Charcoal-Grilled Pulled Pork with Cider Vinegar Barbeque Sauce
Inspiration: B recently bought a charcoal Weber grill, and he’s been grilling up a storm ever since. We’ve had a gas grill for several years that we love, but new toys are always fun. So when we had an entire Sunday at home, B wanted to spend all day slow cooking something on the charcoal grill for supper, and I wasn’t going to complain. He’s awesome :)
What we Loved: I’m going to preface this by saying that this meal was the best meal that I’ve had in recent memory, and overall one of the best meals that I’ve ever had in my life. Are there many things that sound better than a pork shoulder that has been slow roasted for eight hours over mesquite lump charcoal and Jack Daniels wood chips? I didn’t think so :) The meat was crispy and blackened with delicious, smoky bourbon/mesquite flavor on the outside, and it was so rich and juicy on the inside. I can’t even describe how wonderful the slow cooked, smoky flavor was. Way to go, B! You really don’t need any sauce or accompaniments at all with such a delicious cut of meat. That being said, we went ahead and combined it with just a touch here and there of apple cider vinegar barbeque sauce (a crazy flavorful sauce that is perfectly rich, sweet, sour, and savory), green beans slow cooked with bacon and onions, and some classic deviled eggs. I truthfully can’t recall many meals that we’ve made that have been better. The entire meal is a ridiculous amount of work and took up the entire day (thank you, B!) – but it’s way, way worth it.
Helpful Hints: B says to be patient with this recipe. It will take between 6-8 hours of grilling after all of the prep time, and this will vary depending on your grill, the size of your roast, and any other factors that come into play. Make sure to avoid opening the grill any more than you have to. Every time that you do, it might add 15-30 minutes onto your griling time because of the loss of heat. It’s best to place the grill thermometer in a place where you can see it through the vents, so that you only need to open the grill to replace coals or wood chips when it gets too cool.
Regarding the barbeque sauce, beware that the below recipe makes a ton of sauce. It’s ridiculously delicious, but we only used small amounts because it’s really rich and we didn’t want to cover up the flavor of the pork too much. That being said, the sauce is way too good to skip! As a solution, we basically drizzled a bit of it over the tender, inside pieces of meat on our plates, and we saved the blackened chunks of meat for eating all on their own – as they truly deserve to be eaten :)
Charcoal-Grilled Pulled Pork
Source: Original recipe
1 3-4 lb boneless pork shoulder
Freshly cracked black pepper
1. Coat the pork shoulder completely in a generous amount of smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Let the pork sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Place a good amount of wood chips in a bowl of water (three-four handfuls). Let soak for 30 minutes.
3. To grill the meat, you are going to use indirect grilling. To prepare the grill, light your charcoal with lighter fluid or use a chimney to heat the charcoal. When the charcoal is hot, move it to either side of the grill (using charcoal holders if desired to hold the charcoal). Wrap two handfuls of the wood chips loosely in two foil packets, poking several holes in the foil. Place the wood chip packets directly on top of the charcoal on either side of the grill. Place a drip pan between the charcoal/wood chips that are on either side of the grill. Place an oven thermometer on the grate or somewhere inside the grill away from the direct coal heat so that you can keep a constant eye on the temperature inside the grill. Place the thermometer in such a manner so that you can see it from the outside of the grill through the vents.
4. Stabilize the temperature in the grill to be between 225 and 250 degrees F by controlling the air flow through the top vents and bottom vents of your grill. When the temperature is in this range, place a cupful or so of water into the drip pan. Place the pork on the grate in the middle of the grill over the drip pan, sticking a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the roast. This way, you are using indirect heat to cook the meat.
5. Keep the temperature inside the grill in the 225-250 degrees F range until the inside of the thickest part of the meat reaches 190-195 F (6-8 hours). Baste if desired every hour or so while cooking, and refill the coals and wood chips as necessary in order to keep the grill hot.
6. Remove the pork from the grill, wrap it in foil, and let it sit for 30 minutes before shredding with two forks.
Cider Vinegar Barbeque Sauce
Source: Tyler Florence
We cut this recipe in half and cut down on the cayenne. Here’s the recipe as we made it.
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
1/6 cup packed brown sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Add all ingredients to a sauce pan. Heat over medium low heat until the sugar dissolves and everything is well combined.