Carolina smoked pork butt with a bourbon-vinegar-pepper sauce


  • 1 Boston butt (bone-in pork shoulder roast; 7 to 10 pounds)

For the rub

  • 2 tbs paprika (I prefer smoked paprika)
  • 1 tbs light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

For the sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Tabasco or red hot
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs table salt
  • 1 tbs crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbs black pepper

Bourbon Preparation

  1. Combine all ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until flavors blend, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. (Can be made 1 week ahead.) Cover; chill, then put in a shaker cup or Gatorade bottle.

Meat Preparation

  1. Place butt fat-side up and score it before rubbing on the spice mix. I’ll make vertical and horizontal cuts about 1 to 2 inches apart about 1/2″ deep; making a checkerboard pattern. Combine the rub ingredients in a bowl then rub the spice mixture well onto the pork on all sides, cracks and crevices, then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, preferably 8.
  2. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and place a drip pan under the meat. Place the butt, fat side up, over the drip pan. Smoke the pork shoulder between 225 and 250 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 165-170, 4 to 6 hours (the cooking time will depend on the size of the pork roast and the heat of the grill).IMG_0086
  3. Place butt in a tinfoil pan and baste well with the bourbon-vinegar-pepper sauce then cover with tinfoil. Cook 2 to 4 hours at 250 to 275 degrees until temp reaches 190-195.
  4.  Transfer the pork roast to a cutting board, loosely tent it with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Meal Prep

  1. Wearing heavy-duty rubber gloves if desired, then pull the pork into pieces, discarding any bones or fat. Using your fingertips, fork, or knives pull each piece of pork into shreds. Transfer the shredded pork to a non reactive roasting pan. Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the bourbon-vinegar-pepper sauce, enough to keep the pork moist, then cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it on the grill for up to 30 minutes to keep warm.
  2. To serve, mound the pulled pork on the hamburger buns and top with coleslaw and an onion ring if you’re feeling crazy.



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