I can't resist pulled pork. If it's on the menu, in a good BBQ spot that is, chances are I'll get it. For me, pulled pork defines good BBQ. If a Pit Master knows what he/she is doing, then he/she makes some great pulled pork.
I smoke my meats on a very specific, upright "Barrel" smoker that I call Big Red, and she has never let me down. It takes a long time to make great pulled pork, and this particular pork shoulder took about 8 hours. If you don't have the means to smoke meats, that's alright, I'll provide an oven option, but, it WILL NOT be the same. You can also smoke on any grill or Weber, but that truly is a WHOLE NOTHER story.
You can check out this link for help regarding smoking meats: Amazing Ribs
Prepare the rub:
- 3 Tbls Paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp aleppo pepper
- 2 tsp cayenne
- 1 Tbls garlic granules
- 1 Tbls kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 2 Tbls brown sugar
Mix all ingredients together and keep in a sealed container.
Get ready to smoke some pork butt!
- 1- 4lb to 5lb bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed of skin (I had a Boston butt, you could also use a blade roast)
- ¼ cup BBQ rub (Recipe above)
- 1 Tbls olive oil
- ⅔ cup apple juice
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
Place the pork shoulder in a large pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Rub oil thinly all over the pork. Generously apply the rub evenly all over the pork shoulder, and let rest in fridge, covered for at least an hour or overnight.
Place the apple juice, vinegar and salt into a spray bottle, shake slightly to mix and store in the fridge.
Prepare your smoker to 225º - 250º, or set your oven to 250º
Place pork onto smoker, and smoke, covered for about an hour. Mist the pork with the apple juice mixture, and continue to smoke, repeating the process every hour. (I choose to flip my pork each time, but this may not be necessary for you. Just watch that you are getting even color, and that it isn't getting too dark) Once the internal temp of the pork gets to be about 150º to 160º, it may be necessary to put a pan underneath the pork.
The smoking temp can go as high as 275º at this point, so that the internal temp of the pork can reach 185º in the center, near the bone. Once it hits 185º, I let the pork rest for at least 30 minutes before shredding. This whole process could take 6-8 hours to achieve, so be prepared for that.
When ready, take a pair of tongs, and insert the tongs in the meatiest part of the shoulder and twist, separating the layers of the meat. If the meat has reached it's ideal temperature, it should easily shred. Once the bulk of the meat is removed from the bone, you may want to shred by hand some of the bigger chunks of meat.
You can eat the meat straight up, or toss in some bbq sauce or North Carolina vinegar sauce. It should be well seasoned, but if it needs more of a kick, you can sprinkle with additional bbq rub for added flavor.
Place the rubbed pork onto a rack set in a roasting pan, and place pork in a 250º oven. Roast the pork for about 3 hours, and spritz with apple juice mixture. Continue to roast until internal temp reaches 185º in the center, near the bone, about 6-8 hours) (If the pork gets too much color, loosely cover with foil as it roasts.)