Champion Pulled Pork step-by-step
In my professional career, Pork was by far my best category where I won the most money and took home the most category championships. I was blessed to have a good friend Ron "un-Yawn" Walker take me under His wing and teach me the step by step process for cooking champion pork.
I'm going to walk you through the process. It's not difficult to do, you just need to know what to do. And.... like any BBQ category it requires that YOU be the PitMaster and modify the ingredients and tweak the process to get the results you want. Rubs, sauces, brines, Injections etc.. are all variable and it's up to you to dial them in.
To start, I'm cooking this round of pork for my neighbors on a Traeger Pro 22, their smallest pellet smoker. I just love the Traeger... It's a set it....and forget it... cooker where there is virtually no babysitting. I still have my 270 competition smoker and I enjoy that as well, it's just that the Traeger makes it so consistent with predictable outcomes because of temperature control.... so Let's get started.
First off, I'm cooking Boston Butts and I need to cook 4 of them.... problem is.... this smoker is small...
So, I'm not going to be able to lay them flat, I need to get them all in the pan... so here's what I'm going to do..
I will stand them up with the bone side as the base. That way I can get all 4 into the pan that has a rack and on the smoker.
First step trimming. I'm not going to do a bunch of trimming on these, I'll remove the fat cap leaving a layer and not taking it all the way down to the meat. Remember, fat is flavor and we want to keep it on the pork because when we pull it at the end, it brings a ton of flavor to the party.
Once we get all 4 fat caps trimmed, we will get them loaded into the pan. I will make a cut down through the Money Muscle (song written about that). This cut will allow me to inject more of the meat and during the cooking process it will give more surface area to create flavorful bark.
Once the meat is "scored" it time to inject. This is where you get real creative with ingredients to use. For this batch, I'm using Pineapple juice and slap you momma seasoning. I like SYM seasoning because it is very simple salt, red pepper, black pepper and garlic.... perfect flavor enhancer. For this batch I used about 1/4 cup rub and 2 cups juice... I warmed it up to blend it all together and let it cool.
I will go into all of the exposed muscles and load it up with the liquid injection. As you are injecting, you can see the muscle filling up. I go all around the butt and use a good bit of injection.
Once we have the butts injected.... it's time to get them rubbed down. I will be using mustard as a "binding agent" to help the rub adhere to the meat. I will coat the butt liberally and then give a good coating of run. All sides, all surface areas.
We get them all coated and rubbed down and now it's into the cooler for a nap and then onto the smoker. I'll be putting them on my Traeger at around 12:45 AM @275-300*... My target time for having them ready for pick-up is 10:30AM for my neighbors having parties.
So, it's on the way, looking good, been on the pit for about 2.5 hours and color is coming along nicely.... time to spritz it with pineapple Juice.
OK, we have an internal temperature of 170* and been on the pit for about 6 hours. I cranked up the temp to 325* for the last 2 hours and gave it another pineapple juice spritz... We're ready to wrap.
got some brown sugar, parkay, sauce and rub... gonna layer some on the bottom and coat the top as well. Double wrap with heavy duty foil and onto the grill @ 400*
Gotta have your helpers... we love our babies!
Ok, been finishing off for about 3.5 hours, nice and tender to the probe and ready to process.
Gonna dump the whole thing into a tub and peel off the foil. Hand pulling and adding 1/2 cup sauce and juice and lightly coating with rub.
And there ya have it! pulled pork made with tons of Love... Will make an amazing sandwich or just by itself! Enjoy and God bless ya....
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