My Method for Pulled Pork

I have read a lot on pulled pork & have done many over the years. I have probably done more the past two years on my Traeger than all the years I had water smokers. I never brine the butts or shoulders; if you do it will taste more like ham. I prefer the butts over the shoulder. My usual method is to wet it down with red wine vinegar, just enough to wet; then apply a rub. Then wrap in saran wrap or cover & in the fridge overnight. Most people slather theirs with mustard, then the rub, and some add brown sugar too. I don’t like more sugar than what might be in a rub. I don’t like the taste of burnt sugar. Use what ever method you prefer, every ones taste is different. A long low & slow cook is necessary to break down all the connective tissue. I like to double wrap mine in foil, or place in a foil pan with some liquid & cover with foil after reaching 170 deg. IT. When I wrap I add a half cup of liquid before sealing up. I have went with the new school, doing them fat side down. The old schools thought was doing fat side up let the fat baste the meat while cooking. Tests have proven when doing fat side up the fat just renders out and runs down the side. New school says doing fat side down insulates the meat from the direct heat of the smoker or grill & helps keep the juices in the meat. I don’t trim the fat unless it is excessive; it is easily discarded when pulling. I just did two at the same time & one had more fat than the other. The fattest one was much moister & pulled easier. Pulling is usually done with two forks or instruments made for this purpose. I prefer to pull mine by hand, I can get the size to what I want, no hunks or long strands, all bite sized. Some of the Carolina areas like to chop theirs fine. Do whatever turns you on. The last two I did I wet down with some Carolina vinegar sauce & used Bone Suckin Sauce Rub instead of my usual go to rub, Penzey’s Chicken & Rib Rub. I also added a half cup of  Carolina sauce when I wrapped. I liked it, adds just a touch of flavor & might become my favorite. I serve my pulled pork plain & any sauce on the side. For my BBQ sauce I want, a little sweet but more of a sour tang, and some heat. My favorite is the home made from my butcher. Use what ever you like the best. If you don’t foil your roast you may want to mop or mist it several times near the end.


My steps for Smoking

  1. smoke at 170 to 180 deg. 1 hour per pound of meat
  2. When it reaches 170 deg. IT wrap in foil w/added liquid
  3. Turn smoker to 225 deg.
  4. When it reaches 180 deg. IT turn smoker to 250 deg.
  5. When it reaches 190 deg. IT turn smoker to 300 deg.
  6. When it reaches 205 deg. remove
  7. Place in a preheated 200 deg oven, turn oven off & let rest for 1 hour
  8. Pull the pork using your favorite method.
  9. Enjoy. 

Recipe for Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce


Combine 1 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Mix the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. This sauce really improves if it is allowed to rest for a day or two. You can experiment with the sugar & can use other peppers too to get the taste you like.