Pulled Pork Sandwiches

May 16, 2014

I’ve made most of Chris Kimball’s Pulled Pork recipes (see here, here, here and here). But today I was faced with a unique set of circumstances, so I took bits and pieces of his various recipes. First, I only had a 3-lb boneless butt roast. Ideally I should have had a 5-to-7-lb bone in roast. Second, I didn’t want a lot of leftovers. Primary this was just going to be a meal for me and my two sons; but just food for today. Lastly, I had to make if from start to finish in 7 hours. Most recipes require a long brine or require the dry rub to soak overnight. The results were good, 4-stars, but fell short of a full-sized, bone-in roast. The sauce was a kid-friendly BBQ style, rather than a more vinegary sauce.

Delicious, but takes a lot of time

Delicious, but takes a lot of time

Taking advantage of a weekday in which I was working from home, I had 7 hours


  1. I am fortunate to have infinite free hardwood chunks. Today I used wood from my Oak tree, but I also have lots of Maple wood.
  2. In the past I’ve cut the roast horizontally to speed the cooking, but I had enough time to do a slow roast today.

Rating: 4 star.
Cost: $12.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 12 Noon. Dinner time 7 PM.

Here is the original Cook’s Illustrated link to for this recipe. The recipe for the sauce is here. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today is as follows:

Spicy Chili Rub Ingredients:
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2-1/2 tablespoons paprika
4 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground white pepper

1 boneless pork butt roast, 3-1/2 pounds

  1. Combine all spices in a small bowl and stir to combine. Trim away any large chunks of fat, then evenly spread the spice rub into the roast. Use two layers of plastic wrap to tightly wrap, put on a plate. Today I only allowed 1 hour, until the dry rub becomes wet from the pork juices. but longer is betters. But if you have the time refrigerating overnight is better.
  2. Remove roast from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Soak four 3″ wood chunks in tap water, using a plate to ensure that the wood stays below the surface of the water.
  3. About 15 minutes before cooking, light a chimney starter half-filled with briquettes
  4. When the charcoal is ready, spread 15 unlit briquettes on one side of the grill. Even spread the lit charcoal ontop of the unlit coals, leaving half the grill completely empty. Put the soaked wood chunks ontop of charcoal, and replace the cooking grate. Open the bottom vents completely and the top vents half-way.
  5. Put the roast in a disposable aluminum pan, and put it on the cool side of the grill. Cover so that the vents are over the meat, which will draw the smoke to better flavor the meat. After two hours, the grill will fall below 275-degrees, so it’s time to move it indoors.
  6. About 15 minutes before the meat is ready to come off the grill, set a rack to the middle of your oven. Preheat to 335-degrees.
  7. Cover the disposable pan tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil and bake for 2 more hours; until the meat is “fork-tender”.
  8. Put the entire pan in a brown paper bag and fold it shut. Let the roast rest for an hour inside the bag, but after 15 minutes begin making the sauce below.
  9. Empty the meat onto a cutting board and use your hands to separate into large sections along the lines of the fat. Scrape away any excess fat. Use your fingers (or forks) to thinly shred and put meat into a large bowl. Add 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce and stir to combine. Serve of buns or bread as sandwiches.

Western South Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce Recipe:
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup ketchup

  1. After 15 minutes of the pork resting in the paper bag (step 8 above), slightly peel back one corner of the foil and empty drippings in a fat separator. Re-close foil and return pork to paper bag to continue resting.
  2. Allow juices to separate for 5 minutes, then empty the juices into a 2-qt saucepan.  Bring to boil. Simmer pot with the lid ajar to reduce for 30 minutes. Pour reduced sauce into large bowl (bowl will also be used in step 9 above).
  3. Mince the onion and peel the garlic. Put saucepan over a medium burner and pre-heat oil  until shimmering. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Press garlic directly into the pan and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the reduced drippings and all the remaining ingredients (except for the ketchup). Stir to combine, bring up to a boil.
  5. Reduce burner to low and add ketchup. Cook for 15 more minutes until the sauce has thickened.
2-1/4 pounds of pulled pork

2-1/4 pounds of pulled pork

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