Carolina Pulled Pork 


The authentic version of "pulled pork" is the North Carolina BBQ that is smoked very low and slow in a smoker (like overnight, but low heat). It is the stuff the smokehouses sell and make their fame. It is truly easy and delicious.

One pork shoulder or butt, bone in or out--any size--the cooking time is the same for a 3 or 8 lb piece.
BBQ rub of your choice or just rub the meat with a mixture of coarse ground black pepper and brown sugar. Let marinate 8 hours or overnight.

Method 1--If you have a smoker that can control the temp (I have a sidebox smoker and can keep the temp at 200F-250F) smoke the meat for 4 hours, keeping the temp low. Then place the meat in a 250F oven for 4 hours to finish. It will be meltingly tender and have a wonderful smoky flavor.

Method 2 (and this is the one I have really used for 30 years). Place the meat in a 250F oven for 8 hours*. I have often done them overnight. It will still have the melting tenderness. You will have to slap your hands to have any left over as you take it out of the oven.

*The 8 hour time frame is approximate and will vary by the exact weight of the butt. Whether there is a bone in or not should not have much effect in the grand scheme of things. The real answer is: cook it until it falls apart, about 8 hours.

When ready to serve pull chunks of meat off and then "pull" the meat into shreds by pulling between 2 forks. Do not discard the fat--mix it in. This is not a low fat dish and to really enjoy, use it!!!

For a traditional Carolina serving method very lightly moisten the meat with sweetened vinegar (1 qt. vinegar + 1/4C sugar and 2TBS coarse black pepper).
To warm before serving put the vinegared meat in a pan (black iron frying pan is good) and cover tightly. Heat at 250F until heated.

To serve, offer bbq sauces, coleslaw (in the Carolinas, it goes ON the sandwich), baked beans, rolls, and banana pudding. For fall bbq's Brunswick Stew is also offered.

For BBQ sauce here is my tomato based:

1 bottle ketchup (28 or 32 oz.)
1 ketchup bottle of cider vinegar
6 oz. yellow mustard
6 oz. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 oz. liquid smoke
2-3 TBS coarse black pepper
Tabasco to your taste
Simmer for 45 minutes.

If you use commercial bbq sauce I suggest diluting them 1/2 with vinegar for this use.

Eastern NC uses vinegar sauces--sweetened vinegar with 1/4C (at least!!) cayenne pepper OR black pepper. It is too hot for me! South Carolina uses a mustard based sauce but don't know the recipe.

Source of recipe: Gretchen
Photo by Kyle