When it comes to Smoked BBQ, Pork is the king of grilling meats! The following smoked pork recipes contain some classics, but as in art smoke, cooking allows you to be creative with choices of smoke wood.
Spicy and Smoked St. Louis Dry-Rubbed Ribs
- Prep time 15 mins
- Cook time 4.5 hrs
- Serves 4 – 6
- Hardwood Hickory, you can use Florida wild cherry, as well.
Looking for a rack that packs some heat? These ribs are rubbed with a mix of flavor-packed seasonings then smoked on your grill over hickory, oak or a combo of fruit wood and hardwood. By the By, we’ve also included a rub recipe and the seasoning preparation for
- 2 racks Spare Ribs
- 2 cups Apple Juice
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 Tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tbsp. Garlic Salt
- 1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
- 1 Tbsp. Cumin
- 1 tsp. Ground Coriander
When ready to cook, start your grill according to grill instructions. Get the temperature to 250 degrees F and preheat. With the lid closed put your smoke wood on top of coals and wait for the smoke to turn bluish Mix all rub ingredients together. Rub the ribs generously on all sides.
Place ribs on grill and smoke for 2 hours. Remove from grill and wrap ribs in a double layer of foil. Pour apple juice into the foil pack over the ribs.
Return ribs to the grill and cook for 2 more hours. Remove ribs from grill and serve, or brush with sauce of choice and cook for 15 to 20 minutes longer allowing sauce to set.
Bodacious & Delicious Smoked Barbecue Ribs
Prep 15 min Cook 8 hr
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 5 pounds pork spareribs
- Place Plankettes of Hickory and Black Jack Oak into smoker box
- In a medium bowl, stir together paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, ground black pepper, cumin, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Apply liberally to the ribs. Place ribs in a large roasting pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Remove ribs from the refrigerator 1 hour before smoking.
- Prepare an outdoor smoker, bringing the temperature to 200 to 225 degrees F (95 to 110 degrees C).
- Smoke ribs for 6 to 8 hours, adding wood chips to maintain a steady smoke (approximately one handful every 30 to 45 minutes). Ribs are done when crispy outside and tender inside. Remove from smoker, and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Grilled Thick Cut Pork Chops
Prep time 5 mins
Cook time 30 mins
Serves 4 – 6
Hardwood Mesquite (again be creative and mix with some of our other fruitwoods). I used Black Jack, hicory and orange woods.
These thick-cut pork chops are surprisingly simple to create, packing complex flavors into each bite, making them the ideal weeknight dinner.
- 2 ea, 1 1/2-inch THICK-CUT PORK CHOPS
- 1/4 cup OLIVE OIL
- 1/4 cup RED WINE (You can substitute beer!)
- 3 Tbsp CHOPPED FRESH ROSEMARY
- Try any rubs that make sense to you or make your own.
- SALT, TO TASTE
Mix olive oil, red wine, rosemary leaves, salt and Blackened Saskatchewan in a bowl. Marinate pork chops in refrigerator for 2 hours.
When ready to cook, start the grill according to grill instructions. Cook at 300-450 degrees F
Place chops directly on grill grate and cook for 30-45 mins, Depending upon how much of a smoke taste you prefer.
Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Pulled Pork Recipe for your Grill
This pulled pork recipe guides you through the indirect cooking method to attain a succulent, fall apart, smoked pork wonder, on your charcoal or gas grill.
Our ancestors roasted these critters over a hot wood fire, with the meat slowly turned on a spit. Tedious and boring, to say the least.
It’s far more fun to cook a roast on a backyard grill! Indirect heat, smoke, a careful watch of the temperature, and our pulled pork recipe, will assure your backyard fame.
The stuff you’ll need:
Note: We’ve added in-context links to some of our pages, and to some great products we know, and use extensively.
Patience Low and slow is the real secret to a great pulled pork recipe. We’re talking temperatures of 200-230°F/93-110°C for several hours. You’ll need a bucket load of this virtue when you smoke pork on a grill. Figure about 1.0-1.5 hours/lb.
Gas/charcoal grill A gas grill, with at least two burners, is needed for indirect cooking. A kettle type charcoal grill (our very favorite being the Weber Kettle Grill), or a rectangular charcoal grill will work great also.
Be certain you have plenty of gas, or charcoal, for the duration! For charcoal cookers, figure at least 8 lbs/3.6kg.
Meat Pulled pork is made with the pork shoulder. A whole shoulder weighs around 12-16 lbs/5.5-7.3kg, however it is usually packaged in the supermarkets as two cuts. A Shoulder Butt (Boston Butt) and a Picnic Butt (Arm Picnic Roast or just Picnic Roast). Butts weigh in at about 9-10lbs/4.0-4.5kg with picnics at 5-6lbs/2.3-2.7kg, and either are great for this pulled pork recipe.
NOTE: Bone-in or boneless is your choice with Picnic roasts. We like the bone-in for flavor, however the boneless does cook faster.
Spices Our pulled pork recipe calls for a rub, and enjoy putting together our own with these basic fresh ingredients:
- Salt (Kosher preferred)
- Sugar (turbinado or brown)
- Paprika (Hungarian much preferred for best flavor)
- Pepper, black (fresh ground!)
- Chili powder
- Cumin (ground)
- Cayenne pepper (ground)
- Mustard (dry)
- Coriander (ground)
- Thyme (dried leaves, crushed)
Hardwood chunks/chips Use only hardwood for any grill. For smoked brisket we like Hickory, Oak, or Peach and other fruit woods can also work, or a combination.
Tongs You need a good pair of tongs to handle a pork roast. Long and strong is the secret, like our two favorites, the Weber Professional-Grade Chef’s Tongs or the Oxo Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs.
Gloves From our experience, and a preference of most grill-masters, a good set of BBQ gloves for handling the meat, are mandatory. We love and use these Barbecue Insulated Food Gloves for “pulling” the pork and wrestling any roast off the grill or smoker.
Aluminum roasting pan (disposable, for ease of clean-up) To keep the juices from causing flare-ups, and to provide moisture. If you do not have a convenient market close by, we’ve found Weber’s Aluminum Drip Pans (Set of 10) an excellent buy.
Oven/Grill thermometer This is very important as we’ve found that the thermometers on the smokers are often off by several degrees. Our favorites are the CDN High Heat Oven Thermometer and the Admetior Kitchen Oven Thermometer.
Instant-read thermometer To “pull” pork, the meat must reach the ideal temperature of 190°F/88°C. For pork roast we want 140°F/60°C. Our two favorite, accurate, inexpensive tools are the fast reading CDN Proaccurate Quick-Read Digital Thermometer and the faster Thermoworks Super Fast Water-Resistant Digital Pocket Thermometer.
Chimney-type charcoal starter For the charcoal smoker folks, this is the best way to start, and maintain, the coals. In our opinion, you can’t beat the Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter for quality and ease of operation.
To rub, or not to rub… If you simply smoked a pork roast with no rub, it will be an absolutely wonderful, succulent hunk o’ meat! But for our pulled pork recipe we love a great rub to enhance the meat’s flavors so…
Our pulled pork recipe starts with a rub:
Mix together thoroughly the following:
- 1 cup salt
- 4 tbsp garlic powder
- 4 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp ground thyme
- 2 tbsp ground bay leaves
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp celery seed
- 2 tbsp Hungarian paprika
Out of time? Don’t want to mess with making a rub? Do what we do in a clinch… use Pappy’s Choice Seasoning or any of a variety prepared rubs.
NOTE: Pork should be always kept in the refrigerator (below 40°F/4.4°C) prior to preparation.
Trim the any skin and excess fat (leave about a 1/4″ layer) from the roast. Rinse, pat dry with paper towel.
We like to apply the rub the day before “fire” time for the most effect, but try to do it at least 2 hours ahead, using this method…
Apply the rub liberally all over the meat, working it in thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until an hour or so before cooking. It is best to allow the pork to come close to room temperature before putting it on the grill.
Get your grill ready
- For the gas grill folks, fire-up all burners, and get the temperature to hold at 210-225°F/99-107°C. We found it to be imperative that a good oven thermometer, placed on the meat (cooler) side of the cooking grill, be used to ensure that the cooking temperature is true. Note that the lid thermometer will indicate a higher temperature, and that number should be used only as a reference.
When the temperature is reached, shut down all but one burner.
- Place the smoker-can/smoker pouch, over the hot burner, close the grill and let the smoke get started. This will be the last time, during the cooking cycle, you will have anything to do with the smoke. Too much smoke when you smoke pork makes the meat bitter tasting, and the smoke process is actually done in the first couple of hours.
For the charcoal grill, fire-up the charcoal…we like the chimney charcoal starter because it’s the quickest and easiest way to start, and maintain the coals. I have also used and still do, the little fuel bars that I buy in Publix. Works well forme. For this pulled pork recipe, you’ll need to replenish the coals occasionally, to maintain the ideal temperature of around 210-230°F/99/110°C. I use a kamado grill and the charcoal never has to be added for a 4-6 hour cook. Use your oven thermometer, placed near the meat, to keep track of the heat.
NOTE: Please, if you use a charcoal lighter fluid, allow the coals to burn to a grey ash coating. Never use self starting charcoal. There are several good “fire-starters” on the market that will not taint the meat, or impart potentially dangerous chemicals to the food.
- For the Weber-style cookers…start with about 45-50 briquettes. Let them get to a white/gray color. Bank the coals to one side of the grill and open the bottom and top vent fully.
For the rectangular-type grill, place the coals on one side. You
will need to add more hot coals (about 8 or so) several times
during the cooking cycle, to maintain the temperature. Watch
the temp. and anticipate this with about a 15 minute lead.
- Charcoal grills require that you control the temperature with the bottom/side vents. Open the vent for more oxygen (heat). Adjust the top vent to at least half open, and leave it alone.
- Put the smoker box/pouch over the coals. Now, close the grill and let the smoke get started. This will be the last time, during the cooking cycle, you will have anything to do with the smoke. Too much smoke makes the pork bitter tasting, and smoking is actually done in the first couple of hours.
NOTE: Always use tongs! Never use that forked, sharp, pokey-thing that comes with all backyard barbecue tool sets. It is for carving meat only! It will pierce the meat, and allow the juices to run out.
When the grill temperature has reached 250-275°F/121-135°C…
- Place the roast in the pan, on the grill, opposite side of the fire, fat side up, to begin cooking. Maintain the temperature at 210-225°F/99-107°C. Close the lid, with the vent opposite the roast (to pull the heat and smoke towards the meat), and…
- Resist peeking! You’re loosing precious heat and smoke. Open the lid only long and far enough to do the job.
- With tongs in hand, check the meat for the first time in about an hour. Make sure the temperature is holding. For a charcoal grill, add hot(gray) briquettes (about 8-10). You will need to check again in about 45 minutes to ensure the grill temperature has not dropped. Add prepared coals (8-12 per hour) as needed.
- Rotate the meat (quickly)about every 30-40 minutes, to cook evenly.
- You have time! If you have judiciously maintained the cooking temperature, peeked, you can leave your station several times before the pork is done. Towards the end, grab that instant-read thermometer and…
- Check the roast(s) at the thickest part, not touching a bone, and look for 190°F/88°C for pulled pork, and 140°F/60°C for a pork roast. Pull it off of the grill and rest the meat for about 20-30 minutes. This allows the juices to flow back to the center, and to finish cooking.
Our pulled pork recipe will produce a wonderful, natural flavor, but if you wish (or if you must) you can now bring out your favorite BBQ sauce and…
You can now “pull” the meat. We just use gloves, and a couple of forks (it’s hot!), to separate the good stuff out. There are also plastic claws that look like weapons, but actually work pretty well. Place it in a pan/pot, over low heat, to keep the meat warm for serving.
This pulled pork recipe will give you an exceptionally moist, tender roast, perfect as is, but many folks like to have a “finishing” or table sauce with their meat. This can be any barbecue sauce you enjoy, or a traditional Southern U.S., vinegar based barbecue sauce served in a bowl along with your pulled pork. Try this traditional favorite:
Old Time Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 pound butter
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (white will work also)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
- 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (preferably Lea & Perrins)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper (fresh ground if you have it)
Once the butter is melted in a saucepan, stir in all but the vinegar, and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vinegar, and allow the sauce to cool.
Smoked Pork Shoulder for Pulled Pork
- 7 lb bone-in pork butt
- Dry rub
- Prep time: 30 minutes
- Cook time: 9 hours
- Servings: 6
Prepping your cooker for smoking
If you’re using a kettle-type grill, use an indirect technique such as the snake method to set up your grill. For backyard smokers, set it up for an eight-hour smoke.. With either method, a few wood chunks (black jack oak, hickory and many of the fruit woods are especially good)
Prepping the pork shoulder
Start with a pork shoulder in the seven-to-eight-pound range. Trim off the excess “fat cap,” but leave a 1/8-inch-thick layer of fat to keep the meat moist during the long cooking process. Sprinkle on a few tablespoons of rub, spreading it evenly around the pork shoulder.
Smoking the pork shoulder
Place the pork shoulder fat side up on the top rack, cover with the lid, and bring the temperature up to a constant 225°F to 250°F, using the vents to regulate the temperature. If your grill doesn’t have a temperature gauge, you’ll need to purchase a digital barbecue thermometer. Check the internal temperature of the grill every hour. Add more charcoal and soaked wood chunks as needed to maintain temperature and smoke.
Check for doneness
For pulled pork, the ideal temperature is 205°F. The high internal temperature allows collagen to break down, making the meat very tender. Keep in mind that the pork shoulder will continue to cook internally by 10 degrees even after it’s been removed from the grill. When you’re sure it’s done, remove the shoulder from the grill using clean barbecue gloves, cradling the meat to prevent it from falling apart in your hands. Tongs won’t work well because the meat will fall apart.
Rest, then pull or chop
After the pork shoulder comes off the grill, let it rest for at least 15 minutes to allow the juices to settle back into the meat. Remove any large chunks of cooked fat. There are several ways of serving pork shoulder. The most common way is to “pull” it apart, using two forks to pull and separate the strands of meat. Another way is to slice, then chop it. Either way, be sure to mix the crusted outer meat with the inner meat so that the varying textures and flavors are distributed evenly.