If you've never done a pulled pork, Raichlen's recipes and methods are foolproof. This pulled pork makes enough for a crowd.
Course Main Course
Prep Time 45minutes
Cook Time 6hours
Total Time 1day
Author Steve Raichlen
1 5-7poundpork shoulder roasthe calls for bone-in, but we had boneless
3-4 tablespoons basic barbecue rub
1/4cupfirmly packed brown sugar
3tablespoonsfreshly ground black pepper
1tablespoonhickory-smoked salt or additional coarse salt
For the Mop sauce
1small onionthinly sliced
1-2jalapeño peppersthinly sliced
1/2bottle beerthis is Scott's addition. The other half is for you.
Special equipment - 4-6 cups hickory wood chipssmoker boxes, gas grill or charcoal grill.
Make barbecue rub: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk together - or combine with your fingers to break down any lumps in the brown sugar. Rub will keep for up to six months in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Sprinkle the pork shoulder liberally on all sides with rub, patting and rubbing it in with your fingers. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor penetration.
Soak wood chips for at least an hour.
Light charcoal in a chimney starter. Rake coals to two piles at opposite sides of the grill using a long handled tool, like a garden hoe. Place a drip pan in the center. Indirect grilling is usually done at a medium heat. To adjust the temperature, partially open the vents on the bottom. (Closed vents will extinguish the fire, open will fan the flame.)
Adjust vents on top of the grill to half open. The same rule for closed and open vents applies. When adjusted properly, the grill will be between 325 and 350 degrees. Toss the drained wood chips onto the coals (about half a cup on each side of the grill). The smoke should start almost immediately. Replenish wood chips about every hour or so to continue the smoke.
For gas grills
Indirect grilling is easy on a gas grill but requires at least two burners. Preheat only one burner. If your grill comes with a slide out smoker box, fill it with soaked wood chips. You can run a high heat under the chips to generate smoke, while moderating your heat elsewhere on the grill for the required low and slow cooking.
If you don't have a smoker box, you can make one. Using heavy duty aluminum foil, place a pile of drained, soaked wood chips in the center of the foil. Create a wood chip pouch by folding together the two short ends and crease them to create a seal. Fold the remaining ends over on themselves to create a seal. With a sharp knife, poke several holes in the pouch. Set the pouch over the hot burner, it will begin to generate smoke. You may want to make a few additional pouches to swap them out for a fresh pouch every hour or so.
When the pouch begins to smoke, place the food over the unlit burner to start the cooking process.
For the mop sauce
Combine all the ingredients in a non-reactive glass or plastic bowl and stir until the salt and brown sugar dissolve.
Place pork fat side up in the center of the hot grate away from the heat source -- remember it's the indirect heat that cooks the meat, otherwise you'd be grilling. Cover the grill and cook the pork until very tender (4-6 hours or about 195 degrees on an instant read thermometer. If using charcoal add 12 fresh coals and half cup of wood chips every hour. For a gas grill replenish with a new smoker pouch when the smoke begins to diminish. After the first hour base the pork with the mop sauce, repeat hourly.
Transfer the cooked pork to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil to let it rest for about 15 minutes. You'll notice the pork is a deep mahogany -- that's the bark. I dare you not to pull a piece off and inhale it. Raichlen's recipe says to pull off the skin and fat. I say, heresy - but do what you want. Wearing rubber gloves, remove the skin and fat, chop up what you want to add back to the pork. Pull the pork into shreds and pieces with your hands, or if you have meat-claws, you can use them too. You could also use a cleaver to chop the pork. Add pieces of skin and fat back into the meat to suit your tastes.
To serve, pile pork on soft bun (we like Martin's potato rolls) and top with a spoonful of coleslaw. Enjoy!