Easy Carolina-style Pulled Pork

My relatives in North Carolina first introduced me to the awesomeness of true Southern barbeque (a food style, not a device) years ago and I was instantly smitten. I’ve since discovered through a lot of experimentation that you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to make really, really good pulled pork. Starting the meat in the oven and finishing it on a gas grill with a few packets of wood chips to impart a smokey flavour makes for an easy yet spectacularly delicious version. This process takes approximately 6 hours but for much of that time all you’ll need to do is savour the aroma of delicious roasting meat! In the Carolinas, most pulled pork comes on a bun (I like to use my challah dough to make them) along with coleslaw and potato salad.

Pulled pork is traditionally served on white buns with two classic side dishes - potato salad and coleslaw.

Pulled pork is traditionally served on white buns with two classic side dishes – potato salad and coleslaw.

Ingredients

5 to 8 pound pork shoulder or butt roast
Dry Rub (see below)
Sauce (see below)

Note: Netted classic pork shoulder blade roasts are perfect for the job; they are inexpensive and surprisingly flavourful, plus there is zero waste when pulling apart the meat.

This netted boneless pork shoulder roast is perfect for pulled pork.

This netted boneless pork shoulder roast is perfect for pulled pork.

Dry Rub:

2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
¼ cup paprika

Method

  • Remove packaging and elastic netting (if applicable) from the pork roast and pat dry with paper towels. If the meat is really falling apart, tie it with a few pieces of clean kitchen string.
  • Rub the meat liberally with the dry rub and let sit at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.

    Covering the meat in a dry spice rub adds loads of flavour before roasting and smoking it.

    Covering the meat in a dry spice rub adds loads of flavour before roasting and smoking it.

  • While meat is resting, make the sauce (see below).
  • When ready to start roasting, preheat oven to 325F.
  • Place meat in a roasting pan and cover tightly with foil.
  • Roast until the internal temperature of the meat is 160F. For a 5 pound roast, this should take about 2.5 hours.
  • While meat is roasting, soak wood chips in water (per the instructions in the hyperlink above).
  • When meat reaches 160F, turn off heat and leave in oven until grill is ready.
  • Prepare 3 foil packets of wood chips and place one directly on top of one burner of your gas grill.
  • Turn grill on high heat and let it pre-heat until the wood chips begin to smoke.
  • Turn off one burner (not the one that has the wood chips on top of it) and place roasted meat over the unlit burner. Adjust temperature of other burners so your grill maintains an even temperature of about 375F.
  • Smoke the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of about 195F. This should take approximately 2 hours.
  • Note that you will need to add the next packet of wood chips after about 30 minutes, to give it time to start smoking just as the first one dies out.
  • Remove the meat from the grill and let it stand for about 30 minutes. Pull apart using two forks (you may need a knife to chop up some of the crispy exterior).

    It's best to 'pull' or shred the meat with two large forks, rather than chopping it.

    It’s best to ‘pull’ or shred the meat with two large forks, rather than chopping it.

  • As you shred the meat, place it in a microwave-safe bowl or casserole dish and drizzle a bit of the warm sauce over it; repeat each time you have another portion of the meat shredded.
  • Stir well in the casserole dish to combine meat and sauce.
  • Note that you can roast, smoke and pull the pork a day or two in advance and reheat it gently in microwave when ready to serve.

Sauce:

¾ cup Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup cider vinegar
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup ketchup
¾ cup water
¾ teaspoon cayenne
few drops liquid smoke

  • Put all ingredients in a large saucepan and whisk to combine well.
  • Cook the sauce over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  • Reserve 1 cup in a serving jug to pass at the table; use the rest to drizzle over the cooked pork as you shred it.
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About Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.
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2 Responses to Easy Carolina-style Pulled Pork

  1. Sonia Mendes says:

    Pulled pork on a bun?? Oh baby! Sign me up…this is a “must-try” for the summer!

  2. Pingback: Patio Party for 10 people for $100 | Constantly Cooking

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