BBQ purists will scoff at pulled pork in less than 10-12 hours. Pulled pork is to be started at the crack of dawn in order to serve at 5:00 pm right?  Wrong. In this post I will show you how to pull off pulled pork in less than 6 hours. Following this recipe will allow you to have that incredible pulled pork in 6 hours including the hour of resting. Keep reading to see exactly how I did it…

Pulled Pork can be purchased a couple of ways—Boston Butt Shoulder Roast or from the Callie (the true butt from the pig).  The Boston Butt was chosen for this event because it can be obtained “boneless” (which was necessary for a process you’ll see later) and I just happened to have two 4 pound butts in the freezer recently caught on sale. The butts were placed into a deep foil pan and allowed to come to room temperature:

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Then a “Sweet and Smoky Rub” was applied.

Rub Ingredients:

2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup paprika
¼ cup seasoned salt
¼ cup smoked salt or hickory-smoked salt
¼ cup onion salt
¼ cup celery salt
2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cayenne pepper

***Editor’s note ~ this is way more rub than you will need for a couple of butts.  The GrillinFools are big on making extra to keep on hand for future cook outs.  This rub will stay good in a sealed container for months***

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In spite of what we constantly hear it does not take 10-12 hours to prepare this cut of meat.  Cooking “low and slow” is great but when you’re preparing for a crowd it’s great to keep the time to a minimum.  Cooking time for this version was scheduled for 5 hours plus an hour for resting.

The old Charbroil was prepped for indirect grilling with coals on each side and nothing in the middle:

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The target temp here was 300-325 degrees.Even if it were to rise to 350 for a little while you will be fine.

Both Butts were placed in to the center of the grill at 11:00 AM for their journey to tastyville.  Alongside the Butts you’ll notice a bowl of liquid which was prepared to use as a basting or mop sauce. Don’t leave it on the grill the entire time, just when basting:

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Sauce ingredients:

2 cups apple juice
2 cups beer
1 tbsp of rub

Should you own an injector this would be appropriate to insert into the meat.  In this instance the mixture was simply poured over the Butts once per hour.  While basting the meat it’s a good idea to add wood chips and more charcoal as needed to minimize the number of times the grill has to be opened allowing the heat to escape.  Hickory chips soaked in water for an hour prior to grilling and throughout the cooking process were used here.

Here are the two butts after a couple of hours:

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The butts were removed at 4 PM and wrapped in foil to rest for an hour once they hit about 190-195 internal temp.

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Don’t worry about the blackening.  The primary ingredients in the rub were two kinds of sugar.

At 5 PM the fun began for the finished butts.  A business associate, Monte N. recently explained to me a novel way to hasten the process of pulling the pork and we decided to try it out.  Each butt was removed from the foil and placed into a gallon Ziploc bag but not sealed then placed onto a cutting board.  A small cast iron skillet was brought forth to wreak havoc upon the tender pork as shown.

Here is a pic of the meat after we smacked it with a pan:

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It still took a bit of forking, but this really hastened the pulling process and we are grateful to Monte for the suggestion and it will be employed in all future efforts regarding this cut of meat.

The rest of the forking was done by Terri:

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Fully forked:

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Pulled Pork with some Asian coleslaw draped over the top:

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If you have any questions about the above dish please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.

If you would like to see other pork dishes on this site, click here.

Here is a link to a discussion of this recipe on the air on the Houston airwaves.

Also, you can follow the Grillin Fools on Facebook and post your own grillin pictures, or keep up with us on Twitter@GrillinFool (no S).

27 comments

So I did the beef brisket last week and it turned out UNREAL!!! I had six people over plus myself and my wife and there was almost nothing left of a 7 lb slab. I am trying the pulled pork tomorrow, and my question is, if I buy one large butt that weighs roughly 8lbs do I cook it for the same amount of time as I would two 4lb butts?

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Curious if you have the recipe for the asian slaw…don’t see it on the website. Thx!

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Grillin in NJ,

It is not my recipe, but I know it is very similar to this:

DRESSING:

4 1/2 tbsp. vinegar
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. oil
Salt and pepper
Flavor packet from Top Ramen noodles (chicken flavor)

SALAD:

1 pkg. cole slaw mix
1/2 c. toasted almonds
1/2 c. green onions
3 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 pkg. dry Top Ramen noodles, crushed

This salad needs to be put together at the last minute to make sure that everything is crunchy. Toss the salad ingredients first and then toss with the dressing. Serve immediately.

A few questions:

1) How long before cooking do you apply the rub? And, do you recommend a mustard slather (have read about this elsewhere)?

2) Do you flip the pork at any time during the cooking process?

3) Do you add wood each time you add charcoal? My understanding is a couple of hours smoke maxes out the smoking affect on the pork

4) After wrapping, do you recommend using a cooler for the setting process? If so, does it need to be airtight?

5) Guessing with the rub, no sauce is needed, but, if you wanted to, what would you recommend?

Thanks for the site and info!

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1) How long before cooking do you apply the rub? And, do you recommend a mustard slather (have read about this elsewhere)?
– The night before at least. You can do the mustard as it increases the tasty bark but it is not required. It’s much better on brisket as it tenderizes a great deal.
2) Do you flip the pork at any time during the cooking process?
– I generally don’t touch the pork once it hits the grill.

3) Do you add wood each time you add charcoal? My understanding is a couple of hours smoke maxes out the smoking affect on the pork
– You want to minimize the number of times you open the grill, so if you see the smoke diminish then add a couple chunks of wood and maybe some charcoal if the fire looks to be dying out a bit. And vice versa. if the temp is dropping and you need to add more coals, check to see if you might need more smoke wood in the next 30 minutes or so and add it if need be. The deal with smoke maxing out has to do with temperature more than time. Once the outside of the meat hits a certain temp it will not take on any more smoke flavor. So depending on how fast you are cooking the meat you could take on smoke for 4 hours or only 2.

4) After wrapping, do you recommend using a cooler for the setting process? If so, does it need to be airtight?
– You can use a cooler, or a microwave or a cold oven. And it doesn’t need to be air tight.

5) Guessing with the rub, no sauce is needed, but, if you wanted to, what would you recommend?
– That’s entirely up to you. You’ve got vinegar based sauces, tomato based and mustard bases. Or you can try Richee’s BBQ sauce which is a tweener between tomato and mustard. You can go store bought, make your own or doctor a store bought brand which is what I do usually. Sweet Baby Rays or Maul’s with some brown sugar, garlic, chili powder, and a punch of mustard powder…

Thanks for the site and info!
– Thank you….

…….Scott

Thanks for the quick replies. Thought of a couple of additional questions:

1) I have a 10 lb. shoulder…how much additional cook time should I plan for using this method?

2) Using your rub, how much do you typically apply and/or what would you recommend for this size shoulder?

Thanks again!!

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Just a bump for my last couple of questions…doing this over the weekend, so your insight is appreciated.

TIA!

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Thanks for the quick replies. Thought of a couple of additional questions:

1) I have a 10 lb. shoulder…how much additional cook time should I plan for using this method?

*** An hour to an hour and 15 per pound. I would highly recommend slicing that bad boy in two and doing two 5 pounders.

2) Using your rub, how much do you typically apply and/or what would you recommend for this size shoulder?

**** Coat liberally. As much rub as will stick on the shoulder and then add some more. After the moisture permeates the rub add some more on top of that.

Thanks again!!

***Thank you and keep us posted…

…….Scott

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Just a quick update…the pork was a big hit at the event I attended, so thanks again for the input. I look forward to trying some of the other recommendations on the site!

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Glad to hear. Keep the great grilling going!!!

…….Scott

Thanks for the thorough directions. I have a boston butt on our little charcoal grill right now. It is not as big as yours, so I put a small loaf pan filled with water under the food rack on the side that I have the meat grilling on. I can’t wait for my husband to come home and see what I have planned for his 4th of July supper!
We will be having it with roasted corn, squash casserole and tomato pie.
Thanks for taking the trouble to keep this site going. I am going to use some of these ideas with venison this fall.
Keep those great ideas coming! 🙂

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Sharon,

Sounds like you are really takin care of business on the grill this weekend. Keep up the good work!!

…….Scott

Since I’m just making it for a few people, the size of the butt is about 2.5lbs. Can I assume the process is the same just less cooking time?

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Dennis,

Exactly Dennis. Just look for an internal temp of 190-195 internal temp before you pull it from the grill…

…….Scott

Thanks Scott! Love the blog!!! Keep up the good work.

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Oh my goodness! That pork was amazing! My husband came home from fishing and was confused as to why he smelled a smoker, since we do not have one. He absolutely loved the pulled pork, and was quite surprised that I handled it all by myself. Success!
Thanks again, and I will let you know how the venison turns out.

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Sharon,

Glad to hear it came out so well. Keep up the great grillin’!!!

…….Scott

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This may be considered “forbidden” but curious how long you would leave the butt on the grill to be smoked if you needed to finish in an oven? Only have one kettle and have a couple of items to prepare. I see here that the meat takes the smoke on for a couple of hours, so that’s what I’m planning, but figured I’d ask in case someone has experience doing this.

Will be 2 7.5 lb butts being done, so if there is variance based on the size, just let me know.

Thanks.

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If it were me, I would cut those two butts in half and cook them in about half the time. A couple four pounders smoked at 300 degrees and then put into a 300 degree oven will be done in 4-5 hours, but they need to rest for a while. I put mine in foil and then wrap in towels and put in a cooler for an hour or so and then take the foil off and let rest for an additional 15. Doing the 7.5 pounders whole will take probably closer to 7-8 hours, if not 9. You’re looking for an internal temp of 165 before you pull them off the grill, or in this case, out of the oven…

…….Scott

Follow up questions:

So, you are recommending cutting them down into 4 separate butts? If so, guessing they would be in two separate pans.

Are you say to leave on the grill until at 165 (regardless of how long that takes), then finishing in the oven until at the 190-195 range recommended in the writeup above?

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Sorry, I gave you the temp of the stall, not the final temp. The stall is when the fat begins to coagulate and melt inside the pork butt and the temp will stall anywhere between 150 and 165 and stay there for a while. You want to take them to 190 or so. I would smoke for at least 2 hours, then put them in the oven until they reach 190 and then put into the foil to slow down the cooking process. Some even put them in the foil a little earlier, like 180 as they will continue to cook for a little while after you put them in there.

And yes, I would cut them down to four separate butts or you will be getting up at 3 am to serve at 4-5 in the afternoon. If you have to put two in the same pan, just try to make sure they don’t touch as they will insulate each other and slow down the cooking process.

Pork butt/shoulder is very forgiving. Don’t stress out… It will come out great…

…….Scott

Why did you put these in a pan rather than directly on the grates? Is it just to catch the juices that you pour over the butts so that they cook in them?

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Soothsayer,

A couple of reasons. So they will simmer in their own juices as well as act as a heat shield to keep the pork butts from cooking too quickly…

…….Scott

Don’t know if you still get replies on this topic but I just found the site(have read your stuff on the Post Dispatch forum), and this might be a silly question but could I use this technique on a regular smoker(BGE) instead of a charcoal grill? And would I just use a place setter for indirect heat?

I was thinking about doing some pulled pork but didn’t want to spend 12 hours like you mentioned so I was thrilled to see this recipe.

Thanks,

Mike

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You can absolutely do this on a BGE. Just peg the temps at 300 and you will be done in 5-6 hours!

…….Scott

If i wanted to do this in oven would 325 be my temp? Planning on doing a 10lb cut into 2 5lb cuts. Any tips on getting a smoky flavor from oven baking? I’ve done ribs in the Dutch oven with rub and then broiled em for few minutes at end and they were awesome. Hoping I can get same results with pulled pork. I used liquid smoke in my run with those. Probably a huge no no but they were tasty and soft. Thanks!

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Jill,

325 is a good temp for the oven, but most of all, watch the thermometer more than the clock. As for smoke inside, that’s a tough one…

…….Scott

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