Pulled pork is a barbecue staple for a reason. By following a simple recipe you get juicy, tender shredded pork that can be used for burgers, tacos, nachos or just eaten by itself.
In this recipe, you will learn our method for easy pulled pork on the smoker.
Equipment you’ll need
This is a simple recipe that doesn’t require a lot of equipment.
- We’re using a bullet smoker but any smoker will do the job
- We prefer lump but briquettes will work just as well
- Meat thermometer or probe to measure the internal temperature of the pork
- A spray bottle filled with apple cider vinegar to keep pork from drying out during the cook
- Firelighters to get your charcoal alight
- A couple of chunks of pecan or any fruit smoke wood
- Basting Brush
- Oven rack
- Foil tray
- Aluminum Foil
1. Getting your pork ready
We used a 3.2lb boneless Boston Butt for this recipe. You can use a larger one but just keep in mind that this can make the cook take longer.
If you don’t know, the Boston Butt is a cut of pork from the shoulder of the hog, rather than the rear of the hog as you would think from its name.
This cut makes amazing pulled pork thanks to the fat and collagen in the shoulder meat. This breaks down during the cooking process resulting in tender, melt in your mouth pork.
Start your preparation, slather the whole butt in mustard.
We use French’s classic yellow mustard for something for the rub to adhere too, but you can also use olive oil or any hot sauce.
For this cook we suggest using a blend of two different rubs from Three Little Pigs:
- Kansas City Championship BBQ Rub, which will give some bold onion, garlic, and other spices.
- Touch of Cherry BBQ Rub, which adds some nice cherry smoke and brown sugar flavor.
These 2 rubs work well together although you should feel free to experiment with your different rubs. If you just want to use one you can’t go wrong with our very own simple pork barbecue rub.
Apply the rub evenly across the pork, patting the rub into the meat, making sure you get a nice even application across the sides and back.
Let it sit until the meat starts to sweat, then you know it is ready to hit the BBQ. You can also leave it in the fridge overnight although its not essential.
2. Set your smoker up
We used a Fornetto Basso for this cook with lump charcoal and a couple of chunks of Pecan wood for that smoky taste.
The Basso is similar to the Weber Smokey Mountain. Any type of smoker will work just fine though as pork butt is very forgiving. You can even use any old charcoal Kettle grill so long as you set it up for smoking.
Once the temperature is up to 275°F and the smoke is rolling thin, you are ready to put your piece of pork on.
Put on the lid and adjust the vents to get a steady temperature.
Keep a close eye on the gauge as you may have to adjust the vents to keep the temperature in that 250-300°F range throughout the cook.
Better yet, use a good dual probe bbq thermometer so you can monitor the temperature of your grill and meat from the comfort of your home.
Smoking the pork butt
After one hour of cooking, check the pork to make sure it’s not drying out. You should start to see some nice color and a bit of bark starting to form.
Use a spray bottle filled with apple cider vinegar to spritz the pork and then replace the lid.
Spritzing helps to keep the surface of the pork butt cool and prevents it from burning while also assisting with smoke ring formation.
From this point on spritz the pork every 15-30 minutes for the next hour.
After the pork has been cooking for two hours check the internal temperature of your pork with a temperature probe.
Once the temperature hits the 160-165°F range, it is time to wrap the pork.
To wrap the pork butt you want to use a couple of layers of standard thickness foil so none of the liquid leaks out
Tip – If you spray apple cider vinegar between the layers of aluminium foil, they will stick together.
Place the pork butt on top of the foil, and then add one cup of pineapple juice and sprinkle some rub into the juice.
Place the wrapped pork back on the BBQ for a further two hours.
Start probing the pork temperature after the first wrapped hour. Once you stick your probe in and it feels like “a knife going through hot butter” you are done, or somewhere in the range of 205-210°F.
If you are using a leave-in style probe, you can just set an alarm but we would still recommend you probe to check for doneness.
Set the sauce and serve
Once the pork is probing correctly, take it off the grill and place it on a safe surface.
Use extra care when unwrapping the pork to avoid being scolded by hot pork juice
Place the pork on a baking tray and use a basting brush to cover the pork in bbq sauce.
After it has been covered in sauce place tray on pit for a further 15min to set the sauce.
After sauce has set take the pork butt off the pit and sit in an aluminium foil tray covered in foil for 30 minutes to allow the meat to rest before pulling.
Once the pork has rested is use two forks and start pulling all your hard work apart. Be sure to take in the amazing smell.
This last step is optional but you can make a quick sauce by mixing 1 cup of Sweet Baby Rays sauce with 1 cup of pineapple juice in a bowl, and then mix that on to the pulled pork.
This will give you added moisture and flavor. Mix that great flavor throughout the pork.
Now we are ready to eat, the options are endless.
- Pulled pork sliders and burgers
- Pulled pork tacos will be a hit at your next bbq
- Pulled pork nachos on those nights in, all that runny cheese and a nice salsa, all to yourself
- Or pulled pork by itself goes well with a salad.
That’s it. Nice and easy. The one thing to watch for is that you get the pork butt on early enough.
By wrapping it and adding the pineapple juice you should cut down the cooking time, but every now and again you get a pork butt that takes forever to cook.
If you love pulled pork and want to try something a little different give our pulled beef recipe a try too.
Easy BBQ Pulled Pork
- 3 lb Boston butt You can use a larger piece but the cook will take longer
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard olive oil or hot sauce also work
- 1 cup bbq rub you may need more depending on the size of your butt
- apple cider vinegar for spritzing
- 1 cup sweet rub you may need more depending on the size of your butt
- 1 cup BBQ sauce we used Sweet Baby Rays
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- Slather the whole pork butt in mustard.
- Apply a layer of each rub evenly across the pork, patting the rub into the meat, making sure it is all well covered. Let it sit until your smoker is ready, or over night.
- Set your smoker up to cook at 275°F. Add a few chunks of Pecan or any other fruit smoke wood like Apple or Cherry. Once your smoker is up to temp and the smoke is rolling thin, place the pork on.
- After one hour start spritzing the pork with with apple cider vinegar every 15 – 30 minutes for the next hour.
- After the pork has been cooking for 2 hours check the internal temperature of your pork with a temperature probe. Once the temperature hits 160-165°F it's time to wrap the pork.
- Lay a couple of sheets of aluminum foil out on a table. Spray each layer with apple cider vinegar to help them stick together. Place the pork butt on top. Pour one cup of pineapple juice into the foil around the pork, and add some rub to the juice before wrapping tightly.
- Place the wrapped butt back on the smoker for another two hours.
- After two hours check the internal temperature with a meat probe until you reach 205-210°F and the probe feels like a knife going through hot butter.
- Unwrap the pork and place it on a baking tray and use a basting brush to cover the pork in bbq sauce.
- Place the tray with the pork back on the hot smoker for a final 15 minutes to set the sauce.
- Take the pork off the smoker, cover the tray with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Use two forks to shred the pork up.
- Make a quick sauce by mixing 1 cup of Sweet Baby Rays with 1 cup of pineapple juice, then pour onto the shredded pork for extra moisutre and flavor. Mix thoruoghly into the pork.