This recipe is one of my all-time favorites. I would argue, the best pulled pork you will ever have! I would love any feedback or pics of people enjoying their awesome meal!
You want a bone-in pork shoulder (boston butt). A big one is about 10 pounds, but that takes a long time in the smoker. I would say a 5-6 lb. shoulder works best. I have smoked (4) 10 lb. roasts at once, but it took a loooooong time (20+ hours) in my little smoker.
Equal parts light brown sugar, chili powder, kosher salt. I usually throw a bit of pepper in there too. I will use at least one cup per shoulder, and then save the remaining rub in a sealed container.
1: Dry the butt with paper towel and rub with yellow mustard.
This does not affect the flavor but really helps with the “bark” and helps the rub stick.
2: Apply rub liberally.
3: Pre-heat smoker to 220 deg.
As far as the wood is concerned, I prefer oak or hickory for smoking pork butt.
I have digital probes I use to put in the meat. That way I can put them in right away and set the readout on top of the smoker. The less you have to open the smoker the better. I have used wireless ones as well, but they never seem to work right and I always end up going out to check on the smoker anyway. Plus you need an excuse to sit by the smoker and drink a beer. I included an amazon link below, I don’t have this exact one, but something similar: http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Grill-Probe-Thermometer-Cooking/dp/B00N0IEW4Y/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1412867932&sr=8-3&keywords=digital+probes
I put the probe in through the top vent. Initially I would just place it in front but the door didn’t seal as well like that and I was concerned I would ruin the seal over time. The vent seems to work good.
Speaking of vent, you want it set anywhere from half to fully open; NEVER close it past the halfway point. Too much moisture will build up in the smoker and you will get “black rain” inside your smoker. The moisture will collect until it starts dripping on your meat and ruin it. It sucks.
4: Smoke for a long time.
I usually have the smoke on for 6-8 hours, but after that shut it off. I don’t think I have ever done just (1) 5-6 lb. butt, so really not sure how long that will take. 10 hours? Another trick you can do is after 6 hours or so double wrap it in foil to finish. It will be quicker but you don’t get that nice “bark”, so I never try it.
You want to cook to an internal temperature of 190º. I always tried to undercook mine a bit thinking it would be easier to pull, but it turns out to be the opposite, it pulls the best at 190-200º.
Once it hits 190º, remove from smoker, put in a pan, and cover with foil for 30-45 minutes. After that pull away.
One of the best tricks I have learned is to use a kitchen aid mixer with a dough hook. Just cut the butt into chunks and throw in there. Make sure you run at the lowest speed. Pulls a 10 lb butt in 3 minutes. When you’re pulling (12) 10-lb. butts, it really helps!
Make sure you save the juice in the pan and mix that with the meat along with the BBQ sauce.
The BBQ Sauce:
- 1 cup Jack Daniel’s Tennesse Whiskey
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup minced onion (I sometime just use a bit of onion powder)
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Tabasco sauce (I usually go light on this)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
I usually at least double the recipe. I also usually cook it on the side burner of the grill instead of on the stove, my wife is not a fan of the entire house smelling like whiskey.
Combine everything in a nonreactive saucepan and bring to boil. Once it starts to boil reduce the heat and bring to a “brisk simmer”. Keep it uncovered and stir lots. It usually takes at least 20 minutes to start thickening up, and I usually go a bit longer.
Mix as much as you like in with the pulled meat. Enough to give great flavor but not so much you can’t taste the meat. It tastes best when you leave in the fridge overnight too. The smoke “sets” in the meat and really brings out the flavor.
Get hoagie buns from the bakery. Cut open and butter them. Either put in oven face up or on hot plate, but you MUST toast the buns. Then apply Helman’s mayo. Put liberal portion of pork on the bun. I also add some homemade crunchy coleslaw on mine. Repeat until miserable.
There you go! This recipe has served my family and friends well over the years, and I’m sure yours will like it as well! If you take a shot at it, please send me pictures and let me know how it turns out!