How to Make the Best Pulled Pork You've Ever Had
Today, it’s all about pulled pork. Pulled pork is an excellent, flavorful way to cook a pork roast. It’s equally delicious between some fresh baked rolls as it is in a giant tortilla with fresh salsa. The smoked pulled pork we are going to show you today is so good, you’ll catch yourself munching on it a la carte.
Here's a quick breakdown of all the steps we're going to cover:
- Preparing the shoulder
- Cutting the roast
- Seasoning the pork roast (you know we like our Bearded Butcher Blend seasonings for this)
- Smoking the roast
The Difference Between a Picnic Roast and a Butt Roast
The first part of the process today is going to be separating a whole pork shoulder into the shank, picnic roast, and butt roast. Starting with a forequarter, you will want to remove the shoulder entirely. The best way is to cut the shoulder joint with a saw, then use your boning knife for the rest of the work. We really like our six-inch boning knife from Victorinox. This is a wonderful knife with the perfect curve and rigidity for quickly deboning any harvest. If you are in the market for a knife you can’t live without, pick one of these up.
Preparing the Shoulder
We are fortunate to have access to a commercial processing facility. Everything we do here, you can do at home without fancy tools. Having the right saw just makes it fast, easy, and clean. Using our band saw, we are going to remove the shoulder. Using the boning knife, you will cut away neck bones and trim off the skin and any blood vessels. Looking from the front of the shoulder cut, the shank is the leg portion on the bottom. The picnic roast is the lower part of the shoulder and the butt is the top.
Cutting the Roasts
You will remove the shank pretty much right where the bone meets the shoulder. You will take the picnic roast and the butt roast off with the saw below the shoulder blade. Today, we are going to debone the butt roast. It’s a personal preference thing, some people like to leave the bone in, but today we are going to remove it. All it takes is to work your knife as close to the shoulder blade as possible and when you are done, you will have a boneless boston butt roast.
Seasoning the Pork Roast
We highly recommend our Bearded Butchers Original Spice Blend for seasoning a great smoked butt roast. The seasoning will kick the perfect flavor in and give you a delicious, flavorful meat that is versatile for different types of dishes.
When seasoning the pork butt, make sure to get a real good coating inside and out. The pork butt is a substantial hunk of meat, and it’s pretty hard to overseason. If you use a tray with a liner under your meat when seasoning, something like a roasting pan or a tub, you can make sure to use all of the seasonings without waste. Once it’s good and coated, we are ready for the netting. Netting keeps the meat together and promotes moisture retention.
Setting Up the Big Green Egg for Smoking
Start with a layer of charcoal in your Big Green Egg and get those getting hot. Once they are well on their way to being ready, add a second layer of charcoal. Today, we are going to smoke with applewood, which is one of our staff favorites and pairs excellent with pork. It doesn’t take much, just a good handful of chunks and spread them around. Then, place a few pieces of charcoal on the top.
Next is the convector. We always wrap ours in aluminum foil to keep it clean in case grease drips past your tray. It just makes cleanup that much easier. Place the convector with the legs up. Set a tin or aluminum baking pan on the convector. Use a pan about three inches deep and half-filled with water. The water will add steam and help the smoke, and the tray will catch drippings. Then just place the grate in and you are ready for the roast.
Smoking Your Roast
Place your roast on the grill, fat side up. If you are using a remote meat thermometer, set the probe in the thickest part of the roast and place the monitor nearby. Place the cover on the Big Green Egg and adjust the vents to maintain a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees.
This roast will be going for nine and a half hours or so on the Egg. You don’t want to remove the lid unless it’s an emergency because that’s how all the great smoke flavor escapes. Once your internal temperature reaches 175 degrees, you will wrap the roast in aluminum foil (also referred to as a Texas Crutch). The reason for this is to help the roast along through the “stall.” A stall happens when a piece of meat literally stalls at a certain temperature and will not go higher, leading to a dry piece of meat and an extended cooking time.
With the roast wrapped up in foil, you will just pop it back on the grill and close the lid. It’ll need to smoke for about two more hours until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees. We like to verify our temps with our own instant-read thermometer. It’s wonderfully fast and totally accurate, and an excellent tool to help prevent overcooking.
Resting Your Roast
Once the internal temperature has hit that 200 to 205 degree range, it’s time to pull the roast. What we like to do to rest a roast is to wrap it in towels, then place it in a cooler. You’ll want to rest the roast for at least an hour. Resting lets the juices that were escaping from the roast to reabsorb. This gives you flavor and juiciness. Don’t skip the rest step. You can let a roast rest for three to four hours in your cooler.
Once the rest period has finished up, it’s time to unwrap your roast and see how you did. With the roast in a tray, you should be able to just press and squeeze, and it should just fall apart. It’ll have a nice bark from the smoking and seasoning, and a beautiful smoke ring.
Today, we are topping our smoked roast with some of the Bearded Butchers BBQ Sauce and we are making some delicious sandwiches. A side of some southern-style coleslaw, and you can’t beat this feast.
Tips and Tricks for Tender Smoked Pork
The biggest secret to a beautifully smoked pork butt is minding the temperature. You want it to get up to that 165 or 175 degree temperature where it stalls, then wrap it and it’ll shoot through the stall and get you to a perfect finished temp of around 200 or 205 degrees. That’s what makes the roast fall apart in your fingers. You won’t need tools or bear claws, or even a fork.
We hope you enjoy your smoked pork boston butt roast as much as we enjoyed sharing with you how we make ours at home for our family.
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