Josie’s Smoked Pulled Pork

Here’s my step-by-step instructions on Smoking Pulled Pork:

Pork Shoulders aka Pork Butt or Boston Butt.  I’m not quite sure why this cut of meat is referred to as the “Pork Butt” because it is not located nowhere near the pig’s butt!  It is actually located on the back shoulder hence the name “Pork Shoulder.”  I like to call it Pork Shoulder – that sounds much more appetizing than Pork Butt  lol. I’m sure there’s a logical reason out there somewhere why it is referred to as “pork butt.”  Maybe I will Google it one of these days when I don’t have anything else to do. Or better yet I will ask my butcher the next time I’m there. For now, lets move on!

Preparing my Pork Shoulders

1.  I started with 2 – 8lb (boneless) Pork Shoulders.  My butcher trimmed my pork shoulders to perfection leaving on just enough fat on the top.  You need some fat left on because the fat will render down into the meat and moisturize it.  The fat will also keep the pork from drying out during the 8-9 hours smoking process AND it adds flavor.  Sometimes I like to make a few cross cuts thru the fat so my dry rub can get down into the meat.

started with 2-8lb Pork Shoulders (1)

2.  I slathered yellow mustard on both pork shoulders.  You ask, “Why yellow mustard Josie?” The reason why I slather yellow mustard on my pork shoulders is; this will help my dry rub adhere to the meat plus it will add a nice tangy kick to my flavor profile. See there is a method to my pork madness!

coated each with Yellow Mustard (2)

3.  I liberally coated both pork shoulders with my dry rub on ALL sides.  I was extremely generous with the dry rub because this is 2 really big pieces of meat and it can handle a lot of tasty dry rub.

liberally added dry rub to each (2)

My Smoker

I like to start off with a nice CLEAN smoker.  I don’t want my new smoke to taste like my last smoke…….which could have been Smoked Salmon!  So I like to clean my smoker after every smoke.  Some smokers think this is a little extreme oh well – to each his own.  I personally prefer to start off with a nice clean smoker……….It’s a Josie thang! After a 8-9 hour smoke, my smoker is a mess so I like to clean it up.  I line the bottom of my smoker with heavy-duty 18″ aluminum.  This really helps with my cleanup – just take the aluminum out and throw it away – cleanup done!  I like to take my cooking racks out immediately after I finish smoking.  The reason why I do this is because it takes a while for my smoker to cool down after a 8 hour smoke and I don’t want everything left on the cooking racks to just keeping cooking on the racks……When this happens, it takes twice as long to clean the racks. So I take the racks out and place them in a sink full of soapy water and let them soak overnight.  The next morning it’s a breeze to scrub them clean!  I have one commercial grade stainless steel pan that is specifically used  just for my water pan.  I don’t cook in this pan – it is used as my water pan only.

cleaned fire box (1) cleaned fire box (2) cleaned grates cleaned grease trap cleaned inside smoking chamber

 Preparing my smoker 

I will be placing (1) thermometer inside my smoker.  That way I can monitor my internal temperature which is extremely important when you’re smoking.  The manufacturers thermometer (that is attached to the lid of my smoker) does not keep an accurate temperature UGH! As a matter of fact it is usually off (at all times) about 55-60 degrees.  So that is why I put MY thermometer inside. I will set my internal temp to 250 degrees.  I like to run my smoker around 220 – 250 degrees.  I’ll be smoking my pork shoulders low and slow right around 220 degrees for 8-9 hours……..low and slow for the best results.

Internal thermometer set to 250 degrees

Next, I filled my chimney charcoal starter up with charcoal and fired it up. If you don’t have a chimney charcoal starter – GET ONE.  That’s the only way to light charcoal.  I really hate the taste of lighter fluid on meat. I added 1 log of wood in the fire-box .  On this smoke I am using Pecan wood. I love to smoke with Pecan wood.  It is so aromatic and is adds a wonderfully sweet taste to the meat. I will use three logs during this 8 hour smoke.  The amount of charcoal will vary during this smoking process.

added wood on top of charcoal (1)

I added my water pan underneath the cooking racks.  This will add moisture to the smoking chamber and keep my pork shoulders from drying out during the smoking process. The liquids in my water pan is; half water and half apple cider juice.  I also added black peppercorns and slices of sweet onions.  This will add another layer of flavor to my pork shoulders.

Water Pan (1) Water Pan (2)

I inserted meat thermometers into both pork shoulders.  Both were set for an internal temp of 165.  When the internal temp reached 165 degrees, I removed both shoulders from the smoker and wrapped both in aluminum foil with lots of flavorful foiling juice.  I put both pork shoulders back in the smoker and continued to cook until the internal temp reached 205 degrees.  That’s the temp for pork shoulder – so you can pull it apart.  At that temp it is tender and so delicious AND easy to pull apart.

inserted meat thermometer in each (1) inserted meat thermometer in each (2)

This is how my pork shoulders looked after hours of smoking.  You can see that beautiful crust on the top starting to develop – this is called “the bark”.  At the time I took these pics, the internal temp of my pork shoulders was 136 degrees…..almost there!DSCN7040the bark developing (2)the bark developing (3)

I ran out of daylight so I made myself a Mango Martini and continued on with my smoking. Sophie (aka The Beagle!) in the background was wondering when we were going to bed lol.   It was a beautiful evening and it would have been a perfect evening if my Jerry was here…….feeling sad tonight.  For the most part it was a good day because I was busy most of the day.  Then I had time to sit and be quite and reflect on the day and that’s when the tears started. They say tears are a good thing and it’s all part of the healing process.

Sophie my helper (1) smoking libation (1)

My pork shoulders were done at 11:30pm.  I let both rest for an hour.  After an hour, I pulled apart both shoulders, put the meat in a large pan, covered it with aluminum foil and refrigerated overnight.  The next day I made myself the best Pulled Pork sandwich with a side of savory coleslaw – check this out. It was off the charts in flavor and was tender and delicious.  Jerry loved my pulled pork sandwiches.

Pulled Pork 5-31-14












Categories: Family Meals, Smoking Meat

Author:Josie Roed

“Many of our most cherished memories involve gathering together around the dinner table and enjoying great food. Always make time for a great homemade meal with your family and friends.”


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