Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Smoked Pulled Pork

My husband and I have started to jump on the food smoking bandwagon. I am so excited that the weather here has started to warm up enough that our cute little electric smoker can keep the temperature level. There are all sorts of different types of smokers out there, so when reading recipes make sure that you modify it to your specific smokers needs.
This recipe has quickly become our families favorite thing to smoke. We have made it many times for multiple people now and every time gets the same reaction of ,"Oh....OHHHHHH. That is AMAZING." So needless to say it is blog worthy and making its way on.
This recipe begins with brining the meat to make it nice and tender and add more flavor. This does add some time to the process but it is well worth the wait. I usually get my meat in the brine in the morning, the day before I plan to cook it, but that will depend on whether you want it to be done just before dinner and get up really early to get it in, or if you decide to smoke it overnight and then just re-heat when you want it. Hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as we have.

1 (7-8 pound) Boston butt or pork shoulder

1 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP onion powder
1 TBSP chipotle chili powder
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP ground pepper
1 TBSP paprika, smoked paprika is great as well
1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 quarts cold water
2 bay leaves
3 TBSP dry rub mix

1- Begin by mixing all of the ingredients together for the dry rub. Cover, and set aside.

2- To make the brine, add the salt to the cold water and stir to dissolve the salt. Add the brown sugar, dry rub, and bay leaves and stir to combine.

3- In a VERY large bowl or container, add the pork butt and pour the brine mixture over it to completely cover. Cover your bowl and place in the fridge for 8-36 hours. (I usually try to do around 20-24 hours)

4- When ready to smoke, remove the pork shoulder from the brine and pat it dry. Place the pork onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with the dry rub. Rub the mixture into the meat as best as you can so that it will stick to the outside and coat all sides.

5- Place the pork, fat side up, in the smoker. My smoker happens to be an electric wet smoker, so I fill the water pan and add our favorite pork smoke flavor pellets to the bottom, which is Alder. Insert a probe thermometer in the center or thickest part of the shoulder, but not touching the bone.
*For our particular smoker we use roughly 1/3 cup of Alder pellets and add that amount every 45 minutes, and do this 3 times. So roughly 3 hours of cooking with smoke.

6- Monitor the temperature throughout cooking. Do not remove from the smoker until the internal temperature has reached 200 degrees. (For an 8 pound shoulder this will take usually between 12 and 14 hours)

7- When the temperature reaches 200F, pull the meat out and immediately wrap in tinfoil. Then wrap in a towel and place inside a cooler for 1-2 hours. This allows the smoke flavor to penetrate further into the meat and also allows the juices to redistribute.

6. Remove shoulder from cooler when ready to eat. Place on a large cutting board and shred apart with two forks or a pair of bear claws. It should shred VERY easily.

**Randi's Side Notes**
~ If you don't have chipotle chili powder, I would use part chili powder part cayenne pepper 1/2 TBSP each. If you like it a bit more spicy do 1 TBSP of each.
~ If you do not have a smoker this can easily be cooked in the oven, just without the addition of the smoke. It still tastes fantastic. Simply place in the oven at 225 degrees and cook until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.
~ If you have a smaller shoulder, you will not need to make as much of the spice rub.
~ If you have to many leftovers the meat can easily be put in the freezer. I like to shred only the amount I think I will use and then leave the rest whole to freeze. When ready to use, simply thaw out and place pork into a glass baking dish along with a little bit of water in the bottom. Tightly wrap in tinfoil and place in oven. Reheat on 325F for roughly 10-15 minutes. Times will greatly vary based on how much is left so use your best judgement.
~ We like to serve this on good buns along with a side of bbq sauce, and Sweet Coleslaw, but it isn't necessary. It is fantastic alone.

*Recipe adapted from here.

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