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Pulled pork info for newbies (and Byrdo)

sdbeltsdbelt Posts: 267
edited 1:10PM in EggHead Forum
Seems the BGE website went offline for a bit yesterday, after I had composed this bit of dribble, so here is a "repost":[p]Byrdo,[p]Pulled pork is made, when a pork roast is cooked slow enough to result in a meat product that can be easily pulled apart with a fork, rather than needing to be cut with a knife.[p]A boston butt is a specific cut of pork that is very suitable to making pulled pork. Other names for this cut that I have seen are Pork Butt and Pork Shoulder. A pork picnic is a different cut of meat, not quite as good as a pork butt, but still ok, if you are in a pinch, or if the price is too good to pass up.[p]To make pulled pork, you really need do very little to be successful. Mostly, you need to cook a pork butt, and a fairly low temperature, for a farily long time. Temps below 275 (dome) are good enough. The lower the temp, in general, the more tender and pullable the meat will turn out. 225-250 is generally considered ideal, and easy enough to achieve. Dome temps below 225 are generally harder to maintain, and are probably best attempted after you've got more experience.[p]When selecting a pork butt at the store, I usually need to go directly to the butcher and ask for what I want. I'll use all of the terms above, in case that butcher has a different name for it. In general, I try to buy 6-8 pounders, but may need to settle for what's available. I always look for one that is bone in.[p]The day before the cook, if you want to add a spice rub, that's the day to do it. There are several spice rubs in the recipe section. I'd recommend adding one based on what you think looks good. I use a sugar and paprika baed rub, which after a lengthy cook results in a thick, crusty "bark" or outer layer on the meat, which I personally find appealing. Just think about cooking sugar for 12+ hours, and think about whether you want that affect on the outside of your meat, when you select your rub.[p]I try to apply my rub to the meat the day before, then wrap in foil and let set in the fridge overnight. The day of the cook, I start the Egg up, and begin stabilizing at my desired temp (~250), with a suitable smoking wood (apple, hickory, pecan?). For a butt cook, I've always done that indirect, which means that I put some type of buffer between the butt and the fire. I've used fire bricks and a plate setter to do that, but others have just used the drip pan. Whatever you have available, just be sure you have the drip pan. Over the cook, this butt is going to render a lot of fat, that's going to drip down. And if it dripped right down on the coals, the liklihood of a flair up is high, so the drip pan is perhaps the most important setup item in the cook.[p]Once the butt is on, cooking ~250, over a drip pan, the next most difficult thing to do is wait. You'll need to wait a long time, perhaps longer than you can tolerate, but just keep waiting. Hopefully you have a Polder, or other brand of meat thermometer, that allows you to monitor the progress of the butt. If you cook it to an internal temp of 200, call it done. It will very likely be pullable at that temp. Other folks use their fork, and pull the butt when they can tell, via a twist of the fork, that the butt is cooked. That's going to take some experience, so just go by internal temp. If you don't have a Polder, you are going to have to either use a normal meat thermometer, or the fork method. Either way, plan on it taking 8-20 hours. That's a broad range, I know, but you just never know.[p]Last, you want to avoid opening the dome of the BGE at all costs. Opening it will do two things to spoil the cook. First, it releases all of the trapped moisture within the Egg. And secondly, it allows the fire to flare up, possibly resulting in you needing to mess with the vent settings again. If you can, don't touch that dome, until the butt is cooked. If you must open it, do so with discretion.[p]When the butt is cooked to 200 internal. Remove it from the Egg, and let it rest for 20 minutes or so. After that, take 2 forks, and shred/pull the pork. It should be pretty easy to do. Try not to eat too much at this point, but I know it can be difficult. During the pull, you want to seperate all of that good meat from the bone, and from any remaining pockets of fat that may still be in there. A good low-n-slow should result in very few and small fat pockets within the roast.[p]Serve the pulled pork alone; with a sauce; or on a simple hamburger bun, with a sauce. They're all good.[p]After you get a successful "simple" butt cook under your belt, then I'd begin experimenting with fancier rubs, mustard and buttermilk lathers, apple juice, etc.[p]My last bit of advice, would be to try a butt this weekend, before you have to go primetime. Also, if you are planning to feed more than 10-12 people, you may need to consider purchasing 2 butts and doing them together, rather than just the one. Leftovers are a good thing, so I'd be conservative here.[p]Good luck![p]--sdb

Comments

  • Joel FermanJoel Ferman Posts: 243
    sdbelt,
    Now this might sound a little weird, but when I make pulled pork in my smoking pit I actually drill four 1/4 inch in diameter holes in the roast that go half way thru the roast. I then take a small amount of liquid (depends on what I am in the mood for, ie liquid smoke, wine, jack daniels, honey etc etc) then I take some herbs or spices, usually fresh rosemary and push it into the hole using a plastic chopstick. If you pack the hole right, and space out the 4 holes equally across the roast the results are simply AMAZING. I can assure you, if done properly NO form of sauce is needed on the finished product. It is a little difficult to do the first time (I had to freeze it the first time I tried) but once you get the hang of it and the right drill bit it becomes extremly easy, and again you will be stunned by the end result.
    Give it a shot and tell me how it comes out.
    -Joel

  • Joel Ferman,
    Drill holes?? Why dont you just inject ???

  • Joel FermanJoel Ferman Posts: 243
    Louis,
    For several reasons. First of all injecting does not go far enough into the meat, and have you ever tried to inject honey? Second when you are injecting fluid into meat, it is difficult to place in the core of the meat and it is difficult to put enough honey, liquor etc. The MOST important reason however is the spice. You cannot inject rosemary or bell pepper into a pork butt. When you drill a hole and you pack rosemary into it, when cooking the juices from the meat mix with the flavor of the rosemary and it then in equally distrubuted througout the meat. I have NEVER been a fan of injecting and find that drilling holes works SIGNIFICANTLY better.
    -Joel

  • Joel Ferman,
    Well Joel, I imagine I been injecting hogs, hams, shoulders for longer than you been alive.. I dont suppose ther is much I havent tried, including your little list..You like your way is just fine, you shouldnt be putting down things you dont know though..

  • Joel FermanJoel Ferman Posts: 243
    Louis,
    I did not mean to "insult" those who wish to inject their meat in any way shape or form. I was simply offering my personal opinions and experience with injecting vs. drilling/stuffing. Both methods get the job done, however PERSONALLY I prefer to drill...... Just as some men prefer red-heads over blondes, to each their own.
    I apoligize if I inadvertantly insulted you.
    -Joel

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,507
    Joel Ferman,
    You seem a smart cat, and also know a hell of a lot more about cooking than I did at your age! Your ideas are interesting....intriguing...inspiring...different. Welcome to the forum.[p]NB

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  • CornfedCornfed Posts: 1,324
    Joel Ferman,[p]Indeed, you do seem wise beyond your years, and your cooking knowledge seems advanced. On the contrary, I'm usually drunk beyond recognition while my cooking knowledge remains rudimentary. At any rate, welcome to the forum. Also, I checked out the other forum on which you appear to be a moderator. Interesting stuff. I think I'd label myself a "Centrist" (that's the choice I took on the poll), but I'm interested in all perspectives.[p]Later,
    Cornfed

  • Joel FermanJoel Ferman Posts: 243
    Nature boy and Cornfed-
    Thanks for the welcome, I will DEFINATLY be a regular user here. You'll quickly find I have EXTREMLY different methods of preparing food. Oh yeah, have you guys tried using Trioxane to start your BGE's? It seems as though that would be the cheapest, fastest and easiest way to start em up!
    -Joel

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