I can’t say how much I love this recipe. This Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe will take patience and love, but your family (and many many friends) will love you for making it. Plan ahead and be sure to time it correctly since this recipe requires about 14-20 hours of cooking time and 1/2 hour prep, 1/2 hour at the mid point of the cooking, and about 1 hour post cooking to pull (or less if you have friends or family helping you). I’ll lay out a sample timeline which will help with your planning.
It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours a pound to do a really good pulled pork. If your smoker can cook at an even 180 degrees, you will want to plan on 2 hours a pound. If you smoker isn't as consistent and tends to run around 200-225, you will need to plan on 1.5 hours a pound. Do not cook at higher than 225 a pound if possible.
Preheat your smoker at 180-200 degrees.
Rub the entire pork shoulder with Garlic Olive Oil and sprinkle liberally with your rub of choice. I use Pappy's Prime Rib Rub as my husband doesn't like the flavors in most pork rubs. Take a few minutes to massage the rub into the pork, being sure to get all the nooks and crannies.
Optionally, you can also rub on some brown sugar.
Place the pork butt directly on the grates and smoke for about 7-9 hours at 180-200 degrees and remove from smoker. Depending on the time of the year, you can choose to either keep your smoker on and do the 2nd half of the cooking on the smoker or choose to finish it in the oven. If you plan on finishing it in the oven, preheat your oven to 200 degrees when you remove the pork from the smoker.
Put down two large sheets of heavy duty foil, or if you don't have heavy duty, lay two sets of two sheets of regular size foil, overlapping a little so that you have the equivalent of the width of the heavy duty foil. On the tinfoil, pour a zigzag pattern of Honey . Put pork FAT side down. Pour Honey on the pork and sprinkle Butt Rub. Flip the pork, so the fat side is up and pour honey on the fat side and sprinkle lightly with the rub. Wrap with the first sheet of foil, flip and wrap again to keep things nice and neat. This will leave the fat side up for cooking. Place the pork, keeping fat side up, in a large tin foil pan.
Place wrapped pork back in the 200 degree smoker or in a preheated 200 degree oven and cook for another 6-10 hours until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 182 degrees. Be patient. Depending on the size of the butt, it could take up to 18-20 hours to fully cook.
Remove the pork from the smoker and let it rest, covered in the tinfoil, for at least 30 minutes (up to 2 hours). You can choose to keep it in a warming drawer, wrapped, un-pulled until you are ready to use.
Unwrap and pull the pork by hand. Do not throw away the juices that come off of the pork (but do throw away the fat). The juices will add to the overall flavor.
When pulling the pork, be sure to use food service gloves to keep things nice and neat. Start by removing all the fat cap and throwing it away. Some places will put the fat cap in the food, but that's what makes the difference between a greasy pulled pork and a tender and delicious pulled pork. Remove any fat you find along the way.
Place it back in the foil pan and mix with the juices. Taste it. Does it need more Rub? If so, add it, if not, serve it! I rarely need to add more rub, but it all depends on taste. You can also choose to place a little bowl of the seasoning on the side.
You can now add BBQ sauce or just eat as is. Best to serve with the BBQ sauce on the side so everyone can choose either a hot or mild sauce or even no sauce at all. I usually serve it with small rolls or Hawaiian bread or hoagie rolls. Depends on how much other food you are serving.
Plan on approximately 17 hours. This is a tough one, you have to plan on starting the smoker in the middle of the night. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made.
11:00pm (previous evening): Start your smoker, prepare the pork and place on smoker to cook overnight.
7:00am: Remove from smoker, and follow instructions above and re-wrap it for 2nd round of cooking
4:00pm: Test the temperature of the pork. It should be at 182. If it is, remove it, open the tinfoil, and let cool for about 15 min before you start to pull it. If it’s not at 182, keep it on the smoker and check back in 1/2-1hr. This is when you give your guests some delicious appetizers, like Hot Blue Crab Dip or homemade French Onion Dip.
5:00pm-6:00pm: Serve your pork!
Don’t know where to get the rub? Want a smoker like mine? Get it on Amazon…
Dish Ditty will help you find 8 great ways to use your pulled pork leftovers.