Low and Slow Pulled Pork
Food and Drink

Courtesy of National Pork Board

Low and Slow Pulled Pork

Cook Time: 6 to 7 hours Serves: 12–14

 

1 Boston Butt roast, about 5 pounds

Hardwood chips, soaked in water overnight

Apple juice, for spritzing 

 

Rub:

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup garlic, granulated

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup paprika

2 tablespoons onion, granulated

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground red pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

 

Sauce:

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup chili sauce

2 tablespoons onion, chopped

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Dash ground red pepper

Smoke is one of the main ingredients of good barbecue. Soak hickory wood chips (or any other hardwood chips used for barbecuing) in water overnight. This prevents them from burning. The chips smolder, producing smoke that flavors the meat during the cooking process. The smoke also lends a pink color to the outer inch or so of the flesh, creating what is called a “smoke ring.” 

Mix all rub ingredients together. Store in an airtight container. Set aside.

If needed, trim the fat back to about 1/8 inch thick on shoulder. Sprinkle meat generously with rub, massaging it into the meat. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and chill overnight in the refrigerator. 

Take the meat out of the refrigerator, and let it sit for about 45 to 60 minutes. Having the pork at room temperature is very important, because if you put it on the smoker cold, the outer portion will burn. Prepare your smoker or grill until the temperature reaches 250°F, no hotter.

Place meat on the smoker fat side down. After two hours, turn the meat over so it is fat side up. Total cook time will be about 1 1/4 hours per pound. Maintain the temperature in the smoker between 225°F and 250°F. Use a pit thermometer for an accurate reading. If the smoker temperature is hotter than 250°F, the meat will cook too quickly; any lower than 225°F, and the meat will not get done. 

A handful of wood chips should be added to the fire every 30 minutes or so. The more you add, the stronger flavor of smoke you get. Every time wood chips or charcoal is added, spritz the meat with apple juice from a spray bottle. This will add moisture and a fruity background flavor during cooking.

Remove the meat from the smoker with two hours remaining, and place on heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spritz generously with apple juice, and tightly seal foil around pork. Place meat back on the smoke and cook for two hours more. Using an instant-read meat  thermometer, check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat, being careful not to touch bone with the tip of the thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 160°F, the pork is ready.

For the sauce, mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Remove the meat from the smoker, and let it cool for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove foil after it has cooled enough to handle. Remove the bones, which will easily pull away. Begin pulling, or shredding, the meat with two large forks, and place in a large baking dish or pan. Remove and discard any remaining fat. Add sauce to pulled pork and toss. This is a popular way to serve pulled pork in most regions. If you prefer, serve with additional sauce.