It’s summertime . . . (well, almost summertime) a season dedicated to great slow smoked meats and iced cold beer! Sometimes there is just nothing better than a pulled pork sandwich and a tall iced glass of ale or freshly made iced tea. If you’ve been reading my personal blog, you know that I am a big fan of the Big Green Egg smoker/grill. It’s one of the best investments I’ve made in my culinary world. And when I want to smoke a pork shoulder, it’s always in the Egg. However, this recipe can also be made in an oven, regular grill or even a slow cooker or CrockPot. But in my house, the Egg reigns supreme!
When you want succulent and sweet pork for your sandwiches, I always recommend buying a bone-in pork butt. In my opinion, any meat that is still attached to the bone will end up having more flavor than the boneless variety. This includes pork chops too. So find a good quality pork butt at your local butcher.
When you decide to smoke anything, expect to invest the proper time into properly marinading and then of course slow cooking the meat. This isn’t fast…. but it’s easy and the pork will be packed with so much flavor that it’s well worth your time. Pork can be so flavorful in its own right, I consider a rub or marinade optional. Sometimes, I just season it with a bit of salt and pepper the night before and that’s all it needs. If you want a slight southwestern flavor, then consider the following marinade prior to smoking.
Smoked Chipotle Citrus Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- 6-8 pound bone-in pork butt
- Sea salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
Chipotle Chile Marinade:
- Juice from 1 orange, freshly squeezed
- Juice from 1 Meyer lemon, freshly squeezed
- 1 TBSP orange zest
- 1 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 TBSP honey
- 1 heaping TBSP canned chipotle adobo sauce
- 2 chipotle peppers
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 serrano chile
- 1 shallot
- 2 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped
Combine all marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until just combined. Place pork in a roasting pan, fat side down and baste with marinade. Place in refrigerator for 1-4 hours.
Remove pork from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 40 minutes. Prepare your Big Green Egg, charcoal or gas grill so that it is preheated to 250 degrees. Place pork shoulder on a v-rack in a roasting pan with the fat side up. Baste again with the marinade and season generously with coarse sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Place on grill in Big Green Egg and allow to cook at 250 degrees for approximately 7-9 hours. Do not open the Egg while grilling until you’ve passed about 8 hours of smoking. This will affect the temperature of the Egg. After 7+ hours, start checking the pork temperature every 45 minutes until temperature reaches about 180 degrees. Remove from heat and allow the pork to “rest” for at least 40 minutes. It’s best if you wrap the pork tightly in aluminum foil. The meat will keep cooking internally but the juices will have a chance to settle in. For fall off the bone, pulled pork you want to reach an internal temperature of 185+
Crockpot Method: Trim all excess fat from shoulder and place in crockpot. Pour about half of the marinade mixture over it (I like a lot of liquid in the crockpot but you can judge based upon your likes and experience) Cook on “low” for about 8 hours until it looks like it’s falling apart. Remove from the crockpot and shred the pork with two forks – pulling the meat apart. Add pulled meat back to the pot and continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes to allow all juices to blend with pulled pork.
Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce on sandwich rolls and a icy cold beer.