101 Cooking For Two - Everyday Recipes for Two: Pulled Pork on a Gas Grill - First results

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pulled Pork on a Gas Grill - First results

Update version : CLICK HERE.

Remember that the name of this blog is 101 meaning a beginning ... so I'm learning here. I'm jumped off the cliff. I'm biting the bullet. I'm risking all... You get the idea. I have conquer my fear of a fatty piece of pork cooked for 5 plus hours and my fear of getting smoke rolling out of my gas grill. Simply put Pulled Pork.

Last week we were in Ann Arbor and went a local institution, Zimmerman's Road House. The pork was great but the sauce even better. I had the Memphis BBQ sauce that I believe is called "Red Rage"- their own sauce. It was sweet and tomatoie and spicy all at once. They don't sell it by the bottle although they will sell you a small container. So to try to recreate that taste, I need properly done pork. But I wimped out a few months ago and used a pork loin recipe that I have used for years. I had though about it hard but just couldn't do it then. Call it fear of fat if you wish. But it's time to MAN UP!

So, I stopped at Sam's to buy the meat. I knew they had it but I never looked closely. Well, the smallest was a two pack of 20+ lbs. This is called "Cooking For Two" for a reason.  Off to the supermarket and I had them cut me a nice 6 1/2 pound pork shoulder blade Boston roast.

Now the recipe. I away peek at CI first. A 13 year old recipe for the gas grill. Looks like a good start. I read at least 5 more recipes and many blogs. Watched a couple of YouTube videos. Many recipes used brines, some used mopping solutions. This was going to be complicated enough without those. I many add them next time I thought.  And I chargeb ahead.

My Plan:
1) Use a rub but not a brine. I followed the CI rub but added garlic and onion powder.
2) Grill set up was oblivious but CI wanted the pork in a disposable pan. I would place it under the grid to catch dripping and add water to it for moisture. But mostly I wanted to expose more surface to the smoke and heat.
3) If the smoke ran out, I would add more hickory for more smoke flavor.
4) Some removed the fat cap, some didn't. I would.
5) CI moved to an oven for the last few hours. Things were stable on the grill so I just left it on.
6) CI recommended a grill temp of 275. Others were 250 to 325. I went with the CI recommendation.
7) CI stated 5 hours cooking. Others 1 hour per lb. So I felt 6-7 max.
8) End point should be a temp of 190 according to some. CI had no temp listed.

Results: Time problems. I went 7 hours and got to 170. I had no time left so off it came. The outside 1/3 was great. The remainder is cooked and can shred but doesn't pull apart. It tastes very good but not that fall apart meat you expect.

Rating 8 Taste 9 texture 7 ease 8 time 6

Notes: I'm publishing this as a learning experience. I expect to publish a recipe next time. So in a way, these are my notes to myself.
1) Given 2 more hours it would have been fine, 9 hours total. An OK method but way long. This would be good for the beer drinkers out there.
2) CI removes the meat after 3 hours, seals and moves to an oven. This is me next time. They do a specific 2 hours, I will get a meat thermometer in there to monitor and then go to 195-200.
3) Any rub should do and no rub with just a great sauce would be fantastic.

Final note: Don't be afraid grasshopper it really is relatively simple.

No printable recipe

Tools: Gas grill with at least 2 burners. Approx. 6 inch square disposable aluminum pan, approx 6X12 disposable aluminum pan, over thermometer, lots of smoking chips

1 6-8 lb Pork Shoulder (Boston rump)

The Rub
1 T black pepper
1 T white pepper
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T dried oregano
2 T chili powder
2 T ground cumin
2 T table salt
2 T brown sugar
1 T sugar
4 T paprika
2 t cayenne pepper


1) Mix all rub components together in a container. Be sure to mix well, the brown sugar will lump.
2) Trim meat of any large cap of fat. (I want the rub and smoke to get to all the meat it can).

3) Rib a heavy coat of rub on to all surfaces of the meat. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap in both side to side and top to bottom directions. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (up to 3 days is OK).

4) Soak 5-6 cups of smoking chips for at least 30 minutes. Several hours is better.
5) Let meat set at room temp for 30-60 minutes before grilling.

6) Set up grill. On the right remove grate and place small pan of soaked chips in far right corner. At least 3 cups of chips. Place larger aluminum pan under left grate, removing lava rocks if needed for space. Add 2 cups of water to this pan. Place oven thermometer in a spot you can see though a hole or by only partially opening the lid.
7) Turn the left burner on high and leave the other burner off. Heat until smoke is rolling well. About 20 minutes.

8) Place meat on unheated side and turn lite burner down to medium low. Balance the burner with the thermometer to maintain a 275 degree temp. I ended up on only a tiny bit off low.
9) Add more smoking chips every 1 1/2 to 2 hours to maintain some smoke.
10) Don't bother to check internal temp until about 5 hours. Cook until 195 degrees

11) Remove from grill and let set 1 hr to cool then shred and serve.

Notes: As stated in the discussion, this is about a 8-9 hour grilling time task. You could increase grill temp to 300-325 but I think that has some issues with it. Stay tuned for next version.

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At April 21, 2010 at 8:30 PM , Blogger Chris said...

Very nice job. Your second time will be even better.

You are spot on, definitely take it to an internal temp of 195-200f next time. Then, wrap it up in foil and stick it in an empty ice chest to keep warm for 2 to 4 hours. It will pull so easily.

Also, since just cooking for 2, keep this tip in mind. Pulled pork holds well for up to 6 months vacuum sealed in the freezer. Then you warm it in simmering water and it's ready from frozen in about 5-10 minutes. Still juicy and tasty. (We ate some from December tonight for a quick dinner and it was so good!).

Keep up the great work.

At April 21, 2010 at 8:52 PM , Blogger Dr Dan said...

Thanks for the words. I though about not posting this but it is exactly the post I would have wanted to see before my first attempt... You see all these perfect results but nobody is welling to say things didn't go quite right. Now that I've done this once, it will be a snap next time and I will start in the early AM and not when I have a time limit. Repeat coming but mid-summer.


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