Lesson 9: Slow-Smoked Pork Shoulder
Whether you’re already an accomplished griller or just a novice, grilling cookbook author Fred Thompson will turn you into a grill master in ten short episodes.
In Fred’s home state of North Carolina, “barbecue” is a noun, a word for pork that’s cooked slowly over low heat and often smoked. Though there’s a ton of mystique around good barbecue, this episode will show you how to do it on your own grill, whether you’ve got gas or charcoal. All it takes is a little bit of patience.
|Fred’s Ultimate Smoked Pork Shoulder||Spice-Rubbed Pork Loin with Jalapeño-Lime Salsa||Coffee-Rubbed Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Watermelon Rind Relish||Pork Tenderloin Grilled in Rosemary Leaves|
Prepping the Pork
Barbecue starts with a dry rub of spices. This includes a little sugar, which helps produce an outside char. Rub the mixture all over the pork, then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. Reserve 1 Tbs. of the rub to sprinkle over the finished barbecue.
Injecting a brine into the pork is the latest trick on the competitive barbecue circuit. This not only keeps the meat moist and tender, it also seasons the meat throughout. Fred likes a Cuban mojo for his brine, which also lends a little tanginess and garlic flavor. To inject the brine properly, you need to slowly pull back on the syringe while you depress the plunger. This helps distribute the brine more evenly throughout the meat, without creating large puddles that will make the meat cook unevenly.
To Barbecue on a Gas Grill:
Set up the grill for indirect cooking as demonstrated in the two-zone fire episode, and add a packet of wood chips for smoking.
When the chips start smoking, put the pork on the grill on a cooler zone, cut off all the burners except the one under the smoking chips, and close the lid.
Every 20 minutes add a new smoke packet, until you’ve used all six. Work quickly when changing your smoke packet; the longer you leave the lid open, the more heat and smoke escapes. Then keep the lid shut and let it cook 4 to 5 hours more.
To Barbecue on a Charcoal Grill:
Set up your two-zone fire as demonstrated in episode 4. Sprinkle a handful of soaked hickory or apple wood chips over the coals.
Once the chips start smoking, put the pork shoulder on the grill’s cool zone. Put the lid on and close the vents almost completely.
For the first two hours, you’ll need to add another handful of soaked wood chips to the fire every half hour to keep the smoke going. After two hours, stop adding wood chips, but continue to cook over a low fire (the grill temperature should stay in the n neighborhood of 275° to 300 °F). You’ll need to replenish your charcoal every hour. See episode 3 for tips on getting a second batch of coals ready.
Finishing the Barbecue:
The pork shoulder is done when it reads 175° to 180°F on an instant-read thermometer. When you grab the flat bone that runs through the meat, it should move easily, or it may even slip out of the meat. Pull the barbecue off the grill, transfer to a large roasting pan, and let it rest 20 minutes.
After the meat has rested, use tongs or two forks to pull the meat apart in stringy chunks. Separate out the crispy outside brown crust–this you want to chop up finely and stir back into the meat. Sprinkle with the reserved spice rub and about 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, if you like, and mix well. Then it’s ready to serve.
More Grilled Pork Recipes
Barbecue-Braised Country Spareribs
North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Grilled Pork Blade Chops with Thai Marinade
Spicy-Smoky Mexican Pork Kebabs
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Honey-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
|Lesson 1: The Perfect Burger
||Lesson 2: Great Steaks on the Grill||Lesson 3: How to Start a Charcoal Fire|
|Lesson 4: The Two-Zone Fire||Lesson 5: How to Grill Bone-In Chicken Parts||Lesson 6: How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill|
|Lesson 7: How to Grill Fish||Lesson 8: Lump vs. Briquette Charcoal||Lesson 9: Slow-Smoked Pork Shoulder|
|Lesson 10: Real Barbecued Ribs|