Get-togethers are both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience for me. Exciting because of the chance to socialize and unwind. Nerve-wracking because sometimes it is difficult to decide what to cook.
This dinner is one of those nerve-wracking moments because I was the host and I wanted a unique dish that will make them go, “wow!” after the first bite. My competitive streak wanted me to leave a mark and make them ask for more.
After a lot of research, I finally found a recipe that I now cook for every special occasion. Well, here you go!
Pulled Pork with a Twist
- 5 to 8 lbs pork butt
- McCormick Apple Wood rub
- 4 cups apple juice
- 1 cup apple cider
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup salt
- 8 cups apple juice
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cups salt
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbspapplewood dry rub or any of your favorite meat rub
- 3 dry bayleaves
First, we need to create my favorite meat flavor injection, which is a combination of 4 cups apple juice, 1 cup apple cider, ¼ cup sugar, and ¼ cup salt. Cook the solution in a pot but do not let it boil.
Next, inject the solution into 5 to 8 lbs of Boston Butt. Once all the solution is used up, add some Apple Wood rub from McCormick.
After preparing the meet, transfer it to the smoker and let it cook for 12 to 14 hours at 225F. The smoking makes the pulled pork taste better because it gives it a smoky flavor yet retains its tenderness.
However, there are instances wherein the pork ends up a little dry. Based on research and watching countless YouTube videos, I came across the brining method. Brining requires soaking the meat in a brine solution for 48 hours. The meat will absorb all the flavors from the solution which makes the flavors last longer and the meat tastier.
I love experimenting with recipes, too! Not to brag but experimenting is my forte – the food ends up good if not better. J
So, I tried this brining method. I mixed everything in a big pan, placed in the meat in a large container, and poured the brine all over the meat. Make sure that the meat is fully submerged in the solution. The recipe above is good for 8 lbs of Boston butt. Cover it and place it in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours. The longer it is submerged, the better the absorption.
After 48 hours, remove the meat from the brining solution, but DON’T TAP IT DRY. Lay the meat in a baking pan and cover the meat with your favorite dry rub. I used the same apple wood rub since I love the smell and flavor of the rub.
Transfer the meat to a roasting rack and make sure there is a pan underneath to catch all the juice from the meat. Of course, I used our very own Kitchenatics cooling and roasting rack! Our roasting rack fits the half sheet bake pan perfectly.
Smoke the pork at 225F for 4 ½ hours. Spray the meat with apple juice every hour to retain the moisture.
After 4 ½ hours, transfer it in a foil (enough to wrap the meat), spray some apple juice again, then wrap the meat with the foil. Return it to the roasting rack and bake it for another 4 to 4.5 hours at 275F or until the internal temperature reaches 195-200 degrees.
It is best to use a meat thermometer to check if the meat is cooked. Otherwise, you’ll have too raw or an overcooked meat. The estimated time in the oven depends on how large the meat is, so if you have a digital meat thermometer, you’ll get the best results. The recommended temperature is 195 to 200F.
Once the internal temperature reaches 195-200 F, remove it from the oven, and let it rest for two hours.
After 2 hours, shred the meat. You can use the meat drippings from the pulled pork to make gravy. Simple heat the drippings and add your favorite barbecue sauce to thicken it. You should try Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce which is a favorite!
I did quite well, thank you very much. My friends loved it! We made pulled pork sandwich out of it, along with some side salad for the adults. For my kids who are big rice-eaters, I made a separate Fajita Rice Pilaf to go with it.