It’s been quite a hectic few weeks around here, I am sorry that I have missed a few posts. One was about family stuff and the other was about a smoking error that could not be corrected in time to post. The smoking error recipe will be redone soon, and I will share the ugly details then :).
This week I have gone to a good ole fall back recipe our House Favorite Pulled Pork. With the 4th of July here and the coming birthday of my father in law, Michelle asked me to resurrect one of her favorites to take to her parents for the celebration. I was excited to do it because this recipe was one of my first smoker attempts, and I now had the chance to relax while I did it. When I started my commitment to learning to smoke I did quite a few pulled pork attempts. To be truthful I only had one failure in this time, and I have collected almost a dozen recipe variations, each one a winner in it’s on right. This one, however, is the best I have cooked and each time I make it it just gets better hence the name House Favorite Pulled Pork.
Today’s cook was a 6.5 lb pork shoulder roast, sometimes called a pork butt. My goal was to maintain a temperature between 250° and 280°, trying not to let the temps fluctuate to far beyond this goal required quite a bit of attention. If you have followed me for any length of time you will have read my warning about planning your cook and to not cook something new for an important event unless you allow plenty of time for the screw-up…..this dish is no exception. This was a 13.5 hour cook, this does not include the time to brine the pork and the time that is sat in the dry rubb prior to falling on to the smoker. This is not a dish that you decided to do at 8am and have done by 6pm……It takes planning, but my oh my it is worth every minute! The pork sat in a salt, ginger and sugar brine for 12 hours. Then it sat over night in a dry rubb, about 6 hours. I started this adventure on Tuesday and got to start my smoker on Friday so I would have plenty of time to get it to perfection by Saturday morning July 4th. I stopped by the local food distributor on my way home Tuesday and picked up a 12 lb pork shoulder/butt. On Wednesday I cut the roast in half and put the part I was not going to cook in the freezer and the part that I was going to cook in the refrigerator. Thursday morning, I put the refrigerated roast in the brine and removed it 12 hours later patted it dry and allowed it to drain for about 1 hour in the refrigerator, patted it dry again and covered it in my dry rubb. I wrapped it in plastic wrap and returned it to the refrigerator for another 6 hours. Timing is everything, and I am at best a procrastinator, I finally put the roast on at about 2:00 pm Friday…I had planned to put it on at 11am. This means that I finished at ….3:15 am on Saturday morning. I watched it pretty much continually all that time to maintain the smoker temp and the wood level, so that it got a good mellow smokey flavor. I used 1/2 Hickory wood and 1/2 apple wood throughout the day. Oh Yeah, it rained almost constantly starting in the late afternoon until I finished at 3. Rain can knock your smoker temp down quickly when your rig is setup on the back patio :). I monitored the meat and the grill temperature with my Maverick ET732, I loaded the charcoal and the wood chunks almost every 45 minutes for the last 9 hours of the cook. It was a labor of love for sure. When I took the pork off the grill I placed it in a disposable aluminum pan covered with foil and placed it in a 170° oven till 9am. Then, we took it out made a few pictures for the blog, shredded it and left for the days festivities…..
So, want to know what went into this? Follow me:
House Favorite Pulled Pork for Man Food Mondays
- 6.5 lb pork shoulder
- Royal oak lump Charcoal
- Apple wood chunks
- Hickory wood chunks
- 1.5 cups Kosher salt
- 1.5 cups turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 4 cups boiling water
- cold water enough to cover the roast
- ½ cup turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
- 2 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp. grounded black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- ½ tsp. all-spice
- Put the brine ingredients in a pot large enough for the liquids to cover the pork shoulder.
- Pour the boiling water into the pot to dissolve the salt and the sugar. Add in COLD water, once the water is cool submerge the pork shoulder and place the pot in the refrigerator over night.
- Put together the dry rubb ingredients and use a whisk to combine then cover and set a side for when your ready to apply it to the pork shoulder.
- After the pork shoulder has sat overnight, remove it from the brine, using a paper towel, pat the pork shoulder dry and return it to the refrigerator for about an houor so it can drain. Once the pork shoulder has drained take it our of the refrigerator and pat it dry again.
- Liberally, coat the pork shoulder with your dry rubb mixture and wrap in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. After you have allowed the rubb to penetrate take the pork shoulder out of the refrigerator, un-wrap it and allow to warm up to room temperature.
- Assemble your smoker and get it up to 250° add the wood to the charcoal and adjust the temp back to 250° and place the pork shoulder on the smoker and monitor it until it’s done!
There was nothing about this cook that was difficult. It was great fun to put this together and the fact that I did not have people “waiting” to eat made this an easy cook. I strongly suggest you do this kind of cook ahead of time to reduce your stress over getting it done.
Next this was served “dry”, by this I mean that I did not add BBQ sauce to it before serving. We had a few different types of sauces available so each person was able to pick their own, this works out well if you have a large group like we did. We served it on whole wheat buns with about 6 different side dishes on plastic plates with glasses of sweet tea and water. To say the least we were hard pressed to move after dinner and to top it off, I have left overs. I am going to freeze part of it for later and eat the rest for lunch this week.
Do yourself a favor and cook this…You can do it in a crock pot or in the oven if you do not have a smoker, no smoky goodness that way but it will still be good!
I hope your 4th was a good one. Take care and I will see you next week