We have a lot of folks ask us via email, twitter, or at food shows how to smoke a pork shoulder for pulled pork. We almost always use the following recipe – its simple, and results in perfect pulled pork BBQ every time! We are big fans of Kansas City BBQ, but this recipe should make folks from all BBQ regions happy!
Easy Smoked Pork Shoulder / Pulled Pork Recipe
1 – 7 pound pork shoulder (also known as a Boston Butt – bone in or boneless work great)
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4-6 tablespoons Pork Barrel BBQ’s All American Spice Rub
6 cans of beer
1 aluminum drip pan
5 chunks of hickory wood
3 chunks of oak wood
1 Bag of Lump Hardwood Charcoal
When lighting your charcoal, be sure to use hardwood lump charcoal and always light it with a charcoal chimney. If you are using a BBQ grill instead of a smoker, you can still smoke your pork shoulder! Just place the charcoal in a pile on one side of the grill, and place the meat on the other side.
Get your BBQ smoker’s temperature up to 225-250 degrees.
While your smoker is getting up to temperature, rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the first side of your pork shoulder and then rub 2-3 tablespoons of Pork Barrel BBQ’s All American Spice Rub into the meat. Repeat on opposite side. Allow meat to rest with rub on it for at least 30 minutes (this can be done ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours).
Place your drip pan into the smoker directly under where the pork shoulder will be sitting and pour the beer into it. If using a grill (like a Weber), place the drip pan under the side of the grill opposite the charcoal where your pork shoulder will sit. Since we are both from Missouri, we like to grill with Bud Light (sometimes we use PBR)!!
Here you can see our perfect beer foam – the smoker is ready to make some great BBQ pulled pork!
Place the wood chunks onto the hot coals in your smoker and then place the grill grate into the smoker. Place your pork shoulder directly above the drip pan and close your smoker. If using a smoker, I simply place the wood onto the coals, but if I’m cooking on a BBQ grill, I soak the wood for 30 minutes to allow them to have a longer smoke (you can’t go wrong either way!).
Make sure the temperature of your smoker or grill remains in the 225-250 degree range throughout the smoking process. Every couple of hours make sure you have enough fuel on your fire to maintain the desired smoker temperature. Depending on the size of your pork shoulder it will take 8-14 hours of smoking time to properly smoke. Here’s what it looks like when you put it on the grill:
And here’s what it looks like when its done! The internal temperature (always use a meat thermometer) should reach 195-205 degrees F. Be sure to wrap it in foil immediately after cooking and let it rest for at least 30 minutes – this is one of the keys to juicy pulled pork!
Once your pork shoulder has had a chance to rest, it should pull very easily – I just use some forks and pull away! Don’t throw away the brown exterior shell – its the best part – known as the “bark” and it tastes like candy!
We serve our pulled pork on a kaiser or potato roll with Pork Barrel BBQ Sauce and a side of slaw – enjoy!!