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Pulled Pork #1

April 11, 2014

This is not really intended as a recipe; although feel free to use it that way. This is simply the first of several cooks that I am going to document, so I have something to refer back to.

I’ve been cooking pulled pork for a while, and although it is always nice to eat, there is still lots of room for improvement. Once or twice, I got it right on the money, but as I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, when it came to duplicating the cook, I couldn’t remember exactly what I did.

More recently, I have been using a mustard and vinegar based rub/sauce on my pork, and I really like the taste. But I want to see if I can now build a bit of heat into the recipe. However, today, I am taking the shortcut of using a commercially prepared sauce, as I need to feed people tomorrow. Based on how this turns out, I can then deconstruct and see if I can replicate/improve using raw ingredients.

Rub mix

The rub mix I used was as follows:

4 parts brown sugar
3 parts paprika
3 parts sea salt
2 parts black pepper
2 parts dry mustard
2 parts ground cumin
1 parts cayenne pepper
1 parts chili powder

I was out of cumin, but had a spice mix that was largely cumin, so I used that.


Two small shoulders of pork, totaling 7.5lb, coated with rub and smoked on Traeger pellet grill. Temperature ranged from 190 – 225 degrees F. Cook started at 8:30am. Pork was removed from grill at 10:30am, once the internal temperature reached 190 degrees F. It was then allowed to rest, and pulled at 11pm. Pork pulled easily, bone lifted out. About 3.5lb of meat resulted.


Actually, more of a simple gravy, as it was late and I was tired. Pork was cooked on a rack over a pan, to collect juices. Deglazed pan over heat, using cider vinegar (half a small bottle) and boiling water, and a cupful of the above rub – I think I could have used more rub. Gravy was dark and flavorsome. Transferred into a saucepan, where it was cooked over gentle heat, and then had added 3oz of butter.

Sauce was mixed into pork, and left to cool, until cool enough to refrigerate overnight.

Taste Test

Tasted next day, pork is good, but not quite wet enough, and didn’t have much heat at all. Rather than experiment further, and risk spoiling the batch (which will feed guests tomorrow), I opened a bottle of Nando’s Smokey Portuguese BBQ Peri-Peri marinade. I first stirred in half a bottle, and tasted; then added the rest. The result was a good consistency of meat/sauce, and a good heat, but not harsh or excessive.

The pork is now back in the fridge, and will simply be heated in a domestic oven tomorrow. I would have rather not have used the Nando’s sauce, but while I am a confident cook, I am a bit of a novice when it comes to hot spices. So I am playing safe, for the moment.

One Response to Pulled Pork #1

  1. Chris on April 12, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    General opinion from today’s game players was that it was good pork. One mention of “It could be hotter”, but others disagreed, so I simply pointed my chilli loving friend at a bottle of hot sauce.

    Certainly was good enough for two of the visiters to take home portions for their Sunday tea!

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