Step 1: The Grill
Step 2: The Meat & the Rub
Pulled pork is made from a cut known as a Boston butt. The butt is the upper part of a pork shoulder. When shopping for a boston butt, be sure it is not boneless. The bone adds tremendously to the flavor of the pork.
The initial flavor for the pork is provided by the rub. The rub is a blend of spices that is worked into the pork prior to cooking. Rubs are like relatives, everyone has one. Here is one I sometime use:
2 Tbls Dark Brown Sugar
2 Tbls Sweet Paprika
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Garlic
1 Tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Tsp Ground Mustard
1/8 Tsp Celery Seed
1/2 Tsp Ancho Chili Powder
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well blended.
The rub can either be added right before the cook, or the night before. The choice is up to you.
Whatever you do, be sure to take the pork out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Step 3: Ready the Chips
One of the keys to good pulled pork, is smoke. Adding smoke to your grill is easy. First, pick up a bag of wood chips (from the store, not the ground...unless of course you already have some chips, in that case you probably will pick them up from the ground). For pork, I use a sweet wood such as maple or apple. Using anything else, like mesquite, might provide too harsh of a taste.
Soak approximately two large handfuls of wood chips in a large bowl of water for about an hour. Although I said "chips", you can also use wood chunks. If you use chunks, be sure to soak them longer so the wood becomes saturated with water. The wood is soaked so that it "smokes" when added to the grill and doesn't simply burn up.
Step 4: Ready the Charcoal
The best way to maintain a low and steady temperature is by using a process known as the modified minion method. By adding lit coals on top of unlit coals, you can maintain a low temperature fire for a long period of time. The lit coals will slowly heat up the unlit coals. It is a great process.
Place approximately 90 unlit coals to one side of your grill, or two piles of 45 coals to both sides.
Place approximately 20 coals in your charcoal chimney and light the chimney.
Step 5: Here Comes the Heat
Step 6: Placing the Pan and the Coals
With the pan in place, add your lit coals to the unlit coals.
Step 7: The Chips Are Down
Step 8: Smoke!
Step 9: Work the Vent
Step 10: Watch the Temp
Adjust your top vent until you hit 250 degrees. Make small adjustments. Open it more to raise the temp and close it to lower it. Unless you have some wild temperature swings, your bottom vent will remain untouched for almost the whole cook.
Step 11: Meat on Deck
Place the pork on the grate and close the lid.
Step 12: Downtime
Once your pork is on, your grill will need periodic checking to ensure your temperature is where it should be. Some temperature movement is normal and swings from 225 to 275 is fine. Just adjust your vents to keep yourself on target.
Step 13: Still Waiting...
As the day goes on and your temperature begins to drop, work your top vent to let in more oxygen. If your temperature really drops, add some additional lit coals to get your temperature back up. However, in most cases this is not necessary.
Step 14: Almost There
Start checking your pork around the 7 1/2 hour mark to see how far you are from the end. Although the internal temperature will rise very fast at the beginning of the cook, it will move very slow towards the end.
Step 15: Done!
Once fifteen minutes has passed (let's face it, you have been at this for 9 hours and you are hungry...there is no way you are waiting any longer) start to "pull" the pork apart.
Step 16: The Pull
Step 17: Come and Get It
This process works great for me, I hope it works just as good for you. Enjoy!