Pulled pork is one of the most popular barbecue meats as it's simple to cook and tastes great. Whilst pork doesn't have the same richness in flavour as you would find in a beef cut you can always kick it along by injecting the meat with a salt based solution or dry brining. Adding a little barbecue sauce once you've pulled it apart also helps.
Pork shoulder (also known as Boston Butt) is the most popular cut for pulled pork and rightly so as it produces the best result. However pork collar, also known as pork neck, works well too. Collars are smaller than shoulders so if time is an issue grab a collar instead. The one in these photos was cooked a little hot at 300f/150c due to time constraints and took 6 hours. Cooking at around the 275f/135c mark is ideal.
As always with the bigger cuts timing can come down to a lot of factors including the thickness of the meat, fat content and the structure of the muscle itself. Collars around the 2kg mark can take up to 8 hours so give yourself a buffer and prepare for an 8 hour cook. The meat from the collar is more dense than the shoulder so it takes a bit more pulling. Because of the extra denseness you can actually slice the neck into steaks and serve it up that way whether it be on sandwiches or straight to the plate.
- pork collar (approx 2kg)
- SmokeyQ Rib Rub
- Lightly brush the collar with mayonnaise or mustard and season with SmokeyQ Rib Rub at least a few hours before cooking, preferably overnight.
- Fire up your cooker and aim for a temperature of 275f/135c.
- Put the collar in along with three chunks of your preferred wood.
- When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165f (or after 3 and a half hours) take a peak at the meat. You're looking for a well formed bark, mahogany in colour with some cracks appearing in the surface fat. At this point you have the option of wrapping the meat in foil, particularly if you're pushed for time. If you're not wrapping give the collar a spritz with apple juice/apple cider vinegar or even water when the bark begins to look a little dry. Check every 45 minutes or so.
- When the temperature of the meat reaches 200f probe and if it feels nice and tender take it out and allow to rest for an hour. If not, put it back in for another 20 minutes.
- Unwrap and pull the meat with 2 forks, bear claws, you're hands (with gloves on!) or whatever you like and serve. Add a little barbecue sauce and honey to give the flavour a boost.
Photos and recipe by Messy Benches. Visit www.messybenches.com