The good folks at Washington Post Express reached out to me while researching an article on the quintessential foods of summer and I had to tell them about my approach to pulled pork. While there are pretty strict rules for making a high-quality pulled pork, no where does it say you can’t smoke the meat. My smokey pulled pork with a Carolina bbq sauce is too good to keep secret. You can find the full recipe online in this article CHAR FROM HOME in last week’s Washington Post.
Smokey Pulled Pork
3-4-pound pork butt
1⁄4 of an orange
3⁄4 cup brown sugar
1⁄4 cup onion powder
1⁄4 cup garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄4 cup cinnamon
1⁄4 cup grated ginger
2 shots of whiskey
1 bottle favorite barbecue sauce
SERVES 8-10 | Cut open the orange, then squeeze it all over pork butt. Combine brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and ginger to create a rub, then evenly distribute it so the pork butt is completely covered (if you bought a larger cut, you may need to make a second batch of rub).
Refrigerate meat for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Soak a couple handfuls of wood chips for 30 minutes (pecan wood, apple wood or cherry wood are best).
Light the charcoal in your grill and let sit until it is 225 F, then add one handful of wood chips. Place meat on grill, but not directly over the embers. Fill a small metal bowl with water with a shot or two of whiskey in it, then place next to the meat to keep it moist.
A general rule of thumb is 1½ to 2 hours per pound of meat. However, this will vary widely depending on your grill and its ability to maintain even, well-insulated heat. Add 1 to 3 briquettes every couple of hours to maintain temperature, but don’t take off the lid more than is absolutely necessary.
Plan to spend 8 hours smoking a 4-pound pork butt. Use a probe thermometer to determine when the internal temperature of the pork butt is 195-200 F. Another test is to push down on the pork with a fork. When it starts to break apart very easily, it’s ready. If you have to work the least bit to get it to break apart, it’s not ready.
When it is ready, lightly dress with your favorite barbecue sauce and enjoy either on its own or in a bun.