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Chuck's Magical Pulled Pork

Chuck's Magical Pulled Pork

Posted by Chuck Cantrell on Mar 18th 2019

One of my favorite things is pulled pork, though I have to admit I seldom like it when I eat at restaurants. Generally, it is soaked in a sweet sauce to make up for its lack moister that basic savory flavor that makes you want to sing. That’s what this recipe is all about, singing the praises of good smoked meat. It’s not hard to smoke to perfection, it's really all about craft. I am going to teach you the basic technique of the craft in this recipe. This will be your foundation for smoking just about anything in the future. Now, let’s get to smoking!

Food Stuff:

5 to 8 pounds of pork shoulder (pork butt)

½ cup Chuck’s Spices & Rubs, Lucille’s Favorite (reserve some to sprinkle over the pulled pork at the end)
½ cup of apple cider (for the spray bottle)
2 ½ cups of water (reserve ½ cup of this for the spray bottle)
6 pieces of aluminum foil about 14 inches or so long
1 or 2 long pieces of aluminum foil to wrap the should tightly for the all-important tender making stage
Equipment and Hard Stuff:

Smoker or Grill

Foil baking pan
1 large bowl
2 cups of hickory (soaked in a bowl of water)
1 cup of applewood chips (soaked in a bowl of water)
2 chimneys of charcoal briquettes or charcoal lump wood
2 or 3 pages of newspaper or paper bags
1 fork
1 spray bottle filled with (½ cup water and ½ cup apple cider)
This is the craft portion of the recipe; learn these basic skills for success smoking or grilling just about anything.
BBQ Grill

If you are using a grill, you will need to set it up for indirect heat. Here is how it works. You are going to divide the grill into two zones. Hot and cool. Place the foil tray filled with 2 cups of water on the cool side of the charcoal rack in your grill. Now you will need to fill a BBQ chimney with charcoal briquettes or lump wood. Place crumpled newspaper or paper bags into the bottom of your chimney and place it on the hot side of your charcoal rack. Now it’s time for fire, light the chimney through the holes at the bottom and allow your charcoal to heat for about 20 minutes or when you see flames from the top looking down. Now carefully pour the coals on the hot side of the rack, (I just said carefully for a reason, these are hot coals, be careful!) Now you are ready to get this thing started.

Fill the center of the aluminum foil sheets with soaked chips and wrap them tightly. Now use a fork to poke holes in the foil so that smoke can come through. Now place three foil pack on top of the hot coals and place the meat rack on the grill and cover it with the lid.

About halfway through smoking, you will probably need to refill the hot coals and bags of soaked chips. Again, be careful when you are doing this, things are hot. Now that you are all set to go, skip down the meat prep portion of this recipe.

Smoker

Prepare your smoker as you would normally do. Place the soaked chips in the chip tray. Pour two cups of water in the water try. If you have an electric smoker set it to 225 degrees. If you it’s not electric you are going to want to manage the heat as close to 225 as you can get it.

You will probably have to refill the water and chip tray about halfway through smoking.

Now let’s prep some meat!

Generously rub Lucille’s Favorite rub on all sides of the pork shoulder. Be generous in this step it makes a difference. You want to build up a nice spicy bark or crust on your meat. Let the shoulder sit for about 15 minutes before placing in your grill or smoker. Place it on the cool side of your grill or the center rack of your smoker. If you smoker or grill has a meat probe us it to make sure it cooks to an internal temperature of 190 degrees. Now, this is going to take a while, a long while about an hour per pound of meat. So the best thing to do is relax. Pull out your favorite sipping bourbon and make yourself a drink or two, heck you should enjoy the ride, that's what smoking is all about.

Every hour or so open the grill or smoker and spray the meat with the water and apple cider mixer to keep it moist.

The Tender Making Stage:

About one hour before its done pull the shoulder out and wrap it tightly with foil and put it back in for about an hour. Once done, remove it and let it cool fully wrapped in the foil at least 20 minutes. Unwrap and remove the bone, it should slide out with little resistance. If it doesn’t, it's not done yet, wrap it back up and put it back in the grill or smoker for another 30 minutes.

Once cool, use a fork or your hands (your hands are the best tools for this, just wash them first,) to pull the meat apart into moist tasty shreds. Sprinkle liberally with Lucille’s Favorite rub and serve with your favorite sauce. (This is your chance to make some pulled pork heaven, add some of Lucille's Favorite Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce and create some magic!) Happy pulled pork extravaganza folks!