In most barbeque contests we cook Beef Brisket, Pork Ribs, Chicken, and Pork Shoulder.

Entries for the pork category include pork shoulder that has been pulled, chopped, chunked, sliced, or a combination of these.

Today, you can find a pulled pork sandwich just about anywhere in the country, but it all started back on the east coast. Hernando De Soto brought 13 pigs with him to Tampa Bay Florida in 1539. When he died in 1542 in what is now the Arkansas/Louisiana area, he owned 700 pigs. I guess you could call him the “Johnny Appleseed” of pork. Pigs became the meat of choice in the southern United States over time. The rich folks would eat “high off the hog”, meaning they would consume the best cuts from the top of the pig. The bottom of the pig was left to us poor folks. I’d like to thank those rich folks because the left us my favorite parts of the hog; the belly (bacon), spare ribs, shoulder, and whatever else that’s left-over for making sausage.

Sauces in the Carolinas include a vinegar/pepper sauce in the east, a vinegar/tomato in the west, and a mustard sauce in the south. The pork is cooked high over coals and a lot of shoulders are used. Some places still cook the whole hog. The meat is chopped and the vinegar sauce is usually added to it for flavor and moisture. As you travel west, the sauce gets sweeter and the pork is usually pulled or shredded instead of chopped.

Here is a recipe for you from Chris Lilly. Chris is the head cook at Big Bob Gibson’s bbq restaurant. Start with a pork butt.

Chris Lilly’s Six-time World Championship Pork Shoulder

Recipe By: Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson’s

For the pork butt rub:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup paprika
1/3 cup garlic salt
1/3 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper

Pork injection:
3/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons Worcestershire

Inject pork evenly with injection solution. Apply a generous amount of rub onto meat. Pat so the rub will adhere. Place in a smoker and cook with indirect heat for 16 hours on 225°F. Serve with sauce on the side or paint shoulder with sauce the last 20 minutes of cooking. When done, the pork should pull off the bones easily. The internal temperature of the pork should reach 195°F to 205°F.

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can tell when the pork is done by pulling out the blade bone (shown on the right in this picture). The pork is ready when this bone comes out easily and clean.

If you don’t have the time to tend the pit for half the day, start early, smoke the pork for 3 hours or so then, put it in your oven at 250 to finish it off. If I’m serving pork butts for an event, often I’ll smoke it for 4 hours the evening before the event, then, I’ll set the oven to 200 degrees and let the meat cook over night. It turns out great.

I highly recommend ordering some sauce called Blues Hog Tennessee Red for your pulled pork sandwiches. Use it straight or mix it with your favorite sweet sauce. You can order it from The Kansas City BBQ Store.

As always, if you have any questions, just shoot me an email,