Carolina Pulled Pork 

Source of recipes: Gretchen, MC, Chiqui 
Photo by Kyle

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 200-250F) 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.


MC's variation-Pork Rub

1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 Tbs. salt
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne

Rubbed a whole pork butt, put in plastic bag overnight then rubbed again and let sit for a couple of hours.

Chiqui's Pulled Pork

Boneless Pork Butt at least 5 pounds.
Rinse and pat dry the meat. Take a very sharp knife and make about 10-15 slits in the fatty side of the meat and fill the slits with slivers of garlic.

In a small bowl combine the following dry ingredients:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Tony's seasoning (a Creole seasoned salt)
2 teaspoons Lemon-pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons Colman's dry mustard powder
1-2 tablespoons liquid smoke

Mix well and rub all over the pork butt. Wrap meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Early in the morning, place the meat on a rack (you can use a cookie cooling rack if you like) Fat side up and place in a large roasting pan. Pour 1 cup of water in the pan and loosely cover the roast with foil. Let roast sit out for two hours to come to room temperature.

Place in a 250F oven and roast for at least 7 hours...longer if the roast is larger...figure about one hour and fifteen min. per pound. Uncover the roast for the last two hours. (No need to baste) Allow the meat to rest for about 30 after removing from the oven and then, while still warm, take two forks and "pull" the meat to shreds. Place in another pan and top with a moderate amount of your favorite barbecue sauce.

The traditional way to serve this in on heated buns dressed with a good crispy coleslaw and sliced dill pickles.