Pulled pork is the barbecue staple here in South Carolina, the home of TEC Grills. Whether you are cooking a pork butt or literally going whole hog, you will always find some version of pulled pork at every barbecue event around the state. From backyards to state competitions, you will find it simply dressed with mustard sauce and served on squishy soft rolls or with white bread.
While we eat it year-round, it is an especially delicious and festive treat for summer get-togethers. It is also really easy to make on your TEC Grill with the Infrared Smoker/Roaster accessory, or on the Gator Rack if you are smoking a whole hog. All you really need is a little time, making pulled pork a perfect choice for lazy hot summer afternoons.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Despite the name, pork butt is actually from the upper part of the shoulder of the pig. You might also see it called “Boston butt”, which derives from an old New England expression of calling barrels butts. Since it was a cheap cut, it was often packed into barrels and cured, or smoked.
Pork butt in the grocery store can be boneless, or sometimes will still have the blade bone intact. Either way, look for a piece that is well marbled with a moderate fat cap on the top side. The fat will self-baste the meat as it cooks, keeping it moist and creating fork tender meat after hours of cooking.
Also, since the pork butt will cook for many hours, expect a good deal of shrinkage in the size of the pork butt, and the resulting cooked meat. So it is best to always get a bigger piece of meat than you think you will need. A 3-5 pound piece is suggested to feed 6-10 people.
Since one pork butt does yield a good amount of meat, it is a great option when you are cooking for a crowd. Or you can use the meat for many different meals throughout the week. Check out this post for three other ways to eat up all of that delicious pork!
PREPARE THE PORK
There is little that needs to be done to a pork butt, other than coat it with a good rub.
Remove the pork butt from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to put it on the grill.
Rinse the pork butt with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.
Sprinkle the rub of your choice all over the meat, and pat to adhere. Let meat rest at room temperature while preheating the grill.
SMOKE/ROAST THE PORK
The method of cooking the meat is simple, as you can see below. Just remember to start early! It can take up to 8 hours depending on the size of the pork butt. The best way to tell if the pork is done is by taking the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It will be tender, easy to pull apart and practically melt at your touch.
Place the Smoker/Roaster rack on top of the grates of your TEC Grill. Position the chip corral in front of the rack, and fill the corral with small wood chips (we suggest something strong like hickory or mesquite). No need to pre-soak the chips!
Preheat the grill on medium for 10 minutes with the hood closed until the chips start to smoke.
Place the pork butt directly on the Smoker/Roaster rack.
Turn the heat down to low, and close the hood.
Check on the pork about every 30 minutes to replenish the wood chips, and check its temperature.
After about 3 hours, you can stop adding wood chips, as the pork will not absorb much more of the smoke.
Continue roasting the pork until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 195°-200°F.
Remove the pork from the grill, and let rest on a cutting board. As soon as you can comfortably handle the meat, begin pulling the pork using your hands, two forks, or Meat Claws.
Let meat cool, and refrigerate if serving later. Or toss with warm mustard barbecue sauce and serve immediately.