Ok I just realized that I haven’t made a post on pulled pork and that is kinda what I’m known for (if you know who I am and have had the chance to taste my food.) So yeah… time to pull some pork friends! Now, why would you want to look here for how to do this when so many other places tell you how to make pulled pork… because the secret to pulled pork is more than just cooking a pork butt (shoulder) to the point that you can pull it apart. It’s the flavor trick that I show you at the end that will set you apart from all the others out there. I am going to show you 2 ways to do this. One on an offset smoker like you see in the picture on the top of the blog, the other in a crockpot because sometimes you just can’t smoke a pork for six to eight hours…
Ok first things first. Make a rub. you are going to need a lot of it, please see BBQ Flavor 101: Making a BBQ Rub for details on that and turn all the teaspoons in to table spoons and double that and then maybe even double that again… trust me… Save a good amount of rub for latter as well. *wink wink*
Now I use a normal pork butt (bone in), you can use a pork picnic as well but a shoulder will do fine. Clean it up a bit, try to leave the top fat cap on but trim it down to about 1/4 of an inch thick. Once you pull it out of the package (unless you had a butcher cut it) rinse it off and dry it with paper towels. Once it’s dry add the rub. Don’t hold back on this! cover every inch of the sucker and rub it, no really push that rub on there. Don’t be scared, it’s already dead and won’t complain about the physical abuse.
Method 1: The Crockpot
Alright, I am starting with this because it’s the easiest… Put the freshly rubbed pork shoulder in the crockpot with nothing in it. Set it on high for 6-8 hours and then jump to the finishing section after the offset smoker instructions.
Method 2: The offset Smoker
Well hot damn, time to go about this the old fashioned way. Low and slow is the way to go with this one. I personally have a Charbroil Silver Smoker but any offset smoker will do. Make sure that you have a temperature gauge in it. I recommend the minion method for this one, I will feature a whole post on that later but basically create a layer of charcoal (unlit) in the offset portion of the smoker it should be about 30 briquettes. Place some wood chunks like Apple Wood or any other hard wood spaced out over the coals. Take about 10-15 more briquettes and light them up with the charcoal chimney. Once they are white put them in one corners of the offset section and make sure they are touching some of the unlit briquettes. This will allow a slow burn that should last a few hours.
Place the pork on the other side of the smoker and make sure you have a drip pan under it. You may also want to add a bowl of water to help keep the air moist. Let that go for about three hours every hour I would recommend using a spray bottle with some apple juice or apple cider vinegar, this will also help keep it from drying out. I don’t wont you opening the smoker doors more than that. As Aaron Franklin says “If you’er lookin’ you ain’t cookin’.” Once you are at the three hour point, you will have to refresh your charcoal pile. At this time you also are going to want to wrap your butt in foil. The pork really won’t take on any more smoke flavor at this point anyway. Once it’s wrapped keep it going for a few more hours. Pork is safe at 145 but you want it up around 185-190 internal so that all the fat and connective fibers break down and it pulls like butter 🙂
Finishing it off: Secret Tip!
Alright, now we are at the finish line! If you want pork that tastes like every other bbq chain restaurant then you are done at this time and it will be good but if you want the most amazing flavor you have ever had then take that left over rub and add it back to the pork as you are pulling and shredding it up. The pork looses flavor during the cooking and adding the rub after will take it from bland to Whammy-Bam!
Now slap a chunk of that in a bun and take some of your freshly made BBQ Sauce and slather that bad boy up. Take a bite and prepare for the food coma. Make sure you have plenty of people around to eat that pork up because you will feel like a fat ass if you end up trying to eat 8 pounds of pork in one sitting… trust me, you are going to try it 😉