Smokin’ Succulent Pulled Pork with the Pit Barrel Cooker

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Video pit barrel pulled pork

Are you craving melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork? Look no further! With the Pit Barrel Cooker and a sensational sugar-free BBQ rub, you can create the most succulent pulled pork shoulder. This recipe is bound to become your new go-to for irresistibly tender and flavorful pork.

Spices on a plate
Spices for the sugar-free rub.

The Perfect Sugar-Free BBQ Rub

To enhance the flavor and appearance of your pulled pork, we’ll start by creating a mouthwatering spice rub. Here are the key ingredients that will take your pork shoulder to the next level:

  • Smoked paprika, to add a rich color and smoky undertones.
  • Swerve, an artificial sweetener that won’t spike your blood sugar. If you prefer, you can use raw sugar instead.
  • Cacao powder, for a hint of depth and richness.
  • Chili powder, to give your pork a delightful kick.
  • Salt, whether it’s Himalayan pink salt or any other variety.
  • Garlic powder, for a savory punch.
  • Dried oregano, to infuse a touch of herbal goodness.
  • Black pepper, to add a subtle heat.
  • Ground Cumin, for a warm and earthy flavor.

Now, let’s dive into the process of creating this irresistible BBQ masterpiece!

Seasoned boneless pork shoulder on a tray

Selecting the Perfect Cut

For this recipe, we recommend using a boneless pork shoulder, also known as pork butt. Whether bone-in or boneless, pork butt is the ideal cut for juicy and tender pulled pork. Today, we will be using a boneless pork shoulder, as that was what was available at Costco.

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Before we begin, ensure that you’ve patted the pork shoulder dry with paper towels. Now, let’s move on to applying the irresistible spice mixture that will make your taste buds dance!

Igniting the Flavor

It’s time to fire up the Pit Barrel Cooker! Start by filling the coal basket with charcoal, adjusting the amount depending on the cooking duration. If it’s a lengthy cook, remove some charcoal from one side and place it in a chimney starter. For a regular cook, take charcoal from the middle.

Charcoal in the Pit Barrel cooker basket

Now, place a fire starter on the grate, position the chimney on top, and light the fire starter. In approximately ten minutes, you’ll have a glorious flame ready to infuse the pork with mouthwatering smoky goodness.

A charcoal chimney on a grill with burning charcoal

Once the charcoal is burning beautifully, carefully transfer the coal basket to the Pit Barrel and pour the burning charcoal into the empty side. Place the grate into the barrel and set up your temperature probes. Don’t forget to add the rebar, gently return the lid (keeping it slightly ajar), and adjust the damper to be nearly closed.

Allow the fire to burn for about ten minutes before inserting a thermometer probe into the thickest part of the pork shoulder. Now, place it on the grate of the barrel, close the lid, and adjust the barrel temperature to a range between 225°F to 275°F (107°C to 135°C). While 250°F (121°C) is the target, it’s important to adapt to weather conditions for the best results.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The secret to tender pulled pork lies in patience and precision. Cook the pork until its internal temperature reaches a heavenly 205°F (96°C). This process usually takes just over ten hours. If, during the cook, the barrel temperature starts to drop even with the damper fully open, don’t fret! Simply add more burning charcoal to maintain the heat.

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Extra Cook Time Tips

If you find that you need extra cook time or prefer to finish the pork indoors, bring it into your oven to complete the process. This versatile recipe allows you to adapt to your preferences and kitchen setup.

Closeup of pulled pork. This is a pin for Pinterest.

Resting for Heavenly Tenderness

Once the pork reaches the desired internal temperature of 205°F, remove it from the cooker and tent it with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for thirty minutes, allowing the flavors to settle and the meat to become even more tender. If you need to hold it longer, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and place it in a small ice chest (without ice, of course). This will keep the pork hot without sacrificing its succulence. Some seasoned pit masters even use this technique to further enhance tenderness without drying out the meat.

Now that your pork has had the needed rest, it’s time to shred it to achieve the perfect pulled pork texture. If desired, now is the opportune moment to add your favorite BBQ sauce.

Sharing the BBQ Love

If you’ve enjoyed this exceptional pulled pork recipe, be sure to share it with your friends and loved ones. With all the tantalizing flavors and the satisfaction it brings, your friends will thank you for introducing them to this mouthwatering delight!

Feel free to explore our other Pit Barrel recipes, such as smoked beef brisket or smoked chicken leg quarters, for more epic BBQ adventures.


Remember, the Pit Barrel Cooker and our sugar-free BBQ rub will elevate your pulled pork to heavenly heights. Get ready to savor the most tender and flavorful pulled pork you’ve ever experienced. So, fire up your Pit Barrel Cooker and let the smokin’ adventure begin!

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For more delicious barbecue recipes and tips, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.

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