3000g PORK MEAT (=105,82oz): the ideal cut is the Boston Butt, composed of shoulder and neck, but since it is difficult to find in Italy, at least in our area, we use only the neck part
80g RUB (=2,82oz)*
40g DIJON MUSTARD (=1,41oz=2 ⅔ tbsp)
200g PINEAPPLE JUICE (=7,05oz=¾ cup)
20g APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (0,71oz=4 tsp)
115g BBQ SAUCE (=4,06oz= 3 ¼ tbsp)**
* Ingredients for the rub:
31g TABLE SALT (=1,09oz=1 ¾ tbsp)
31g BROWN SUGAR (=1,09oz=10 ⅓ tsp)
4g CHILI POWDER (=0,14oz=1 ½ tsp)
10g SWEET PAPRIKA (=0,35oz=4 ¾ tsp)
3g BLACK PEPPER POWDER (=0,11oz=½ tbsp)
** Ingredients for the BBQ sauce:
75g KETCHUP (=2,65oz=5 tbsp)
38g WATER (=1,34oz=⅛ cup)
12,5g BROWN SUGAR (=0,44oz=4 tsp)
20g ACACIA HONEY (=0,71oz=1 tbsp)
7,5g PGI BALSAMIC VINEGAR (=0,26oz=½ tbsp)
5g WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE (=0,18oz=⅓ tbsp)
11g DIJON MUSTARD (=0,39oz=⅔ tbsp)
2g CHILI POWDER (0,07oz=¼ tbsp)
Remove the meat from the fridge to bring it to room temperature, then place it without wrapping in a baking tray, covering it to prevent any insects from being attracted to it.
In the meantime, prepare the rub by mixing all the ingredients (we usually prepare it in large quantities and store it in glass jars).
After a minimum of a couple of hours trim the meat by removing excess surface fat and unsuitable pieces of meat or small cartilage, if present.
Immediately after proceed with the ignition of the kettle charcoal BBQ fire (we use a Weber Classic Kettle 57), laying 40 charcoal briquettes according to the snake or minion method: arrange the briquettes into 2 double-layered rows of 10 briquettes each. The briquettes must touch the following ones, so to work like a domino, each lighting the next one. Light 12 more briquettes in a chimney starter, or in any case separately, and once ready place them at one end of the snake, so that they begin to activate the briquette chain.
Proceed by placing an aluminium tray containing 2 fingers of warm water on the bottom of the bbq (where there is no charcoal). Close the lid to reach and stabilise the desired temperature of 110°-115°C (=230°-239°F) using the air vents and measuring with a probe thermometer (since the one embedded in the lid may not be accurate).
The ignition phase will last about 45-60 minutes (the timing varies according to the conditions): to ignite the fire it will take you about 20 minutes and another 25 minutes to stabilise.
While the temperature of the BBQ stabilises, prepare 4-5 chunks of cherry wood (cutting cubes of about 7×7 cm) and soak them in a bowl full of water for about 30 minutes. This process favours the production of smoke. We prefer the cherry wood for its delicate and sweet aroma (in addition to the fact that the wood we use comes from our forest), but it is possible to opt for other types of wood.
While the wood is soaking, apply a light layer of Dijon mustard on the meat (you can also opt to massage it with extra-virgin olive oil instead of mustard).
After that, evenly sprinkle the meat with the rub.
Once the temperature of the BBQ has stabilised and the meat has reached room temperature at the heart (it has been about 3 and a half hours since it was taken out of the fridge, but of course this timing can vary according to the outside temperature), drain the cherry wood chunks for a couple of minutes, then insert the probe thermometer into the piece of meat and place the meat itself on the grill above the tray.
Proceed by placing the chunks in the following way: half on the active part of the embers at the top of the snake and the others along the snake (more in the first part because smoking is needed in the first 4 hours). During this first smoking phase it is necessary to keep the temperature in the cooking chamber stable between 110° (=230°F) and 115°C(=239°F) until the inner meat temperature reaches 68°-70°C (154,4°-158°F). This phase normally lasts about 4-5 hours, depending on the size and humidity of the meat.
Prepare the liquid mixture of pineapple juice (or if you prefer you can proceed with the same amount of apple juice) and apple cider vinegar, then put it in a container equipped with a trigger spray pump.
Also prepare the BBQ sauce by combining all the ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, continuing to stir until thickened (if you are going to prepare sandwiches, I advise you to double the listed amounts, so that you can also have enough sauce to garnish the sandwiches).
When the temperature at the heart of the meat reaches 68-70°C (154,4°-158°F), move the meat from the BBQ grill and lay it in an aluminium baking tray big enough to allow the Kettle lid to be closed, always leaving the probe thermometer inserted.
Spray the entire top surface of the meat with the liquid solution, pouring the remaining liquid directly into the pan. Seal the pan with aluminium foil (the more reflective side of the foil should be facing the meat) so that steam leak is avoided. The probe must remain inserted.
Insert the baking tray into the Kettle, stabilise the temperature around 115°C (=239°F). Continue cooking until the temperature at the heart of the meat reaches 95°-98°C (=203°-208,4°F). It will take about 3 hours. At a first stage the temperature takes a long time to rise, but there is no need to worry: the meat has not suffered a thermal shock, it is a normal stall. After about 40-60 minutes it begins to rise gradually and steadily.
Once you have reached 95°-98°C (=203°-208,4°F), extract the baking tray from the BBQ and let the meat rest inside the tray covered by foil for about 10 minutes.
After these 10 minutes resting, remove the foil, separate almost all the liquid (about 90%) from the meat and start pulling (with the appropriate claws or with 2 big forks).
If pulled pork is consumed immediately, add some of the cooking liquid (amount to taste depending on how you want the meat to be: if more or less dry) and mix the shredded meat. Add the BBQ sauce and mix again.
If, on the other hand, you prepare pulled pork to consume it the following day, let the meat cool after pulling it and store it in the fridge covered with its foil only after it has reached room temperature. The next day, remove the meat from the refrigerator a few hours before consuming it, so that it reaches room temperature. Warm the sauce up so as to melt the fat and add it to the meat (always in quantity to taste). Proceed by heating this latter in a static oven at 180°C (=356°F) for about 20 minutes (at the beginning covered with aluminium foil which needs to be taken away halfway through cooking), mixing the meat from time to time (you can evaluate to increase the amount of time according to the degree of heat you want to reach, but never increase the temperature to avoid drying the meat too much). In the meantime, warm the BBQ sauce up on the fire to add it to the pulled pork at the end of cooking.
The process of smoking and cooking pulled pork lasts at least 7-8 hours (obviously this depends on the weight of the fresh meat: once with a 4 Kg pork neck for example it happened to last an hour longer). The first part of smoking must last the expected time (you cannot cheat!), while the second part can be accelerated by bringing the temperature of the BBQ to 130°C (=266°F). You save about 1 hour of time and the meat does not suffer.
We love to prepare pulled pork sandwiches combined with caramelised onions and BBQ sauce… if you like this idea too, do not forget to prepare the buns and caramelised onions in time, following our recipes. As I told you earlier, in this case remember to prepare more BBQ sauce than expected from the list of ingredients.