Smoked Pulled Pork

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Smoked Pulled Pork - Cuso Cuts

Smoked pulled pork is incredibly tasty because of a combination of factors that contribute to its flavorful profile. The cooking process is key. By cooking the pork low and slow, the collagen in the meat breaks down, resulting in a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. In the meanwhile, the seasonings and dry rub penetrate the meat, creating a rich and intense result that your friends and family alike remember (and crave!).

Low and Slow

So what is so special about “low and slow” regarding pulled pork? Unhurried cooking allows the pork to tenderize gradually and evenly. As the meat cooks at a low temperature over an extended period, the otherwise tough connective tissue transforms into gelatin. In turn, your pork is easier to pull apart. 

This approach keeps moisture in the meat and develops savoriness as your choice of spice blend seeps into the pork. So, every time you prepare pork for smoking, you can customize the flavors you want at the finish line. And if you love caramelization like I do, you’ll be happy to see it shining on your pork when you remove it from the smoker. 

It’s up to you if you want to add barbecue sauce to the mix. It’s best to do so after smoking, however. The sauce creates another layer of complexity.

The Process

  1. Shopping: Look for a well-marbled cut of pork shoulder or butt.
  2. Trim any excess fat from the pork shoulder, leaving about 1/4 inch of fat on the fat cap side. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Apply the rub liberally and evenly.
  4. Preheat the smoker: Preheat your smoker or grill to a temperature of around 225°F. Try mesquite, apple, cherry, or pecan wood.
  5. Place the pork shoulder on the smoker grate, fat side up. 
  6. Close the smoker and let the meat smoke for about 2 hours. No peeking!
  7. After 2 hours, spritz the pork shoulder with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water every hour.
  8. Wrap the pork: Once the internal temperature of the pork shoulder reaches around 160°F, it's time to wrap it. Use aluminum foil or butcher paper and tightly wrap the meat.
  9. Continue smoking: Place the wrapped pork shoulder back on the smoker until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205°F. This can take around 7-8 hours, depending on the size of the meat.
  10. Rest and shred: Remove the pork shoulder from the smoker and let it rest for about 30-45 minutes.
  11. Use forks or pork-pulling claws to shred the pork.
  12. Serve and enjoy.

CusoCut’s Seasoning for Pork

I have been working diligently on creating a line of all-natural seasonings for all your grilling and smoking needs. Four immediately come to mind with pork.

Dust: brown sugar, sea salt, garlic, onion, paprika, mustard powder, hickory powder and cayenne.

Grass: salt, oregano, basil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, marjoram, red pepper flakes, and granulated onion.

Hot Honey: Honey powder, salt, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic, pepper, and granulated onion.

Maple Bourbon: Bourbon, salt, molasses, maple sugar, smoked paprika, garlic, onion, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg.

Uses for Pulled Pork

Some popular ways to serve pulled pork are: 

PitMaster’s Memo: Types of Pork for Pulled Pork

There are four types of pork that work well in any pulled pork recipe:

  1. Pork Butt: Pork butt; is often used interchangeably with the Boston butt because it has similar marbling and flavor.
  2. Picnic Shoulder: A little more time-consuming as it has more connective tissue.
  3. Pork Loin: Pork loin is leaner, so add moisture through brining or injecting. 
  4. Pork Tenderloin: This only works if you smoke it quickly at a high temperature because it’s so low in fat.

Sides

  • Broccoli slaw
  • Biscuits (corn or regular)
  • Cowboy Beans
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Traditional Potato Salad

Dessert

  • Cinnamon apple crisp
  • Corn pudding
  • Grilled peaches and pineapple
  • Key lime pie 
  • Pecan Pie

Bar

  • Amber ale
  • Bourbon
  • Green tea, iced
  • Hard Cider
  • Zinfandel
1 comment
  • I have my pork butt I want to make salt crusted pulled pork sliders like in your video looks so good how can I get that recipe directions please thank you take care

    Rick on
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