Smoked Pulled Pork

Last year, the girls bought me a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker for Father’s Day.  Selena, the name I gave the smoker, is one of the best presents I ever received.  After I unboxed the smoker, I went through a six hour dry run to monitor the internal temperature and recorded the temperature every 15 minutes.  Yes, it was a very nerdy thing to do, but I enjoyed every minute of it.  The dry run helped me get comfortable before for my first and longest cook…Smoked Pork Shoulder for Pulled Pork.

Before smoking the pork shoulder, I watched countless YouTube videos to get the technique and seasonings down.  After smoking the pork shoulder, I realized that seasoning and preparing the pork shoulder was very easy.  Smoking the pork wasn’t the difficult part, it’s the cooking time waiting for it to finish cooking was the most difficult.  For the first cook, it took over 11 hours for the internal temperature of the pork to reach 198 degrees.  BBQ enthusiasts recommend smoking the pork until the internal temperature is between 190-200 degrees. During the smoking process, the fat slowly rendered and dripped down into the water pan and formed a beautiful dark and crusty bark. The wood smoke also penetrated through the pork and helped develop a beautiful smoke ring in the meat, the sight that would make BBQ lovers proud.  Since my first pulled pork attempt, I smoked pork shoulders on two other occasions and it turned out great every time.

There are so many creative dishes you can make with pulled pork..my favorites are sandwiches and nachos.

Ingredients:
1 8-pound Pork Shoulder, bone-in
4 teaspoons Kosher salt
No Limit Rub, or your favorite rub
No Limit BBQ Sauce
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 ounces apple juice
2 ounces apple cider vinegar

Coleslaw Ingredients:
1 pound coleslaw mix
1/2 cup Best Food mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
1 small lemon, zest and juice
1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

4-8 ounces Oak and Apple wood chunks

Steps:

Dry Brine Pork Shoulder – Salt pork shoulder. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Prepare Pork Shoulder – Slather and coat pork shoulder with yellow mustard.  Liberally season pork shoulder with BBQ rub.

Prepare Coleslaw – In a large bowl, add mayonnaise, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper and mix until coleslaw dressing is combined.  Add coleslaw mix until coleslaw is evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Smoke Pork Shoulder – Setup up Smoker for indirect cooking.  Bring the smoker to 225-250 degrees. Add wood chunks to charcoal.  Place pork shoulder on smoker.  Smoke pork shoulder until internal temperature reaches 198 degrees.

Pull Pork Shoulder – Rest pork under tinted foil for at least half hour.  Remove the shoulder blade from he pork shoulder.  With hands or fork, pull/shred pork. Add an additional tablespoon or two of seasoning and mix well.

Pulled Pork Sandwich
Pulled Pork Nachos

Tips:

  • It’s going to take a long time.  Be patient.
  • Use boneless pork shoulder if you prefer.
  • Once pork shoulder reaches 165-170 degrees, you can wrap in foil or butcher paper to expedite the cooking process.  However, this shortcut might impact the quality of the bark.  
  • If time is not on your side, you can increase cooking temperature to 275-300 degrees.  Pork responds when cooked at different temperatures, but monitor exterior closely to avoid burning.
  • I never experience the pork shoulder drying out, but if it looks dry you can spray with a mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar to keep the outside moist.

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