Sunday, April 15, 2012

Holy Smokes! How to Smoke BBQ Pork on the Grill

Those of us raised in the south know that barbeque is barbeque and grilling is grilling, and never the twain shall meet.  Ok, maybe “never” is a bit strong. 

In fact, you can barbeque pork on the grill, but the principles of BBQ stay the same.  Say it with me, LOW AND SLOW.  The key to smoking pork on the grill – in this recipe, a pork shoulder – is to keep the temperature constant and low while the meat reaches fall-off-the-bone status.  And if you follow this recipe for smoked pork shoulder on the grill, fall off the bone it shall.  Try it with ketchup-and-molasses-based sauce, Columbia, SC-mustard-based sauce, Dr. Pepper sauce, or Cherry Cola Sauce. Dig in!

Prep time: 10 minutes.  Cooking time: 10-12 hours


Pork shoulder (allow 1 pound per person)

Dry rub ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion salt
2 tablespoons paprika


1.    The day before you’re planning to smoke your pork shoulder, combine all dry run ingredients in a bowl.  Rub generously over meat, cover, and refrigerate.

2.    The day you’re planning to cook, set your alarm early!  It’s going to take about 12 hours total time.
3.    First thing, take the pork out of the fridge.  Then start soaking your wood chunks (or chips, though chunks are better) in water.  TIP: Toss a little apple cider vinegar in the water.  Then light your about 16 pieces of charcoal in a chimney starter.
4.    When the charcoal is ready, place it on the far end of the grill, in a charcoal holder if you have one (or a neat pile if you don’t).  Put a handful of wood chunks/chips over the charcoal.  The wood will give you your smoke, which is key for the flavor.

5.    On the other side, place a drip pan, with a little bit of apple cider vinegar poured in the bottom of the pan, lime so:

6.    Place the pork shoulder onto a grilling grate, and place the grate above the drip pan.  Your set up should look like this:

7.    Place the cover over the grill, with the holes above the meat, opposite the coal.  Make sure the holes on the cover and the bottom of the grill are open.  This should get some good smoke going!
8.    Now comes the hard part.  To maintain a constant, low temperature (you want to keep it as close to 225 degrees as possible), you’re going to need to keep about 12-15 lit charcoals going at all times, so you need to replace the coals every 60-90 minutes.  But you need to add coals that are already lit.  So every hour or so, light 12-15 new coals in the chimney starter.  Once they’re ready, add them to the grill. 
9.    For the first 3-4 hours, you should also add (pre-soaked) wood chunks/chips every 60 minutes to keep the smoke going.
10.    At about 3 hours (or closer to 4 if it’s a large shoulder), your meat will have a nice, black crust, like so:

11.    At this point, it won’t be able to take in any more smoke, so go ahead and wrap it in thick aluminum foil, and don’t bother adding wood chunks for the rest of the cooking time.  Just keep adding new coal as needed.
12.    When the shoulder reaches an interior temperature of 190 degrees, remove the pork from the grill.  Let rest for 30 minutes in foil.
13.    Open:

14.    Pull apart and enjoy!

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