Board index Barbecue Board General Discussion Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork

This is the place to ask your BBQ questions, share information, and more.
Post Mon Jul 05, 2004 7:52 pm
olliejen raw

Posts: 7
Location: Issaquah, WA

Howdy Y'all!

Working on hour #4 of grilling my pork shoulder on my maiden voyage of making Pulled Pork. I have a question for you veterans: The N.C. sauce in the "How To Grill" book seems awfully vinegar-y, i'm considering just using some BBQ sauce with the pork after its done grilling. Would this be a big mistake?


Post Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:53 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3209
Location: Atlanta-GA
I would serve the BBQ sauce along the side of the N.C. sauce and let people choose according to their taste. The “HTG” sauce is very well matched with the pulled pork. I’ve used it many times and it always come out perfect. You could also decrease the amount of vinegar in the sauce if you don’t like a strong vinegar flavor. Use plain apple juice instead.
I hope all goes well. Make sure the internal temp reaches 195 degrees before you take it out of the smoker if you want to pull it.
Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Post Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:58 pm

Posts: 7
Location: Oak Hill, VA
Pork shoulder is one of my favorite things to make. I hope this opinion doesn't come too late for you.

The sauce in the book is more or less a plain-jane North Carolina-style pulled pork sauce. In that style, vinegar-based sauces dominate, mainly because it works so well with the texture of the meat. See, you're pulling the meat into the individual muscle fibers, and because the meat's been cooking so long the fibers are going to be dried out (the eater doesn't notice, because hopefully the fibers are coated with lip-smacking gelatin from all that dissolved collagen in the meat). However, when you shred the meat odds are the gelatin will start getting lost, so you put a liquid-type sauce there to help compensate. Because the meat is shredded it will absorb that sauce much easier, much like a sponge. Now if you use a more viscous sauce, like a KC Masterpiece-type sauce, the meat won't really absorb it well, and you're left with strands of dry meat floating in thick barbecue sauce. Further, the thicker barbecue sauce will tend to dominate and the smoky, pork flavor you've worked upwards of 4 hours to create will get lost.

Now, I've made the sauce in the book a few times, and end up putting more sugar in it to make it more appealing to my victims...I mean, guests. Unless you're writing off vinegar sauce totally (in which case I'd suggest using a brine for your pork shoulder next time and skip the sauce entirely), try adding some brown sugar to it to kind of cut the vinegar taste.


Post Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:43 am
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 6079
Location: Central Alberta, Canada

I served up 40+ pounds of pulled pork this weekend, and I served both a Carolina vinegar sauce and a sweet Kansas City style sauce. thinned down a bit with apple juice, cider, and cider vinegar. I found that the vinegar sauce moistens the meat better than a sweeter sauce does, and it cuts the fattiness of the meat better. However, a lot of the other folks preferred the sweet sauce. I think the fact that I thinned it down had a lot to do with it- the sauce penetrates the meat a lot better if it's not too thick, and the meat stays a lot moister.

For those who don't like vinegar sauce, a sweet tomato- or mustard-based sauce is a good substitute, as long as it isn't too thick. Hey- you could even try all three!

As for the collagen and gelatin in the meat being lost when it dries out, I just mixed a bit of the mop sauce with the meat and kept it warm in a foil-wrapped pan in the oven. The meat never had a chance to dry out.

Post Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:02 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
I had a very similar cookout to BBQGuy this weekend serving 2 shoulders and 2 butts. I did just what he reccomended, I had a red sauce (KS Sweet and Smokey) and a Mustard Based one as well. I was going to have a vinegar based one too but ran out of ingredients last minute. Everything was great though.

Post Tue Jul 06, 2004 12:44 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
I also cooked 2 shoulders and 2 butts this weekend for 35 lbs of pulled pork. I made the N. Carolina vinegar sauce and poured it directly into the meat after pulling. Everyone loves it that way and some don't even know it's sauced, they just eat it up. I always have BBQ sauce available as well if someone wants to add some.

Return to General Discussion