How to Smoke Pulled Pork in an Electric Smoker
When I first got into barbecue, the first thing I (and probably a lot of other pit masters) learned to smoke was pulled pork.
It’s now on my go-to list, it’s affordable and really easy to make. One of my favorite and never fail ways to smoke pulled pork is on the electric smoker, it always turns out perfect.
Here, I’m going to show you how to make delicious pulled pork at home in an electric smoker using minimal ingredients. This process is straightforward and you’ll have it down pat in no time.
Pulled Pork in the Electric Smoker
Ingredients you’ll need
- Pork butt: Choose a cut between 8-10lb. I prefer a bone-in pork butt, but a boneless butt will work just as well. Try to choose a piece with a good amount of intramuscular fat (marbling) and the an even shape to ensure it cooks evenly.
- Seasoning: I always start with a base layer of SPG and then add a layer of sweet pork rub on top of that.
- Apple juice: to use as a spritz
Equipment you’ll need
- Electric smoker: I used the Cuisinart COS 330 for this cook.
- Wood chips: pecan and cherry combined are hard to beat for pulled pork. You get the savory from the pecan and the sweetness and color from the cherry. It’s a winning combination if you’ve never tried it.
- Foil pan: I place one under the pork butt as it smokes to catch the drippings and then when I wrap.
- Spray bottle: for spritzing with apple juice.
How to smoke pulled pork on an electric smoker
There isn’t a whole lot of trimming to do on a pork butt. If there are any loose ends go ahead and cut those off.
There will be one side with a fat cap and sometimes people will remove that. I prefer to leave it on and either score it down to the meat so I can get some seasoning through there or just leave it as is.
Trim the fat cap off a brisket or square up a rack of ribs in seconds.
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The fat cap will create some protection from the heat source but also helps keep the pork butt juicy.
I always start with a base layer of SPG (salt, pepper, and garlic powder) then another layer of a BBQ pork rub. I usually pick something with a little sweetness like Smoke Kitchen Honey Garlic or Meat Church Texas Sugar for the BBQ rub as it works great with pork. The key is to pick a rub with a good amount of sugar and salt.
Don’t be afraid to season heavily. It’s a big piece of meat and it will need it. If you think it needs more than I have used, go for it. The extra seasoning will also help the bark to form on the outside.
After seasoning, allow the pork butt to sit for 20-30 minutes.
3. Fire up the smoker
Set up your smoker by preheating it to 250°F.
Fill up your water pan and add your pecan and cherry wood chips.
When smoking with an electric smoker I opt to use wood chips instead of chunks. I don’t soak my chips in water. I want them to burn clean instead of smoldering, I think that results in a better flavor.
Also, make sure you have a foil pan underneath the grate where the pork butt will be. This will catch the drippings and help keep your smoker clean.
Place your pork butt on the grate and stick a temperature probe in to monitor the temps so you don’t have to keep opening the door to check.
Spritz the pork with apple juice or water if the bark looks dried out. Just be careful not to spritz too much as the chamber inside most electric smokers is pretty moist. If you spray too often you will not be able to build your bark properly. Essentially the surface will not be dry enough.
After the bark has completely formed on the pulled pork and the temperature is at least 165°F it’s time to wrap.
I typically take my pork to about 175-180°F before wrapping. I place the pork into the foil pan that was underneath, then dump a half cup of apple juice and wrap it tight with foil.
Place it back into the smoker to finish. If you want your pork to shred apart like butter, you will need to take it to 205°F. Probe a few spots with an instant read thermometer to make sure.
Resting your pork is crucial. I like to pull the foil off and lightly tent it over the pork while it sits on my counter.
You should aim to rest the pork for at least an hour if not two if you have the time and can stand it!
6. Finishing off
You know you did it right if you can pull the bone out and it comes out clean. If the bone is tough to pull out or there is meat still attached, the pork may be undercooked.
To pull or shred the pork I wear latex gloves with cotton glove liners. The cotton gloves underneath ensure my hands don’t burn. Then I just shred apart the pork with my hands and pick apart any unwanted fat.
Taste the pork and make sure it doesn’t need any extra seasoning. Sometimes it will. Just add a little bit more rub to the pulled pork and adjust accordingly.
More electric smoker recipes to try
- How to Smoke Chicken Breasts in an Electric Smoker
- How to Smoke Brisket in an Electric Smoker
- How to Smoke Ribs in an Electric Smoker
- How to Smoke Turkey in an Electric Smoker
How to Smoke Pulled Pork in an Electric Smoker
- 10 lb bone-in pork butt
- 1 tbsp SPG
- 1 tbsp BBQ rub I used our Smoke Kitchen Honey Garlic rub
- 1 cup apple juice half for spritzing
- Preheat your electric smoker to 250°F and add the wood chips of your choice and fill the water pan. Place a foil pan underneath the grate your pork will be sitting on to catch the drips.
- Season your pork with a layer of SPG and then another layer of your favorite BBQ seasoning. Let the pork sit for 20 minutes.
- Place your pork on the grate and stick a temperature probe in to monitor the temperature. Only open the smoker to add wood as needed or spritz, about every 45 minutes.
- Smoke the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F, and you are happy with the bark formation. Remove the pork from the smoker.
- Remove the foil pan that was underneath your pork and place the pork in it. Add the remaining ½ cup of apple juice, and wrap tightly with foil.
- Place the pork back in the smoker and continuing cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 205°F.
- Remove the pork from the smoker and rest for at least 1 hour before shredding.
- Check the seasoning after shredding, you may need to add more.