Don’t sleep on the Pulled Pork!

Pork butt from yesterday.
I know pulled pork can seem ”meh” when it comes to BBQ meats but when done right? It’s undefeated.
I think people don’t take a chance on it sometimes because they’ve been burned (pun intended) in the past by places that shortcut the shoulder and don’t actually smoke it, don’t know how to properly post season the meat or simply drown it in sauce to cover up a lackluster product.
Not over here baby.
I got my start in the “pulled pork capital” of the country. Down East North Carolina. In these borders an order of “BBQ” gets you what the rest of the world calls “pulled pork”. Ribs? Nope. Brisket? Nonexistent.
Some days I learned lessons from watching my elder family members slaughter hogs for pig pickings or one of my best friend’s grandad who was known as “the man you go see if you want a pig cooked” work his pit (RIP Mr. Monroe).
Other days I would ride shotgun with my dad after being was requested by grandma to undertake a side quest to Goldsboro or Ayden to ”get her some Wilbur’s or Pete Jones (Skylight Inn) << IYKYK.
I’d watch in awe as the men behind the counter would chop down whole hogs into tender, juicy and fatty goodness. If you knew my grandma Carrie then you then know sometimes which one you were headed to depended on the day it was:
“Go to _________ and not _____ because they got that boy who don’t chop the meat right in there on Saturdays”
“Go here instead, the greens at _____ don’t come out good because of the soil in that county this time of the year.”
and sometimes it just depended on the way the wind blew that day.
(Southerners are a superstitious yet inexplicably wise bunch.)
It’s this legacy I honor every time I put a shoulder or pig on my pit. This legacy is why my biggest pit (for now 😂) is a pig cooker. This legacy is why I smoke over coals and wood on a hog cooker instead of on the Texas style offset smoker.
I got started in BBQ as a business because I was just a backyard guy who was missing the flavors of his upbringing and needed a way to get a fix without catching a flight across the country. I would make pans of pork and take it to work for coworkers just so I didn’t have to eat 6 lbs of meat myself. Lucky them! They got a lot of food for FREE! 😂
Next time you order, give the “BBQ” a try. It’s seriously good.
Here’s a pic of me smashing a classic BBQ sandwich with slaw and Texas Pete from a legendary BBQ institution: “King’s BBQ” in my hometown of Kinston, NC.
Best served on a squishy bun with slaw and Texas Pete hot sauce (which is also made in NC)
(Side note: A hog cooker can smoke low and slow classics like brisket and pork shoulders really well. Another cool benefit to cooking on a hog cooker is it gives you the ability to drop in a pan for coals to cook with direct heat. I can whip up a gang of burgers, chicken, ribs or sausage for feeding crowds on a bigger grill than my small charcoal grill. This is a huge benefit than just having a smoker!
Below are a couple pics of my custom PR60. Meadow Creek is an Amish company that hand welds the grills in Pennsylvania. On this rig, I opted for doors in the lid, a charcoal pullout, wagon wheels with a pulling handle, the second tier rack to double cook space, and the charcoal pan insert I mentioned to allow me to convert it to a large direct heat grill. I love it and if I had one complaint it would be that it can be a bit hungry on fuel as it’s fired by coals and flavoring wood chunks/splits. If I had to buy it again I would, the only difference would be that I would buy the gas version to cut down on using fuel. Since your BBQ is pretty much done taking on smoke flavor after it hits a certain temp, your smoker is essentially burning fuel to operate as a glorified oven. Having the gas version would save me a few bucks each cook to get a load of briskets and butts like you see below across the finish line. Besides that, the thing is made like a tank and will last a couple lifetimes, which is why I plan to pass it down to whichever one of my kids decides to take over the BBQ biz when they are older.
Bonus: Click the link below for a short video of me using the PR60 to direct grill catered turkeys on Thanksgiving 2022:
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