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Smoked Pulled Pork (Pork Shoulder, Pork Butt)

How to smoke pork butt (pork shoulder), and a recipe for incredible smoked pulled pork. 
Course bbq, Entree
Cuisine barbecue, bbq, grilling, summer
Keyword boston butt, how to make pulled pork, pork butt, pork shoulder, smoked boston butt, smoked pork butt, smoked pork shoulder
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 9 hours
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 11 hours
Servings 8 people
Cost $40

Ingredients

For Rub:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

For Injection:

  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup apple juice

For Spritz:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

For the Pork Dry Rub

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Use about 1/4 cup of the rub and store the remainder in a mason jar for up to six months.

For the Spritz

  • Combine the apple cider vinegar and water in a food safe spray bottle.

How to Smoke Pork Shoulder

  • The night before cooking, prepare pork. Remove excess fat cap, and any glands. Pat dry with paper towel and then place onto a baking sheet, and inject the meat. Discard any liquid that pools in the pan and then pat dry the pork again.
  • Apply mustard and then dry rub thoroughly. If you don’t have time to do the night before try to apply at least an hour before cooking. You’ll see the rub begin to liquefy as the moisture connects with the meat.
  • Preheat smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. We use apple or cherry wood. Insert a thermometer if you have a remote probe, and leave in place.
  • Place the pork fat cap side up (if you left the cap on) and smoke for about three hours. You’ll see a bark begin to develop, if it hasn't continue smoking one more hour. After you see a mahogany color and bark, spritz (or spray) every 30 minutes. After about five hours total, check the temperature. When the pork hits on or around 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s likely coming out of the stall and ready to wrap. This will change from meat to meat, you will see the temperature hover and only go up in a few degrees per hour. It pushes through the stall when you start to see the temperature increase in a much faster pace (between 165 to 175).
  • As you complete the stall, (remove the thermometer at this point if you have one) place the pork shoulder into a pan, add a small amount (two tablespoons) of your spritz into the pan and wrap in foil tightly. Put the thermometer back in place.
  • Continue cooking wrapped until the internal temperature is between 200 and 203. Use an instant read thermometer. It should slide right in as if it is room temperature butter.
  • Remove from smoker (leave wrapped). Place into a cooler (with NO ice) and let it rest for an hour. It will act as a warmer and keep the pork warm for hours, so if you are planning an event, better to be done early and let it sit.
  • After one hour, remove from cooler and begin pulling. Remove the bone (it will just slide right out clean), and then pull with your favorite tool or with your hands. It is likely there will be some cartilage or other fatty pieces, be sure to pull those out (it’s not a good texture).
  • You may also opt to add a few tablespoons of BBQ sauce to mix in as well, or just top your pulled pork sandwiches with it. See BBQ sauce in notes, and also a link below the video.

Notes

*Serving Tip: Pull meat as close to service as possible, once you pull, it starts to cool down fast. If you need to reheat, put back into smoker or oven covered with a little apple cider vinegar.
*Time - This time is for a 7 - 8 pound shoulder. Every shoulder will cook differently, so adjust your cooking time up if a larger shoulder. Typically we plan 1 hour and 15 minutes for every pound including the rest time for total cook time.
*Please see extended instructions above for full description.
*For our favorite dry rub for pulled pork, see this post and video for variations.
*For the Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce