Pulled Pork (PP) on the BBQ
Making Pulled Pork!
Finnally I managed to make some Pulled Pork! About 5 years ago when I was looking at some great BBQ sites I heard about this recipe for the first time. It triggered me immediately. For several reasons I did not manage to make the Pulled Pork. Up till now. Update: You might also be interested in the “North Carolina Pulled Pork“.
Disclosure: "This post contains test products and affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I'll get a small commision to keep this blog running. All opionions shared are my own."
My son was Ill today and I had to stay home to take care for the little one… Making the best of a lost day isn’t hard for me. Just looking at my bucket list is enough to find some inspiration. Yesterday I bought 2kg. pork neck (Boston Butt), injected with a home made injection and put in the Killer Hogs rub overnight. Due to the unexpected situation I didn’t have the time to put together my own rub, but this is my favorite commercial rub. The rest is based on the Pulled Pork by Noskos. I changed some ingredients (because I didn’t have the Original…)
Pulled Pork Injection:
- 100ml. Multi-fruit juice
- 40ml. Apple cider
- 20ml. Wheat Syrup
- 15ml. Worcestershire
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 20 ml. Hot Chili BBQ sauce
Heat up these ingredients and whisk them through. Let the injection juice cool down and inject every 5cm. Rub the Pork Neck with your favorite rub and put it in the fridge for about 8 hrs. This is how it looked in the morning:
Preparing the Q:
Time for the real deal! Prepare your BBQ for indirect grilling. This way you’ll prevent the meat getting in contact with direct heat. You can do this by using the snake method for long sessions. Pitmaster X explains you what the snake method is. When using a kamado you can use a heat deflector. This way you can fire up your coals at desired temperature (110°C or 230°F).
Add some wood chunks or an aluminum dish with your favorite smoking chips. I ran out of chunks so I used grapevines and pinecones. Once you added the wood you can put in the heat deflector and a dripping pan with fluid at choice. Wait until the smoke turns blue before you add the meat.
The first couple of hours you should relax. Drink a beer or something like that (especially the first time) and check your dome temperature once in a while. Aim for 110°C or 230°F. Meanwhile take a rest, enjoy the smoke flavours, … Besides keeping the temperature right and preparing your glaze, you don’t need to intervene for a long time. Noskos advises to wait 5hrs. or an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) (what comes first), before you move on to the next step.
- 1/2 cup BBQ Sauce (I used Japanese Sticky Grill but prefer some other sauces)
- 2 Tbsp applecider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. wheat syrup
Slowly boil the ingredients and blend them.
First time was a little bit stressy for me. My dome temperature was 120°C (250°F) the first hours and wouldn’t cool down. I had the bottom slider closed completely and the upper with the smallest opening. After 2 hrs. I tried opening the upper slider a little bit more beceause I thought the hot steam couldn’t escape fast enough. In no time temperature reduced till the desired temperature. Meanwhile the Butt was 63° (145°F). Little panic since he was going too fast??? I called in some help and got the advise to spray some cold fluid (thanks Birger for the advice). He also eased me by telling me it’s not uncommon for the meat to raise temperature that fast. It’s calming down around 70°C (160°F) and so it did.
5 hrs. later OR at 74°C (165°F): Glaze
Once you’ve reache one of these conditions you’ll open up the lid for the first time. The smell is awesome. But no time to loose!! You’ll have to act fast or the temperature in your BBQ will raise (and that’s not what you want). Advise: close the the bottom lid before you slowly open up the lid. Now start glazing the butt, close the lid and wait for another 2 hrs. This way you’ll be creating a bark (some kind of herb crust).
Pulled Pork legendary moment: The zone
Don’t be scared if in the period following after basting with glaze your meat temperature stops or drops. This is what’s called the zone. Shortly explained: the juices start evaporating the meat. Like we’re sweating it causes stabilisation of the temperature. My butt stayed at 76°C (170°F) for about 1hr and a half. It’s not predictable when and how long the zone lasts.
2 hrs. after glazing
No matter if you’re still in the zone or not. This is the moment to wrap the pp in foil. This way you’ll prevent the juices to evaporate even more. To wrap the neck you put two long pieces of foil in a cross and fold them tightly around the meat. Put it back on the BBQ untill you reach an internal temp. of 88°C (190°F). Carefully remove the package from your BBQ! Make sure you don’t drop the juices! You’ll need them for the end sauce!
Let the PP rest and prepare the end sauce.
The picture above is the Pulled Pork without the juices. Wrap it up again and let it rest for at least 1 hr. I found out resting even longer improved the juiciness. While your waiting you can start making the end sauce. Here’s my version:
- ½ cup juices from the meat you’ve put aside
- ½ cup Multifruit Juice
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- 3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp. worchestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Cider vinegar
Cook the ingredients on medium heat and mix them through.
After 1 hr. waiting, longing, being impatient, … you can finally unwrap the package and start pulling. If everything went well you can shred the pieces apart with two forks.
This is an exciting moment. I couldn’t resist tasting! I had been waiting way too long to my standards. What a relief tasting it worked out. Then again I had the feeling the PP could use more flavours. But I still had to add the end sauce. Here’s a before and after:
First reaction: This is good… But it could get better. After adding the end sauce and letting the pulled pork rest for another 2 hrs. at 65°C (150°F) the texture and flavour developed and I wanted more. The panic in the beginning was “a waste of joy” (no it wasn’t it was exciting but not necessary). My wife (not such a big fan of American style BBQ) approved the result and ate more than I expected! More than half of the meat was gone after the meal. The other half is staying in the freezer in a vacuum bag. This is certainly not the last time! I see some room for improvement. Next time I’ll use some more salt in the injection marinade and use my own BBQ Sauce.
Serving tip: BBQ Roasted Buns
Thanks for reading. Please let me know if you have some advice or questions or want to share your own recipe. I’ve made this blog for interaction so don’t be shy! If you like what you read, please spread the word.