It’s cold and raining in Los Angeles today and I am craving a tender, sauce dripping pulled pork sandwich to warm my soul. Pulled pork may be more synonymous with summer barbecues, but it is perfect for winter grilling. The low indirect cooking that is used to achieve that mouth-watering, falling apart tenderness means longer cooking times and less time out in the cold manning the grill. The most complicated thing about this is double-checking the temperature gauge on the grill! One of the best things about BBQ is that smoky goodness, so I thought I would give Bull’s V-Shaped Smoker Box a test drive. The v-shape of the stainless steel box allows for it to sit directly on the heat shields enabling it to get hot and stay hot more quickly. This is good for a couple reasons – the smoke comes more quickly (duh), but more importantly it’s already hot and smoldering when it’s time to replenish the wood chips. So, if you keep an eye on it every 45 minutes or so and throw more chips in the box, you’ll have consistent smoke ensuring that deliciousness I mentioned earlier. Okay, if you use the smoke box, that will be the most complicated this about this recipe. But come-on, we’re talking three minutes every once in a while. :-)
This can be as simple as pork butt, S&P, smoke, and sauce. I made a nice sweet and spicy rub, but feel free to use your own. And to keep it even easier, I just added a little of the rub and some drippings from the pork to bump up a supermarket BBQ sauce.
Backyard BBQ Pulled Pork
Makes 6 to 8 servings
For the rub:
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons hot paprika
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
For the BBQ pork:
1 pork butt or pork shoulder roast; about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds with about 1/2-inch fat cap
16 ounces store-bought BBQ sauce
Soft white burger buns
5 to 6 cups hickory, apple, or maple wood chips (not mesquite) soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained
V-shaped smoke box or other smoke box (if you don’t have a smoke box then wrap the soaked wood chips in aluminum foil with a few holes poked through)
Instant read thermometer – the kind with a cable from the probe to the digital unit are best because you can set an alarm for a pre-prammed temperature
Stir together the rub ingredients until completely combined. Measure out 2 teaspoons of the rub mixture and set aside. Pat remaining rub mixture over the entire pork butt using all of the rub. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let “cure” in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours. About an hour before cooking, remove from fridge and let come to room temperature .
Set up grill and smoke box and make sure you have enough gas in the tank. Place drip pan under the grates where the pork will sit and place grates back on the grill. Remove (and set aside) the grate from over the opposite outside burner. Place smoke box in between the heat shields. Add a handful of soaked wood chips to the box and turn the burner on high. When the chips begin to smoke, turn down the heat, close the grill cover and stabilize the temperature around 300°F. Once the heat is holding, place the pork, fat side up, over the drip pan and close the cover. Every 45 minutes or so, check on the temperature and add another handful of wood chips to the smoke box. Total cooking time will be 4 to 6 hours depending on the size of the roast and how often the grill cover is opened. The pork will be ready and falling off the bone tender when the internal temperature reaches 195°F.
Remove the roast from the grill and wrap in aluminum for for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine BBQ sauce, reserved rub mixture, and a couple tablespoons of pan drippings to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Unwrap the pork and remove the the fat cap and any pieces of skin. Using your hands or a couple of forks, pull meat apart into strands 1/4- to 1/8-inch wide and a couple inches long. Transfer pork and any juices to the saucepan and stir to combine. Once heated through, you are good to go. Enjoy!!
Cheers and Happy Grilling!