these chips in water for at least 30 minutes prior to using. Wet wood will give off A LOT MORE smoke than dry wood. Place the wet wood chips in tin foil, and seal it up, poking a few holes to let the smoke out. Place the tinfoil package close to the flames of the gas.
When you've got a good stream of smoke going, it is time to put on your pork. Place the meat as far away from the heat source as possible, and close the lid. That's pretty much all there is to it. You will want to keep changing the wood chips periodically, as you notice the smoke diminishing, and if you see that the edge of the meat closest to the flames is getting too dark, keep rotating the meat periodically.
The meat will take between 4 and 6 hours to cook, depending on the size of the roast. The meat is done when it reaches an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees. If you don't have an instant read thermometer (you should really get one) the meat is done when it pulls apart easily with a fork.
Let the meat cool a bit, and then pull the meet into shreds with two forks. Mix with a favorite BBQ sauce, and serve on soft white rolls, with a coleslaw topping.
This smoky succulent pork is outstanding, and a true testament to the magic of BBQ. What began as a simple roast of pork gets transformed through low and slow, smoky cooking, into cue that's about as good as it gets.
There is nothing difficult about making good BBQ shoulder; all you need is a lazy summer afternoon spent enjoying the smoky aromas of good ole BBQ; stoking your appetite as it cooks the meat.
Enjoy the BBQ season.
The WHOLE process..watch this before making your first BBQ pulled pork
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Smoking pulled pork in a bullet smoker
BBQ rooster on September 22, 2011:
I usually go 1.5 hours per lb at 225, so a large butt can sometimes take 12 hours. I also bring up to 190, the wrap in fool for at least an hour before serving. Best served fresh!
sickys3 from Missouri on March 01, 2011:
I smoke my pork butt no higher than 225. We have a homemade UDS (ugly drum smoker) that allows us to cook at the low temp because it keeps the moisture in the cooking vessel, without having to add a water pan. Plus we want the low temps to allow for the fat deep inside the meat to melt. The more internal fat that melts the juicier the end product.
I whole-heartedly agree with the wood choice. Although I had to switch from hickory and mesquite to apple, cherry and/or pecan because after the 18 hour cooks (8 - 10 pound pork butts) we were left with a slightly bitter piece of meat with hickory or mesquite. And it gave me bad heartburn.
Keep bbq-ing and we'll keep eatin'.
John D Lee (author) on July 30, 2010:
You are very welcome!
KKalmes from Chicago, Illinois on June 24, 2010:
Hello John, just slowed cooked ribs this past weekend great feast... thanx for pulled pork idea... linked to my latest hub.
gjjinx2000 on November 28, 2009:
how do you maintane 250 dreegre in barrel smoker with fire box
John D Lee (author) on May 08, 2009:
Jetstone, Thanks a lot, and I really enjoyed your article on pulled pork as well
jestone from America! on September 01, 2008:
Great article. I have been real into BBQ and just started writing about my attempts, along with some photos of the process. The first video is one of the best overviews on how to BBQ pulled pork. also BBQ Boys on youtube.
Thanks for you efforts, hope it was tasty.
Frank from Montana on April 03, 2008:
I love pulled pork on a big hamburger bun....smothered in more pork
Cowden Law on March 23, 2008:
Sounds yum! I'll have to try it next time I have some time to cue. Thx!