My Pulled Pork Experiment...

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My Pulled Pork Experiment...

Post by FirePlay » Sat May 09, 2015 10:26 pm

So the situation was this... I was sitting on the couch reading the paper at 1030 this morning minding my own business when the boss remarked that she had bought some pork the other day and could we have it for dinner tonight? OK - no worries - sounds good. I go over to the fridge and find a small 1.7kg boneless pork shoulder sitting there. Having not done pulled pork for awhile I figure this was an ideal time to test out a theory I've had at the back of my mind for some time now - do you really have to go low 'n slow for the whole cook?

I know that just roasting a pork shoulder and taking it off at 95 degrees will leave a dry result (been there before) but what if we used roasting temps to get the pork up to temp quickly and then left it there for a few hours to convert all that collagen into lovely gelatine? The conversion process should happen pretty quickly at the higher temp and we could just push through the stall? Worth a try I thought? But I had to get a move on...

So by the time I got the pork out, applied a simple S&P rub, got the Heat Beads rocking on the Performer and got the meat in it was close to 11am. I used half a chimney / one big basket of fresh beads indirect and closed the lid. Kettle temp rose to around 180c (380F) on the grate level probe / 220c (450F) on the lid and the meat was straight out of the fridge.

When the clock struck 2pm the temp of the kettle was dropping so I added some leftover beads from a previous cook to hold the temperature up at the same level as previously. Meat temp by then was around 77 degrees.

By 3pm the kettle was still holding the same temp but the meat temp had reached 95 degrees. So I shut down the bottom vent on the Performer completely - with a Performer you can do this and there will be enough air getting in through the gas starter tube to hold a reliable 110C / 230F temp (top vent still open), which it dropped down to pretty quickly and held there.

I took the meat off to feed the hungry hordes at 600pm - by which time it was sitting at 98 degrees on the probe. It didn't get much of a rest (20 mins?) but that didn't matter too much - it was only a little piece and the kids were hungry! But it got three hours sitting at 95-98 degrees anyway...

It turned out to be one of the best pieces of pulled pork I have ever done - pulled very easily and was very moist with perfect bark. Very happy with the result - the boss remarked it was the best PP I had ever done, in complete lack of knowledge of the pressure I was under thinking this could all end in tears... :D

Anyway, here is a pic to prove something happened, although I know all PP looks the same! The crackle on the left was the result of using my heat gun after the cook - the crackle was very popular! I'll be doing this again... it saves a lot of time and the result was excellent!


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Re: My Pulled Pork Experiment...

Post by YankQ » Sun May 10, 2015 12:40 am

Try one at 325F for 5 or 6 hours. Not quite as fast, obviously, but I think it renders out a little better. I personally prefer this method over 220F-250F. I like the meat texture better, I think the bark is better, and there's no middle of the night start or stop.

One mate on a Weber board in the states suggests one or two hours at 250F, then ramp up to 325F. His theory is that the meat takes on the smoke better at lower temps, but that process slows or stops after a couple hours. I am going to try this on my next PP cook.
Medium BGE, Large BGE, 22.5" Weber Kettle and brand new Q3200

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Re: My Pulled Pork Experiment...

Post by Narmnaleg » Sun May 10, 2015 8:32 am

Great looking pulled pork Fireplay and thanks for sharing that technique.


Re: My Pulled Pork Experiment...

Post by Gumb » Sun May 10, 2015 9:15 am

Looks good but if pressed for time, I prefer staying with the temp at 225f and going with the Texas crutch when the meat hits 150f. As for smoke flavour, it won't take on any more after it reaches that temperature anyway.

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Re: My Pulled Pork Experiment...

Post by urbangriller » Sun May 10, 2015 11:22 am

You definitely don't need to stay at Low and Slow temps for the entire cook, we do that because it's generally easier than ramping temperatures up and down.

This is what I like about WiFi control, I have a set program that runs a GMG pellet Grill at 160C till the meat hits 45C then drops to 140C till the meat hits 65C, then 120 till the meat hits 85, then down to 105 till the meat hits 93C them keep warm (BBQ at 65C) till I get home and stop it. so it runs hot, then brings the meat and BBQ temperatures closer together for the finish.

Today I'm cooking Schweinshaxe a German or Bavarian Pork Knuckle dish that is to die for!!! It's the reverse of what I described above. In traditional kitchens it is steamed for 3-4 hours, to cook the meat and break down the collagen then roasted at high temp for an hour to give amazing crackle. Have a look at this: ... hweinshaxe

Remember if the skin is still on, you effectively have a natural Texas crutch, the meat under the skin will steam, this is what makes pork belly so good!

Common Sense is so rare these days it should be a Super Power!

Bob S
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Re: My Pulled Pork Experiment...

Post by Bob S » Sun Oct 04, 2015 10:00 pm

YankQ wrote:Try one at 325F for 5 or 6 hours. Not quite as fast, obviously, but I think it renders out a little better. I personally prefer this method over 220F-250F. I like the meat texture better, I think the bark is better, and there's no middle of the night start or stop.

Pork Butts are really forgiving. So long as the cooking temp is somewhere around 300-325F, you will get a result that is indistinguishable from cooking at 225F, no loss of quality whatsoever, and you'll get it in 1/3 to 1/2 the cook time. Just cook it until the thermometer probe inserts with almost no resistance. Depending on your particular piece of meat, that may occur anywhere from 195F to 205F. You'll end up with great bark and a tender and moist interior.

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