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Pulled Pork

Or you can slice it :-)

Cooking a pulled pork is, in my opinion, the easiest of the meats to bbq and get right. All it takes, as with most bbq is time and termperature.


Start with the meat. Pork Shoulder is often called pork butt. This is because it's at the butt of the shoulder joint. It comes from nowhere near the pig butt!


For this cook, you can use bone-in or boneless but. You can buy the picnic ham which is much larger piece of meat. Same rulese still apply. Slow and low!


First, open the pork shoulder from it's packaging and rinse well under cool water. Rinsing isn't necessary, but it can't hurt. You never know what the meat came in contact with between the butcher and the package.


Next you want to apply a rub of your choice. Again, the Wild Willy rub on my recipe page works very well. If you like, you can apply yellow mustard all over the shoulder before rubbing. This is a common practice and does not impart any mustard flavor to the cook. It only serves to help hold the rub in place. I've done many bbq shoulders both way, and can't tell a difference.


Put the rubbed shoulder in a container or plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to place on the smoker. I like to apply rub up to 24 hours ahead of time.


To inject or not to inject. The choice is yours. Just before putting on the smoker, I like to inject my shoulder with any number of liquids. Most often, I use a mix of apple juice and my bbq rub. Inject all over the shoulder, moving the needle around in each hole you make. I'll post a video of this later on.


When your smoker is preheated and you've got your thin line of smoke rising from the top, it's time to put the shoulder on.

Put the meat on whatever rack you desire and put a thermometer probe near the meat if you have one. NOTE: The thermometers that come mounted on budget smokers are often inexpensive and not very accurate. Do yourself a favor and pick up a digital thermomter.


Get your smoker dialed in to the magic number, 225, and wait. And wait. And wait. This is going to be a long cook. On average, cook time for pork and beef is around 1.5 hours per pound. So an 8 pound pork shoulder should fall somewhere in the range of 12 hours. Now the fun part. Don't buy any of it! Yes, it SHOULD average somewhere in that range, but the one primary rule of bbq is this. Write it down. Stamp it on your forehead. Tell your wife. Whatever you gotta do to keep it in your mind.


BBQ IS DONE WHEN IT'S DONE. One more time.



There is little more you need to know than that. You can't rush it. You can't crank the heat up. You can just wait and be rewarded for your patience.


That being said, you can after 4 or 5 hours or more, wrap your shoulder in foil and put back on the smoker. This will actually speed the cook time a little and ensure it doesn't dry out. The drawback to foiling shoulder is that you won't have the same tasty "bark" as you would by not foiling at all. Bark is the crusty outer "shell" that forms after being on the smoker for hours on end. And it's damn good eatin'.


So, now it's 12 to 15 hours later and your shoulder is looking good. Next question is, do you want to Pull it, or Slice it. Or you can chop it.


Pulled pork is cooked to an internal temperature anywhere between 195 and 215 degrees. Sliced pork is cooked to an internal temperature of about 185 degrees.


When your shoulder is to the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker and wrap in foil for at least 15 to 20 minutes. The juices of the meat need time to redistribute throughout the shoulder.


Now it's time to pull or slice. If pulling, just grab a couple forks, your fingers, or any other instrument capable of pulling the meat apart. Then have at it. Just start pulling it apart until you get to the size pieces you want. The choice is yours.


If slicing, well.. pick up your knife and get to cutting.


Enjoy that wonderful pork awesomeness.







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