On the Grill: Carolina Style Pulled Pork
“On the Grill“ is a weekly series on Vail Daily Live starring host Sean Naylor.
Ah, pulled pork. You know, there’s nothing that quite says barbecue like it. Go-to barbecue joints around the country and you’d be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t serve pulled pork barbecue. It is the equalizer of barbecue; pulled pork is something that just about everyone does, bringing all regions of barbecue to the table. You can’t say the same about things like brisket or ribs, which vary in selection from place to place.
With that being said, some regions still do their pulled pork differently. On last week’s episode of On The Grill, we took a trip to the GoPro Mountain Games to watch Ben Gilbert of Moe’s Original BBQ do pulled pork ’Bama style. They were even nice enough to hook me up with one of those delicious sandwiches.
But this week, we are back in the backyard. And since your host is humbly mid-Atlantic, it is all about the Carolina style.
I have to be specific here, because this is a touchy subject. No, I’m not cooking a whole hog, and yes, my sauce includes tomato elements. Which would indicate that I’m cooking it Western NC style. Either way, smoke brings us together. Hickory, 230 degrees, 8 hours. Everyone has their variances, these are mine. The real difference-maker here is the sauce.
A Carolina-style sauce has four essential ingredients: vinegar, pepper, garlic and some sort of tomato base. I like to use plain old ketchup because it really helps with consistency. I also like to some honey to balance the acidity.
Carolina Style Pulled Pork
– 1 pork butt
– 1 fresh bulb of garlic
– 1 lemon
– Kosher salt to taste
– Cayenne pepper to taste
– Red pepper flakes to taste
– 8 ounces apple cider vinegar
– 16 ounces of ketchup
– 4 ounces honey
– 8 ounces apple juice
*If you have the time, brine the pork butt in saltwater 24 hours prior to cooking.
– Remove butt from brine, and coat in kosher salt and cayenne. Top with garlic and lemon slices
– Smoke the pork for eight hours at 230 degrees, mop with apple juice every other hour. On the fifth hour, remove the butt from the smoker, give it one extra mop and then wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Put the wrapped pork back on the smoker, and leave for three hours.
– To make the sauce, combine the apple cider vinegar, ketchup, honey, garlic, pepper flakes, lemon and cayenne into a small pot and simmer. One the sauce starts to boil, remove from heat into a safe container and chill in the refrigerator for two hours.
The rest is simple: You shred the pork, put the pork on the bun, put the sauce on the pork, put the slaw on the saucy pork, and seal that sucker off. Hold the pickles, this is Carolina style baby.
Watch the full video on-demand on VailDaily.com or YouTube, and tune into Vail Daily Live every weekend to see what’s On The Grill.