Carolina Style Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe

Carolina Style Smoked Pulled Pork
Submitted By: Taz

Carolina style barbeque is all about pork... Throughout the Carolinas it is generally a whole roast pig but in the Piedmont region it is primarily Pork Butt (AKA Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder) coated with a smoky 'bark' of flavorful rub and smoked 'low and slow' until it is tender enough to pull apart with your fingers - Hence: 'Pulled Pork'. There are literally thousands of dry rub recipes out there that you can use BUT, this one is the one I have come up with after years of tinkering with different flavors. I have never found another rub even remotely like mine and it contains some ingredients that most people are not even aware exist! I came up with the rub recipe when I came to the conclusion that if the flavors of my homemade Piedmont style barbeque sauce works so well why not make the rub using the same ingredients but in dry form? I embarked on a search that took nearly 5 years but I think that the result was well worth the effort! All of the 'unique ingredients' (and more) are now easily found in one place - Online from Spice Barn saving you the years of searching that I did... (just do a Google search for 'Spice Barn' and you will find it right away)


5-8 lb Bone in Pork Butt (AKA Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder)

1 Cup Pickling Salt
¾ Cup Molasses
2 Quarts Water

Dry Rub:
½ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
3 Tbs Tomato Powder
3 Tbs Molasses Powder
3 Tbs Cider Vinegar Powder
3 Tbs Sweet Paprika
2 Tbs Worchester Powder
1 ½ Tbs Onion Powder
1 ½ Tbs Garlic Powder
1 Tbs Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 Tbs Kosher Salt
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

  1. Trim off some of the fat from your pork butt leaving a layer ⅛ - ¼ inch thick
  2. Thoroughly combine all of the brine ingredients in a 6 quart container making sure that all of the salt is completely dissolved
  3. Place the pork in the brine making sure that it is completely submerged - Cover container and place in the refrigerator for a minimum 8 hours (12-14 hours overnight for better results)
-After Brining-
  1. Place all of the dry rub ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly combine
  2. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry (discard remaining brine) - You want the outside to me moist but not wet so that the rub will stick
  3. Coat the pork with the dry rub 'patting' into the meat to ensure that as much of the rub adheres as possible and allow to sit (uncovered) for 1 hour before moving to the cooker - You can place the rubbed pork in the refrigerator (loosely covered) overnight if desired just make sure that you bring it back to room temperature before placing on the cooker
-When you are ready to cook, prep and preheat your cooker*-
  1. Place the pork (fat side up) on the cooker directly over the water pan (see below) and insert a digital probe thermometer into the pork (you want the tip to be right in the middle but make sure that it is not within ½ inch of, or touching the bone)
  2. Add hickory wood chunks at this point - You will have to add wood chunks whenever the smoke stops (apx every 30 minutes depending on grill and set up) for the first 3-6 hours of cooking so be prepared
  3. Allow pork to cook at 200ºF undisturbed (adding wood and fuel as necessary) until it reaches an internal temperature of 195ºF (How long this will take depends on many factors but suffice it to say that it will take a minimum of 8 hours [10-16 hours is common] - The temperature will 'stall' between 150 and 160ºF and will not rise for up to 5 hours - DO NOT PANIC! This is normal... It is frustrating but the process helps to ultimately dry the exterior of the pork helping to form the 'bark' so ride it out)
  4. Once the pork reaches an internal temperature of 195ºF, remove from the cooker and allow to rest uncovered in a large disposable aluminum pan for 30 minutes and then pull (shred) directly into the pan - You can use a couple of forks or 'bear paws' for this but I like to where BBQ gloves and do it by hand -Remove the bone (it should slide right out 'clean' if cooked properly) and discard any large chunks of fat
  5. Serve hot along with desired side dishes and sauces on the side (for those that desire them), make it into pulled pork sandwiches, or any way you wish!
NOTE: If you are transporting your pulled pork to party or other gathering you can transfer the meat and all of its juices to a slow cooker ('crock pot') and set it to warm - this will keep it ready to serve for 4- 6 hours (if it lasts that long!)

NOTE: Pulled pork freezes well - Though the meat is at its best 'right off the smoker', you can portion it out into zipper bags and freeze it (you may want to mix it with a little sauce to prevent freezer burn if storing for a long period) - Reheat portions in their bags in the microwave (add a splash of water, apple juice, or sauce to 'bring it back to life')


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