Earlier in 2017 I did a weekend cooking course with Ed and Emma aka ‘Bunch of Swines’ competition BBQ team.
It was a weekend course the first day (Saturday) was a ‘Backyard BBQ’ day and the second day was ‘Advanced & Competition BBQ’
The course was fantastic, I will do a write up about it at some point, but for now all I will say is I cannot highly recommend this course enough. The knowledge that these two have in their field is second to none and the weekend is packed with demos, recipes, tips, tricks and you generally have to be rolled home at the end of it.
They had a really great backyard pork butt recipe, this is the joint you would normally use to make pulled pork.
Below is my version of it, I have taken inspiration from their recipe but not followed it completely.
Pork butt is an American term, in the UK your butcher would most likely all it the spring and the hand, or people use bone in pork shoulders.
I find pork shoulders much easier to get hold of, any good butcher in the UK will have these. I have gotten hold of the American cut and a few online butchers will deliver it to you.
I ask for it with the bone in, I believe the theory is that you get more flavour when you cook with the bone in, although I have never done any tests nor have any scientific information to prove this.
I’ve gone for the pork shoulder with this recipe.
Don’t mess about with the quality, I’ve tried to do it on the cheap before (saving a few pence in the process) and it’s not as amazing as it could be.
Get the best quality available to you, it really will make a difference.
Generally, I like to buy locally as well, although there are exceptions to the rule. We live in a fairly small village surrounded by three farms and it’s nice to know that what we are using was reared in the fields around our home.
A lot of recipes use an injection for pulled pork. I’ve done it both with and without, for backyard I’m not sure it makes much of a difference. For competition, I think you should because it seems every little thing helps convince those judges with that one bite they are aloud.
(disclaimer – I have never cooked in a competition, just done a 1 day course and think I know it all)
Use a rub of your choice, Smokin Guns ‘Hot’ works really well with this, or you can use the basic 250f rub which is in another post linked below.
I’ve substituted the apple juice for a sparkling apple cider before, that worked really well and people really dig it when you tell them it’s been cooked with alcohol!
Nb. I tend to cook by time, so If something needs to cook for a period of time and then be wrapped for the remainder of time, I don’t generally know what temp the wrap will be at, just what time. We will always shoot for a finished target temperature.
As far as I can tell BBQ is not an exact science but as you get to know your smoker you will get a feel for what is going on in there.
I cook on a WSM, as you may know, so all my recipes are based on that but can be applied to kettle BBQ’s, offset smokers or other styles.
This is quite a long smoke, 11 hours. So get some beers in.
* * 5kg Good quality, preferably organic Pork Shoulder – bone in.
* * Liberal coating of rub all around the joint
* * ¾ Cup of apple juice/sparling apple cider
* * BBQ sauce – homemade or really good quality, none of that supermarket crap.
* * Apple wood chunks – don’t use chips.
* * Trim off any extra glands and bone fragments left over on the pork.
* * Trim off the excess fat. I find that some butchers tend to leave the fat cap on the pork, I normally ask them to remove the whole cap, if not I cut it off before cooking. The fat doesn’t crisp up, you just end up with a whole side of the joint covered in a jellified fat cap that won’t be nice to eat and no bark will have formed on the meat you will eat. If you have cut off the fat cap, keep it, you can roast it and make pork dust (post soon).
* * Liberally cover all sides of the meat with your rub. I mean *LIBRALLY*. Cover that thing in it, it’s good, you’ve sent time making it yourself or bought a banging rub from our friends a BBQ Gourmet. Get it in there, don’t be shy.
The rub is going to form an amazing bark on the surface of the meat, that’s going to be the black streaks in the final pulled pork that will look and taste incredible and your friends will love you for it.
* * Leave your well rubbed meat to rest for a few hours.
* * Set up your smoker with your preferred charcoal method for a long smoke.
I prefer the minion method, make a doughnut of unlit charcoal in the coal holder and poor lit charcoal in the middle when ready. Place wood chunks on the unlit parts of the charcoal so they smoke later on in the cook when the charcoal starts burning.
* * Get the smoker at a steady 250f.
* * Just before you put the meat in place some apple wood on the burning charcoal so you get a good smoke going.
* * Place the joint on the top shelf of the smoker and close the lid.
* * Maintain the temp at 250f for the next 8 hours – I told you to get some beers in.
* * If you are using a temperature probe in the meat you may notice at some point the internal temperature will stop rising for a bit. This is called the stall. It will sit at that temperature for what feels like forever, but panic not, it’s very normal and you will come out of the other side of it.
* * After 8 hours, try and sober up, and remove the meat from the BBQ.
Immediately wrap the meat in a double layer of tin foil, but leave one end open.
Poor the apple juice or apple cider in to the open end of the parcel. Try not to let the juice run over the meat too much, you don’t want to wash off your hard fought for bark which at this point will be fairly soft.
Once the juice has been poured in, seal up the open end, you want to make as air tight a seal as possible. You don’t want any juice escaping.
* * Place the meat back in the smoker. At this point don’t worry about any more wood. The smoke has done its job by now, anyway, it can’t penetrate metal……
* * Cook for a further 3 hours at 250f or until it hits an internal temp of 198-203f – grab another beer.
* * Remove the meat from the smoker and open up the foil to let it vent. This will Harden up the bark.
Don’t let any juice escape, if there is any left. This will be great poured over the pulled pork.
* * Once it has vented for 10 mins, the bark will not be rock hard but a little dryer then 10 mins ago, re-cover the meat with the foil and let it rest for an hour.
* * Once rested pull the pork! Don’t forget to taste a good amount as you are doing it, chefs privilege… There are lots of gadgets you can get for this, but I like my pulled pork quite chunky so I prefer to use my hands. Don’t forget to wear gloves!
* * Once pulled, mix through some BBQ sauce and the leftover juice from the foil wrap.
* * Serve however you like. I like it in buns with pickled cucumbers and a scotch bonnet BBQ sauce.
https://www.facebook.com/BunchofSwines/BBQ gourmet link