Stupid-Easy Recipe for North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches (#1 Top-Rated)


Recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Karmel and adapted from Taming the Flame: Secrets to Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ, John Wiley & Sons, April 2005

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy-to-make recipe for North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

1. Info for North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • Cook Time: 5 hr 20 min
  • Total Time: 5 hr 20 min
  • Servings: 18

2. Ingredients for North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • 7-9 pound blade pork roast, OR untrimmed end-cut pork shoulder roast
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Lexington-Style Vinegar Barbecue Sauce
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, (the more flakes, the hotter the sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 large head green cabbage, chopped
  • hamburger buns

3. Directions:

  1. Prepare either a charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking.
  2. Remove pork from wrapper. Do not trim any excess fat off the meat; this fat will naturally baste the meat and keep it moist during the long cooking time. Brush pork with a thin coating of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside on a clean tray until ready to cook.
  3. Before placing the meat on the grill, add soaked wood chips. Place chips directly on white-gray ash briquettes or in the smoking box of your gas grill. If using a charcoal grill, you will need to add charcoal every hour to maintain the heat.
  4. Place pork in the center of the cooking grate fat-side up. Cook slowly for 4 to 5 hours at 325 to 350 degrees F., or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork registers 190 to 200 degrees F. The meat should be very tender and falling apart. If there is a bone in the meat, it should come out smooth and clean with no meat clinging to it. (This is the real test for doneness on the barbecue circuit.) Remember, there is no need to turn the meat during the entire cooking time.
  5. Let meat rest for 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Using a sturdy fork and a knife, pull meat from the skin, bones and fat. Set aside any crispy bits (fat) that have been completely rendered and look almost burned. Working quickly, shred the chunks of meat with two forks by crossing the forks and “pulling” the meat into small pieces from the roast. Alternately, you can chop the meat with a cleaver if you prefer. Chop the reserved crispy bits and mix into the pulled pork. While the meat is still warm, mix with enough Lexington-Style Vinegar Barbecue Sauce (instructions to make BBQ sauce follows) to moisten and season the meat, about 3/4 cup.
  6. The recipe can be made in advance up to this point and reheated with about 1/4 cup additional sauce in a double boiler. Serve sandwich style on a white hamburger bun and top with North Carolina Coleslaw (instructions to make slaw follows). Serve additional sauce on the side, if desired.
  7. For Lexington-Style Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:
    Mix all ingredients together (cider vinegar, 1 tbs kosher salt, white pepper, red pepper flakes, sugar, brown sugar, 1/2 tsp black pepper, ketchup) and let sit at least 10 minutes or almost indefinitely in the refrigerator. (Note, the longer the sauce sits, the hotter it gets since the heat from the red pepper flakes is brought out by the vinegar. Start with 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes and then add more to taste.) Makes 2 3/4 cups. 3/4 of the cups will be mixed with the pork. Remaining sauce can be used in slaw and for reheating pork.
  8. For North Carolina Coleslaw:
    Mix prepared BBQ sauce and cabbage together until well mixed and not quite wet. Refrigerate. Let rest 2 hours or overnight.
  9. Makes 18 servings.

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