View Full Version : Pulled Pork Question

09-10-2011, 10:59 AM
I made my first batch of pulled pork according to the recipe that was included with my smoker.
This approach calls for 5 hours in the smoker followed by a few hours in the oven.
I used my own sauce and rub and it was awesome.

Many of you seem to skip the oven step and leave the pork in the smoker for 10 hours or more.

Which is best?


09-11-2011, 04:05 AM
Hello gmonetti,

I am surprised that you have not had at least a thousand "the ONLY way to cook pork butts" suggestions from a thousand different experienced cooks and all would probably be very good. Pork Butts are, in my estimation, the most forgiving cut of meat that you will ever cook. Glad you had a great experience.

The cooking manual sent with your smoker shows the recipe you followed. The suggested recipe is for a pork butt that weighs about 4 pounds each. That is a pretty small pork butt and that would not be very thick and thickness/size of a cut of meat DOES make all the difference in the world as regards cooking time and internal temperature.

How do you measure how done a piece of meat is? I know of only one way that seems to work for most people and that is to know the internal temperature of the meat in the thickest part of the cut of meat and away from a bone or void. A dual probe digital Maverick thermometer available from SmokinTex is a very useful tool and for me one of these is a MUST HAVE item. The suggested internal temperature that most smoker cooks seem to recommend is around 195f for pulled pork. At that temperature, the meat is almost fully rendered and the connective tissue is well broken down. If you wish to slice a pork butt, then anything around 175f seems to be often suggested.

There is no single "BEST". You are the 'cook in charge' and whatever method pleases you is the one you should choose. I find it helpful to keep a log of my cooking experiences since I have a rather fragile memory ( I suffer from CRS ). I see nothing "WRONG" with the method of smoking the meat and finishing the cooking in an oven. Speaking for myself, I have only used the oven to finish cooking something I have already had in the SmokinTex is when I did not cook the item long enough in the first place. The maximum temperature setting for the SmokinTex smoker is 250f. If you need to crank more heat into a cut of meat in order to get if done earlier then the only way to do that is to put it in an oven.

Personally, I like to finish cooking in the smoker and to leave it unwrapped and fats draining for as long as possible. That way, only one oven to clean.

Best Wishes,

09-11-2011, 07:30 AM
gmonetti....applejack's answer is about the best you will get and I agree 100%. The only problem with foiling...in the smoker or the oven is the bark on the meat will soften and won't have that nice crispness to it...still great...just the difference in the bark.


09-12-2011, 06:28 PM
Applejeck and BillyBob speak the truth. I was once a "foil-towel-cooler" guy for an hour or more every time. Now I find myself going that route only when necessary to hold for dinner or travel. I'll foil a little to let the butt cool slowly, then pull 'er and eat, but try different things to get the bark the way you like it. I've had large butts in the smoker for up to 16 hours, waiting for the magic temp. I like 200, that way it'll cool a little on the way to the house. I'll pull it with forks about as hot as I can stand and go right to the table. firmer or softer bark is one consideration. I prefer the entire time in smoker, so as to not heat up the house with the oven. As an added bonus, I can torment the neighbors with the great smells. Don't be afraid to try larger butts and more time, just plan your start times accordingly. Careful notes will help in that regard, or ask here.
While a 4 pounder is pretty small, consider you could smoke a couple small ones and still be done faster than one large one, and there's nothing wrong will pulling it and freezing it in a vacuum bag to reheat later....
Keep on trying to you get it the way YOU like it. Remeber also, practice makes perfect. Lots and Lots of practice, and lots of good meals inbetween.

09-13-2011, 07:59 AM
Thanks Guys,
My butt was actually a 12 pounder from Costco. When I pull the pork for sandwiches, the family actually likes a softer bark and makes me cut off the stiffer parts. Go figure.
Here is the recipe that I came up with. I can hardly wait to try it with no foil but I'll have to omit the sauce.

Carolina Pulled Pork In Smoker
The idea for this recipe comes from my walking buddies, Karen and Lynn. They use a slow cooking crock-pot method along with some rub and a pork shoulder from Costco. Now that I got my Smokin’ Tex 1400 smoker, however, I don’t think that I’ll ever use the crock-pot method again unless I have to. I added the Carolina barbeque cooking sauce and the result is awesome. You can omit the sauce and just use the rub, but it won’t be quite as good. This recipe requires an overnight marinating step and about 8-9 hours to cook, so start early. Be sure to try this with Daddy Sauce on a bun with sliced dill pickles. It’s awesome.
Shopping List:
Karen’s Rub
• 1/4 cup of Black Pepper
• 1/4 cup of Paprika (I sometimes use smoked paprika.)
• 1/4 cup of Turbinado Sugar (sugar in the raw)
• 2 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt
• 2 teaspoons of Dry Powdered Mustard
• 1 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
• 2 Tablespoons of Ground Cumin
• 2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
• 1 Tablespoon of Chili Powder
Sauce & Pork:
• 8-12 pound boneless Pork Shoulder (also called pork butt or Boston butt)…Costco’s is great
• Plastic wrap
• 2 Large aluminum disposable Roasting Pans and Aluminum Foil
• 1 fresh, chopped Onion
• 4-6 large cloves of chopped, fresh Garlic
• 1/3 cup of Ketchup
• 1/2 cup of French’s Yellow Mustard plus some for initial rub
• 1/3 cup of Brown Sugar
• 3/4 cup of Cider Vinegar
• 4 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
• 1-1/2 teaspoons of crushed Red Pepper

1) Combine all rub ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
2) Rub pork shoulder liberally with yellow mustard.
3) Liberally coat pork with rub on all sides, wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator overnight.
4) The next day at about 6:00 AM, remove pork from refrigerator and place on counter to warm. Place wood chips in smoker and set the temperature to 225 degrees. I fill a plastic drink cup about 3/4 full with apple and pecan wood chips, but hickory chips are good as well. Don’t use too much wood. Place pork on a middle shelf or shelves in the smoker, insert the thermometer probe and close the door.
5) Thoroughly mix cider vinegar, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and red peppers. I use a quart container with a lid as a shaker. This will be your sauce. Refrigerate until later.
6) Smoke the pork in the smoker for about 5-6 hours until the internal temperature is about 170-173 degrees.
7) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place chopped onions in the bottom of the disposable roasting pan and set pork on top of onions. Pour sauce over the pork. Seal roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil.
8) Place in oven and cook for about 2.5 hours. The goal is to cook the pork until it is so tender that it nearly falls apart when you shred it.
9) Remove pork from oven and tent with foil for about 1 hour until it is cool enough to pull.
10) Shred the pork into thin strips along the grain, discarding all of the fat. I like to do this by hand, but some prefer tongs and a fork. I use a second disposable pan to hold the shredded pork, placing it in the warm oven and covering it with foil to keep it moist.

Serving and Storage:
• Serve the pork on a bun or a plate with your favorite barbeque sauce. I love this on a bun with dill pickles and Daddy Sauce. The recipe for Daddy Sauce, a Carolina mustard sauce is available upon request.
• The pork will keep for several days in the refrigerator and it also freezes well. Refrigerate overnight before freezing.

09-13-2011, 06:33 PM
Ditto...Ditto....all the above. But now I'm getting hungry......Steve

09-13-2011, 09:06 PM
I don't want to offend anyone...but...why have a smoker if you need a oven????? Only if you have a gas oven and the electricitiy is out!!!!


12-13-2011, 11:02 PM
We love the pulled pork recipe from the book you get with smoker. We usually pull it when it pulls away from the bone. We also get an Untrimmed butt. The fat layer is the best for keeping the meat moist. Alot of times we'll throw it in a crock pot and pour the vinegar sauce over it. The best!

12-14-2011, 11:07 AM
I agree with BillyBob! :) Use your smoker. And... As for "not using too much wood," I've smoked a lot of butts and have yet to over-smoke one. ;) As for the book that comes with your smoker, the recipes (ingredients) are good but use your probe & internal meat temp to judge doneness. :D

12-14-2011, 08:20 PM
Wheelz....thanks and I agree with you my friend....100%!!!!!


04-19-2012, 07:02 PM
I notice that the recipe above calls for boneless butts.

I have always used bone in. Anyone have an experience with boneless? Are they just as tender and fall apart as the bone in versions?

Many thanks, in advance. I look forward to your responses.

04-19-2012, 08:12 PM
I've done the boneless thing, and they're the bottom half only of the butt as far as I know. I've done a couple, but prefer the mix of texures, since the top half is more like ham and the bottom more like a pork roast. There's something about heat and the way it works on a bone, so I prefer to do the whole butt.

Besides, the whole butt is 9-10 pounds, enough for friends or some friends and lunch tomorrow. A half is about 4 pounds, takes almost as long for half the meat. If I'm in a bind, I'll run a couple "bottoms", but prefer the whole butt for the variety of textures. The boneless bottoms come out just as tender.

04-19-2012, 08:15 PM

Just the answer I was needing to know, but never asked.



04-20-2012, 03:18 PM
One of the ways I like to cook buts is to load up the smoker and set it for 200*. They are done when they are done, and they can't over cook, pretty much ever. It can take 24 hours or more for them to cook, but you can keep them in the smoker for days without losing any quality at all. If I am having guests over multiple days, I always use this tactic, though sometimes I will put the butts in foil trays once they hit 200* internal and leave them in the smoker at 170*. I've held a butt this way for 5 days and when I pulled it, it was as fresh and delicious and tender as if I had just cooked it.

You really have to try to screw up a butt.

04-20-2012, 03:46 PM
While I use a Maverick 732 dual temp probe, I would bet that after smoking many butts that I could just do it by time. They seem to turn out perfect everytime. I'm doing one tonight without any worries in the world. I'll sleep like a baby.

04-20-2012, 04:13 PM
I've had my butt in the smoker for 19 hours, but only because I want to hold and then take to dinner across town. Three different neighbors have asked me what is for dinner!

04-20-2012, 10:22 PM
DReeves...your butt is done my friend....10lb usually only take 12hrs.:o


04-21-2012, 09:48 AM

Yes! I always use my Maverick, making sure to hit 195-200. I did hit 200, around 18 hours. Then I held until dinner.

Nothing left, completely cleaned me out. Happy chef :)

06-08-2012, 11:20 AM
Update: I smoked two boneless butts from Costco.... first time to use boneless.

First issue is that I believe my Maverick is trying to go out on me.... was not reading high (appeared to have stalled) and after the correct amount of time, I opened the door and checked temps with my thermapen. They were higher than the Maverick was reading.

Second issue, may be related to the first, they came out a little dry. Overall, I think I will stick with the "girl who brought me to the dance".... bone in butts.

Thought I would share my experience.

06-08-2012, 12:35 PM
The bone and the fat is where the flavor's at. DON'T DITCH THE BONE.