How to Smoke Pulled Pork

From The Smoker February 12, 2024
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Pulled Pork. It’s a signature Sonny’s BBQ dish, and one we hold with a lot of pride. But let’s say you want to smoke this meat just like a Sonny’s Pitmaster does day in and day out. You’ve come to the right place. Here’s How to Smoke Pulled Pork. 

Step 1

Shop for the Right Cut

First off, you’ve got to get the right Pork Shoulder or Pork “Butt” at your local store. They usually come in packs of two. Why is it called a Pork Butt? Glad you asked. Pitmaster Shannon Snell explained the history behind the name when he answered some Burning BBQ Questions.

Step 2

Start Your Smoker

Next, you’ve got to get your smoker fired up. How Pitmaster Shannon likes to do it, is he fills his chimney with a Firestarter and charcoal, before lighting it and dumping it onto the grill. Once that’s done, lay some wood chunks on top of the burning charcoal to help with the flavor. Shannon says to go for Hickory wood, as it’s his favorite for pork. Sound a little too complicated? Check out the video on this page for an easy step-by-step process.

Step 3

Making Your Rub

You have to have rub to make the best barbecue. Here are all the ingredients for the best pork rub:

  • 3 tsp brown sugar 
  • ½ tsp onion powder 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • ½ tsp cayenne powder 
  • ½ tsp black pepper 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • ½ tsp chili powder 
Step 4

Prepping the Raw Pork 

When you get your pork butt, don’t remove the large outer layer of fat. If it’s cooked down properly, it’s some of the best Pulled Pork you could have. Still, look for some excess fat and silver skin, and trim it up accordingly. Once you’re trimmed up, it’s time to add the rub. Pitmaster Shannon likes to use a very thin layer of mustard around the shoulder. Then, just apply rub anywhere you see yellow. Before we move forward, we want to share a page out of Shannon’s BBQ Bible: 

A rub is not a rub. If you rub it in, it’s going to create clumps that may be a little too salty when you bite into it later.

Pitmaster Shannon Snell
Step 5

Get Cookin’ 

Next, you’ll want to cook the pork with Indirect Heat at 275 degrees for 8-9 hours. After the first few hours, start spritzing the pork with Apple Juice, then repeat every 30 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees. Remember, when you’re taking the temperature, do so in the thickest part of the meat. 

Step 6

Wrap Things Up… Literally

Once you’re at the temperature, it’s time to wrap it in foil. Grab yourself a sheet and place your pork butt in the middle. Spritz with a bit of apple juice and wrap it tightly. Then, return it to the smoker and finish it up there for a few more minutes, making sure it reaches 205 degrees. 

Step 7

Take a Rest 

Don’t forget to rest your wrapped Pork. If you don’t, you run the risk of all those juices just flowing out, and all of that hard work going to waste. So you’ll need to wait about 30 minutes before we get to the fun part. 

Step 8

How to Pull Pork 

First off, that outer layer of skin can be removed. Don’t throw it away though. If you cut that up and fry those pieces, you’ll get some delicious cracklings. Next, if you’ve cooked it properly, you should be able to remove the bones without any issues, and they should come out clean. Now you can just use your hands to pull the pork. Leave it in chunks though, as those are the best bites and you don’t want to break down the pork too much. 

Step 9

Dig In 

And you’re done. Slather on some Sonny’s Sweet BBQ Sauce and get to eatin’. On a sandwich or plate, pulled pork is great for any occasion. Check out the YouTube video we linked for an easy step-by-step recipe with Pitmaster Shannon Snell, and if you make this at home, be sure to tag us on social @sonnysbbq. We can’t wait to see what you cook up. 

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