- For the 4th of July, family cookouts, or for a regular meal, this pulled pork recipe is the perfect meal for anytime of day! My brother and I have made this recipe for years now and the finished product never disappoints us. Before cooking, here are the items you are going to need. The prep should be done the night before as cook time can take between 8-10 hours depending on the size of the meat. Experience with a smoker or having someone who knows how to use one is highly recommended.
- Boneless Pork Shoulder Also Known as Boston Butt (The one we used was six pounds)
- Any Brand of Plain Mustard
- Brown Sugar
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Apple Slices
- Apple Juice
- Cooking Oil
- Cooking Pan to put meat in
- Empty Plastic Bottle With a Wide Top
- Latex Gloves
- Cooking thermometer
- Pecan Wood Chips
- Aluminum Pan thats fits inside the smoker
- Brush to Apply Sauce
- Pork Claws
- Plastic Wrap
- Baking Paper
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Step 1: Prepping the Meat
Prepping the Meat
- Once the boneless pork shoulder has been purchased, rinse the meat off with water thoroughly and make sure to wash your hands after
- Take out a piece of baking paper and place the pork shoulder on top of it
- Now, put on latex gloves and apply mustard on the meat
- Grab the brush and lightly spread the mustard all over the pork until it is completely covered
- The mustard will help with flavor and keep the dry rub coated.
This step is to be done the night before smoking around 6-7 p.m. at night. We do this because we get up the next morning to start cooking and have this meal ready to go by dinner time.
Step 2: Making the Rub
How to Make the Rub
- After you have coated the pork shoulder with mustard, now it is time to make the rub
- Get a small bowl out and have brown sugar, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika at your disposal
Here are the amounts you need to put into your bowl.
- Three Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
- One Tablespoon of Salt
- Half a teaspoon of Black Pepper
- One Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
- One Teaspoon of Onion Powder
- Two Tablespoons of Paprika
Step 3: Applying the Rub and Prepping the Wood Chips
Applying the Rub
- Once this rub is in the bowl, slowly pour the rub over the meat
- Rotate the pork shoulder around the baking paper so the rub is even all around and coated evenly just as we did with the mustard earlier
- When the meat is evenly covered in the dry rub, grab the saran wrap
- Now, wrap the meat multiple times firmly
- Place the wrapped meat in fridge to marinate for at least 12 hours
Prepping the Wood Chips
- Have out a small bowl and fill it with three handfuls of pecan wood chips
- Pour water in the bowl until the wood chips are soaking in it
- Leave this bowl out overnight on the counter
Step 4: Setting Up the Smoker
How to Set up the Smoker
- Clean the grill and scrape any remains off from previous cooking
- With the charcoals, set up a semi-circle in the grill with two rows on the bottom and two rows on top
- After this, take five to six charcoal and light them until they are white hot (5-10 minutes)
- When they are white hot, place them next to the semi circle
- If you are unsure what white hot charcoal are, look at my second picture on the far right at the end of the charcoal semi-circle
- Lastly, add the soaked wood chips on top of the charcoal
Step 5: Cooking the Meat
How to Start Cooking the Meat
- Before we can start cooking, take out the pork shoulder and leave it out for one hour or until it reaches room temperature
- While this is happening, place an aluminum pan filled with one cup of water, one cup of apple cider vinegar, and apple slices (from one apple) underneath the grilling rack
- This pan will catch fat drippings from the pork which creates steam to give moisture and flavor
- Once the pan has been placed, we now place the pork shoulder on the cold side of the smoker on top of the grill rack, away from the charcoals. We do this because the smoke that comes off the wood and coals slowly cooks the meat and makes it tender
Believe me, I know the pan filled with apples sounds crazy but it is an absolute game changer. The meat will finish with a sweet-smoky taste to it which is what we are trying to accomplish.
Step 6: Checking on the Pork and Creating a "Mop"
How to Check up on the Pork
- Every hour and a half, check the pork and make sure the temperature of the smoker is around 250 degrees (maintain this throughout the whole cooking process)
- When the pork first starts smoking, we make our "mop"
Making Our Mop
- Grab an empty bottle and pour apple juice, cooking oil, and 3-4 apple slices. The liquids poured into the bottle should be 50-50
- Every time we check up on the pork, we take the mop and slowly pour it on the meat. We use this because it keeps the pork from drying on the outside. Shake the bottle before pouring.
A "mop" is a bottle filled with liquids used to cover a certain food item in barbecuing to give flavor and prevent it from drying on the outside. When we pour our liquid on the meat, we are "mopping" it. Also during this step, it is a good time to clean up and take time to relax with friends or family. For my brother and I, that would consist of watching football.
Step 7: Finished Meat and Time to Eat
How to Know if the Pork is Ready to be Eaten
- After several hours when the pork looks done, check the internal temperature with a cooking thermometer and make sure it is 195 degrees
- When we see it has reached this temperature, put the pork shoulder in a cooking pan and let it sit for half an hour
- Now, grab the pork claws and begin to shred the whole pork shoulder in the pan
- Finally, we can now eat this delicious treat!!!
See, that wasn't so bad! Thank you for following along and enjoy your meal!