Spring is here and with it comes some lovely warm weather that is perfect for backyard barbecues. This is the prime season for having people over on a lazy Sunday afternoon, before the blazing heat of summer drives everyone back indoors.
I don’t know about you, but summer’s 90+ degree heat (humid heat, at that) does not make me feel like hanging out in the backyard (unless there’s a pool involved, in which case, hang away!).
Anyway, spring and fall are my favorite seasons, and the weather is perfect for spending time outside, enjoying a cookout.
One of my all-time favorite barbecue foods is classic pulled pork (just ahead of BBQ ribs), especially slathered in a spicy-sweet barbecue sauce as part of a pulled pork sandwich with a side of pickles. Use our guide for making bread at home to bake up your own rolls, and create the most ultimate sandwich experience! Yum!
I love smoked pulled pork the best, and I have a great recipe for you to try yourself. Make sure you test out the dry rub and barbecue sauce recipes as well – they combine to form a fantastic flavor party in your mouth!
You’ll need a backyard smoker, a supply of hickory or fruit wood, and a meat thermometer for this recipe. Also, disposable aluminum pans are helpful but not essential.
Add all ingredients into a jar, cap, and shake vigorously.
Spicy-Sweet Barbeque Sauce
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir well to combine. Slowly bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat.
After it reaches a full boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
Smoked Pork Butt
The night before you plan to smoke your meat, take the salt and rub liberally all over the pork. Let the salt-covered meat sit in the fridge overnight so the salt can start to penetrate inside and get the flavoring process started.
The following day, prepare your dry rub and cover the meat with it, and rub it in really well, reserving 2 tablespoons for your barbeque sauce.
Let the meat set at room temperature while you prepare your smoker. You will want the smoker to be between 225 and 250 degrees. I like to place mine in disposable aluminum pans in preparation of basting.
Once the smoker is ready, place the pork inside and cover, letting the meat smoke undisturbed for 2 hours.
At this point, you can baste the meat all over with some of your barbeque sauce and continue to baste at one-hour increments. You don’t necessarily need to baste the meat; I’ve had it both with and without the sauce and either way is delicious.
If you choose to baste the pork, you will probably want to double the barbeque recipe so you have plenty of sauce left over for your pulled pork sandwiches.
You can also mix the barbeque sauce with apple cider (NOT vinegar) in about a 50:50 ratio as shown in the accompanying photo.
Optionally, you can cover with aluminum foil to keep from having to baste as often. However, you won't get quite as much smoke flavor (which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your flavor preferences).
After you’ve basted a few times, or at the five-hour mark, insert your meat probe to start keeping an eye on the internal temperature of the meat. It will be ready once it reaches 195 degrees. Also, keep an eye on the temperature of the smoker to make sure it doesn’t go below 225 degrees.
Once your pork is at the right temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest at least 15 minutes before you start slicing or pulling it apart. I like to pull it all apart and throw it in with my barbeque sauce, but you can serve it any way you please. However you eat it, it’s delicious.
Ashley has enjoyed creative writing since she was six years old, when she wrote her first short story. She majored in English literature at the University of Montevallo. After years of professional work, she is now a stay-at-home mom of three, who uses her craft to write about her life and adventures in and out of the kitchen.