The Art of Smoking Pulled Pork on a Charcoal Grill

Pulled Pork BBQ: Smoked Pork Butt Using A Charcoal Grill

Are you a fan of mouthwatering pulled pork? If so, you’re in for a treat! In this article, we’ll explore the art of smoking a pork butt on a charcoal grill. Get ready to experience the flavors and aroma of authentic BBQ as we take you on a journey through the world of pulled pork.

Unveiling the Secrets of Smoked Pork Butt

Many cooking methods can yield tender pulled pork, but nothing beats the authentic flavors produced by smoking it. Forget about the braiser, dutch oven, or slow cooker – those are great for other recipes, but not when it comes to true BBQ.

Recently, I had the opportunity to smoke a 9 lb. bone-in pork shoulder, thanks to a substitution by my Instacart shopper. As a first-time smoker, I delved into research, consulted experts, and relied on various sources such as Salt Pepper Skillet, Hey Grill Hey, Meater, ThermoWorks, and Kingsford.

Key Insights: A Smoker’s Guide to Success

Through my journey, I gathered invaluable tips that enhanced my smoking skills. Here are some takeaways that will help you achieve BBQ excellence:

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1. The “Low and Slow” Method Requires Perseverance

While the phrase “low and slow” is often used to describe the cooking style, it’s important to note that smoking is an active cooking method. It demands continuous attention and care to ensure the best results.

2. Time Management is Crucial

Give yourself plenty of time to smoke the pork. Start early, even if you’re not a morning person. The cooking time typically ranges between 60 to 90 minutes per pound of pork. So, plan accordingly and allow extra time for the best results.

3. Master the Art of Temperature Control

Maintaining a steady temperature is essential for smoking success. Aim to keep the grill temperature between 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. This consistent heat will ensure the perfect texture and flavor in your pulled pork.

4. Patience is a Virtue

The pork should be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it reaches this range, let it rest for about an hour. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in tender and succulent meat.

5. Planning and Layout Go Hand in Hand

Consider your grill’s layout and plan ahead. Strategize where to add coals and wood chips to minimize heat loss. Additionally, ensure that the wire of your meat thermometer can be safely positioned. ThermoWorks provides valuable insights on this matter.

6. Preparing Wood Chips

Soak the wood chips before adding them to the coals. This prevents them from burning too quickly and ensures a steady release of smoke throughout the cooking process.

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7. Timing is Everything

Avoid adding wood chips after the pork reaches around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Adding them later may result in excessive smokiness and a bitter taste on the outer layer of the meat.

8. Accuracy Matters

If you’re using new thermometers, check their accuracy before relying on them. This step ensures that your temperature readings are precise and helps you maintain control over the cooking process.

9. Resist the Temptation

It’s hard to resist peeking at the pork while it’s smoking, but trust the process. Avoid opening the lid frequently, as this disrupts the cooking temperature and extends the overall cooking time. Restraint will reward you with perfectly smoked pulled pork.

A Budget-Friendly Choice for Flavorful Delights

Smoking a large pork butt may seem costly, but it offers tremendous value for money. A bone-in pork shoulder typically costs around $1.59 per pound. Considering that it loses approximately 40% of its weight after cooking, a 9.5 lb. cut will provide enough meat for 12 or more servings. This equates to just $1.25 per serving, excluding additional ingredients.

Embrace the cost-effectiveness of pulled pork without compromising on taste. Freeze the leftovers, and you’ll have a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes. From Pulled Pork BBQ Naan Flatbread to Pulled Pork Quesadillas and even Pulled Pork Tortilla Soup, the possibilities are endless.

Butt or Shoulder: Decoding the Terminology

The terms “butt” and “shoulder” are often used interchangeably, causing confusion among BBQ enthusiasts. The Boston butt refers to the upper part of the shoulder, while the picnic shoulder is the lower portion. For a comprehensive understanding of these cuts, refer to resources such as Barbecue Bible and Cook’s Illustrated.

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Choosing the Right Grill

My personal favorite for smoking pulled pork is a Kingsford barrel grill, which can be purchased for under $200. This grill offers a host of convenient features, including an adjustable shelf for charcoal, an easy-to-remove ash tray, and a door for hassle-free charcoal replenishment. Installing a thermometer is a valuable addition to ensure accurate temperature control.

If you don’t own a Kingsford grill, don’t worry. You can achieve excellent results on other types of charcoal grills. Weber, for example, provides resources and tips on smoking with a traditional Weber kettle.

Elevate Your BBQ Adventures with Smoked Pulled Pork

With these insights and tips at your disposal, you’re ready to embark on a delicious journey of creating tender and flavorful smoked pulled pork. Experience the joy of authentic BBQ in the comfort of your own backyard.

So, fire up your grill, embrace the art of smoking, and savor the irresistible aroma and taste of perfectly smoked pulled pork!

For more BBQ inspiration, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.