Pulled pork is one of the easier and more forgiving ‘low and slow’ cooks that you can try. It was the first thing that I attempted and I managed a half-decent effort, using a gas grill! With pork also being relatively cheap, pulled pork is a fantastic way to hone your BBQ skills as far as managing pit temperatures, and practising patience.
Another great thing about pulled pork is that a little pork goes a long way. Unless you’re feeding an army of people, or have room in your freezer, you can get away with around 1.5kg of boneless pork shoulder and you will have more than enough for dinner and a few days of sandwiches.
First and foremost, get the grill fired up. The cook time will depend very much on the size of the pork shoulder, but for true low and slow cooking, the grill temperature will always be the same. You’re looking for ballpark 250f/120c. A little over or under, isn’t going to make a huge difference.
Setting up your coals
There are a number of ways you can do this and it really is down to personal preference. I prefer the ‘snake’ method. This is essentially setting up a fuse for cooking. You would light one end of the snake, and as time passes the heat burns through the coals. It’s a nice and easy way to reach a sustainable temperature for a long period of time. I use briquettes, they have a tendency to burn at a slightly lower heat than say lump wood. The way in which a briquette is made is also conducive for good low and slow cooking.
Before lighting the snake, I create a horse shoe shape around the inside of the grill, with the start at the opposite side of the grill to the top vent. I do the same again inside the first one and then double the layers on top of each other. You now have a 2 x 2 setup with your coals.
I use a chimney starter when lighting my grill, you don’t need many hot coals here as you are only lighting the end of the snake. 4-6 should be absolutely fine. I would also now take this opportunity to even space some wood chunks for smoke over the first half of the snake, with one at the beginning.
Prep your pork for pulled pork
Whilst the grill is coming to temperature, you can prepare the pork. Again, this isn’t a difficult task. Add your rub of choice, whether than be a simple SPG (salt, pepper, garlic) or something a bit more elaborate. It’s probably going to take a good 30 minutes for the BBQ to reach your ideal temperature, this is a good amount of time for the rub to start working it’s magic and be absorbed by the top layers of the pork. You should see that it has sweat a little around the time you are looking to start the cook, feel free to add a little more rub before moving to the grill.
In reality, the Old-Fashioned has always been little more than a fancy way to serve bourbon on the rocks and in that respect this recipe is spot on. Though traditionalists will miss the process and flavor added by muddling oranges, the sweet and bitter enhancements are still here.
1/4 to 1/2 ounce rich simple syrup (to taste)
Dash Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters
Lemon peel garnish
Stir the Knob Creek, simple syrup, and bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice.
Keep an eye out for when supermarkets have pork shoulder on sale, you can grab a couple of smaller ones to keep in the freezer.
Add a tray under the pork, to catch any fat drippings. This will help avoid fire flare-ups, and save some unnecessary cleaning!