This Instructable will cover my technique for pulled pork. The methods are similar for brisket and ribs as well.
The smoker that I'm using in this Instructable is a Traeger pellet grill, but the cooking and preparation are the same regardless of smoker type. I also smoke with charcoal with Weber Smokey Mountain, and a Weber kettle grill with a Smokenator attachment.
Just remember - low and slow. Low temperature cooking for a long period of time!
Step 1: Start With the Meat
When you buy a pork shoulder, they are available as boneless or bone-in. I use either, depending on what's available. Some prefer the bone-in, and say that the meat is more flavorful. I have not been able to tell the difference.
I usually buy meat at Costco. They have great pork shoulders, ribs, and brisket.
Most of the shoulders are between 14 - 18 pounds.
Step 2: Prepare the Meat - Mustard
Rinse the meat thoroughly after removing from the packaging. Apply a generous coat of mustard, and rub it in thoroughly. Make sure that you get into all of the nooks and crannies!
The mustard doesn't leave any distinctive "mustard flavor" on the meat. Others folks will use vegetable oil to rub the meat, but I've always had the best success with mustard.
Step 3: Prepare the Meat - Rub
Make sure the meat is well coated with rub. The mustard will help hold it all in place. Again, make sure you get into all the cracks and crevices.
The mustard and rub combination give the pork the distinctive crust, or bark that is so tasty!
Step 4: Time for the Smoker
I use a remote thermometer that has sensors for both grill temperature and meat temperature. Insert the meat probe deep into the center of the pork, and make sure it is not touching bone. The remote thermometer is not a requirement, but cuts down on the number of trips you have to make outside to check on things.
Step 5: Let It Cook - Low and Slow
Pretty soon the whole neighborhood will smell like bacon, and neighbors will be finding excuses to stop by or chat with you over the fence.
The biggest mistake people make is not allowing the pork to cook long enough. You need to allow it to cook until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.
Beware of "the stall". The meat will get to about 160 degrees, and then just sit. It will stay at that temp sometimes for hours as the collagen in the meat breaks down, and the meat sweats. Just be patient! It will eventually make it to the magic 190 degree number.
This is a key part of the process that leads to tender, succulent meat.
Step 6: It's Done!
MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING SOME KIND OF HEAT RESISTANT GLOVES! DON'T GRAB HOT MEAT WITH YOUR BARE HANDS!
I also use a second instant read thermometer to test the temp of all the butts. When the meat is cooked properly, the thermometer probe just slides right in.
Step 7: Pull That Pork
I take out any big chunks of fat, and try not to eat too much of the smoky bark pieces while pulling.
Step 8: Ready to Serve
Enjoy the compliments, and make sure you keep some of the pork for yourself!