The pork shoulder, commonly known as pork butts or the Boston butt in the States. Don’t let those names fool you, it is simply a pork shoulder. The actual butt part of the pig makes ham.
Prepare your Meat
Trim the skin from the pork shoulder and set aside for making crackling. Remove as much of the fat from around the meat as you can. The more fat that is removed, the more rub you can apply to the meat. The more rub applied to the meat, the better the bark. The bark is formed from the pork rub caramelising on the meat. This gives the pork shoulder its dark exterior, full of flavour.
Pulled Pork is Barbecued Long and Slow
One of the main reasons I invested in a barbecue was to smoke pulled pork low and slow. Smoking pulled pork over a low heat over a duration of 12 hours aiming for the magic temperature of 93°C will produce the most tender and succulent pork that you have ever tasted.
Set your kettle up for indirect smoking using the snake method. A couple handfuls of apple wood chips spread across the briquettes will ensure that the pork shoulder is constantly smoked throughout the process.
Beware of the Stall
The pork shoulder will reach an internal temperature of 70°C and will not rise in temperature for around an hour. Do not panic. This is a standard occurrence known as the stall. At this temperature the fats and collagens begin to melt, the muscles become tender and moist, there is nothing quite like it.
When is it ready?
Slow cooking a pork is a relatively easy process, it is extremely time consuming to do it absolutely right. The end result though, once that pork shoulder hits 96’C is that melt in your mouth like butter tender meat. The most exciting part is pulling the bone clean out with a simple twist, if you can do this – you know that your shoulder is ready to serve.
Once the pork shoulder reaches an internal temperature of 90°C remove from the barbecue. At this point the shoulder will have a thick dark exterior, this will not taste burnt. If smoked correctly the shoulder bone will be able to be removed with a gentle twist and pull resulting in the meat collapsing on itself. Wrap the meat in foil and rest for a further 30 minutes.
Remove any spine and rib bones from the shoulder, these can be rather sharp so be careful that they are all removed. Pull the shoulder bone and any cartilage, this should slide out cleanly. Tear apart the meat with a pair of forks or your hands. The meat will pull apart easily and give you no trouble if the shoulder has been cooked correctly.
Sprinkle on any remaining rub, adding in salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately to your liking, a popular way to serve pulled pork is as a sandwich with sauce and slaw.
Pulled Pork Shoulder
- 250g Pork Rub
- 3-5kg Pork Shoulder
- Prepare barbecue for indirect smoking using the Snake Method
- Bring the barbecue temperature to 110°C
- Trim the fat from the pork shoulder
- Evenly apply the pork shoulder with 250g pork rub
- Smoke pork shoulder on the barbecue for a minimum of 12 hours
- Remove pork shoulder from barbecue when internal temperature reaches 90°C
- Wrap the pork shoulder in foil and rest for 30 minutes
- Remove bones and shred the meat
- Serve immediately to your liking