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Barbecued Pulled Pork on a Charcoal Grill

Posted by & filed under Pork.


Serves 8

Click HERE for detailed information on the techniques I use for making my Barbecued Pulled Pork recipe.

Pulled pork can be made with a fresh ham or picnic roast, although my preference is for Boston butt.  Preparing pulled pork requires little effort but lots of time.  Plan on 9 hours from start to finish:  3 hours with the spice rub, 3 hours on the grill, 2 hours in the oven, and 1 hour to rest.  Hickory is the traditional choice with pork, although mesquite can be used if desired.  Serve the pulled pork on plain white bread or warmed buns with the classic accompaniments of dill pickle chips and coleslaw.  You will need a disposable aluminum roasting pan that measures about 8 by 10 inches, as well as heavy-duty aluminum foil and a brown paper grocery bag.



1) If using a fresh ham or picnic roast, remove the skin.  Massage the dry rub into the meat .  Wrap the meat tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  (For stronger flavor, the roast can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

2) At lease 1 hour prior to cooking, remove the roast from the refrigerator, unwrap, and let it come up to room temperature.  Soak the wood chunks in cold water to cover for 1 hour and drain, or place the wood chips on an 18-inch square of aluminum foil, seal to make a packet, and use a fork to create about 6 holes to allow the smoke to escape.

3) Meanwhile, light a large chimney starter filled a bit less than halfway with charcoal briquettes (about 2-1/2 quarts, or 40 coals) and allow to burn until covered with a thin layer of grey ash.  Empty the coals into one side of the grill piling them up in a mound 2 or 3 briquettes high.  Open the bottom vents completely.  Place the wood chunks or the packet with the chips on top of the charcoal.

4) Set the unwrapped roast in the disposable aluminum pan and place it on the grate opposite the fire.  Open the grill lid vents three quarters of the way and cover, turning the lid so that the vents are opposite the wood chunks or chips to draw smoke through the grill.  Cook, adding about 8 briquettes every hour or so to maintain an average temperature of 275oF, for 3 hours.

5) Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325oF.  Wrap the pan holding the roast with heavy-duty foil to cover completely.  Place the pan in the oven and bake until the meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours.

6) Slide the foil-wrapped pan with the roast into a brown paper bag.  Crimp the top shut.  Let the roast rest for 1 hour.

7) Transfer the roast to a cutting board and unwrap.  When cool enough to handle, “pull” the pork by separating the roast into muscle sections, removing the fat, if desired, and tearing the meat into thin shreds with your fingers.  Place the shredded meat in a large bowl.  Toss with 1 cup of the barbecue sauce, adding more to taste.  Serve, passing the remaining sauce separately.


Barbecued Pulled Pork on a Gas Grill

Follow the recipe for Barbecued Pulled Pork on a Charcoal Grill through to step 2.   Soak 4 cups wood chips for 15 minutes in a bowl of water to cover.  Place the wood chips in a foil tray with the soaked wood chips on the top of the primary burners to high and preheat with the lid down until the chips are smoking heavily, about 20 minutes.  Turn the primary burner down to medium and turn off the other burner(s).  Set the unwrapped roast in the disposable pan, position the pan over the cool part of the grill, and close the lid.  Barbecue for 3 hours.  (The temperature inside the grill should be a constant 275oF and adjust the lit burner as necessary.)  Proceed as directed from step 5 of the recipe.

Cuban-Style Barbecued Pulled Pork with Mojo Sauce

This pork is delicious served with rice and black bean.  The use of wood for flavoring is not traditional in this dish and can be omitted if you prefer to keep the emphasis on the pork and seasonings.

Mix 9 medium garlic clove, minced (about 3 tablespoons), 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon salt, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil together in a small bowl.

Follow the recipe for Barbecued Pulled Pork (charcoal or gas), replacing the Dry Rub for Barbecue with the garlic mixture.

Proceed with the recipe, but do not toss the pulled pork with barbecue sauce.

To serve, pass Mojo Sauce separately with the pulled pork.


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