Fall is the ultimate cozy season. After a long day, we love cozying up to our fireplace in our warm comfy clothes with our favourite comfort food. And is there anything more comforting and more universally loved than barbecue? Specifically pulled pork.
Pulled pork tastes great and is the perfect food for serving up to family and friends. You’re SO CLOSE to chowing down on some delicious BBQ pulled pork. All you have to do is follow these six simple steps and you’ll be in BBQ heaven.
1. The Power Of The Smoker
Of course, you can’t make great BBQ pulled pork without a smoker. Other methods are possible but a smoker is so much better because smoke is key to breaking down the fat that adds that moisture and that unique authentic BBQ flavour.
The smoker you choose makes a huge difference. Using the wrong smoker can result in tough, shrunken meat. If it doesn’t produce enough smoke, your meat could also taste very bland and may need to be cooked all over again.
What started out as the preparation of a beautiful comfort meal could end in disappointment and a mess to clean.
We don’t want that for you, which is why we believe investing in the right smoker is the best thing you could do to achieve delicious results every single time.
Smokers like the Traeger Pro 22 and the Pro 34 are powerful units that can grill, roast, smoke and even bake! You can’t go wrong with a smoker like this and your taste buds will thank you afterwards.
2. All About The Wood
Your smoker is fueled by wood, and the pork that you’ve just picked will need to be paired with the right kind. The flavours of a mild smoke will elevate your pulled pork to another level. Apple, hickory, maple and peach are a few fantastic wood options that you can be sure will improve your pork.
Each wood type provides its own distinct aroma and benefit. Applewood is mild and fruity and compliments pork well. Maple on the other hand is more subtle and is perfect for smoking meat.
The great thing is that you aren't limited to just one type of wood; many recipes recommend a combination to create amazing flavours. Hickory and apple is one popular mix that will spice up your pulled pork game.
For all your wood chip needs, The Fireplace Center & Patio Shop has got you covered. Give us a call or visit us to see our collection.
3. Choosing The Right Cut
The right cut of meat should have a fair amount of fat and marbling. For your pulled pork, you’d want to pick between pork shoulder and pork butt.
Though pork shoulder is easier to find in grocery stores, both cuts are wonderful to work with. They also belong to the same muscle group and so have similar textures. Pork butt, however, is meatier and has more marbling which is why it’s usually our go-to cut of meat for BBQ pulled pork.
Whichever one you decide to go with, make sure that you leave the bone in. This adds layers of flavour into your pork that you will be able to taste when you’re biting into it. Trust us.
4. The Rub
The BBQ rub is what turns a regular hunk of pork into the spicy, mouthing-watering meal we all love. You can use any kind of BBQ rub, whether homemade or store-bought.
Apply the rub 30 minutes before placing the meat in the smoker. There’s no standard ratio for how much rub you’ll need per pound.
Covering the entire surface of the pork should do the trick to get to flavour-town.
5. To Wrap or Not to Wrap
You’ve probably found yourself in the middle of a lively discussion about whether the pork should be wrapped or not. Different recipes approach it based on the preference of the chef, but we are on the “Wrap it” side.
Wrapping the pork makes it so much easier to take out of the smoker. If you don’t wrap it, the meat might fall apart in your hands when pulled out.
Not reason enough?
The internal temperature stops rising as the collagen in the pork breaks down. If you haven't wrapped your pork, you could be adding hours to your cooking time.
Foil or peach paper are great options for maintaining heat and easy removal.
6. Cooking Time
So you might be wondering how long it actually takes for the pork to be ready. Or maybe you’ve gotten different estimates from family, friends or online recipes.
When it comes to duration, a great rule of thumb is the 2:1 rule. It recommends that you allocate two hours of cook time for every pound of pork you have.
If you have your eyes set on smoking a beautiful 4-pound pork shoulder, make sure to set out at least 8 hours for it.
As for the temperature, have your smoker set at 107° Celsius (225° F) for optimal cooking.
Every cut of meat requires and deserves specific attention, so check on the pork along the way.
Don’t Forget The Sides
Now that you’ve made your delicious and flavourful pulled pork, all that’s left is making the sides. Coleslaw, mashed potatoes, bread and pickles, it doesn’t matter what you want with your pulled pork as long as it puts a big smile on your face.
Trust Our Expertise
If you need anything to put this delicious crowd pleaser together, we’ve got you covered. At the Fireplace Center and Patio Shop, we have a wide array of products to cater to your grilling, smoking, or barbecuing needs.
From an impressive range of smokers, BBQ rubs, and wood chips/pellets, you’re sure to find whatever you need to create the pulled pork of your dreams.
Get in touch with us today for advice on the best smokers and smoking equipment to use for your meals. Our barbecue experts will be thrilled to help!