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Love me some picnic BBQ - Pulled Pork Shoulder And Rub Recipe!

Updated on August 14, 2011

What weekends are good for.....backyard bbq

So a few weekends have passed since my last attempt at a pulled pork recipe. Last time It was so good I nearly cried. Being that it is a long weekend, albeit the end of the long weekend, I thought I should give it another go.

I truly enjoy cooking and have a real fascination with Barbecue. Even when I was little I loved Barbecue chicken smothered in sauce, mm-mm, still do. Yet I have grown bored with chicken and am lovin' Barbecue pulled pork. It is relatively inexpensive, it takes time and love, and best of all it tastes great and is easy to share. I know there are lots of more informative people out there, Bobby Flay or some other food network star, but I have tried to do my research and learn how to do pork well.

I hope you enjoy the read and get some smoking and bbq grilling tips. I know I will enjoy the process.

Mmmm, Pork Pulled Pork.......

Pork Rub
Pork Rub

Picnic Pork Shoulder

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The Meat - Pork Sholder

I started with 9lbs of pork shoulder, bone in. I got it at Albertsons, it was the picnic pork and was about $16. I think it is a super deal considering how many meals you get out of it. Now, I keep all the fat on and I think that bone in tastes best. Fat is flavor is what my Pops always tells me, I am inclined to agree. The photos of my actual pork shoulder are to the right.

OK, so here is where it really gets interesting. I read and have seen on T.V. that adding mustard to the pork shoulder/butt (Ribs too!) and then applying the rub is the way to make award winning pulled pork. This is what I do and I love it. I believe it helps with moisture and really you don't taste mustard once it is done, it just adds "flavor". My wife is really picky and she doesn't notice any particular mustardyness.

This time 'round I used Beaver brand Honey Mustard. I figure if the rub has sugar then sweet mustard could only help, right? Anyway, that's what I did, smothered it on and then,"THE RUB".

Pulled Pork Rub Recipe~ For about a 10lb Pork Shoulder, Bone in....

  • 1Tbs ~Salt
  • 1Tbs ~Season Salt
  • 2Tbs ~White Sugar
  • 4Tbs ~Brown Sugar
  • 4Tbs ~Cumin
  • 3Tbs ~Chili Powder
  • 4Tbs ~Pepper (Ground)
  • 2Tbs ~Cayenne pepper
  • 1Tbs ~Paprika
  • 1Tbs ~Smoked Paprika

That's it. I believe this is a Northern Carolina style Pulled Pork Rub with a few of my own tweaks.


Click thumbnail to view full-size

The Barbecue

Now once you've got your mustard and rub on then you just let it sit till it is about room temperature. During this period is when I start my smoker goin'. I used 1/2 charcoal and 1/2 Mesquite Hardwood Briquettes.I also usually get Apple wood chips as I think it is a lighter "smoke" flavor but I couldn't find any so went with Hickory instead. I'll let you know how it tastes towards the end of the article.You can see to the right that I also soak my chips in Apple Juice. It allows the chips to smoke longer and moistens the meat as well I believe.

So I have the BBQ goin' and just wait for it to hit about 300º then I put my meat in and let it go. I check every 45 minutes in the beginning until it hits 220º then I add some hardwood briquettes and let it go for about 2 hours checking only to see if I need to adjust the vents. Then I throw some of my apple soaked chips on and some briquettes if needed and keep on checking in on it, NOT OPENING THE LID UNLESS NECESSARY!!

UPDATE: I enjoyed the Hickory smoke flavor but prefer Apple wood!

Starters for coal, Webers are the best

BBQ Tools

I defiantly have a few tools that are key to me. I just purchased 2, 2" thermometors and that has helped to control and get proper temps. It also gives my grill a nice look. As well having good tongs or two and some aluminum pans are helpful for bigger meats. A chimney starter for your coals is really key too.

Low and Smoky Grillin' Goodness!

Lookin' Good!
Lookin' Good!

The finished product

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Great Video-Start here for first timers. More Vids below

How to Video

Cooking or Grilling

Well, it took from about 3:30pm to 1:30am to get the meat to around 180º so about 10 hours with an average of lets say 245º to 285º in the smoker. I haven't perfected the cooking temperature in my smoker and I don't have a firebox so every time I have to put on more wood I let out all the heat. The shoulder and the fact that it is a big piece of meat means it is more forgiving though.You can see in the images that I have the fire on one side and the meat as far away as I can on the chiminey side.

No I didn't stay up...

I just couldn't keep awake past midnight and fell asleep after the last small dose of Mesquite briquettes and some hickory chips went on. So when I woke up at 1:30 it took a minute but I rolled out of bed, grab my flip flops and snuck out so as to not wake the wife or dogs. Boy was I in for a treat. I lifted back the smoker lid where the temp. had actually just cooled down to about 220º and the meat was perfect, so much so that I tried to grab it with my hands and it started to fall apart on me. So tongs and a bowl in hand I got it into the kitchen and let it rest for a bit, 20 min or so while I prepped my work area. By 2am all the meat was pulled, which you can see to the right here, and I made myself a little sick from the testing, yum, and the late hour. So, Saran wrap and into the fridge it went and off to bed to dream of Pulled pork sandwiches for lunch.

Lunch time...

I had my wife get me a small cabbage and some rolls the night before, bailed from work with an order from coworkers for 2 pulled pork sandwiches. I was in a hurry to get home and back as I had a short lunch and do not know how this happened but here it is. I go home and grab some of the meat, slap it into a container and turn to the slaw.....Crap, I say, how do you make good slaw??? Here is what I did from memory and creativity. This was for 4 sandwiches, with smallish potato buns.

Slaw topping-

  • Half a small head of Cabbage
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1tsp of the (Sriracha)Red Rooster Chili sauce
  • 2Tbls of Mayo
  • 2Tbls of Jalapeno Ranch


So not to toot my own horn but from the reactions at work, it freakin rocked the house. It went like this, Potato rolls, the pulled barbecue pork and some slaw.End of story, that's all she wrote. It was off the hook!! I have so much fun with it I don't even know how to describe it. I hope you can get that feeling too. I love the process but love the end result of the faces of people who wrap their lips around my food and just go, YUM! It's so cool.

That's it,

Thanks, J

Video on Pulled pork - BBQ Boys also great


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    • jestone profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from America!

      It really isn't hard, but it does certainly takes some time. Good Luck!

    • las81071 profile image


      5 years ago

      I have never tried to make this before. Sounds fairly easy to follow instructions and my mouth is watering just thinking of the taste.Thanks for sharing

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      check out this ham i did part 1

      part 2 skip to end to see final product

      making pulled pork this memorial day

    • saif113sb profile image


      7 years ago

      Great information. Thanks

    • jestone profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from America!


      Thanks and Pulled pork is so forgiving too.Just try it!


    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 

      8 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      I gotta try this one! :D Love pulled pork!

    • crashcromwell profile image


      10 years ago from Florida

      Great recipe Jestone! I'll have to try it the next time we have pork, but it sure sounds good on monitor!

      Jim Henry, aka crashcromwell

    • jestone profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from America!

      Thanks for the comment.

      I am usually a sauce guy but it really didnt't need it and that really made me happy. I did put out a request for sauces that people like though just for fun.


    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      10 years ago from St. Louis

      Jestone. I love me some pulled pork too. I'm originally from Memphis and pulled pork just isn't around here, in spite of being only a 5 hour drive. Always bring back a big batch from Corky's whenever I visit the relatives.

      I made my first pulled pork a couple of months ago. It turned out good but yours was probably better, cooked slow on the grill with the hardwood and all. You're right about that being a North Carolina style rub, not exactly what Memphians do, but delicious never-the-less. And no soaking the pulled meat in sauce! Just like you did it, on a bun, topped with a great slaw and your favorite sause (hot for me) on top.

      I'll try your recipe next time. Thanks!


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