Making pulled pork on the Traeger is practically a guaranteed success. Nothing comes close to the flavor of juicy, smoky pork fresh off the smoker. You know real magic has happened when you open the lid for a peek and see that bone falling out and the meat starting to shred itself.
Mmmmmm, anybody else hungry yet?
This recipe is a fantastic try if you love your pork with a hint of sweetness and more tender juiciness than you can contain in one lowly bun. The overnight brine (that is later injected directly into the meat) makes for the most flavorful pork we've had in recent memory. The sweet and savory apple juice brine combined with apple wood smoke is a match made in meat heaven.
Apple Juice Brined Pulled Pork
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus overnight in the refrigerator
Cook Time: 9-11 hours
Recommended Pellets: Apple
1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (Boston butt), 5 to 7 pounds
Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub, or your favorite barbecue rub
Traeger Regular Barbecue Sauce
10 hamburger buns
Coleslaw for serving
For the Brine:
8 cups apple juice
4 cups water
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
In a large bowl, combine all of the brine ingredients and stir until the salt and sugar crystals have completely dissolved. Pour over the pork butt in a food safe bucket or food storage container. Be sure the pork is almost fully immersed in the brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 225 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
While the grill preheats, remove the pork butt from the brine and reserve the liquid. Using a meat injector, inject the pork with some of the remaining brine about every two inches across the entire roast. Pour the rest of the brine into a bowl and set aside. This will be used as your mop sauce during the cooking process.
Generously season the roast on all sides with the Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub.
Put the roast on the grill grate, fat-side up, and smoke for 3 hours, mopping with the apple juice brine every hour after the first hour.
Transfer to a disposable aluminum foil pan large enough to hold the roast. Increase the temperature to 250 degrees F, and roast for 6 to 8 additional hours, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part, but not touching bone, registers 190-195 degrees F. If the pork starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
Carefully transfer the pork roast to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. Pour the juices from the bottom of the pan into a gravy separator. With your hands (preferably protected from the heat with lined, heavy-duty rubber gloves), pull the pork into chunks. Discard the bone and any lumps of fat, including the cap. Pull each chunk into shreds, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Season with additional rub and moisten with the reserved pork juice. (Discard any fat that has floated to the top.)
Add barbecue sauce, if desired, and mix well. Or serve the barbecue sauce on the side. Pile the pork mixture on the hamburger buns, serve with coleslaw, and enjoy.
Apple Juice Brined Pulled Pork.docx (14.83 kb)