Monday, June 18, 2007

My Father’s Day tradition: North Carolina style Pulled Pork!

I've developed a rather sick & twisted tradition for Father's Day – I've spent the last three Father's Days manning the grill for 5 or 6 hours while it's 100 degrees outside! Why, you ask? Because then I get to eat the best North Carolina style pulled pork on the planet! Better than anything I've ever had at a restaurant – even Dillon's, El Paso BBQ's, and Honey Bears. It takes a little bit of planning, but it tastes soooo good! Here's my recipe; I highly recommend giving it a try this summer – 4th of July is right around the corner..

North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork (the BEST ever!)

  • 8 lbs pork butt roast
  • 2 lbs hickory wood chips, soaked
  • 1.5 Tbs paprika
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • .5 tsp celery salt
  • .5 tsp garlic salt
  • .5 tsp dry mustard
  • .5 tsp ground black pepper
  • .5 tsp onion powder
  • .25 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 5 tsp salt
  • 2-4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • (Note: The crushed red pepper can make your pork extra spicy. I use 2 tsp for a little zing; my wife would prefer using 4 tsp. But hey, I'm making it - I get to choose!)
  1. Mix RUB ingredients in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture into the roast on all sides. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Prepare your grill for indirect heat. Sprinkle wood chips over coals, or place in the smoker box of a gas grill (or wrap them in tinfoil with holes punched in it and place under cooking grate).
  3. Place pork butt roast on the grill. Cover grill, and cook over low to medium indirect heat for 5-6 hours. Check at least hourly, adding fresh coals and wood chips to maintain heat and smoke. (I usually add wood chips every 30 minutes.)
  4. Remove pork from heat and place on a cutting board. Allow the meat to cool approx. 15 minutes, then shred into bite-sized pieces using two forks. (This is the hardest step of the process, because you'll want to eat the whole thing right now! Have patience, shred it into small pieces, and you'll be rewarded later.)
  5. While pork is cooling, whisk together SAUCE ingredients. Continue whisking until brown sugar and salt have dissolved. Place shredded pork and vinegar sauce in a large roasting pan, and stir to coat pork. Cover and warm on grill (or stove) for 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve as main dish with sides, or on a roll with melted cheese as a sandwich.
Makes 12 servings. Prep time: 1 hour Cook time: 6 hours, 30 minutes.

Bonus Incentive: It's the only time all year long when everyone in the family comes over and asks about my butt, or tells me that my butt looks & smells great! ;-) And who could ever get enough of that?

Enjoy. I hope your Father's Day was great!

- Chris Butterworth

Update 11/10 - I cooked this with a 1.2 lb pork loin. I added the Rub to the loin & wrapped it in foil, then I slow-smoked it on the grill - about 250 degrees, Indirect heat / convection style, for about 3 hours. Then I pulled/shredded it & added it to the Sauce (which I had cut the recipe in half due to having less meat). I simmered it for awhile to let the sauce marinade it, then I put it in the fridge for the afternoon. At dinnertime I heated it on the stove & served. Yummy. Next time, for a bigger group, I would use 2 or 3 pork loins rather than the 8lb butt.