Pulled-pork BBQ

Get a pork shoulder (or two). You can get them from the butchers at Costco, but you have to ask. I haven’t tried asking at Whole Foods yet, which is where I prefer to get my meat, but maybe there too (for 2x the price, I’m sure, but sans the anti-biotics and such).

The Rub (enough for two 7-8 lb shoulders):

  • 2 T black pepper
  • 3 T paprika
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 3 T kosher salt
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground allspice

The night before the Q-ing, massage the rub into the meat all over, pressing hard to make it stick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and put back in the fridge overnight. I’m no food scientist, but apparently a rub acts simliar to a brine in that the salt will slowly work its way into the cell structure of the meat, carrying the spices along with it.

The cooking process takes 6-8 hours, so I usually get my fire going by 10am. I have an old Brinkman Pitmaster, so once the coals are going I dump them in the side compartment. The meat goes on a large rimmed baking sheet, but you can also use disposable aluminum pans. Then it’s just a matter of keeping enough coals going to maintain a temperature around 230-250 degrees in the main chamber. The smoke comes from handfuls of water-soaked hickory chunks (from Home Depot, if I remember right).

After smoking for 3-4 hours, I bring it all back inside, wrap the meat in loose foil packets, and put it in the oven at 325.

After two hours, remove the meat from the oven and slide it sideways, pan and all, into a paper grocery bag. Let it sit for one hour more.

Finally, take the meat out of the pan onto a big cutting board and pull it apart into shreds. It’s usually still too hot to do this with my hands, so I’ll use either a couple of forks or spoons. Toss the “pulled” pork with a cup or so of whatever barbeque sauce you’re using and/or some of the juices reserved from the pan.

Serve on hamburger buns or bulkie rolls w/ slaw.

Note: this “recipe” is mostly taken from the July/August ’97 issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

Written on September 11, 2006