Texas BBQ Pulled Pork
As a Utah native, I was not AT ALL familiar with the proper way to do BBQ. To even mention the words, slow cooker, grill or, heaven forbid, OVEN to a Southerner, it would be pure sacrilege! Seriously…don’t do it or beware the consequences! J I feel fortunate to have finally been introduced to the best and TRUE style of BBQ while living in the great states of Oklahoma and now Texas. I have truly seen the light.
In the art of BBQ (the right way) pulled pork is my favorite for oh so many reasons and taste aside (which is fantastic!) the biggest reason is because if you’re a BBQ novice, it’s so hard to screw up, especially when you use the shoulder. You see, if you under cook it (however, staying within the safety limits) it may be tough, but still good. If you overcook it, it won’t dry out too much thanks to all that marbling, so you can still happily serve it to your guests. It’s the perfect meat to start off on your BBQ culinary skills because you can eat your blunders. (Plus, it’s just my favorite kind of bbq!)
How to pick your cut: this recipe is for the whole shoulder, which is usually hard to find, because it’s usually cut into two pieces, the Boston Butt (ave 9-10lbs) and the Picnic (5-6lbs). When I am cooking just for my little family, I go for the picnic (though both taste great and there’s almost no difference), but leave the bone in for all that flavor! Just know that it will take longer to cook that way. Be sure that your cut of meat has plenty of marbling (yes, fat!) to keep it moist, but don’t worry, most of that fat will melt away during the long hours of smoking. In fact, that’s how you know when it’s done; most of the fat will be gone, but catch it before it begins to dry out.
When you pick your meat, you also need to make sure the skin isn’t too thick or the smoke and any rub’s you use will not penetrate. Unless you’re good at this and have a very sharp knife at home, just ask your butcher to cut the excess away.
So, for the recipe in the photo, I actually didn’t use any rubs and it comes out juicy and fall apart perfect, and I just followed up with Head and Country BBQ sauce…BUT I do love me a good rub (I was just in a hurry), and one of my faves is from The Greatest Barbecue Recipes, here it is:
Pulled Pork Rub Recipe
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Paprika
- 2 tblsp coarse Salt (sea or kosher)
- 2 tblsp Black Pepper
- 1 tblsp Cayenne Pepper
- 4 tsp Cumin
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- 2 tsp Onion Powder
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Thyme Powder
- 2 tsp Sage
- 2 tsp Coriander Powder
Mix all together.
“We like to apply the rub the day before “fire” time for the most effect, but try to do it at least 2 hours ahead, using this method…
Slather the roast with any common yellow table mustard. This will allow the spices to stick close to the meat, does not impart a flavor, and is a competitor’s secret!
Apply the rub liberally, work it in thoroughly all over the meat, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until an hour or so before cooking. It is best to allow the pork to come close to room temperature before putting it in the smoker.
If you have a time crunch, we’ve found a secret used by many professional cooks; Pappy’s Choice Seasoning! This stuff’s great!”
They also give great advice on a great slowcooker…I just use the cheap one from Wally world and it works well enough.
What you’ll need:
- Tongs (long and strong)
- Meat thermometer (mine stays in the whole time with a heatproof cord that comes out of the smoker…also purchased at wally world (that’s walmart for my more upscale friends not familiar with the lingo hehe)
- Hardwood chunks/chips
- Stick with Hickory and Oak for a classic flavor, but I’ve read good things about peach, cherry, apple and pecan…just no mesquite or alder. Their flavor is too potent.
If you are using charcoal, use hardwood charcoal (though it’s okay to use regular). If you do use charcoal, add presoaked hardwood chunks to the coals once the fire is good and hot. Make sure to drain off as much water as possible. The wood should be moist, not wet. Throughout the smoke, you’ll likely need to add more burning coals to the fire to maintain heat.
Once your smoker is ready, add the meat. The perfect temp is around 215 degrees F (or there abouts). Plan 1-1/2hrs per pound. Plan on usually at least 6 hours in the smoker. If for whatever reason, you start losing temp at some point, I’ve learned that you can wrap it in foil, but try to wait until the end so it has plenty of time to soak up the smokey wood flavor.
Once your meat reaches 180-190 degrees F it is ready to be pulled out. You can technically serve it at 165, but it will still be tough, and won’t pull apart easily. Do not exceed 190 or it will begin to really dry out. Just plan to babysit it a bit, but RESIST PEEKING!! You don’t want to lose heat; that’s why I love my meat thermometer that stays in throughout the entire smoke (It was just $18).
Now you’re ready to eat….almost! Before you start pulling the meat apart, let it rest for about 10 minutes to really let the juices settle. Then take two forks to separate the good stuff and shred it. Keep it in a pot over low heat to keep it warm until you’re ready to serve it up.
Then, if you feel so inclined, use your favorite BBQ sauce! I prefer Head and Country; it really adds to that amazing smokey flavor!
Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!