WestSideVB's Pulled Pork, my tweaked recipe collage
This is the BBQ technique I use when making pulled pork which was served at this GTG. It is a combination of several recipes I've learned from. Folks asked for the recipe, so here you go. Sorry so long winded here, just skip to the recipe+technique. Motivation to read on is at http://my.erinet.com/~pnsonr/biggreenegg/barbyqporn.htmGeneral credits and disclaimer
I am not a chef, I am a computer programmer. My basic approach is to blatantly steal other folks's recipes+techniques, then repeat them in my home. I have been able to achieve cooking results that amaze me and my guests seem to greatly appreciate it as well. When the smoke starts rising above my backyard fence, the neighbours heads start popping over it too, "hey man whatcha doin?" Although I have always dabbled with cooking, the finished results were improved enormously when I got my big green egg and began reading their forums. Below are some tools and info sites which took me to the next level (in a repeat their process blindly sort of way).Hardware, info, recipes, and helphttp://www.biggreenegg.com/
: This is my cooker of choice although there are several brands of "kamado ceramic cookers" available. It's advantage is that the thick ceramic holds the heat very efficiently, thus less air passing over the meat, thus less drying out, thus a much more tender end result. Metal grills+smokers are great at doing what metal does, transferring the heat from the inside of the chamber to the outside; better keep adding heat and air. Makes it hard to get acceptable temp in winter, the egg is used in sub 0 temps in Canada regularly (my year round cooks are not near as extreme in VaBeach's fairly mild climate) Look at how much air those barrel smokers are pushing, you'll be astounded how little the vents are open on the egg to hold 225. And about temperature I can nail within 5 degrees (more accurate than my oven) 180-800. I can get over 1000 degrees, just not as exact, there are ways to cold smoke. I've never had this kind of temp control on any previous grill or smoker I have owned, and I've owned a bunch. It can grill, smoke, bake (lump charcoal burns clean, yes folks do bread) with indirect heat, pizza oven(tastes very brick oven), wok, steam, dutch oven, and more. It's not cheap, but it's cheaper than the sum of all my prior grills and it has a lifetime warranty they stand behind. Every day you live and do not have one of these, you live without one of these. Warning, it likely will greatly change your restaurant experience. The large BGE has the most accessories, great cook size, can do the whole temp range, and is my recommended size for first egg.http://www.greeneggers.com
: This is my cooking forum of choice. Super helpful folks over there that are constantly posting incredible cooks and recipes. The recipe section is good but I prefer to find the cooks within the threads or through forum searches. Egrets Cow Lick'n chilli is money, but I have to tone down the heat a bit because I'm a wimp. Learned tons there. There's another forum at the main BGE site which is pretty active.http://www.nakedwhiz.com/dogfront.htm
T-Rex steak here, Mad Max Turkey and Gravy, Spatchcock chicken, Table building, and much more great info.http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/
: The prime rib authority, plus much more.http://www.ceramicgrillstore.com/
: Not only is the egg expensive but so are the tools, some very good ones here include the adjustable rig, spider, and wok set ups.Recipe+Technique
A butt will take as long as a butt is going to take to get'r done, I've "cooked" a lot of butts proper, and each were unique. Rushing it usually doesn't help achieve the desired result. If you watch for the appropriate signs you'll know when you have successfully completed the job (in the case of pulled pork it's simple, use a thermopen). Short Short, cook times vary but plan on around 20hours in the cooker, mine have ranged from 18-24hrs. No this is not the turbo butt style. I generally do two bone in 8-10lb butts at a time. Oh, BTW a Boston butt is not a butt at all, it is shoulder. Folks can do 6+ in a large BGE.
I start the cook about 7pm and commonly finish late afternoon. Once the egg temp is rock solid it'll hold that temp, get some sleep. Some use BBQ gurus and such to set a temp and forget. It's OK to finish early, you can wrap in tinfoil, then towel, and stick in a cooler for up to 3 hours. If it's late, they'll wait.
24 hours before it goes on the grill is when I inject then rub. For the rub I use http://www.dizzypigbbq.com/HTMLrubs/dizzycoarse.html
I love their rubs, very fresh, classics and unique. For the injection I slightly modified "Chris Lilly's Six-Time World Championship Pork Shoulder Injection" found at http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/pork4.html
to have vinegar.
1/2 cup apple cider vineger, 1/4 cup apple juice, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup table salt, 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce. Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.
First rinse it all over and pat dry. Trim up any portions of the fat cap which are too thick. You're looking to have a fairly even layer, maybe about 1/8th of an inch thick. Next Inject about every inch making a grid on the meat side. Poke deep and gradually inject as you are pulling it out, really fill it up. You're going to try not to make a mess but you will so do this on a baking sheet with rim or in a pan or something. Once injected, pat off the excessive liquid while transferring to a second sheet to rub (the first one will have too much liquid in it). Coat all sides very thick with the rub, it's called rub for a reason, work it into the meat, don't just dust it on top. Some folks like to use a slather (yellow mustard, or yellow mustard and worcestershire; don't worry you will not taste the mustard in the finished product at all) to bind the rub to the surface (can get a thicker bark). I do that for ribs but not pulled pork, my bark has been plenty thick and tasty. Once both butts are injected and rubbed wrap them in plastic wrap and stick em in the fridge on something that will catch any possible liquid leak.
Just before lighting your lump, take the butts out of the fridge to bring their temp up. Don't throw cold meat on a hot grill.
You are looking at a long cook. Start with a clean cooker and it will go smooth. Lots of ash and clogged grate holes cause temp control issues or the fire can go out. Clean the cooker of all ash and old lump. When putting in the lump put large pieces on the bottom layer to protect the air holes from getting clogged. Mix about 5 fist sized pieces of apple wood throughout the lump, keep a 6th to drop on top. Smaller pieces of lump are fine from the middle to top of the fill. Fill the egg box up with lump, close to the top of the fire ring (depending on how you are going to set up for indirect, are you using a spider?). You will not have to add during the cook, 24hours, no problem. Light the lump, let it burn about ten minutes to get going, then throw that last apple wood chunk on top of the lit area. Next add your indirect set-up (AR with spider and pizza stone or plate setter). I use a throw away aluminium turkey like pan over the heat barrier under the grid. I fill it up half way with 1/2 apple juice and 1/2 apple cider vinegar, leaving room for drippings. Stabilize the egg to 225.
The pig is ready to go on when the egg is stabilized to 225 and the smoke is right. That thick white smoke that was pouring out earlier is not good for taste. You are looking for a clearish blueish smoke. Smell the difference between the two, one you will want on your food the other is harsh and bitter, yuk. This generally takes about 30min to an hour depending on if it is all fresh lump that also needs to burn off the "VOC"s (Volatile Organic Compounds). Just wait for the good stuff, don't rush BBQ.
Before meat on, I add a little more dizzy dust to replace what the plastic wrap stole. When the egg, fire, and smoke are ready I put my butts on fat side down, there's good arguments either way and both are getting good results. It may be protecting the meat a little more from the direct heat, maybe it's holding in that injection better, that's the way I go. The temp will drop with the cool meat mass just added. Don't worry about adjusting the temp/vents, it'll come back in 30 min or so. I usually check the temp several times over the first 2 hours to make sure I am truly "stabilized" at 225. Then I sleep like a baby. I usually check it once in the middle of the night (or bribe the wife to do it, not too hard when she knows what she having for dinner); I don't use a guru. In the morning I refill the apple juice/vineger mix if needed, check the meat temp to get an idea where we are at and usually go on up to 250 unless we are way ahead of schedule. This is the first time the cooker has opened.Do not keep looking at your meat
My cooker doesn't open till I'm ready to check temps, and most BGE'rs use remote probes so they don't open once till it's done. Every time you open any cooker you inject a ton of cold air. The air is bad, as is the temperature of it. Keep that lid shut.
The pork is ready at 190-210 depending on who you consult. I let the coolest spot get to 195-200 depending on where the rest of the meat is at. At 160-170 is the "plateau" where the "fat renders and collagen in the meat is converted to gelatin" this process takes energy so the temp stops rising till the process is done. This is why pulled pork pulls and is sooo tender. Ever had pulled pork that just wasn't right, they took it off too early, sure it is safe to eat at 150, but don't do it. It can take several hours to get through the plateau and can be unnerving when you think you are progressing so well then hit the brick wall with guests coming at some point. Patience young jedi. If need be it's OK to go to 275, but I just wait it out unless I am behind schedule.
Off the grill around 200
Optimally you put on a rack and tin foil tent for 10 minutes, then wrap in tin foil and a towel and drop it in a cooler for 30 min. Temps even and juices redistribute. Keeping in the cooler up to 3 hours is fine and I've had to skip the cooler all together, not too big of a deal. Lots of ways to pull it, I use some turkey lifter forks, cheaper than bear claws. Pull out any larger pockets of fat. It's going to be falling apart, easy work here. As you are pulling add your vineger based BBQ sauce, it cuts the grease. Go light and let folks add as they make their plates / sandwiches. I really like "Pierce's BBQ Sauce" http://www.pierces.com/edibles.asp
for pulled pork. It's a thin, vineger based sauce from a great bbq joint that is legendary in these parts. There are great recipes for similar sauces all over. I'm a vinegar pulled pork man though, what's up with that yellow stuff in South Carolina (OK it's good, but not as good as mine IMO).
I love a good kaiser roll / fancy bun. But not for pulled pork. Get the super cheep white super plain hamburger roll that I cringe at for burgers. Pulled pork is most definitely best on the cheepie plain bun.
When reheating add a little Dr. Pepper (some do coke, I do DP). You won't taste it but it adds a little moisture back in and makes it taste like it was just pulled again. This trick actually works.
If anyone is still reading at this point, that would be surprising. However you now may be in position to make some seriously delicious pulled pork. Enjoy!!
edit: still learning how to spellEdited by dstew100 - 12/29/12 at 9:24am