Lexington-Style Pulled Pork For Charcoal Grill
From Cook's Country
Traditional vinegar-based Lexington-style pulled pork recipes take hours to prepare. We wanted to simplify this recipe without sacrificing flavor. To do so, we used a combination of grilling and oven-roasting to reduce the cooking time from all day to just a few hours. To infuse our Lexington-Style pulled pork with ample smoke flavor despite the abbreviated cooking time, we doubled the amount of wood chips we used.
Serves 8 to 10
Pork butt (often labeled Boston butt) is usually sold boneless and wrapped in netting but is sometimes available on the bone. If barbecuing a bone-in roast, or if your pork butt weighs more than 5 pounds, plan on an extra 30 to 60 minutes of oven cooking time.
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon table salt
- 1 boneless pork shoulder roast (4- to 5-pound)
- 4 cups wood chips, soaked in water for 15 minutes and drained
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. For the spice rub and pork: Combine spices, sugar, and salt in small bowl, breaking up any lumps as necessary. Massage entire pork roast with spice mixture. (Roast may be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to 1 day.) Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap soaked chips in foil packet and cut several vent holes in top.
2. Open bottom grill vents. Light large chimney starter filled halfway with charcoal briquettes (about 50 coals) and burn until charcoal is covered with fine gray ash. Pour coals into pile on one side of grill. Place wood chip packet on coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and let grill heat up 5 minutes. Scrape grate clean.
3. Position pork on cooler side of grill. Cover, positioning half-open lid vents directly over meat, and cook until meat has dark, rosy crust and charcoal is spent, about 2 hours.
4. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Transfer pork to large roasting pan, wrap pan and pork tightly in foil, and roast in oven until fork inserted into pork can be removed with no resistance (see related Tip), 2 to 3 hours. Remove from oven and rest, still wrapped in foil, for 30 minutes.
5. For the sauce: Whisk together all ingredients until sugar and salt are dissolved. Using hands, pull pork into thin shreds, discarding fat if desired. Toss pork with 1/2 cup vinegar sauce, serving remaining sauce at table.
Overview: Charcoal Grill Setup
Because the pork butt spends only two hours on the grill before going into the oven (about half the time called for in most other recipes), it’s important that the meat soak up as much smoke as possible.
SOAKED WOOD-CHIP PACKET: Soaked chips burn more slowly than unsoaked ones.
HALF CHIMNEY OF COALS: Provides the right amount of fuel for low-and-slow smoking.
TOP VENTS OPEN ABOVE THE MEAT: Creates a draw that directs the smoke over the meat.
MEAT OPPOSITE THE FIRE: Offers gentle heat.
A Smokin' Gas Grill
A charcoal grill is the traditional choice when you want to use wood chips to produce flavorful smoke. It takes some ingenuity to use wood chips on a gas grill (tossing them onto the burners results in immediate combustion and little smoke), but we've developed a method that produces good results.
1. MAKE A PACKET
Place the soaked and drained chips in the center of an 8-inch square piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fold the foil over the chips and crimp all sides to seal well.
2. CUT SLITS
Using a paring knife, cut slits in top of the foil packet and place it directly on the primary burner (the burner that will remain on during the entire cooking time). When protected in this way, the chips should smoke for 30 to 40 minutes.
How to Set Up the Grill
Indirect heat is the key to low and slow BBQ. Place the roast on the side of the grill opposite the lit coals.
How to Finish the Pork
1. After taking the pork off the grill, transfer it to a roasting pan, cover the pan with foil, and finish in a 325-degree oven.
2. Wearing kitchen gloves to protect your hands from the heat, shred (or "pull") the pork into thin strands, adding sauce as you go.