Monday, March 26, 2012

Big Green Egg: Smoked Pulled Pork

First and foremost, when someone says BBQ I think pulled pork.  Ribs are great and all but give me a juicy sandwich of smoked pulled meat any day!  The weather has been so nice I caught the bug to do some smoking.  Wouldn't you know it mother nature would do her best to foil my plans but the Big Green Egg is a smoker/grill worthy of all the praise it gets.  Through heavy downpours and even hail at times she kept on smoking at a steady 230F.  This is Big Green Egg pulled pork!
Ready for Action

Good BBQ starts with the rub
Shoulder before seasoning, notice the shoulder blade
This recipe starts 24 hours before you plan to smoke your pork.  You will want to trim any excessive excess fat though to be honest, lately I haven't been trimming much fat away beforehand because the butts don't come with a ton of extra fat on them.  We will be rubbing down the butt, yes you read that correctly, with plain old yellow mustard then coating it with our BBQ rub.  There are a million and one rubs out there you can buy or you make your own.  I use Salt Free Dizzy Dust from Dizzy Pig; it's what I like and it's what has given me the best results but that is a matter of personal preference more than anything.  I will say this about Dizzy Pig; they make exceptional rubs and are dedicated BBQ connoisseurs themselves.  I am a big fan of more than just dizzy dust; I highly recommend Raging River Rub and Swamp Venom but you can't go wrong with any selection from them. If you do a lot of smoking you can order off their website in large quantities.

meat rubbed down ready to get wrapped for 24 hours
Back to the task at hand, coating this pork with our rub.  Rub it down with yellow mustard; don't be shy you can use a lot.  Same goes for the rub; really pat it into the meat and make sure it's sticking well.  Once you have really coated it well in the rub go ahead and wrap it in plastic wrap tightly and put it back in the fridge.  You should do this roughly 24 hours before you plan to smoke the meat.

Egg coming up to temp
24 hours later you will start by preparing your smoker.  Whatever kind of smoker you are using the cardinal rules are the same; low and slow.  This butt is about 8lbs so it's going to take about 12 hours to reach 190F and be done.  A good rule of thumb is about 1.5 hours per pound.  Set up your smoker for an indirect cook and shoot for a temp of 225F-250F.  You can use whatever kind of wood you like, I prefer apple or maple which are on the more mild side but impart a gentle smoke flavor to the meat.  If you really love smoke then go with hickory or mesquite.

ready for overnight, Arthur Bryant provide inspiration
For long, overnight cooks like this I use my BBQ Guru DigiQ temperature controller.  That's the green box you see in the small corner of the picture to the left.  It's basically a small computer that controls a fan and the air flow in your pit, thus controlling the temperature.  You can pull it off without such a contraption as they are no doubt an extra cost but it does provide peace of mind during an overnight cook.  I am lucky enough to have an egghead for a father as well so he gave me my DigiQ as a gift one year after falling in love with his own.

With the DigiQ I will set a desired pit temp and a done temp for my meat; the computer controls the rest.  If my meat reaches the desired temp it will kill the fire.  If the temp in the pit starts to drop below the set temp it will breathe life into the fire by blowing air into the pit.  You go to sleep; the DigiQ has your back.

Meat goes on the smoker at 10PM Friday night
The egg gets set up much the same way we set it up for ribs.  In-direct cooking.  Drip pan with water underneath.  Temp probe goes into the thickest part of the meat making sure it's not touching bone.  Throw a few last wood chunks or chips in for good measure and shut the lid.  Don't open it until the temp tells you it's done.  This 8lb Boston Butt went on the smoker at 10PM on Friday night.  It went on the smoker and then I went to bed. The rusty coffee can on top of the daisy wheel is to prevent rain from dropping into the cooker; I wish I knew who I saw that trick from because I would give them credit; it works well in the rain.  I knew it was  going to rain but I wasn't ready for the storm that rolled through.  I was woken up by a crazy hail, thunder and lightning storm around 1:30 AM and went down to check the temp on the egg.  It was holding steady at 230F.  I went back to sleep with no concerns about the cook.  The Big Green Egg is a beautiful thing.

11:00AM Saturday morning; finally the DigiQ is telling me that the meat has reached 190F and is done.  I crack open the egg and reveal the charred, smoky shoulder.  I could barely move it into the pan without it falling apart.  That shoulder blade was ready to slide right out.  I removed it from the smoker and wrapped it in tin foil to rest for a couple of hours.  If you try and pull it right away you will burn yourself and it

doesn't pull as nice in my opinion.  Let it wait for at least a couple of hours.  If you need to wait longer than that you can wrap it in tin foil and then bath towels and keep it in a cooler; it will stay hot for a pretty long time.

When you are ready to unwrap it and pull that shoulder blade out.  Separate the good meat from the fat.  Pull it and then set it aside in a tray or bowl.  Toss it with a little bit more dry rub and a good squirt of your BBQ sauce for some more flavor.  Serve on white buns with coleslaw and a touch more sauce.  You can't beat a good pulled pork sandwich.  Some additional pictures follow.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

13 hours on the smoker


marble sized hail



  1. very cool write up - thanks for sharing. After my 3rd overnight cook, I finally managed to get a pretty stable temp all night. I would prefer a BBQ Guru temp controller, so I can sleep without dreaming the meat is burning up.

  2. I just attended my first egg fest and saw the Guru. Could not see why you would need it. I am now up at 4:39 AM tending my temperature. Now I understand why the Guru would be nice to have.

  3. that looks so yummy, thanks for posting up this idea..


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