posted April 01, 2015
Simple Pulled Pork
So often, people are intimidated by the idea of low and slow cooking on their grills. I was totally the same way until just the last year or two when I forced myself out of my comfort zone (and into the flavor zone). Sorry… I couldn’t help myself with that one.
Where were we? Oh yeah! Low and slow cooking. So think about low and slow BBQ like using a crock pot. Set it and forget it kind of a thing. But this way actually yields a tasty meal that your family will enjoy and you don’t have to smell whatever is bubbling in your crock pot wafting through your house all day. Does that make anybody else gag? Ugh. Not big crock pot fans in this house. Gone are the days of beef stew smelling bedrooms from noon to 5. Now all we smell is glorious wood smoke and the gentle breezes of fresh air.
The steps to my Simple Pulled Pork recipe are just that. Simple. You can pull this meal off no matter what kind of grill set up you’re rocking in the back yard. The key is the flavorful rub and the 3 hours of smoky goodness that the pork gets in the first step. After that, you set the heat and the pork slowly cooks until it is melt in your mouth tender and so flavorful you’ll over eat. The over eating part is almost inevitable. Just plan ahead and wear your stretchy pants.
So what are you cooking on? If you’ve got a pellet grill, like me, or an electric smoker then the process is super simple. Just set your grill to 225 degrees and roll with it throughout the recipe. If you’ve got an offset smoker and don’t want to babysit a fire all day, then get the pork on at 225 until your fire starts to die and then transfer to an oven. The magic flavor stuff happens within the first 3 hours of smoke exposure, after that it’s all about time and temperature to get that perfect fall apart tender pork.
The next most important thing to time and temperature is type of pork. The best pork for slow cooking and pulling is a pork butt or Boston butt roast. This cut is not even from the rear of the pig, but rather the shoulder. The reason for calling it a butt is unbeknownst to me, but I’m sure Uncle Google would have the answer if I ever really felt like I needed to know. All I worry about when it comes to a pork butt is whether or not it is bone-in or boneless (I prefer cooking bone-in, I always seem to get a better flavor and texture when I do) and how much fat there is on top (you want about 1/4 -1/2 inch thick fat cap across most of the top of the roast). Get a good butt, a good rub, a good smoke, and you’ll be the talk of the town!
In case you were wondering, I did, in fact, tone down a ton of the jokes running through my head regarding the sexual connotations in my repeated use of the words butt, rub, wood, and bone. And now I just blew it. Sorry Mom. Here’s the recipe:
Simple Pulled Pork
- 1 5-7 lb bone-in pork shoulder roast ((Boston butt))
- 2 cups apple juice
- 1 bottle BBQ sauce ((We like Weber's Buzz'n Honey))
- 10-12 hamburger buns or rolls
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sweet paprika
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground pepper (freshly ground)
- 2 tablespoons ground mustard
- 2 tablespoons celery seed
- Combine all ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Rub all over the pork butt. Reserve excess rub for future use.
- Start your smoker and set the temperature to maintain 225 degrees.
- Place the seasoned pork butt on the grill and close the lid. Allow the roast to smoke for 3 hours.
- Remove the pork from your grill and place in a disposable foil pan. Fill the bottom of the pan with the apple juice and return to the grill.
- Continue to cook for 8-9 more hours or until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 200-205 degrees F. If at any point during the cooking process the roast starts getting too dark, cover the entire pan with aluminum foil.
- When the pork has reached the desired internal temperature, remove from the grill and let rest for at least 20 minutes. You can also keep the roast in a warmed oven (preheat to 225 then turn off) until ready to serve.
- Transfer the roast to a large mixing bowl and pour the juices into a 4 cup measuring pitcher. Pull the roast into long shreds, discarding any fat or gristle.
- Separate the fat from the top of the pan juices and discard. Use the remaining juice to moisten the pulled pork just before serving. Toss gently to combine.
- Serve the pulled pork on the hamburger buns with the barbecue sauce of your choice.
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