Ah, pulled pork – how I do love thee pulled pork? Let me count the delicious ways. We have a lot of folks ask us via email, twitter, or at food shows how to smoke pulled pork. We almost always make the following pulled pork BBQ recipe – its simple, and turns out perfect BBQ’d pulled pork every time! We are big Kansas City BBQ fans, but this pulled pork recipe should make folks from all BBQ regions happy!
We researched the origins of pulled pork – some folks say pulled pork originates from Mexico – known as Carnitas. Of course, don’t even get Americans started in which region pulled pork was created – Memphis pulled pork, Alabama pulled pork, Kansas City pulled pork – it quickly sounds like a scene from Forrest Gump. Whatever the origins of pulled pork – we love it and here is our recipe:
Easy Smoked Pork Shoulder / Pulled Pork Recipe
1 – 7 pound pork shoulder (also known as 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
Get your smoker’s temperature up to 225-250 degrees. When lighting your charcoal, be sure to only use hardwood lump charcoal and always start with a charcoal chimney starter. If you are using a BBQ grill, you can still smoke! Just place the charcoal in a pile on one side of the grill, and place the meat on the other side.
There are several keys to making great pulled pork. While the smoker gets 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). Be patient – amazing pulled pork is only a day away!
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, simply put your beer into a disposable aluminum pan and place under your pork shoulder. Since we are both from Missouri, we like grilling with (and drink!) Bud Light (but we sometimes use PBR)! We like to have Bud Light around when we actually eat our Pulled Pork – Pulled Pork and Bud Light – a great combo.
Place the wood chunks onto the hot coals in your smoker and then place the grill grate in the smoker. Place your meat directly above the drip pan and close your smoker. If cooking in a smoker, I place the wood into the coals, but if I’m cooking on a BBQ grill, I soak the wood for 30 minutes to allow it to have a longer smoke (you can’t go wrong either way!). Making sure your pulled pork has great smoke is a key to great taste – whether your pulled pork is just for cooking in your backyard, or are entering the pulled pork in competition.
Make sure the temperature 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 BBQ smoker temperature. A pork shoulder should remain in the smoker for 11-13 hours – and will yield amazing pulled pork. Here’s what it looks like when you put it on the grill: