Pulled Pork Recipe on a Meadow Creek SQ36 Offset Smoker

butts_smoking

This past weekend we had some friends coming over, so I fired up my Meadow Creek SQ36 Offset Smoker to smoke a couple pork butts and chickens. We had grilled shrimp, pulled pork, and smoked chicken for dinner along with sides and dessert.

With the holiday coming up, I decided it would be fun to share my secrets and tips for smoking pork butts. I’ve compiled a recipe with simple instructions and mouth-watering photos to help you quickly master amazing pulled pork.

Pork butts are very forgiving, and so easy to cook, because of how fatty they are and the high meat to surface ratio. Even if you overdo the smoke, once you pull it and mix everything together, you probably won’t mind it. And you really can’t dry out a pork butt unless you try. Yet some people are still cooking bad pulled pork. Don’t be one of them!

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I get my pork butts through special order at a local grocery store with really good meat sources. Your local grocery store will probably have a couple pork butts on display, but if you’re serious about this, go for the two pack 8-pounders, sealed in Cryovac. Make friends with your local grocer or butcher or check out Costco or a wholesale food supplier in your area. It helps immensely to start with quality meat.

There is a lot of debate on whether to put the fat cap up or down, but here’s one thing you have to keep in mind. The fat may not all render out while cooking, which means you would have to peel it off after it’s done. I actually prefer to trim some of the fat cap off before I cook the butt so I can keep all the bark. The butt on the right above could have been trimmed more, but it turned out just fine because of how I cooked it. Whether you cook it up or down, is up to you. In my opinion, it’s irrelevant to amazing pulled pork.

pork_butts_seasoned

I seasoned both butts with Meadow Creek Brisket Rub. Just sprinkle it all over the surface of the meat.

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After a few minutes, the seasoning will start blending with the moisture in the meat and start looking really nice..

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I fired my Meadow Creek SQ36 Offset Smoker with 6–8 pounds of charcoal briquettes. I also added a chunk or two of apple wood. My target temperature was 250–275 degrees F. You can cook them slower if you want to. It’s more common to do low and slow around 225 degrees, but I’m not sure that it’s worth the longer cook time on a pork butt.

You may be using a smoker that can’t go above 225 degrees, and that’s perfectly fine. Work within the limits of your smoker and what it’s designed to do.

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Here are the butts on the smoker.

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A couple hours into the cook, it started pouring rain, so I had to move the smoker under a roof. Since I don’t have a covered porch right now, I parked it in the garage with the smokestack outside the overhead door and under the eaves.

butts_wrapped

In my early days, I would hardly wrap a pork butt for fear I’m breaking the laws of authentic barbecue. Smoking pork butts is a lot of fun and tending the fire is great, but a whole day of tending an offset smoker can get a little old. Once the butts have taken on a healthy dose of smoke, you might as well wrap them in aluminum foil and dramatically shorten the cook time. A good time to wrap them is around 170 degrees internal temperature.

As easy as it is to run a Meadow Creek smoker, the temperature does still depend on how you fire it. After I moved the smoker out of the rain, I fired it with more charcoal and a chunk of wood. I adjusted the firebox vents to give it slightly more draft to compensate for the weather and walked away. When I came back about 30 minutes later, the temperature was up to 325 degrees at the built-in thermometer (grate level must have been even hotter). Yikes! I closed the vents and smokestack for a while to get it back down and went on with life. I could not tell any negative effects in the finished product.

smoked_pulled_pork

Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees, it’s done cooking. Take it off the smoker and let it cool enough to pull it. If you have insulated gloves or bear paws, you can do it immediately. It’s time to make sandwiches!

These butts finished in 7–8 hours because I wrapped them in foil. (One of them was smaller and it finished before the other one.) I burned a few chunks of wood and close to 23 pounds of charcoal during this cook.

smoked_pulled_pork_2

Flavor Boost: As awesome as freshly pulled pork is, I almost always ramp it up a notch by adding some barbecue sauce and seasoning after it’s pulled. Sweet Baby Rays or Meadow Creek Hickory Sauce would be a great choice. I wouldn’t add much; just enough to moisten and flavor it a little. Sprinkle a little Meadow Creek Brisket Rub over it and mix it all together. This is a great place to experiment with various flavors to discover what you like best.

Freezing Tip: Pulled pork freezes well. If you have some you can’t eat right away or keep in the fridge, just pack it into quart-sized zip-loc bags, then date and freeze it. This makes it easy to thaw the pork in small batches. You can thaw it in the fridge and heat it in a kettle of water (in the bag) on the stove or remove it from the bag and heat it in the microwave or oven. Be careful not to overheat it and it will taste great. Not quite like fresh, but still amazing as can be!

Any questions or comments, feel free to email me or leave a comment below.

Sizzling regards,

Lavern Gingerich

PS. Are you dreaming of starting your own barbecue business? We believe barbecue should be fun, easy, and profitable, and Meadow Creek’s BBQ smokers and pig roasters help make this a reality.

About the Author

Lavern is the online brand ambassador for Meadow Creek Welding and founder of StoryQue magazine.

Leave a Reply 20 comments

Charles Szpylman - May 21, 2015 Reply

Great job Lavern! Keep providing the good tips & videos you provide to us fellow smokers. Truly enjoy reading the experiences and tips.

Chuck

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Lavern Reply:

Thanks, Chuck! Will do that. –Lavern

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Gary Chuck - May 21, 2015 Reply

Lavern
Good looking pulled pork.
question. How do you maintain/lower the temperature in your offset without creating creosote on the meat. If you decrease the airflow by closing your vents then you are decreasing the amount of oxygen required for that clean burn and increasing the amount of water vapor / white smoke going across the meat resulting in increased creosote. I am trying for a target temp of 225 to smoke.

Chuck

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Lavern Reply:

You certainly don’t want to keep the vents closed all the way except for a few minutes to tame a fire that’s too hot. You will need to adjust your vents for proper air flow and if the temperature is still too high, you would want to use less fuel. You can fine-tune it with your vents, but get to know approximately how much fuel it takes to get your smoker within range first. Otherwise, you will struggle getting it right. What kind of smoker are you using? –Lavern

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Alejandro - May 21, 2015 Reply

Thanks for the tips Lavern!

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Lavern Reply:

Nice hearing from you, Alejandro. You’re very welcome!

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Maurice - May 21, 2015 Reply

Thanks, time to go to Sams and get those pork butts.

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Lavern Reply:

Yes!

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Michael K - May 21, 2015 Reply

With summer just start a plenty to do around the house, it’s been hard to get into BBQin. But I did make some great chicken two weeks ago, and now after reading this recipe, my lip are smackin and I ready to BBQ and try this recipe out. Thanks for lighten a fire under my “BUTT”…. no pun intended.

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Lavern Reply:

You’re welcome! 🙂 I know the feeling, but sometimes you have to set some time aside to make it happen.

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ernesto - May 21, 2015 Reply

Lavern.: great job, congrats.¡
I usually read your work and enjoyed it very much plus i get to use your tips, which are very helpful.
Keep up the good work my Fellow Smoker..!

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Bucket - May 27, 2015 Reply

Whats happin my bro,simple an to the point with the smoking of the BUTTS.I must try this in the comin weeks,would love to have that rub,so look out South s Finest meat.Thanks Bucket

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Ismael - September 4, 2015 Reply

Lavern,

If you think wrapping pork butt in foil to finish it off is not purest or traditional, well how about this; for some reason I could not smoke past five hours. The meet was around 170° internal temperature. The two pieces of pork butt, I got them in Costco, had the most beautiful dark bark on them. What to do? I thought of finishing them in the oven but then thought of using the family crockpot. Well, after debating it, I broke the two pieces of butt into separate muscles and put them in the crockpot. I had put the two pieces of butt in foil pans in the smoker. All of that delicious juice collected in the bottom of the pans. I dumped this in to the crockpot and put it on low for around four or five hours. Well, as we all know the meat gets the smoke flavor and the first few hours. Well, these were really smoky. They cooked to perfection. When I removed them, they pulled so easy.
I know I could never do this in a competition, not that I have ever entered a competition, The crockpot worked. It’s also a great way to rewarm pulled pork.

Thanks for the above info recipe and guidance.
Ismael

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Lavern Reply:

Thanks for sharing your story. There is nothing wrong with finishing it in the kitchen. 🙂

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Bill Sweeney - September 4, 2015 Reply

I’m just getting too old to keep my secret any longer, so here goes. 8lb-9lb butts. score fat pad-inject with CranApple. Butt rub. Wait 15 min. Into the Meadowcreek 250 Smoker (12 butts at a time/ place on the racks. temp 235. Apple or pecan wood-supplement temp with hardwood charcoal. 4 hrs. remove, place on top of 3′ heavy duty tinfoil 18″w in aluminum pan 12×12. slather with oleo (not butter)-spread 1/2″ of dark brown sugar-good amount of dark agave’-1 cup of coca cola-wrap. Back into Meadowcreek 250 for 6hrs at 225-235. Remove-set 30min-pull-serve WOW!!! Make sure you use a good potato bun…don’t be cheap with the bun. The better your buns the better the meal. ha ha Last secret…at hrs 2 and 4 drain fat into metal bucket. Enjoy…

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Lavern Reply:

Thanks, Bill! Great to hear from you and we appreciate you sharing your methods.

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Larry Hester - August 13, 2017 Reply

Thanks for the articles Lavern. I’m new to the blog but enjoy reading your post.
Larry

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Lavern Reply:

Thanks, Larry. Glad you enjoy it!

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dean - September 6, 2017 Reply

I’m just a little curious about something. Your method is very similar to what is used by very many people, so it’s not like you are doing anything odd or unusual. But what I can’t figure out is: Once the meat is wrapped in foil, no smoke can penetrate the meat through the foil any longer, so why not just put it in the kitchen oven at 225F and have near perfect temperature control with no effort. It’s probably even cheaper than using charcoal and the results would be the same. Seems like folks that wrap meat in foil, only to finish cooking it in a smoker must have a bit of masochism deep down inside. I mean, you can still sit outside, drink beer, and have great conversations with friends while the meat is cooking away in the oven. You just don’t need to set your beer down as frequently.

On another note, I do find your write-ups well done and interesting. And I’m very impressed with the Meadow Creek cookers. Keep up the good work and the best of luck to you.

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Lavern Reply:

Thanks for your response and feedback. I appreciate that. As for finishing wrapped meats in the smoker vs the oven, it’s really personal choice. Some small smokers, such as the BX25 can run for 10 hours on about 8 pounds of charcoal with very little tending. Other smokers require more fire management, but some users enjoy that. Other times we might be cooking too much meat to fit in the oven, such as if you’re running a big tank smoker, or you might not be near the kitchen oven. You can do it however you want to, and you have to remember that people who cook in the backyard with wood and charcoal do it because they love the process.

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