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my method for pulled pork barbecue

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 January 2010 at 08:51

here's how i do it - others will come along and tell you how they do it. read up on different methods and decide which is right for you.

the night before i do a shoulder (picnic or butt), i brush on a light film of plain, yellow mustard. your pork will NOT taste mustardy when this is all over, but the mustard does aid in the rub clinging to the meat and in my opinion creates a better bark - and you will love bark.

anyway, after the mustard, apply a liberal amount of your favorite rub to all surfaces of the meat. you can use any rub you want, but i recommend mad hunky rub from www.madhunkymeats.com. whatever rub you use, or if you want to make your own, try to use one that:

a) has paprika for a nice, rich, red color

b) has a minimum of salt (this is mostly for health reasons but also because if there is too much salt you lose a lot of the other flavors); having said that, it should have SOME salt, for the effects, reactions and flavours it provides.

c) has eithier a small amount of sugar, or turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) instead of white or brown sugar. this is because a shoulder takes a long time to cook and somewhere in that time the sugar will go from a beautiful carmelized brown to a very ugly black that tastes fine but looks terrible. once again, though, you will want SOME sugar, for flavour balance and other effects, such as a good bark.

wrap the pork shoulder in saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. to me, it's best for it to sit overnight in rub, but the world will not end if it doesn't. even if you slather and rub it right before it goes on the grill, the world will not end.

before firing up your smoker (it will take time to come to temperature), take your shoulder out of the fridge and let it set for a while, but not more than an hour, to come up a bit in temperature. i prefer to take my straight from fridge to smoker, but i don't recommend this unless one is fairly experienced with good fire tending as creosote formation is a danger. anyway, unwrap your shoulder and, if desired, apply a little more rub all around, then toss it on the grate as your smoker temperature is passing 275 degrees. the smoking chamber will cool down when you open the lid, plus the addition of a big, cold mass of meat will bring the temps down to good smoking temperatures.

pictured here is a picnic shoulder going on the grate:
 


smoke over your preferred wood at between 240 -250 degrees until you can twist the bone right out of there; this could take a very long time, so allow yourself at least 12 hours. it may not take that long, and it may take a little longer, but if you allow 12 hours, you should be in good shape.
 
after an hour-and-a-half or so (time enough for the mustard and rub to set), it is suggested that you spray or brush on an oil-based mop in order to keep things moist and provide a bit of a basting effect with the oil in the mop. my favorite and highly-recommended mop that i have developed consists of 1 cup dr. pepper, 2/3 cup LOW SODIUM soy sauce and 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. be sure to zip this through a blender before each use, so as to emulsify the ingredients. it can be sprayed on wtih a spray bottle or brushed on with a basting brush; some folks get those miniture mop-looking things designed for doing dishes. 
 
don't that look nice? and the greek fatty next to it looks pretty good, too!
 

when it's getting close to done, it will look sorta like this picnic shoulder:
 
 
as it gets closer, it is probably going to get pretty darn dark in some cases, but it will be okay.
 
when you figure it is about a 15, maybe 30 minutes or so from being done, you can, if you wish, apply a finishing glaze that will add some nice color and flavor to the bark. please note that this step is not necessary, but can make a good shoulder even better. the best glaze that i've found comes from Danny Gaulden of the BBQFAQ and it is very easy to prepare. combine 1/3 cup EACH of dark brown sugar, yellow mustard and apple cider vinegar in a saucepan. heat on medium, stirring constantly, until everything is well-blended and heated throughout. remove from heat, cover and allow to cool until it is time to brush on the shoulder. my recommendation is to brush it on no more than a half-hour before it is time to remove from the heat, then again just as you are bringing it off the heat. this glaze provides a really nice, deep, cherry-red finish and a good, crackly glaze for any pork.
 
you are shooting for an internal temperature of about 195-205 degrees. when this temperature has been acheived, double wrap the shoulder in foil, wrap the foiled shoulder in towels and place in an empty cooler for at least an hour. you can leave it in for as long as 6 hours or as long as the internal temperature is above 140 degrees. this allows the meat to rest and the juices to pull back into the meat. it might also be handy in case the shoulder is ready before it is time to eat. let it rest at least an hour before removing the foil or your meat that you worked so hard on will lose its juces and turn an ugly brown color.

when the resting time is done, open the foil and it will pretty much fall apart and be VERY hot. pull the meat apart with your fingers or use a couple of large forks raked across it to shred it to your desired consistency. remove any gristle, fat etc. at the same time. if you were lucky (and smart) enough to collect any of the pork juices from the cooking, add them to the pork now (after de-fatting), as they greatly enhance the flavor, taking it to a whole 'nother level.
 


serve on a plate or on buns using RIVET'S outstanding east-carolina finishing sauce (recipe below). some mix the sauce into the meat, others just pour some on top of the meat as it is served, your choice.

i guarantee results if you do it as described above, but i will stress that the above method is not the ONLY way to do it.
This is always going to be my go-to source for great flavors in pulled pork barbecue. It's adapted from a recipe shared by John Rivera and it's just about as good as it gets, with exactly the right combinations of sweet, sour and spicy flavors that compliment pork so well. Yhis stuff will make a puppy pull a freight train!Tongue
 
Eastern Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue Finishing Sauce:

3 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Bottle (12 oz) your favourite beer (see note below)
1 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 TSP Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar 

Mix all sauce ingredients in saucepan, bring to boil. Reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer 30 minutes, uncovered.

Once pork is pulled and chopped, mix in large bowl with sauce. Serve on buns with coleslaw.

------------------

A couple of notes on this:
 
If you don't have any beer in the house - or want to use something besides beer - you could probably use water, or I would guess just about anything that would cut the acidity of the vinegar a bit. One note of caution, though: I tried apple juice once instead of beer and it did not work well. Perhaps the best substitute might be the pan and foil juices from the pork shoulder (after defatting). Now that I think about it, even if you use the beer, add these juices (after defatting) to the pork as they greatly enhance the flavor!

Depending on everyone's tolerance for spicy foods, you may want to cut the red pepper flakes in half, or add some. It was originally written for 2 tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes, but 1 tablespoon works just about perfectly for me, especially once mixed with the other ingredients and the pork - it all balances very well and nothing is too hot, spicy, tart, sweet etc.
 
While this is simmering, it will probably be a bit frightening as the vinegar is of course pretty strong; The aroma will drill a hole through your sinuses and the taste of the sauce on its own will bring up images of rocket fuel, but please, trust the recipe! Stick with it and try it in combination with the pork and sauce together, as it is a perfect compliment for pulled pork barbecue!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 January 2010 at 13:36
Ron, you have shared perfection! I could not have put it any better nor as succinctly as you did, and congratulations. This should definitely be a sticky-post so any one wanting to try their hand at good, old-fashioned original barbecue can do it right the first time.

Since I have had the opportunity to try your excellent beers from up there, I think that they would be even better than the one's in my recipe. I'm thinking the Moose Drool or Trout Slayer to be  just perfect for the finishing sauce. Remember, "tiny" and his dad back in NC, didn't have access to such great beers, so they used what was available locally. That's the ticket for great food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 February 2010 at 16:36
this in my mind is a really, REALLY good way to barbecue pork shoulder, but i want to emphasize that it is not the ONLY way to barbecue pork shoulder. my suggestion is to do it just like this a couple of times, and then branch out a bit, spread the wings and try a variation here and there.
 
for instance, a person can put a florida-style kiss on this by using 7-up or squirt (or a combination of both) in the mop, rather than dr. pepper, and perhaps pineapple juice in the glaze, rather than apple cider vinegar. or maybe for an asian twist, substitute teriyaki and orange juice in the mop rather than soy and dr. pepper - or some sort of cherry flavor in the glaze. develop a rub that you like, or add stuff to the mustard slather. brush on a favorite store-bought or home-made sauce when you serve them, if you want ~ things like that.
 
start with this, feel free to tweak it - but then please, after that, think outside the box and share your experiences here!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2010 at 03:30
You sure have got me jonesin' to get out there and fire up the GOSM my man...that looks great! If we could only get rid of this d&*$#d snow.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2010 at 07:10
i know what you mean, dave - i've been dying to do some barbecue but unfortunately it's tough to do when temperatures are below zero!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2013 at 20:02
   Tas, great looking pulled pork and wonderful recipe/instruction.  I'm just sitting here thinking how nice it'll be when I can fire up the smoker.  I don't mind some cold, but we've had a bit of cold weather mixed with wind, rain and snow. 

    I need some Q
Enjoy The Food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 February 2013 at 17:58
Dan - results here are pretty much guaranteed ~ it's still my favourite pulled pork method!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 February 2013 at 00:52
Tas,
 
Looks marvelous and thanks for posting ...
 
BBQ in zero farenheit degrees ! I complain when it is zero centigrade or 32 degrees farenheit ! Thumbs Down
 
Have nice wkend.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2013 at 09:49
BTT for memorial day weekend!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2014 at 21:06
Quote Finishing Sauce:

3 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Bottle (12 oz) your favourite beer
1 TBSP Salt
2 TBSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 TSP Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar 

Mix all sauce ingredients in saucepan, bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer 30 minutes, uncovered.

I made this over the weekend as part of a very good pulled pork barbecue, using Shock Top Belgian White (which includes coriander and orange peel in its flavour profile) as the beer component:


The results were really, really nice; maybe it was just my imagination, but it seemed to me that I could taste the difference ~ worth a try!
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