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May 16, 2005 04:21 PM

ISO the BEST pulled pork recipes

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S.O. and I are wanting to attempt pulled pork at home. However, I've heard all sorts of conflicting messages about which cut of meat to use, to brine or not to brine, rub or not rub, grill or no grill, etc.

What says you?

Any tips on where to get the right pork shoulder/butt for the most tasty pulled pork? I've seen Ralph's has pork shoulder with arm, or something like that. I'm in the san pedro, so any recs convenient to that area would be helpful.

Thanks in advance for your recipes. I promise, any recipes are for home use only (and with that in mind, any pulled pork is likely just for me and the S.O., any tips on saving leftovers would be appreciated).


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  1. I've tried a lot of slow-cooked pork recipes, but I think my alltime favorite is the Kalua Pig recipe from "The Food of Paradise," by Rachel Laudan. Hers goes like this:

    4 pounds pork butt
    2 Tbs salt
    2 Tbs liquid smoke
    1 banana leaf
    4-6 ti leaves

    "Score the roast on all sides and rub with the salt and liquid smoke. Wrap in the banana leaf. remove the ribs from the ti leaves and wrap them over the banana leaf, tie securely. Wrap the whole parcel in foil and refrigerate overnight. Next day roast at 350 degrees for 4 hours in a pan with water in the bottom, Remove fat from the pan and open the package. Shred the pork with your fingers..."

    You can get ti leaves from most florists - banana leaf from Latino or Asian markets. When I made this in Nashville I had no ti leaves - I just wrapped the banana leaf around and tied it with twine. I also used the smaller size of roasting bag. I set it on a rack over the water in the pan, and cut slits in the bottom. I also cooked it at 300 for five hours, and it might have done even better at 275 for six.

    Don't use leg meat, either hind leg or arm - the muscles are too lean and stringy. Shoulder butt is what you want, preferably bone-in. I like to get mine in the big double-bag Family Packs at Food 4 Less...hey, it freezes very well! And use coarse Kosher salt (now, isn't THAT ironic?), unless you can find the Hawaiian salt.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      You had me until the liquid smoke. This is one of the most vile products on earth. I don't know how anyone can stand it, honestly.

      1. re: bryan

        also, where's the kaluha?

        1. re: bryan

          That's Kahlua you're thinking of, and there isn't any. Kalua pig is what they call the Hawaiian traditional pit-roasted pig, the star of every luau. The name pre-dates that coffee liqueur by a century or two...if you go to any grocery store in Hawaii, you'll find it by the pound in the deli case.

          According to the book I was quoting, this particular recipe is authentic in that it's how most Hawaiians nowadays make it! Well, if you don't have a pit in your back yard, and/or local ordinances against big bonfires...

          1. re: Will Owen

            Thanks for the clarification.

        2. re: bryan

          You realize its just natural smoke don't you. I readily admit it can ruin a dish, but used properly and in small amounts can definately enhance one as well.

      2. Just did one this weekend that came out great.

        I used a pork shoulder I mail ordered from Niman Ranch (http:\\, a spice rub from Chris Schlesinger's book "The Thrill of the Grill" (recipe linked below), and about 11 hours in a smoker keeping the temperature between 200 and 275, or thereabouts. My smoker is a New Braunfels Black Diamond that I picked up at Home Depot a couple of years ago for about $200 (and with which I've been extremely happy, btw.) The shoulder is done when the meat has an internal temperature of between 165 and 170. Cool, pull, and make sandwiches! I like mine on a big soft potato burger bun (from Ralph's) topped with sweet coleslaw and a vinegar/pepper sauce.


        1 Reply
        1. re: David Kahn

          that sounds excellent. i bet you were proud when you saw the smoke ring!

        2. Before I got my CookShack FEC100, I would cook pork butts on my WSMs(Weber Smokey Mountains). I buy a case of pork butts from Sam's Club and cook four on each the WSMs. I use Nature Glo charcoal started with NO lighter fluid. Instead, I use a charcoal chimney to start it with. BTW, I also currently using hickory when I cook pork butts.

          I use a pre-made called Bonesmoker's which is put out by a guy by the name of Ray "DrBBQ" Lampe. He just published his first cookbook and it can be found on Amazon. Unfortunately, his rub is currently only available in a 10 lb. box.

          For recipes and how to use a WSM, go over to the website below and check it out. The site is all completely centered around cooking on a WSM.



          1. This is done oven style not smoked and is very good, but I would be the first to admit that it is not authentic. The coleslaw is excellent. I cut the red pepper in half on the sauce- it would be fiery hot made full strength.


            1. If interested, there was a thread about Crockpot Pulled Pork initiated May 13 by "Weiszguy" on this message board. Not authentic but easy and pretty tasty.

              Hope the link below works.