How to Cook Boston Butt or Pulled Pork

Boston butt is a strange name for pork shoulder, but the name doesn’t matter–it is awfully tasty. When I was in the Carolinas a few years ago, ago I ate at some great barbecue places (such as Sweatman’s). After eating some delicious pulled pork, I decided that I needed to work on making delicious pork shoulder at home. Hundreds of pounds of pulled pork later, here’s one of my favorite recipes:

This recipe is adapted from Steve Raichlen’s Barbecue Bible. It’s a great book, check it out.

Pulled Pork
1 Boston Butt (5 to 7 lbs.)
3 Tablespoons Basic Barbecue Rub

Basic Barbecue Rub

¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sweet paprika
3 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon hickory smoked salt or more coarse salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or container, making sure to break up the lumps of brown sugar.

Preparation of the Pulled Pork
1. Cover the meat with the rub, massaging the rub into the meat. Let the meat stand for up to 24 hours. Because I didn’t have the time to wait, I only let meat stand for 20 minutes while the grill was heating up.
2. Prepare the grill for indirect grilling and heat the grill to 225-250°F. Toss a couple handfuls of woodchips (such as hickory) on the coals. The woodchips will produce more smoke if they have been soaked in water first.
3. Place the meat in the center of the grill and close the lid. Cook the pork for 4 to 6 hours. Because I had to run some errands, after an hour and a half in the grill placed the meat in the oven at 250°F. Because the meat cooked for the first hour and a half in the grill with lots of smoke, the meat had a nice light smoky flavor even though it was cooked for the most part in the oven. The meat is done when the internal temperature reaches 195°F. However, if you are pressed for time, you can eat the meat at any temperature above 165°F. (find pulled pork website).

Western Carolina Barbecue Sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup minced yellow onion
2 cups ketchup
2/3 cup light brown sugar
½ cup yellow mustard
½ cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes more. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Slather the barbecue sauce over the meat and dream of eating pulled pork barbecue in the Carolinas.

7 thoughts on “How to Cook Boston Butt or Pulled Pork

  1. Chris

    When I see a lot of sugar in a marinade, or recipe, I am sorry, it totally turns me off that recipe. Doesn’t matter how well the pork or beef is. Loads of sugar is a major turn off.

  2. Dave

    Good for you Chris, I’ll have your share.
    What you don’t see is this for about 12 to 15 pound of meet so really it’s not much sugar at all

  3. Tasha

    I just used your recipe..its great! Thanks. Especially love the “western Carolina” barbeque sauce! 🙂 Thanks!!

  4. Matt

    I am originally from Western North Carolina and this recipe makes me miss home so much. I now live in Alabama, and though their barbeque is good, it is nothing like good ole’ North Carolina barbeque. If anyone ever goes to North Carolina, you must try Bridges BBQ in Shelby, and Judges BBQ in Morganton.

  5. zynga

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