If you’re lucky enough to own a smoker you can make this smash hit of a recipe. The pork comes out succulent, super flavourful, every bite punctuated with a sweet smokiness. Not as fork tender as say the pressure-cooker variety of pulled pork, but with a satisfying toothsome-ness that lends itself well with the sticky, applewood-scented meat. Plus you can’t beat the dark, lacquered crust that the pork emerges with, just ready to be peeled off and eaten before anyone’s the wiser.
As for the nearly equally important matter of the sauce, this is not a BBQ sauce as many people define it. As in the sort-of-sweet thick brown stuff that, while being delicious in its own right, does tend to make everything it touches taste like it and only it. No, this is not that kind of BBQ sauce. This is instead a mustard-based BBQ sauce, which one does not slather on the shredded pork, but instead lightly dresses it with. Less is more with this type of sauce. The mustard and vinegar give a pleasing sharpness that cuts through the richness of the pork, while the honey and brown sugar bring out the sweetness in the smoke flavor. The two perfectly complement one another and it would be a damn shame to go through all the effort of smoking a pork shoulder only to drown it in sugary brown goop.
Also, if your mouth is not watering by now then you may need to see a physician.
Smoker Pulled Pork with Peach Glaze
Adapted from Michael Symon (Carnivore)
Mustard Sauce adapted from Epicurious (Carolina Mustard Sauce)
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
½ tsp garlic powder
1 bone-in pork shoulder/pork butt, about 5 lb or so
Applewood chips for smoker
1 litre apple juice
½ cup peach jam or peach preserves
Juice of 1 lime
½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
North Carolina Mustard Sauce:
¾ cup yellow mustard
½ cup runny honey
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
To prepare the pork you will need to start the night before. In a small bowl, combine the salt, peppercorns, cumin seeds, and garlic powder. Rub this mixture all over the pork shoulder then cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning (the earlier the better – a phrase I do not say lightly), prepare the smoker to 225 degrees F, using applewood chips or similar. Put the pork butt into the smoker and let it smoke for 2 hours undisturbed.
While the pork cooks, make the glaze and mustard sauce. Place all of the glaze ingredients into a medium-sized pot set over medium-high heat. Bring the glaze to a boil and cook down until reduced by about half, stirring every so often. This should take the better part of an hour. While the glaze cooks down, prepare the mustard sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Pour into a jar, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours if not longer.
Once the pork has smoked for the first 2 hours, brush it with some glaze and keep smoking it. You’re going to periodically brush the pork with glaze every hour or so, for about 4-5 more hours (for a total smoking time of roughly 6-7 hours). You’re looking for the pork to hit 170 degrees F on a meat thermometer that’s been plunged in deep, but it’s okay if it stays in a bit longer than that. Mostly you just want pork that is tender enough to pull off the bone with a fork. Make sure to constantly monitor the heat of the smoker, taking into account the fact that opening the smoker to glaze the pork will always lower the temperature significantly.
Remove the pork from the smoker and let it rest for about 30 minutes. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into strands. Serve the pork with South Carolina mustard sauce on the side, or very lightly dribbled onto the meat. This meat needs no bun to feel complete, but you can pile it on one should you feel such a compulsion.