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Pulled Pork BBQ Recipe

Picture this: three people at your door Sunday morning in their pajamas, asking “is your living room on fire?”

That’s what happened when I made pulled pork BBQ on my balcony. Too many wood chips in the smoker bowl, and the smoke was ferocious for about an hour. Luckily it slowed, and I was able to finish the smoke without any further complaints.

The first thing in making BBQ is to find the right cut of meat – ideally a Boston Butt with enough fat to keep the meat moist during cooking. Boston Butt in German: I bought Halssteak (though Nackensteak should also do), a 2.5kg hunk of meat. Here it is after brining and a nice rub (details later),

Brined and seasoned Boston Butt (Halssteak / Nackensteak)

Next throw that baby on the smoker for about 6-12 hours (depending on the size of the meat). Target smoker temp is anywhere from 100C-110C / 210F-230F. Of course the hotter you cook the shorter the cooking time will be (thank you, physics).

Boston Butt on the Terracotta Smoker

My 2.5kg / 5.5 lb chunk took 9 1/2 hours to cook, but was only up to 80C / 175F inside. Better would have been 85C / between 180 and 190F. I turned it once, about 2/3 of the way through that time.

Almost-done Boston Butt

After the internal temp is to your target, pull it off! If it’s too low, it will be difficult to pull. Let it rest for about an hour so you don’t burn yourself during the pulling. Here’s the fully roasted meat:

The final BBQ product: Boston Butt

To pull pork, get two forks and just go at it, tearing off shreds and hunks. I left aside lots of fat bits and some super-hard outer portions that didn’t look very edible. If you have dogs, they will be going crazy right about now. Here’s the interior of the Boston Butt:

Pulling the pork BBQ

It took about 30-40 minutes to pull the whole thing, and my arms were definitely worked over. Probably I could have let the internal temp go a bit higher, to make pulling easier. And I guess I lack a bit of technique too. But the final product looks (and tastes) great:

Beautiful pulled pork

For the final step I slapped  my pork on a bun and doused it with some Hot Texas BBQ sauce from a high-rated recipe on a website (details below). MMM-MMMMHHH!

Pulled pork BBQ sandwich with Texas Style hot BBQ sauce

Definitely every bit as good as restaurant BBQ at big smokehouses in the States. And I’ve never seen BBQ anywhere in Germany before, so it’s a first for me to have a real pulled pork sandwich over here. Delicious!

Dave’s Top 10 Pulled Pork BBQ Tips (no, I’m not Famous Dave…)

1) Watch Alton Brown’s pulled pork bbq episode on YouTube.
2) Print out Alton’s recipe here with details on the brine and the rub.
3) Find a nice Texas Hot BBQ recipe like this one from Epicurious
4) Choose some nice chunks or chips of wood like apple, hickory, olive, etc. Some have a stronger flavor than others, you can read all about wood here.
5) If you are a hot-food wimp, skip the cayenne (and maybe even the chipotle). On the other hand, if (like me) you love the heat, add something more… I went with half a smoked habanero to bring the sauce up to my level.
6) Smoke your pork as described above, low n’ slow. Smoker target temp is 100C-110C / 210F-230F.
7) I’d recommend a meat internal temp of around 85C / between 180 and 190F. Too low and you will have trouble pulling it.
8\) Pull your pork – it’s easier if you have a few people to help.
9) Slap the pulled pork on a toasted bun, don’t be shy.
10) Douse with BBQ sauce to taste and enjoy!

Posted 5 years, 2 months ago at 7:04 pm.

1 comment

Terracotta Smoker

Having a bit of time on my hands, I decided to take up smoking. No, Mom, not cigarettes… food! I’m using a terracotta smoker, which (hopefully) will not make my picky German neighbors insane at the first whiff of charred mesquite.

I got the idea from Good Eats (Alton Brown), though now you can find dozens of pages explaining how to make a terracotta smoker, so I won’t go too much into detail. The basics: buy 2 flower pots, an electric burner, a heavy duty pie pan, and a round grill grate. Slap a thermometer on there and fill it with hardwood, and you’re smokin’! Here it is:

Terracotta smoker

Smoking MUST be done outside. Preferably far from anyone’s house windows! If you do try this on an apartment balcony like me (disclaimer: I’m not responsible, blah blah blah, not recommended), read these

6 Tips for Balcony Smokers / Grills

  • Tell your neighbors first so they don’t think someone’s places is on fire
  • Promise your neighbors some of the finished product as payment for putting up with your smoke
  • Don’t use too many wood chips, or any sawdust – they make massive amounts of smoke FAST
  • Try chunks of wood and longer cooking times to minimize smoke output
  • Keep your windows/door closed, otherwise your own apartment will smell like smoke
  • Use a meat thermometer to measure the smoke temperature, as it’s more accurate in the narrow range where you want to be smoking (up to about 230F / 110C)

Fueled-up Smoker

Below is my first attempt: smoked jalapeños and habaneros. Note the former are not chipotles, because I used green jalapeños; to make chipotles you need to find ripe red jal’s. Weighing in at 308 grams before smoking…

Peppers pre-smoking

Here are the peppers mid-smoke. I smoked ’em for about 12 hours on low heat (70-80C).

Peppers smoking

And the final product: note they only weigh in at 28 grams! >90% weight loss…

Peppers post-smoking

I’ve made salsa and Texas-style BBQ sauce with these babies and they are deliciously smoky. Just one pepper adds huge flavor to a bowl of fresh salsa!

Posted 5 years, 2 months ago at 11:26 pm.

6 comments