If there’s one thing D and I are really looking forward to this summer, it’s grilling and hanging out in the backyard! We’re both big homebodies normally but even more so lately obviously. And now that it’s heating up, we’re excited to take advantage of beautiful Denver from our patio! Especially since we’ll be staying home a little more than usual, we definitely plan on taking full advantage and whipping up some very delicious meals. This is why when the National Pork Board asked me if we’d like to share our go-to summer pork recipes, we jumped at the chance!
I don’t know about y’all, but something I (Duncan too!) grew up always eating was smoked pulled pork. To be honest I never really knew how much went into smoking meat LOL, but it’s the PERFECT way to spend a summer Sunday. We wrote down everything we did, the steps we followed – including the cut of pork we used and why – and everything else you need to know to make this recipe happen at home! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them, but if you have any pork-specific questions, check out the National Pork Board’s website because they have tons of tips for choosing your cut of pork and delicious recipes!
First things first, Duncan and I chose our cut of pork. We went with a bone-in pork shoulder because we knew we wanted to smoke it and this is one of the most popular cuts for that cooking method (other good cuts for smoking include butts, chops and ribs). Pork shoulder also has good fat marbling so it stays really juicy and gets super tender after being on the smoker all day.
Next, we prepped the pork to go on the smoker for nine hours. We smoked the meat knowing we wanted a really good, smokey and classic tasting pulled pork so we used apple wood pellets in our smoker and a sea salt and paprika rub. You can use a marinade or a dry rub for smoking pork, but we went with dry.
While we were making our dry rub, we had our smoker preheating to 250°F – don’t forget to do this so it’s ready to go! It takes about 15 minutes.
Smoking the pork
Once everything was prepped and ready, we placed the pork shoulder directly on the grill grate for about 4 hours or until the internal temperature reached 160 °F. To test the internal temperature, you’ll need a thermometer. Don’t skip this step! Cooking pork to the correct temperature is really important. It has to be at least 145 °F to be safe to eat, so always make sure you at least hit that number before eating. Hot smoking temperatures typically range from 225°–250°F, but time and temperature will vary depending on your cut and the recipe. Lots of good tips and info on this topic here!
In the last hour or so of the first round of smoking, prep for the next step by getting a large sheet pan out and laying out three-four piece of tinfoil on it. Once your pork reaches 160, take it off the grill and set it on the foiled pan. You’re going to then form a little pouch with the tinfoil around the meat and add two cups of apple cider vinegar. Be careful not to let the vinegar leak everywhere! Close up your foil pouch around the pork and put it back on the grill for another three to four hours until the thickest part of the pork reaches 204°F.
After you reach 204°F, take the pork off the grill and let it sit in the foil pouch for 45 minutes. Once it’s done resting you’ll want to pour off any liquid into a fat separator – this way you’ll have extra liquid to pour over the meat when you’re pulling it! Speaking of pulling it – that’s next!
Pull your pork and prep to eat!
Move the pork into a 9×13 pan or anything with enough space for you to pull it all apart. I used two big forks to pull ours apart and then tossed the bone and any big pieces of fat. I then added the extra juice from the foil packet and taste-tested to see if I should add more of the rub. And that’s it! Your pulled pork is officially ready to eat in any way you like!
Since we made 9 pounds of pork, we had PLENTY of leftovers which we LOVE because it makes planning for meals throughout the week so easy! You can do so much with pork! The first night, we put it on a bun for pulled pork sandwiches. And then the next morning we made breakfast tacos with them! We also love making nachos with pulled pork too!
The options are endless with pulled pork, which is why it’s such a favorite for us! You can also smoke pork on the weekend and then keep it in the fridge for meals throughout the week! And let me tell you, it was 100% worth the nine-hour wait. SO GOOD! If you’re new to smoking meat, you can find everything you need to know right here.
I hope this inspired y’all to take advantage of the nice weather and spend some time outside smoking pork over the next few months. Cheers to summer!!
Brighton Your Day
Get exclusive content, sale items, and lots of fun stuff, straight to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!