Today I’m going to show you how to make pulled pork. There is nothing better than smoked meats in my book, and pulled pork is probably up at the top along with ribs and brisket. You know you’ve got something good when just below the pork’s surface you’ve got a reddish ring. This is the smoke ring, which is something you will get when you make your pulled pork.
Pulled pork is usually made with a Boston Butt, or as it is sometimes called pork butt or bone-in pork shoulder. It’s a cut of pork that comes from the pork shoulder and has a blade shaped bone. Usually you will find them weighing around 5 to 8 pounds. Some adventurous pit masters will even make pulled pork from barbecuing a whole hog.
You can make pulled pork on any type of grill you want even a gas grill. However if you are using a gas grill you will need one of these. Here is some more information on how to smoke with a gas grill. If you are going to be using a smoker, you will want to keep the temperature low, like at 225F. It will take a bit longer on a smoker, around 6 to 8 hours. Using a charcoal grill it will be around 4 to 6 hours.
There are a bunch of different ways you can make pulled pork, the sauces change up depending upon which area of the country you are from. Some areas like North Carolina use a vinegar sauce, whereas other areas use more of a mustard sauce, and some use a ketchup or barbecue sauce. I usually just use a vinegar mop sauce, and let everyone decide what they want for sauce, if any.
I prefer to prepare the pork butt in advance, so it gets a chance to soak up the rub. So, once you have your Boston butt, sprinkle it with your favorite rub. There are a ton of premade rubs you can buy, or you can make your own pulled pork rub. You can put it on the grill right away, but I prefer to let mine sit with the rub on it for up to 24 hours.
Set up your grill for indirect grilling with medium-low heat. We are going to grill this low and slow. If you are using a charcoal grill, place a drip pan in the center and pour the coals evenly around it. You are going to need smoke, so you are going to need some wood chunks or chips. I prefer hickory for making pulled pork. Soak the wood chips or chunks for around an hour before adding to the coals. You will need to add more every hour.
Place the Boston butt on the grill, fat side up over the drip pan away from the heat. Grill it for around 4 to 6 hours, adding fresh coals and wood chips as needed. I like to baste it throughout grilling with a vinegar mop sauce. The mop sauce I use contains a cup of cider vinegar, a thinly sliced onion, a thinly sliced jalapeno, and a tablespoon of kosher salt. I mop it every hour using one of these.
The Boston butt will be done once it registers 195F on and instant read thermometer. When it is done transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest for about 15 minutes covered loosely with aluminum foil. Once it is done resting it is time to pull the pork. I start by pulling of the skin and fat. You can chop up the skin and add it to the pork, but you will want to throw out the fat.
Now just start pulling chunks off and tear them into shreds. This is really time consuming, so sometimes it is just easier to use a meat cleaver and chop it up. However, now I use these to shred my pulled pork. They definitely make pulling pork easier, and they are also great for move the Boston butt to and from the grill.
Once it’s all shredded it’s time to eat. Pile some pork on a good bun, pour on your favorite sauce, and top it off like I do with some creamy cole slaw. This is how to make pulled pork that turns out great. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
image courtesy of Nationalmuseet/flickr