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Texas Style Smoked Pulled Pork

Normally when you think of smoked pulled pork you think of a typical sweet with some heat, North Carolina style pulled pork. Today I’m trying something a little different, and going with a central Texas, pepper based rub for the best smoked pork but I’ve ever had!

Smoked low and slow to make some amazing pulled pork sandwiches, taquitos, or anything you can dream up, like these pulled pork cheese fries!

Smoked Boston Butt Pork Shoulder cooked low and slow over apple and hickory pellets. Coated with a pepper based central Texas style rub that makes for a one of a kind pulled pork that everyone will love!

After doing some research on how to smoke my pork shoulder (or Boston butt), I read through Aaron Franklin’s Meat Smoking Manifesto. I highly recommend picking up this book if you’re into making your own barbecue. I found that he seasons pulled pork a little different.

Using central Texas style rub which starts with  1 part salt, 1 part pepper, I decided to take some inspiration from the man who has barbecue nailed down and take my own take on it!

Smoked Pulled Pork cooked low and slow over apple and hickory pellets. Coated with a pepper based central Texas style rub that makes for a one of a kind pulled pork that everyone will love!

I woke up at around 5am and started preparing my Pork shoulder. You’ll want to start early as possible, it’s better to have your pork butt done earlier than late.

You can always keep it wrapped in foil and placed in a cooler. It will hold its temperature for a few hours.

Smoked Boston Butt low and slow over apple and hickory pellets. Coated with a pepper based central Texas style rub that makes for a one of a kind pulled pork that everyone will love!

So who here is on the wrap in foil team? I’ve seen a lot of conversation on both sides of the table. Some say wrapping will give you mushy bark, others will say not wrapping, makes it too crunchy and smoky.

I’ve so far have stuck with wrapping. I find that once my pork rested 30-45 minutes, the bark comes out great!

Smoked Pulled Pork Shoulder cooked low and slow over apple and hickory pellets. Coated with a pepper based central Texas style rub that makes for a one of a kind pulled pork that everyone will love!

Low and slow for pulled pork

I cooked my pork butt at around 235(ish) for about 4-5 hours on my Traeger Pro Series 34 smoker. You’ll want to spritz every hour after the 2 hour mark.

Once the internal temperature was at around 155-160, wrap in foil so that it doesn’t take on anymore smoke. If you choose to go bare for the entire cook be sure to continue spritzing your pork shoulder along the way

At this point, you can even raise your temperature a little higher to expedite the process. I continued cooking at 275 and had everything done at the 8-9 hour mark for a 7 pound pork butt.

Pulled Pork cooked low and slow over apple and hickory pellets. Coated with a pepper based central Texas style rub that makes for a one of a kind pulled pork that everyone will love!

Ultimately you’re cooking your pork but for as long as it needs for it to be done. You’ll looking for an internal temperately ranging anywhere from 195-210.

You want the blade bone to easily pull out from the pork butt, which I’ve found so far 203-205 is the sweet spot!

If you’re going with my rub, you’ll have a nice dark bark, similar to a texas style smoked brisket. This rub has a good pepper flavor, with a hint of sweetness and all sorts of juice from the pork.

Stay tuned for some more low and slow barbecue recipes this summer!

Texas Style Pulled Pork

Course: Dinner, lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pork, pulled pork, smoked
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours
Servings: 10 people
Smoked Pulled Porked Shoulder butt cooked low and slow over apple and hickory wood with a Texas style rub pulled pork recipe that is out of this world!
Print Recipe

Ingredients

TEXAS STYLE PORK RUB

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt USE KOSHER, NOT TABLE SALT
  • 1/2 cup ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tbsp granulated onion
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp celery salt

PULLED PORK

  • 8-10 lb pork shoulder butt
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar/apple juice in a spritzer bottle

Instructions

  • Prepare your pork butt. trimming any excess fat leaving about 1/4 inch of fat on the fat cap side. Trim off any unwanted glands or cartridge as well. Pat dry with a paper towel, then spread a light coat of mustard.
  • With your rub ingredients combined, liberally coat your pork butt. You shouldn’t see anything but your rub on the pork.
  • Preheat your smoker to 235. Place your pork butt, fat side up on the grates. Close the smoker and don’t peek for about 2 hours. Spritz every hour after the 2 hour mark.
  • At around the 4-5 hour mark start probing for temperature. When you get to about 160, it’s time to wrap. Taking a couple 18×30 sheets of aluminum foil. Remove your pork butt from the grates with a towel and place on the foil fat side down; spritz one more time. Wrap as tightly as possible so that you don’t lose any of that bark. Double wrap so that the foil doesn’t tear on the grates.
  • At this point your pork butt has taken all the smoke its going to get. You can either leave the temperature at 235, or increase to around 275 to speed up the process. Place the pork butt fat side down onto the grate and close. Probe for tenderness and temperature at the 7 or 8 hour mark until the internal temperature is around 200-205. If you can easily pull the blade from the meat, you’re ready to take off the grill.
  • Keep wrapped and let rest off the grill for about 30-45 minutes. Pull away and enjoy!

Notes

Wood tip: I use a 30/70 blend of apple to hickory pellets in my pellet grill.
If your pulled pork is done earlier than you desire, keep wrapped in foil, and place in a cooler, packed with paper. This will hold the temperature for at least 2-3 hours!
Smoked Pulled Pork cooked low and slow over apple and hickory pellets. Coated with a pepper based central Texas style rub that makes for a one of a kind pulled pork that everyone will love!
Derek Campanile
Derek Campanile
I'm an IT professional by day. Home cook for the family by night. Follow my blog for easy to make recipes, how-to's and ideas to gather the family at the dinner table!