Last week, we talked about the rich history, heritage, and tradition of charcoal grilling. This week, it’s time to put it to practice in your outdoor kitchen!
We took inspiration from a few well-known pulled pork recipes to create this custom, in-house concoction. Just like any good BBQ it takes some time, but it’ll yield a perfect pulled pork with very little skill needed. For this recipe, we’ll be using a Big Green Egg as our charcoal kamado grill.
Let’s get started with the tools and ingredients you’ll need:
- Big Green Egg
- The Big Green Egg convEGGtor (formerly called the plate setter)
- Drip pan
- Meat thermometer (the kind you leave-in and can read without opening the grill is ideal)
- Plastic wrap
- Lump charcoal and smoking chips (either apple wood or cherry wood, more on that later)
- Large Rubbermaid (or similar) container
- Heavy duty aluminum foil
- Cooler with towel inside
- Cutting board
- Silicone gloves and two big forks
- Large bowl
- 1 to 3 pork butts (approximately 5 pounds each)
- Yellow mustard
- Your favorite rub
- Apple juice
- A bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
We kept the ingredient list simple, because it’s all about the cooking process. In order to properly prep the pork, you’ll need to start the night before with a couple of key steps:
- Smear yellow mustard over the entire pork butt and sprinkle a heavy layer of your favorite rub. Trust us, it will NOT taste like mustard-pork when you are done! The goal here is to help the rub stick to the pork and create a nice flavor-filled crust. Something magic happens to the yellow mustard as it cooks–the mustard taste disappears! And since mustard doesn’t contain sugar, the crust will not caramelize or burn.
- Cover the seasoned pork butt(s) in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- While the pork is in the refrigerator, soak a few cups of wood chips in water overnight as well. Something like a Rubbermaid container works nicely.
A side note on smoke: Try apple wood or cherry wood. Avoid the mesquite or hickory unless you’re positive you–or more importantly your guests–like an intensely smoked flavor.
Now that those flavors had a chance to marry overnight, you’ll want to wake up nice and early to fire up the grill and start cookin’! Plan on about a 12-hour cooking time.
- Set up your Big Green Egg for 225 degrees on indirect cooking with the convEGGtor–this is the magic temperature for low-and-slow cooking! To cook all day without reloading, be sure to put a good amount of charcoal in the grill, and scatter the soaked wood chips throughout. You don’t have to go too crazy with the wood chips if you’re unsure how many to use. The lump charcoal alone will impart a great smoky flavor even without any added wood.
- Set the drip pan on the convEGGtor with the legs up and then place your grid on the plate setter. You might not catch everything with the drip pan, but don’t worry, it won’t mess up the cook.
- Place the pork butt(s) on the cooking grid completely uncovered and set up your thermometer so you can monitor the temperature.
- Cook at 225 degrees until the meat reads 160 degrees. This will take around 8 hours, depending on the size of the pork butt.
- When the meat hits 160 degrees, double-wrap the meat in a big envelope made from aluminum foil. Add 1/3 of a cup of apple juice to the packet and return the pork to the Big Green Egg.
- At this point it is safe to increase the grill temperature to 275 degrees. Cook until the meat’s temperature reads 195 degrees.
- At 195, remove the meat from the Big Green Egg, still wrapped in foil, and place it inside the cooler on a towel. Let the meat rest for 30-60 minutes. (If you can stand the temptation!)
- After the meat has rested, unwrap it and place it on a cutting board. Be careful when you open the packets as there will be a lot of hot liquid in the bottom!
- Using the silicone BBQ gloves, pull off large chunks of the meat, separating whatever fat remains. Next, with the the forks, start shredding the meat in a large bowl. Add BBQ sauce as desired. (A little sauce adds some nice flavor and/or sweetness!)
- Serve the meat as is on a plate, or put it on your favorite roll for an excellent pulled-pork sandwich…
If you’re unable to dive into this delicious pulled pork immediately, or you’re preparing it ahead of time for a party or tailgate, feel free to refrigerate. It can be reheated later without losing flavor or tenderness.
For more recipes like this, be sure to check back with our blog!