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Pulled Pork


Stone
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One of the responses to another post mentioned a pulled-port sandwich.  I love pulled-pork, but have no idea how to make it.  (Well, I have some idea, but why risk it?)  Any recipes out there?

(Edited by Dstone001 at 6:08 pm on Jan. 15, 2002)

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I don't know how you feel about Martha Stewart but...

This past year, she published a pulled pork recipe (cooked in a smoker and oven OR all oven-cooked).  I just checked marthastewart.com and the recipe is there.

It looked pretty good, but I didn't try it myself.  

Marie

NJDuchess

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Here you go:

Buy a pork shoulder

Rub with mix of granulated garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, thyme, cayenne, and any other spices you are particularly fond of until well-coated.

Light coals and when all white and at low heat push to one side of the grill.

Place pork shoulder on other side of grill with metal pan underneath to catch drippings (there will be a lot).

Make sure that your fire never gets above 265 degrees.

Cook with lid on the grill at all times, except when adding coals or woodchips.

Periodically sprinkle hardwood chips that have soaked in water over the coals (this creates smoke and that means flavor), adding new coals when heat fall below 200 degrees.

Cook in this manner for at least five hours if heat is closer to 265, or 8 hours if heat is closer to 210.  

Spice rub should form a dark crust on the outside, if it gets too black too early, then your fire is too hot.

Let sit for half hour after taking off grill.

With carving fork and tongs tear the meat away from the roast discarding gristle and any internal fat that hasn't melted.

Serve meat on a platter with slaw and sauce on the side.

Make sandwich by putting meat and sauce on a good quality bun and topping with slaw.

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The July 1997 Cook's Illustrated had a recipe for pulled pork that I tried and loved.  I don't know if you subscribe to the magazine, but you can probably find it on their website (for a fee, I believe).

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I've got a silly question -- I'll be cooking this on my kettle grill.  Is there an easy way to add charcoal and chips during the cooking, or do I have to take the pork off to lift up the grate?  

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dstone:  some webers have flaps on the edges of the grill surface that allow easy access to the charcoal below, if yours does not have these then the answer is: there is no easy way.  However, it isn't that hard to get a couple towels and lift the grate straight up while someone else chucks a few more coals on the fire.  Lift the grate up with the pork on it, dont try to take the pork off, as it might fall apart.  As for the wood chips, they should be small enough to pass through the grate.

Make sure you cook with the top on, if the fire starts to die, then open the air holes on the top of the lid, once the fire gets too hot, close them back up.

Good luck, and dont forget to put slaw on your sandwich.  Now, thats Memphis style!

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I'll vouch for most of what is said here, with the exception of the rub to start (you don't nessessarily need one) to the finishing sauce, there really isn't a "recipe" for pulled pork.  What is required is a device for keepong a pork butt at the proper temp. (250 give or take) and correct level of smoke (a light whispy blue smoke, no billowing white clouds) for 6 to 8 hours. Whether an expensive smoker or a kettle grill makes little difference, except for the degree of difficulty in maintaining the temps.

To determine when it is done, a BBQ fork whhen inserted into the meat will offer little resistance to twisting when it is done.  Take it off the heat, let sit for 15 minutes, then with a pair of forks or bare hands rip that baby asunder!  I don't go for the finely shredded stuff, and like hunks of the crispy "Mr. Brown" from the outside well mixed in.

You can see one of my smoked butts in process at:

http://www.exit109.com/~mstevens/butt/

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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  • 1 year later...

I'm always on the lookout for downed trees and such being discarded by my neighbors - a constant source of pecan in my neck of the woods: Austin, Texas. You want a hardwood like pecan or hickory or mesquite - no pine or cedar....apple and other fruits can be used. Just remember to let them age a season and soak them a bit to keep them from burning up too fast.

Now this is in addition to the bags of lump hardwood charcoal that I get at my local market - about $8 for 10 pounds. That's the base of the fire in my smoker, which I top with lengths of pecan. Unless you're into the large-chambered smokers, with the separate fire pit, lump + wood should do you.

memesuze

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You can find wood chips for smoking at any store that carries bbq equipment or even just charcoal briquets. There are several grocery store chains in Seattle that carry chips, so they shouldn't be too hard to find. Go with whatever you find. One thing that people haven't mentioned yet is that your pork shoulder will be "pulled pork" above 195 to 200 degrees F. You can even let it get up to 210 and it's still great. For your sauce, you'll want something that's tart or acidic to cut through all of that precious, juicy, perfect pork fat.

I'm a big fan of mustard and vinegar based 'que sauces, spiced up with your hot sauce of choice and a little bit of brown sugar. Them's good vittles (actually spelled victuals).

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You're two most important tools (beside the Weber) are the digital meat thermometer (Blood Bath and Beyond, $20) and the charcoal chimney (Amazon, currently on sale for $12.99):

taylordigitalmeatthermoTH.gif93b5193f04c0779f7175673d76b8bbbd1-resized180.jpg

The day before brine your shoulder in a brine solution of 1 cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of water. It'll result in a juicier, tastier pork roast. 8 to 24 hours will be quite sufficient to brine it. You can experiment with all sort of water soluable additives like sugar (brown), hot sauce and vinegars, but after smoking, you won't taste any of it so don't bother with the work or expense. I've stopped adding vinegars to my brines because they will add a small rubbery texture to the meat.

On the day of, start off with about a 1/3 to 1/2 chimney of coals and place on one side and the pork on the other. It's easier to start with less and add more hot coals later than trying to cool down the Weber. Like Ron Johnson mentioned, put something underneath the pork to catch drippings. You can place an inch of water or sand in the tray to act as heat ballast.

Before you put the shoulder on, you might want to check how hot the Weber gets from that much coal and play around with the vents and amounts of coal to get the temp right. The ideal temp is 225 F but if it's between 200 to 250, you'll be just fine. If it gets too hot, you can crack open the lid but make sure to close the bottom vents. If you don't, you create a stronger draft which will only get your coals burning hotter. But keep this in mind in the event your fire starts to die down and you don't want to add any more coals. Of course I always do this when I'm finished on the Weber to burn as much of the coals as possible so it's easier to clean out the next you use it but I leave the open part above the coals for a stronger draft. To take temperature readings, use your digital thermometer and place the temp probe on the grate where your shoulder will be/is or drop in through the top vent. For maximum smoke effect, have the open (or partially open) bottom vent under the coals and the top vent opposite, above the shoulder so the air comes up through the smouldering wood and crosses the Weber going around the shoulder.

When it's time to add new coals, start them up in the chimney and when they're ready, have somebody else lift the food and you dump the coals. It's possible to do it yourself, but it's a pain in the tukhes. And remember, if your Weber isn't smoking, you aren't adding flavor to the pork and you need to add more wood.

After you pull your pork, make sure to taste it before you add your sauce so you can get an idea of how smokey it is. The most flavorful bits are going to be exterior pieces and if you've smoked it well, you'll have a beautiful pink ring around the edge as proof. You shouldn't need to mop your shoulder because it's already 20% fat and most of that will render and moisten the meat as it slowly cooks over the 4 to 6 hours it will probably need to smoke. Don't be too concerned if the final result is not as smokey as you were hoping, more than likely whatever sauce you use will be the dominent flavor of the sandwich. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't smoke it, the sandwich will be far better than if you just oven roasted it.

Good luck!

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I have found Mark and the Colonel to be reliable sources when it comes to this sort of thing. Also The Goddess CathyL. :wub:

I would emphasize what the Colonel says about heat control on the Weber: it's easier to bring the temperature up than to try and cool it down. I would also add that even if you find it impossible to maintain perfect heat control, a pork shoulder is very forgiving. Don't panic. Do things slowly, or you'll end up on a seesaw. I speak from experience.

Just 'cause it's good to know: the reason for keeping the temperature relatively low is to prolong the period during which the meat will accept smoke. According to CathyL, once the surface temperature reaches 160F, the smoking part of the process is pretty much over. The rest of the cooking time is to make sure the roast is done (it spends a lot of time in the danger zone, so you want to be sure), and to get the collagen to melt, which doesn't start until it reaches an internal temp of 140 (and it takes a long time once you get there; it's tough stuff).

In order to maximize smoke receptivity time, take the pork straight from the 'fridge to the grill -- don't go in for none o' that "bring it to room temperature" stuff.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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The butt -- 4.5 pounds of pork:

fcbacff6.jpg

The Bullet:

fcbace8b.jpg

I hope to get the butt in the bullet by 9 am tomorrow, so's its ready at 2.

I'm looking for an internal temp of about 170? I've got a digital thermometer (per Col.'s instructions) and a regular oven thermometer. Would I be best off leaving the digital probe sitting on the rack to tell me the smoker temperature, and sticking it in the meat after about 4 hours?

By the way -- I had assumed that I would put the pork on the lower tray in the middle of the smoker. But now I'm thinking that I'll put it on the top tray, with a pyrex pan on the lower tray, perhaps with some chopped carrots and celery, to catch the drippings and make some type of sauce when it's done. Is this a waste of time?

Edited by Stone (log)
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Is this a waste of time?

i don't know from smokers, but i just got done roasting a pork butt at 260 for 6 hours, with onions, celery and carrot in the pan, and the sauce that came from the drippings was right freakin on. if you don't use it for the pork, save it for pork chops next week. wasting that flavor would be oh such a shame. :blink:

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You're two most important tools (beside the Weber) are the digital meat thermometer (Blood Bath and Beyond, $20) and the charcoal chimney (Amazon, currently on sale for $12.99):

3rd tool (important if one is drinking while smoking) -- the timer.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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You're two most important tools (beside the Weber) are the digital meat thermometer (Blood Bath and Beyond, $20) and the charcoal chimney (Amazon, currently on sale for $12.99):

3rd tool (important if one is drinking while smoking) -- the timer.

4th tool. and most important -- something to drink.

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Stone, if you take a pork butt to 170º internal, it will be technically done but not pullable.

Don't be too concerned with the meat temperature. Doneness is a condition, not a number. You want to cook the butt until a fork stuck into it twists easily. There's a comfortable margin of error for this cut, so don't sweat it too much.

Some people achieve twistability by cooking the meat until the internal temp hits 195-200. Others, me included, cook until the internal temp stalls - typically 140-170 - and try to keep it around that mark. The stall signifies that internal fat & collagen are busy changing state from solid to liquid, which requires an enormous amount of energy, and is a good thing in terms of juiciness and tenderness. When I make pulled pork the internal temp rarely goes above 170, and I cook it for 20-24 hours.

Have you checked out this site? Click. It's a well-regarded resource for bullet owners.

I like your plan for monitoring grill temp first and worrying about meat temp later. I also think the carrots/celery deal is a waste of time, but I don't cook on a bullet. Try it if you want to.

Consider your first effort an experiment. It will likely be edible, and may be great, and you'll learn a lot for next time. Keep a journal of time and temp readings - it's very helpful when you're getting started.

Have fun.

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3rd tool (important if one is drinking while smoking) -- the timer.

Thanks for reminding me Snow, since the my meat thermometer has a timer on it it's easy for me to forget. I don't use the time to watch the meat but I do use it to remind me to check the fire. The timer is useful, but I think that (alcoholic) drinks are more so.

Stone, since your butt is only 4.5 pounds 6 hours at 225F will be just fine. An internal temp of 190 to 210 should give you pulled pork; just test it with the fork method to be sure. If it isn't quite there yet, just let it go longer and get another beer!

As for saving the drippings it's a waste of time. All that's going to happen is the drippings will crust on the pyrex and you'll be left with a big mess. In an oven it makes more sense because the heat from below isn't that intense, but when you put a drip pan over coals it's a different story. You've probably already put it in but don't fear. After one use it shouldn't be that difficult to clean. Next time get a tin pan and save yourself a hassle.

Theoretically you can save the drippings if you put water in the pan, that way the drippings are caught and not burnt off. However, if you don't want to reduce a half gallon of water just to get to drippings after you've pulled the pork off, you'll have to constantly leave just enough water in the tray and that would be too much trouble.

Anyway, you should be putting water in the tray to help stabilize the temperature and reduce the stress on your drip pan. When you switch to tin pans (and you should), if you don't add water, the coals will burn holes and you've lost your drip pan.

edit: I hope it's going well!

Edited by col klink (log)
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