Another American holiday grilling weekend is around the corner and I wanted to share with you my rendition of the smoked pulled pork I grew up with. I will start with a disclaimer and say that I am by no means a barbecue expert. I don't have serious smoking equipment and tools, but I do have a great love for this smoked meat. I will tell you what I use and the technique I employ to ensure a juicy smoked pork shoulder with a perfectly pink smoke ring.
|After 6 hours on the grill|
I use a Chargriller grill with a side smoke box. I start my fire with a chimney starter and lump hardwood charcoal (no briquettes or lighter fluid in my backyard). I soak my hickory logs overnight in five gallon buckets that I get from the hardware store. That way they smolder and smoke just right. I use a rub and a mop and then cook it low and slow for a total of about ten hours until it is moist and meltingly tender.
Serve it plate style with coleslaw and beans or serve it on a good bun. Start with a little bit of the Western Carolina Red Sauce on the bottom of the bun, load up a generous pile of the shredded pork, a little more sauce on top with a couple of squirts of the "liquid gold" for a kick and then top if with a serving of coleslaw-- mmm, now I am drooling!
Condiments and Sides
Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork
one 6 1/2 -7 pound pork shoulder
6-10 Hickory logs depending on their size
For the Rub
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup garlic powder
1 Tablespoon ground sage
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon Kosher salt
For the Mop
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
Starting the night before, soak the hickory logs in water. (I use a five gallon bucket from the hardware store.)
Allow the pork shoulder to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile prepare a charcoal grill for indirect heat using lump hardwood charcoal to 225-250ºF. Place a drip pan under the grate where the pork will be . Add a Hickory log and make sure you have a good smoke before adding the pork.
To prepare the rub, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, garlic powder, sage, paprika and salt in a medium bowl. Pat the shoulder dry with paper towels. Cover the entire shoulder with the mustard. Rub the rub mixture all over, massaging into the skin. To prepare the mop, combine the vinegar, water, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Oil the cooking grates and place the shoulder, fat side down, on the grill, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 130ºF, about 3-3 1/2 hours, adding hickory logs as needed and maintaining the temperature of the coals. Turn the shoulder fat side up and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF, about 3 1/2 -4 hours, adding Hickory logs as needed and maintaining the temperature of the coals. Baste the shoulder with the mop mixture every 30 minutes.
Tear off two pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil that will be large enough to completely wrap the pork shoulder and place over a baking sheet. Remove the shoulder from the grill and place, fat side up, on the foil. Baste one more time with the mop. One sheet at a time, wrap the shoulder tightly. Return the wrapped shoulder to the grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches 190ºF, about 3 1/2 hours, adding Hickory logs as needed and maintaining the temperature of the coals.
Meanwhile, line a small cooler with thick bath towels to insulate the inside of the cooler. Remove the pork from the grill. Keep the aluminum foil wrap in place and wrap again in plastic wrap. Place the pork in a baking dish or disposable pan and place it in the cooler. Cover the top of the pork with another towel, close the lid and allow the meat to rest for 1 hour.
At this point the meat will be very tender and ready to shred. Remove the pork from the cooler and place it on a cutting board. Carefully unwrap the pork reserving any juices. Shred the pork with forks or bear claws. Transfer the pork to a serving dish and toss with the reserved juices. The shredded pork will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months. Enjoy!
Source: The Galley Gourmet with smoking technique adapted from Serious Barbecue