carolina-style pulled pork recipe – use real butter (2024)

carolina-style pulled pork recipe – use real butter (1) Recipe: carolina-style pulled pork

I wrote about pulled pork earlier this year during my Summer of Barbecue, but I never gave a recipe for it. Barbecue is regional in the US. Heck, my MIL just told me last weekend that barbecue in Memphis differs from barbecue in the rest of Tennessee! The varieties could make your head spin and your colon tremble: sweet, spicy, vinegar-base, tomato-base, thick, thin, beef, pork, ribs, pulled, sliced, smoked, and don’t forget the hot-links. I like them all, really. But in southern Virginia, we get a heavy influence from North Carolina and so tonight I paid homage to Carolina pulled pork for dinner.

One of my favorite acts in cooking is the Magic Act, where you take a cheap cut of meat and cook it forever, whether by dry or moist heat, and render it a tender heap of Culinary Nirvana. Since we’re talking Carolina barbecue, you automatically know it is 1) pork and 2) vinegar-based sauce. And if you didn’t know, it’s about time you learned. An excellent part of the beloved piggy (besides the belly and the leg) is the shoulder, aka butt, Boston butt, Boston roast, shoulder blade roast. It is a favorite for barbecue (and also of Chinese cooking!) for its wonderful flavor, marbling, tenderness, moistness, and low cost. The trick is low and slow heat.

I tend to believe that authentic barbecue is smoked over coals for hours on end. I could do that where I live, but then I might burn down the entire National Forest, so I slow cook in the oven. It’s a more practical approach.

the components of the dry rub

carolina-style pulled pork recipe – use real butter (2)

seeing red isn’t always bad

carolina-style pulled pork recipe – use real butter (3)

After mixing up the dry rub, rub it over the pork butt. Be sure to get it in those cracks and crevices too. Coat that baby well. Your hands should be a veritable mess when you are done.

rubbed and ready to go – don’t wipe your hands on that white shirt…

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Did I mention you’ll want to start this at least a day ahead of time? Well, you will. This is all about flaaaaaavor. Pop the pork into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, overnight is preferable. Meanwhile, the sauce should also be prepared on the first day since the flavors benefits tremendously from sitting for a day. There really isn’t much to the recipe, just some patience and planning.


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The following day, pull the pork out of the refrigerator to sit for an hour. Sear it up on all sides and then into the oven for four hours on low heat. I covered my baking pan with aluminum foil. After I took it out of the oven, I realized it might have been a good idea to line the pan with aluminum too. Well, Jeremy was a love and scrubbed that baking dish clean, but I don’t loan him out, so definitely line with foil unless you like scrubbing dishes (in which case, maybe you should come visit?)


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pulling the pork should be easy

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The pork should be falling-apart tender after four hours. I like to remove the fat and connective tissue while it is still hot and then shred the meat with two forks.

pour the barbecue sauce

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Add as much sauce as you like and serve. I love to eat this with a nice soft and slightly sweet bread, which is also perfect for sopping up the extra sauce. And despite my love of non-mayo coleslaw, I do find a (not too) creamy coleslaw is awesome with this pulled pork. Obviously this barbecue is vinegar-intensive, so people who are looking for a sweet tomato-base sauce will have to wait for my next installment on barbecue. I like all kinds, really.

get in touch with your inner southerner

carolina-style pulled pork recipe – use real butter (9)

Carolina Pulled Pork
[print recipe]

3-5 lbs. pork butt
2 tbsps vegetable oil
2 cups dry rub
Carolina vinegar barbecue sauce

dry rub
1/4 cup cumin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne powder
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper, ground
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix together.

carolina vinegar barbecue sauce
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper, ground

Mix together and heat until sugar dissolves (don’t breathe the fumes). Let cool and store for 24 hours.

To make the pulled pork: Day 1. Rub pork with dry rub. Place in a baking dish and cover with plastic. Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. Make the Carolina vinegar barbecue sauce. Day 2. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for an hour. Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat oil in a large frying pan and sear the pork on high heat on all sides (a few minutes each side). Place pork in a baking dish lined with foil. Cover with foil and bake for four hours. Remove from oven and remove fat and connective tissue and any bone. Shred the meat with forks. Pour desired amount of sauce over the pork and serve hot.

November 9th, 2007: 11:59 pm
filed under bbq, dinner, meat, recipes, savory, spicy

  • peabody says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Pork is it’s own religion in the south…and with good reason. This looks super yummy.

  • Wendy says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 2:55 am

    Pork butt? Butt as in bum? Or is this a cut of meat we call something different in the UK, I wonder?
    Anyway, this is the second time I’ve come across a recipe for pulled pork in a week. Had never heard of it before. Very much looking forward to trying it out. :)

  • Curt says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Pork butt is actually part of the shoulder. It’s a Boston Butt cut.

    And there are some decent electric smokers that are cheap that can be used pretty safely with wood chunks added to get real barbecue flavor with pork. The smoke flavor takes this to a different place completely.

  • HolyBasil says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 11:06 am

    I also like all kinds of bbq but this version with the tangy vinegar sauce has a special place in my heart! I was wondering about searing the meat – do you think it adds a lot of flavor to the meat?I am thinking of using my slow cooker for this and I’m lazy to add the searing step. Also, do you eat this on a soft white hamburger bun, white toast, or on its own?

  • Miss Scarlett says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    I grew up in South Carolina but it took me a while to take a liking to Carolina-style bbq. Now I think it’s the only kind to eat! The thick, sweet tomato-based sauces completely cover up the taste of the meat in my opinion. I’m going to SC this weekend (I will be getting some of this on my trip) but I’m gonna have to cook up my own mess of this Carolina-style pulled pork REALLY soon…thanks for the recipe!!!

  • Abby says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    That would be EASTERN N.C. barbecue! In the West we have a tomato-based sauce. And in S.C. it’s mustard-based. (And yes. I’m from N.C. – born and raise and currently residing!)

  • Tartelette says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    This is the only kind of bbq I make and eat, but again I pour vinegar over everything (except pie!). Thanks for the recipe!!

  • jenyu says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Peabody – it’s delish! But I just can’t consume that much pork in a week, I’m freezing most of it.

    Wendy – as Curt points out, it is the butt of the shoulder, just that butchers have so many names for it. A friend of mine entered our local department chili cookoff one year and he whispered to me that he was using pork butt. He snickered as if it were some dirty joke. I smacked him in the arm and said it was the shoulder of the pig, not the butt. It’s okay, he’s a dork.

    Curt – oh, thanks for that pointer! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for one of those.

    HolyBasil – you know, that’s a very good question. I don’t know if it does or not. I think it adds some nice browning that you might not get otherwise, but I am often tempted to skip the step myself. Then I get nervous about making it inferior if I skip the step and wasting all of that good meat… So I always do it ;) I love to eat this with potato rolls, or if you can get your hands on fluffy white hot steaming southern rolls (I have no other description or name for it, but they are all over the south in barbecue joints). I need to get me that recipe *shudder*.

    Miss Scarlet – I hope you had a good trip to SC and did some bbq research like a good bbq-lover!

    Abby – yep, I knew this would bite me in the ass ;) So in SE VA, we were obviously most influenced by Eastern NC. I do recall reading that SC bbq is mustard-based which seems wrong to me, but I won’t knock it until I try it since I seem to love all bbq. You should post on some Western NC bbq!

    Tartelette – I’m a vinegar freak too. Love pickles :)

  • Kevin says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 11:09 am

    This pulled pork sounds really good.

  • Cedar says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    This looks heavenly! I have been craving some pulled pork for quite a while. I am going to save this recipe!!

  • jenyu says:
    November 12th, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Kevin and Cedar – it’s terrific on a bun with some coleslaw!

  • Maggie says:
    December 10th, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Jenyu,

    Just wanted to say that I love your blog and just finished the process, thru and thru, of making the pulled pork recipe and it’s fabulous. The pics were really helpful. I’ve always been intimidated by the whole “Rub” thing but I love to cook so when I found your blog I dove in and if you have a little time it’s great rewards. Next, St.Lous Ribs. Happy Holiday.

    Maggie, Los Gatos, CA

  • jenyu says:
    December 11th, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Maggie – thanks so much for your sweet comment. I’m delighted that you like the pulled pork. It’s so good, isn’t it? I cannot take any credit – all of the recipes are cannibalized and synthesized from other recipes. You are gonna love those St. Louis cut ribs :) Go girl!!

  • Seth says:
    February 1st, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    I just bought 12 pounds of Boston Butt. Having a bbq. Made the sauce and used the rub. .

    Thanks for the good stuff.

  • jenyu says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Seth – I’m coming to your house for dinner!!

  • Seth says:
    February 11th, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Check out the pictures I posted of the feast. You might need to scroll down a bit.

    They are there.

  • jenyu says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Seth – wow, you went to town! Awesome that you guys put a huge dent in it :)

  • sarahmarie says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Ok, yum. I did this the other day with 10lbs of pork. SOOO spicy. I would half the cayenne next time. Made some carolina cole slaw and served it on potato buns. It was a huge hit. (with rice krispie treats for dessert. can’t go wrong)

  • jenyu says:
    February 20th, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    sarahmarie – omg! 10 pounds of pork?!?! that’s serious bbq. when is dinner?? :) i guess it is spicy, but i like spicy, as in – i LOVE spicy ;)

  • Candyce says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful discovery your blog is for me! Not only are your photos beautiful and colorful, but I love the way you write! Very creative and quite humorous. :)
    Also – I found a few of my new favorite foods on your blog, namely, this one, and also Brunswich Stew! Yum!
    THanks so much! And please feel free to link my very new and amateur blog if you’d like!
    Your’s has been saved to my ‘favorites’ folder.

  • jenyu says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Candyce – thanks so much. I’m really glad you found some useful recipes! :)

  • Laura says:
    June 10th, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Oh, yum. Shame my husband can’t stand vinegar — I wonder if it’s palatable without the sauce? (He doesn’t tend to like sauces in general, so maybe I have a shot…) I think I could use the extra sauce to make some coleslaw.

    At least with beef, I think part of the reason for searing large cuts before slow-cooking them has to do with food safety. Of course, the thing to worry about with beef is the germs sitting on the outside, but I wonder if the searing step still important for pork — it at least gets it up to temperature a little faster, so it’s not sitting at a dangerous temperature for too long. I’d still do it.

  • jenyu says:
    June 10th, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Laura – actually, searing the outside lends to a nicer crisper outer crust while is wonderful to come across when you eat the pulled pork (or the beef for that matter). I seriously doubt it has to do with food safety as the temperature it is cooked at is high enough to kill off the baddies. And I worry more about pork parasites than germs on beef… if you don’t sear, you don’t get that lovely outer caramelized step.

  • rob gorney says:
    June 14th, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I am trying this recipe tonite, will let you know how it goes. by the way i have been reading through your blog and your pictures are outstanding. i wish i had talent like that. thanks for all your work.

  • jenyu says:
    June 16th, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Rob – thank you so much, that’s very kind of you to say.

  • rob gorney says:
    June 16th, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Well, I tried the recipe….a very good starting point for me to make little changes here and there for my own tastes…I think I may only use apple cider vinegar instead of apple cider and white vinegars and add maybe a quarter cup more brown sugar. i love carolina-style bbq since first trying it earlier this year…

    do you trim the shoulder of fat before adding the rub? i did but i just wanted to know if i was doing the right thing.

    thanks a bunch!

  • jenyu says:
    June 18th, 2008 at 12:02 am

    rob – i do not trim any fat from the cut because when you cook it in the oven, the fat “bastes” the meat and keeps it tender and flavorful. try leaving it on next time :)

  • Joe says:
    August 18th, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Just discovered your site while looking around for others that have done pulled pork. I just smoked some in my weber and finished them in the oven and had a great time. They came out smoky tender. I really like your site and the pictures.

    If you have a minute would love for you to come take a look and give me your opinion.

    Really appreciate it… I will be back!

  • jenyu says:
    August 19th, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Joe – yum! Sounds delicious. Thanks for the link and I’ll try to visit when I find a free moment (I’m still looking…)

  • Paula North says:
    May 12th, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I made this recipe last week and my husband devoured it. He ate it for lunch at least three days last week — this from the guy who doesn’t eat leftovers. Thanks so much for the keeper recipe. We are transplant Texans so we probably won’t be giving up our sauced BBQ anytime soon but we loved the vinegar too. I think I have now made 10 or so of your recipes and each one was a knock-out. Not to mention the links to recipes (Sunday Night Dinner’s Chinese Spaghetti is sooooo good). Tonight I try my hand at your spring rolls. Keep your fingers crossed for me — new territory.

  • jenyu says:
    May 20th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Paula – thanks and I’m really happy to know that you’ve found so many recipes you like here. Gives me confidence that I’m not just crazy and imagining that these work :)

  • Steve says:
    June 1st, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Jen, thanks for this recipe! The rub smelled so good and despite the power going out twice during cooking it turned out great! Definitely got the Lorna Doone seal of approval. I forgot to purchase cider vinegar at the store, so I made the Texas BBQ sauce from your brisket recipe instead. Amazing (though I’m sure I committed some sort of bbq sin)! Going to be making your beef stir fried noodle recipe later this week too. Hope all is well! Later!

    Steve, Mary, and Lorna

  • jenyu says:
    June 7th, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Steve – yay! And the Lorna Doone seal of approval, that’s hard to beat!! :)

  • Old Gregg, OKC USA says:
    July 16th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Jen, great website. My Carne Adovada is in the oven as I type.

    This looks like an awesome recipe up to the point that you sear it and place it in the oven. I’ve actually been using a recipe like yours for years with rave reviews. The difference is I smoke my Butts (as others have alluded to) after the rub and rest period. Smoking is not that tuff or dangerous. Mother Nature will survive. My point is, You Have To Smoke One Of These! The difference is like night and day!

    Cookshack in Oklahoma and Smokin-Tex in Texas (duh) both make great electric smokers that produce consistently awesome Butts, Ribs and Brisket. These can also be used to cold smoke cheese, salmon and nuts with optional accessories. They are both very safe and very idiot proof (big selling point for me). You can experiment with different types of wood also. I like cherry, apple and hickory for pork and poultry and pecan or mesquite for beef. Any type of hardwood works, just use your imagination to suit your palate.

  • jenyu says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Old Gregg – thanks for the tip. Should I decide to smoke a lot of meats and often, I will look into it. Just that we don’t consume it enough to justify the purchase. Thanks though, I appreciate it!

  • southernyankee says:
    July 24th, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I was raised in the south and currently reside in MD, it is impossible to get true barbecue, either it is doused in sauce or just plain wrong, I will be making this this weekend in hopes to take it to a party so I can show these natives what true barbecue is. This recipe looks great and I can’t wait I have had a hankering for pulled pork for about six months. Got online searching for recipes. I love to cook and the ingredients seem spot on when I think about the mix of flavors. I CAN’T WAIT!!!! Thanx for the recipe.

  • jenyu says:
    July 28th, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Southernyankee – you’re very welcome. There are so many types of barbecue, but this is the traditional one for where I grew up ;)

  • nobrabbit says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Beautiful pictures of one of the many variations of Eastern NC style *barbecue. I am a native of Eastern NC and barbecue (only non natives call it pulled pork) at it’s most basic for purist does not include a rub only the vinegar based sauce which does not include sugar.

    *Here we throw a pig picking, cook a pig or smoke a shoulder so we can later eat barbecue on a bun preferably with coleslaw, hushpuppies and lots of tea, which we assume of course will be sweet.

  • Gatorgut says:
    October 16th, 2009 at 7:29 am

    How long do you think to cook an 8lb Boston Butt. And you mention getting the seasoning in the cracks and crevices..does that mean I need to score the meat before rubbing it? My son loves pulled pork and in an effort to treat him and his college friends coming home for the weekend I am making this with hopes these 3 big boys will have left overs. Thanks and look forward to making this.

  • jenyu says:
    October 19th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Gatorgut – no need to score the meat, i meant where there are folds in the meat, get the rub in there too. 8 lbs? Not sure. I imagine it would take longer, but… best thing to do is check it every 30 minutes or so until it’s falling apart. Sorry if I didn’t answer your question in time – been busy.

  • jackie says:
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    this cut works well in a slow cooker, too. i rub it and chill it as you describe, and then put it in a slow cooker with about a quarter cup of vinegar to cook long and slow. not to edit your recipe, which looks just awesome, too. you know you gotta make some collard greens to go with this, right? :)

  • Keeley says:
    March 2nd, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I made this yesterday and it was so good I blogged about it. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I made it in my slow cooker, but I plan to use a smoker once the weather warms up. And I agree with Jackie – it would be GREAT with some collard greens (heck, throw in some sweet potato fries, too).

  • Heather704 says:
    March 7th, 2010 at 6:40 am

    I tried this recipe and my family LOVED it! The cayenne was a little too spicy for me in the sauce. I am making it again today and I will half the cayenne. But overall a truly great dish. Thanks for the recipe!!

  • Henry says:
    March 7th, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I found a 6 lb boston butt roast in the freezer Friday and decided to make it into Sunday dinner. I started browsing for recipes (other than roasting it with a little salt & pepper) and found this one.
    After about 4.5 hours of cooking and basting, I took it out of the oven, no longer able to wait! I found the meat still a bit tough to pull, but took enough for dinner for my wife and I and put the rest back in to cook longer. I know what will be in my lunches for the week!
    You are right — the creamy cole slaw goes well to balance the acidity of the sauce. The meat was flavorful, and I really enjoyed the sauce, which was new for me,
    Living in Texas, I have been a life-long fan of our own barbecue, but have long wanted to try the Carolina styles. The mustard-based sauce of SC intrigues me, and is one I hope to enjoy next.
    I think that the next time I make this I will either use my slow cooker, going for a more pot-roast kind of texture, or use my smoker to add an extra dimension to the flavor. Thank you for posting this recipe!

  • Sharon says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I live in Eastern North Carolina and can’t wait to try this recipe. I just finished rubbing the pork and making the sauce. We’ll have it tomorrow for our Memorial Day celebration meal. I have a 6.5lb roast, after reading how long Henry’s 6 lb roast took I think I’ll plan on at least 5 hours to cook. I’ll have the traditional hushpuppies, coleslaw and Barbecued red potatoes. Thanks for the recipe!

  • PJ says:
    August 19th, 2010 at 6:11 am

    Finally, a real Southern recipe. I am a Southern girl that migrated from the USA to Europe 10 years ago and have been craving some good old barbecue. Thanks for this great recipe.

  • PJ says:
    August 19th, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Just one question, with the spices rubbed onto the meat, does this make the meak really spicy?

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  • jenyu says:
    August 19th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    PJ – the meat doesn’t get terribly spicy – it creates a nice seasoned crust on the outside, but the inside is deliciously tender and juicy!

  • GuitarBill says:
    September 30th, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I tried this recipe last weekend, and it’s a winner.

    I did, however, make one change to the recipe. Rather than sear the pork in a frying pan, I used a small Weber kettle with a combination of Mesquite wood and traditional commercial bar-b-que coals to sear the meat. This step took about 1.5 hours to complete. Then I removed the meat from the grill and finished cooking it in the oven at 325 degrees F for 3 hours.

    That said, this recipe is outstanding–it’s highly recommended.

    Los Gatos, CA

  • Jack Etsweiler says:
    November 15th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Also, you could reverse the order by slow-roasting the shoulder and then giving it a short tour under the broiler to get the caramelization. It’ll toast the rubbing spices as well.

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  • Mandy says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 5:57 am

    As a homesick North Carolina girl living in Belgium, I can’t wait to try this recipe, looks great!

  • Bobby B. says:
    May 28th, 2011 at 7:58 am

    i’ve cooked many a butt, lol, that sounds so funny, but i’m cooking one right now with the rub. I can tell this will be the best one i’ve cooked. Thanks for recipe. I too am a SC guy, and carolina mustard based bbq is the only way to go for me. My mom and pops like the tomato based sauce, and i’ve found some good ones, but nothing beats the Carolina way. Thanks again and have a great Memorial weekend.

  • Nene says:
    June 1st, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Want to thank all of the folks that left a reply. Found it helpful.
    In lieu of this I felt obligated to reply as well.
    I tried this recipe for the first time, using a glass (foil lined) baking dish. It was absolutely delish.

    My second attempt was with the reasoning that I had a time consuming landscaping project I was working on & what better than a 4 hour dish to cook while I was out digging & planting.
    In an attempt to save clean up time, I used a throw away aluminum pan. Well……..let’s just say clean up took longer than cooking. The pan dripped all over the inside of the oven, smoked out the entire kitchen & well…..what a mess!
    On the bright side, the pork was, once again delish. So, as a precautionary suggestion, I would say, “don’t use a throw away aluminum pan unless you double it & give yourself a drip pan below. And as an FYI I used this recipe for a 6.45lb cut of pork, added an additional 30 mins & all was well.
    Happy cooking & happy eating.
    Thanks again for a great recipe to add to the collection.

  • Ldub says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I just finished making this!!! I chose to follow your recipe because of the pictures included so thank you for being so kinda as to share the visual. Mine is a lot darker than yours but is AMAZING!!! Thanks

  • kristin says:
    July 24th, 2011 at 10:09 am

    I am always on the internet looking for new ways to cook, trying to get away from the same old stuff. i came across your recipe for boston butt and thought it sounded and looked great but too spicy for my 5 and 9 year old, after making it anyway, I found my kids in the kitchen sneaking it out of the pan. Thank You, this is one I will keep and make often

  • Roger says:
    August 10th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    May I get a print version of this amazing receipt. I would like to be able to print it from the site but your copyright is not allowing me to do so. Id like to keep it in my reciept binder. Thank you


  • jenyu says:
    August 10th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Roger – you can print it to your heart’s content, you just can’t reproduce my photos & my writing (doesn’t include recipe) without permission. just copy and paste the text. it’s yours (it’s really good too!!)

  • Nikki says:
    January 16th, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I was born and raised in southeastern NC and have grown up eating “pig butt”. This is def one of the easiest meals I cook and use it on a weekly basis. I take the shoulder, stick it in the crock pot, pour over half a bottle of Carolina Treet (a wonderful vinegar bbq sauce) and let it cook on low for about 6 hours. I then pour out most of the excess fat and add a little more sauce and start pullin. The best bread I have found that I love is “potato bread” nothin beats it. Some sweet slaw on top of the bbq and you have the best bbq sandwich ever!! Serve with a side of pork n beans or some ff. Never had it any other way and certainly don’t plan on it. :)

  • Kelly says:
    February 28th, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Although I sincerely applaud your effort, I wouldn’t consider this Eastern Carolina barbecue (or just plain “barbecue,” as we in Eastern NC refer to it). First, there should not be any cumin or chili powder in the dry rub. The beauty of real (good) barbecue is that it’s spiced just enough to highlight the flavor of the pork. These spices detract from the pork’s rich simplicity. Also, I think there is too much sugar in your sauce. When I make barbecue, my “sauce” contains only three ingredients: apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt. I refer to it loosely as sauce because I season the meat directly to taste with these three items as I chop. I never combine them together to make a composed sauce. As mentioned earlier, I chop my barbecue and I think it is essential to achieving the quintessential flavor and texture that I expect with barbecue.

  • Sandy says:
    March 8th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    When considering NC BBQ you have to realize there is Eastern and Western NC BBQ…and there is a difference.
    I grew up on the western version and much prefer it. It is usually served on a hamburger bun with slaw that has sauce mixed in I believe. This sauce is reddish in color but seems to be vinegar based…there is now the regular and the sweeter version. Regular is better. For Real BBQ, come to Shelby, NC.

  • Herb says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Whenever I cook a steak, I sear both sides over an extremely high heat. This seals in the juices and fat thereby preserving the flavor. Would not the same principal apply to cooking a Boston butt?? Just wondering.

  • jenyu says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Herb – it definitely adds nice flavor by browning the outsides :)

  • Nina says:
    July 9th, 2012 at 8:05 am

    I tried this last week and it was sooooo yummy! The only other pulled pork I had tried was at Smoky Bones; it was a disgusting mass of meat swimming in a pool of grease. I thought I hated pulsed pork until a friend urged me to try again. I found this recipe and LOVED it! It wasn’t greasy at all, just moist, tangy, spicy – yum! I am from NY, up here BBQ usually involves heavy, sweet, tomato based sauces, which I am not really partial to. I loved the vinegar based sauce, thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Lori says:
    August 17th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    This turned out wonderful! What a great main dish for my daughters end of summer party before she and her friends start their Senior year in high school. This is definitely in my list of favorites.

  • bryan says:
    October 29th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    From VA always have been a fan of chopped bbq never knew it was so easy live in jersey now I don’t have to wait to go south and the yeast rolls recipe excellent bonus another southern favorite thank you very much wish I had found this years ago

  • Sam M says:
    December 3rd, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Nice to see your recipe and all the good comments. The great thing about making Boston butts, and pulled pork BBQ is the many different flavors you can change and migrate to. My personal favorite is to use the Vanilla Brine Method and refrigerate 3 days before , then on the day of cooking a dry rub outer coating before smoking it slowly for 10-12 hours over coals. I reside in the middle of BBQ country here in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina and there is no ‘wrong ” way to do it :)

    The most important thing I have not seen in the recipe or comments, is about temperature and what effect it has to make pulled pork. To reliably make pulled pork you need an internal thermometer to read 185-190 F’ degrees. This takes a lot of patience for those who smoke their meat to hit that magic temp.The reason this is so important is that the fats holding the tissue dissolve at this temp and make it very easy to separate. The second thing is to let the meat rest 20-30 minutes before dissecting, the temp will actually go up a few degrees during this time before coming down and it gives the juices in the meat time for circulation. I wrap my roast in foil and then a towel for this rest period.

    With everything practice makes perfect :) Good Luck

  • ML says:
    December 6th, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    For the dry rub you say 1 tsp garlic … is that fresh, minced garlic or garlic powder? Thanks – Can’t wait to try this!

  • jenyu says:
    December 6th, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    ML – it’s garlic powder. Lemme fix that on the recipe. Hope you like it!

  • Sharon says:
    January 11th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I didn’t have a chance to read through all the comments, but just wondering if this can be cooked (same preparation) in a slow cooker, perhaps for a longer period of time than the oven. Just curious is that is possible with this recipe. Thanks! Looking forward to giving it a time!

  • jenyu says:
    January 12th, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Sharon – I’ve never tried it that way. Can you put something dry in a slow cooker? I always thought there had to be a liquid component. Oh, here’s a nifty link with good info: Good luck!

  • Katelyn says:
    January 13th, 2013 at 2:49 am

    Hi there, this may sound silly, but I’m way over here in Australia- but are ‘red pepper flakes’ also known as chili flakes? (which is what we have here…they have quite a bit of heat.)

  • jenyu says:
    January 13th, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Katelyn – yes, chili flakes! :) The sauce is a little hot, which is nice.

  • Bill says:
    January 18th, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Sweet coleslaw , the sharp fiavor of the bbq with sweet coleslaw is awsome

  • Start the Party with a Bang: Independence Day Menu > Start Cooking says:
    February 20th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    […] Weight-Watcher-friendly kebabsFor the vegetarians in the crowd, try the best ever vegetarian burgersPulled pork especially if you’re in the south! Side DishesPasta salad or a Make Ahead Layered SaladPotato […]

  • Sharon says:
    February 25th, 2013 at 10:33 am

    How long does the vinegar BBQ sauce last? I didn’t use it all the first time around, but kept it is a sealed jar in the fridge. Just wondering if it keeps, or if i should trash it and start fresh. It smells good and tastes fine, so I am assuming it should be fine, but wanted to check in to see if there are any recommendations regarding “shelf life”.

  • jenyu says:
    February 25th, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Sharon – I think it lasts a pretty long time as it’s mostly vinegar. I have some that is at least 6 months old and it’s still good (in the fridge).

  • Travis says:
    March 17th, 2013 at 9:31 am

    My wife and I tried out your recipe yesterday on a 10 lbs pork butt (didn’t double the spices) and WOW it is SO good. I enjoy Carolina pulled pork, and this was our first attempt at making it. It’s much better than even the best we get at the local restaurants.

    One note: If you don’t like vinegar, don’t be scared to make or use the carolina vinegar BBQ sauce in the recipe. I was hesitant at first because I really don’t like vinegar, but once on the pork the vinegar smell and taste was COMEPLETELY gone! It must chemically react with the pork; the difference between the pork without the BBQ and with was amazing. If skeptical, take a small bowl of the pork and douse it in some of the BBQ. Trust me ;)

    Question: We spent about $20 on the spices for this at the grocery. I had to buy the tiny bottles of premium grade spices ($5 per 2 oz bottle which is about 1/4 cup) because none of the stores had anything cheaper. Where might I find spices for less?

  • jenyu says:
    March 25th, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Travis – the grocery store is probably one of the more expensive options for purchasing spices. You can buy them in bulk from Whole Foods or regular grocery bulk sections, or go to a spice shop that sells in bulk (we have Savory Spice Shop in Colorado and I know there are locations in other states too). If you can’t find a place to purchase in bulk, you can order from Savory Spice Shop online. Hope that helps (and saves some money for you too!).

  • Cameron says:
    July 1st, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I made it for the first time for my son’s 1st birthday party (for the adults) over two years ago, and it was a huge hit. I get requests for the recipe all the time. All credit to you for this one. It is fantastic. SOOO much better than the typical pulled pork recipe, that ends up only tasting like the sauce you douse it in. This has so much great porky flavor and the vinegar sauce just elevates it–it doesn’t hide the pork. Keep it up!

  • Papa Tom says:
    July 8th, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Well we are going Whole Hog this weekend and I have been looking around to find the most authentic recipe I can. I grew up in Raleigh and Dad used to have a pig pickin every year or so for the family. Dad passed away and no body ever knew exactly what he put in his sauce, but we all agree that through many trials, we have figured it out. It is much like the one that you suggest, but dad always added butter melted in with the sugar….

    Anyway, I am looking forward to doing this again, for the first time on my own, and going to do the rub as well. That is something Dad never did, only rubbed in Salt on the skin, nothing on the meat itself (though he did always paint the hogs hooves with some of Mama’s finger nail polish). Wish us luck and may Papa Tom look down on us and smile – and hopefully approve of the color polish we choose.

  • Brian Delamer says:
    August 8th, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you!!! The first time I made this… I got so many requests for more, it’s become a once a month special (I cook for my staff at work every Friday, so this is now a treat!)

  • Brian Delamer says:
    August 8th, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    PS, I cooked this on a Texas BBQ pit (a small one by Texas standards) 4 ft long 20″ Schedule 40 pipe pit with 2 foot long 16″ pipe fire box. Cooked over hickory and oak at about 215 deg for 8 hours, wrapping in Aluminum foil for the last 2 hours.

  • Robert B says:
    September 12th, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Put 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke in the crock pot when cooking and it taste like pit cooked slow roasted ENC BBQ

  • Mia says:
    May 22nd, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Ok, so I live in New Jersey, and I have family in S.C. I always beg them to overnight me some BBQ because there isn’t a place around here that I can get it from. I just came across this recipe and by the SAUCE alone I know this is gonna taste just like down south! Perfect receipe, very satisfied! Thank you!!

  • SousVide Pulled Pork | Home Cooked Heston says:
    August 13th, 2014 at 6:32 am

    […] […]

  • Rick Schoenmann says:
    September 28th, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    True SC Low Country BBQ is served with a mustard based sauce; no exceptions!. That said, BBQ is about smoking and slow roasting. If you have a smoker or a “pit” (never really saw one but I assume they existed back in the day) then all the better, but one can use any BBQ grill setup, egg, oil drum grill or any indirect heat setup or, as I do a (heaven help me, but I’m just a Yankee) gas grill. The bottom line is the process.
    I use a shoulder “picnic” since that’s only what’s available at my local supermarket. I use a rub I built from years of searching various recipes and it works great (see below). I also server SC mustard sauce I get on line. I get it online from Maurice’s Piggy park in SC. but since I went to USC in the early 70’s and Piggy Park was kind of “black balled” by us young progressives in college for their stand on integration earlier in the century, I would rather get it from another source but there doesn’t seem to be any (where is Ray Lever’s when we need him?). It’s definitely “Carolina Gold” style if you looking for a recipe. But remember, if the “BBQ” is made well there is hardly a reason for smothering it in sauce any way.
    Before putting it on the grill: inject with 2 cups chicken broth or water mixed with 1 TBS sugar, 1 TBS salt, a quarter tsp. cayenne pepper and some BBQ sauce or spice rub; I like to add 2 or 3 TBS of vinegar to “hint” of the old fashioned “finishing” sauces. I like to put it on the grill with a disposable pan to catch the drippings.
    Smoke it low and slow for about 1 hr. per pound or until internal temp. reaches 95 or so degrees.
    Let it then sit for a while to rest then pull, smother with any drippings you have and serve.
    As I said, if it’s as good as mine you’ll not need much sauce; but white bread or hamburger buns with lots of the best coleslaw you can make or buy are traditional.
    Here’s the rub recipe:

    Rick’s Secret BBQ Spice Rub
    Classification level: For Your Eyes Only (a double “0” agent will be dispatched to
    terminate you if you share this with anyone other than family or good friends)

    2 Tbs. Salt
    2 Tbs. Sugar
    3 Tbs. Brown Sugar
    1 Tbs. Chile Powder
    1 Tbs. Black Pepper
    1/2 – 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (to taste-more if you like it HOT)
    1 Teaspoon Paprika
    1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

    Mix thoroughly breaking up the brown sugar lumps.
    Rub freely on pork roast, chicken, ribs etc.
    Store in an airtight dry container.

  • Rick Schoenmann says:
    September 29th, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Obviously, I meant 195 degrees, sorry ’bout that ya’ll. Also, if the drippings solidify then try pouring off the grease on top and “de-glaze” on the stove top with some water or chicken stock. All that hard black stuff is the fond and has SOOO much flavor. Also, if you’ve read the rest of the posts that discuss smoking on the grill rather than roasting in the oven, then remember LOW AND SLOW. Try to keep the temp. at about 275 or so, if you can.

  • Shanna says:
    December 23rd, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I grew up in Upstate SC and we definitely got the Eastern Carolina vinegar based bbq more than the mustard base, thought I like both! Trying this recipe out for our non-traditional Christmas lunch/dinner so will let you know how it goes. I did add more onion and garlic powder and less paprika (cause I ran out) and then just a touch of ground mustard powder. I am excited to see how it turns out! Thanks for the great recipe! We’ll be eating it on Hawaiian sweet buns. :-) Rick, do you remember a place called Carolina BBQ?? That is where I remember getting THE BEST BBQ. I do remember boycotting Maurices for the same reasons, though! Funny.

  • Shanna says:
    December 26th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Update: This recipe was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! Though not the same as the BBQ I remember and miss from Upstate SC. The quest continues! ;-)

  • Rut says:
    November 24th, 2015 at 9:58 am

    SC Low Country BBQ is not all mustard based. In Williamsburg county and surrounding areas, BBQ is vinegar based. I always thought that it was the Columbia area (mid-state) where mustard based BBQ dominated. The BBQ from Williamsburg county is the best I have ever had.

  • Danielle says:
    November 19th, 2018 at 11:25 am

    This recipe is amazing. I made it today except I added a twist to it. I made it in my smoker (gas) with a mix of hickory and pecan wood . 12 hours on about 225. I added a wet baste every 4 hours that consists of apple cider vinegar, water and a little bit of peach bourbon.. All I can say Is the aroma surrounding my home right now is absolutely phenomenal and I cannot wait to eat dinner tonight. I paired it with a homemade Mac & cheese and brown sugar bacon baked beans. Yummy. My family loves BBQ

  • Elaine Laskowski says:
    March 22nd, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    This is great with sweet pickle relish on it…yummmmm

  • carolina-style pulled pork recipe – use real butter (2024)
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