Potluck Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork
Potluck Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork - For those of us who are involved with clubs, schools, family events, etc. there is always the burning question as to what to bring for a potluck. Obviously, the choices are endless but let's face it - we're always looking for that one dish that will please and feed the maximum number of people. Next potluck why not bring a big ole crock pot or two of delicious hickory smoked pulled pork to share. Everyone will thank you for it.
One of the easiest and most cost effective pieces of meat to smoke and cook is a pork butt (usually well under $2 a pound and sometimes even under $1 a pound when on sale). These chunks of meat are perfectly suited for low-and-slow cooking or what technically is "barbecuing". No, the definition of "barbecuing" is NOT what many people think it is ... When many people refer to barbecuing they're actually really grilling using a direct cooking method over a flame. Barbecuing is smoking/cooking low-and-slow using an indirect cooking method. The best part of pork butts is that they're very forgiving which means it's almost impossible to ruin one.
No matter what method you use or have developed the bottom line is the ultimate goal should be to take the pork butts to an internal temperature of 205ºF. Personally I no longer have the patience of a Saint to cook a butt for 12 to 18 hours at 225ºF. So I have chosen to use what is commonly known as the "Texas Crutch" which calls for double foiling a pork butt in order to help bypass the infamous "stall".
I'm in the camp that trims off the fat cap. Some will swear that if you leave the fat cap on it will somehow baste the pork butt with succulent flavor as the fat cap melts. I on the other hand just believe that all that melting fat makes one heck of a mess in your pellet smoker-grill. What really adds succulent flavors to your pulled pork is a well developed bark (the outside dark layer of a well smoked/cooked pork butt). Look at the top two photos to see an excellent example of a well developed bark and what it looks like when mixed with the rest of the pork butt when pulled.
Trim the fat cap off from each pork butt. Rub with extra virgin olive oil and apply an ample amount of your favorite pork butt seasoning/rub. There are a multitude of excellent rubs on the market today. I have picked out some of those which can be found in my online Amazon Store via the menu above. Carefully double or triple wrap the seasoned pork butt with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat your wood pellet smoker-grill to 180ºF or Smoke setting with Hickory wood pellets. Smoke the pork butts at 180ºF for 3 hours before increasing your pit temperature to 350ºF until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 160ºF. Remove the pork butts and double wrap them in heavy duty aluminum foil making sure that you keep any meat probes that you're using in the meat. Return to your 350ºF wood pellet smoker-grill and continue cooking until the pork internal temperature reaches 205ºF.
Remove the pork butts and keeping them in the foil wrap each butt in a towel and place them in a cooler. This method is better known as FTC (Foil, Towel, Cooler). FTC the pork butts for 3 to 4 hours before pulling and enjoying. For best results, return the juices in the foil from the cooking process and mix it with the pulled pork ... Enjoy!!