How to make pulled pork on a pellet smoker

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How to make pulled pork on a pellet smoker

Everyone wants to make juicy and tasty pulled pork. And it really does not matter what kind of grill you have. There is always a way.

I will show you how to make pulled pork on a pellet smoker within 8 to 9 hours. This pulled pork is well done before dinner time if you start early enough.

Good quality meat gives the best result

We will start with a good quality Boston butt. A Boston butt is a cut of the shoulder of a pig with the shoulder blade still in it. It has a nice fat cap and a good amount of intramuscular fat.

You can’t make good pulled pork, or any bbq, without fat. This particular Boston butt is the perfect one for tasty and juicy pulled pork.

For competition style pulled pork, you take most of the fat cap off, but as long as it is no thicker than a quarter-inch, you leave it on. A good fat cap is a blessing for you at home. This fat is going to be the shield that protects the meat while it is cooking.

Add flavour to the meat

You also can’t make pulled pork without adding extra flavour. You can, but we don’t. We made a traditional dry rub that consists of the following ingredients:

  • 1 part salt
  • 1 part paprika powder
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 1/4 part garlic powder
  • 1/4 part ground black pepper

To build a good crust, you need a binder to let that rub stick better to the meat. I am going to use yellow mustard because it gives you a thick crust. Sprinkle on an even layer of the dry rub on all sides.

Fire up the pellet smoker

Now we fire up the pellet smoker to a temperature of 124°C (250F). At this temperature, a pellet smoker produces a good amount of smoke. At higher temperatures, a pellet smoker burns the pellets more cleanly, which means it produces little or no smoke. I use hickory pellets because I want a strong smoke flavour.

Before you put the Boston butt in, make sure the grates are clean and the grease bucket empty. Then you put the meat in while the pellet smoker is heating up. This way, I am not going to waste the smoke you get at lower temperatures. There is always a bit of direct heat coming from the bottom, so I put the Boston butt in with the fat cap down.

Now you let the smoker run for 5 to 6 hours. This is the most important part of the cook because it picks up the smoke profile and a good crust, or bark, that sticks firmly to the surface.

Wrap the meat

When I like the way the bark looks, it’s ready to get wrapped. I use aluminium foil because it holds fluids better than butchers paper. I want to catch as many fluids coming from the meat as possible.

Take the Boston butt out of the pellet smoker and place it on a large piece of aluminium foil. Then you wrap the foil tightly around the smoked meat. If you are not sure about the intramuscular fat in the Boston butt, you bought you can add apple juice, apple cider vinegar, or a mixture of that to the package. This helps to cook it faster without the fear of dry pulled pork. Because I used a prime cut of pork, I don’t add any more moisture.

Stick a thermometer through the foil into the meat. This allows you to know what temperature the meat is without opening the foil or the smoker. Stick the thermometer in the top of the package, so the fluids inside do not leak.

Heat the smoker to 160°C (320F) to speed up the process and put the wrapped meat back in the smoker. Let it cook to a core temperature of 98°C (208F).

Let the meat rest

When it reached the desired core temperature, you check if the pork is tender enough to pull without opening the foil. Stick the probe of a thermometer through the foil in the meat. When it goes in like butter, you know it’s ready.

Take the package out of the smoker and put it directly in a cooler to let it rest for at least an hour. Take the pulled pork out of the cooler and place it in a large tray to hold all the pulled pork. Put on some insulated gloves before unwrapping the Boston butt. I can assure you that the meat will still be hot enough to burn you if you’re not protected.

Finally pulling the pork

Unwrap the Boston Butt and make sure that all the moisture inside the foil stays in the tray. Pull out the shoulder blade and make sure you have an audience. When it comes out clean, you know you did a good job, and you want to show it to everyone.

Now you can pull out the aluminium foil underneath the meat. Pull the pork and mix it with all the moisture in the tray to get it extra juicy. Make yourself and your family a great sandwich and save the rest in the freezer for later use.


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BBQ gear used

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