Of all of the meats involved in barbecue, pulled pork is by far my favorite. When done right, it’s moist, tender and sweet. When done wrong, it’s dry and stringy. On the plus side, it’s pretty hard to do wrong. Unless you are some large, BBQ chain restaurants. I don’t know how, but some of them manage to turn this perfect meat into a mass of dry strings with sauce.
My husband was practicing his pulled pork when he indulged me in my blogging venture. He’s a very patient hand model, so I want to profusely thank him for his participation in my blog this week.
The meat involved in pulled pork is a pork shoulder roast, or “Boston Butt”. Now, you could skip the smoking, place the butt (hee hee) in a crock pot with a bit of water and a chopped onion, slow cook on low for 8 hours and presto, tender pulled pork. Drain and add a smoky barbecue sauce and it’s pretty awesome. Is it the same? No. But, it’s pretty darn good for doing pretty much nothing more than dumping a few ingredients in a container and flipping a switch.
But, smoking the Boston Butt brings the pork to a whole different level. First, there’s the injection, piercing flavors deep within the meat. Then there’s the lovely rub and smoke infusing the meat with even more flavor. Top it with barbecue sauce and you have pork nirvana. Truly, the pork is just so amazing.
You can make an ugly drum smoker (google that!) or use a weber bullet (we have both) for an affordable smoker. They are an endless source of entertainment and amazing food for us. Top with an amazing Barbecue Sauce and serve with Cole Slaw.
1/2 Boston Butt, trimmed
Pork Butt Rub
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons dry mustard (love Coleman’s)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy!)
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 quart apple juice
1/2 pint distilled white vinegar
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup table salt (not iodized)
Directions for the rub: Thoroughly combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
Directions for the pork injection: In a 4 quart saucepan, combine the juice and the vinegar over medium heat. Once the juice is warm, add the sugar and the salt and stir constantly. Without bringing the juice to a boil, stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
Bring the smoker to 275 degrees. How you smoke the meat depends on your smoker, so I won’t give you directions as each one is slightly different. While the smoker is heating, thoroughly inject the butt with the injection. Massage the rub into the meat, wrap in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator until the smoker is at temperature. Smoke the meat until a nice bark is formed, the meat is thoroughly cooked, and tender enough to be pulled, about 6-8 hours. Longer, if you prefer to cook at a lower temperature.
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Can I achieve the same results by using a conventional oven?
I believe you can achieve the same results in a conventional oven if you used a covered pot like a dutch oven and cooked the roast over lower heat (around 300-325) for a fairly long time. 4-6 hours, depending on the size of the roast. Minimum internal temperature of 170, but for pulling the pork easily, you want to see around 190.
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