A while ago, we asked our Traeger Facebook Nation about your favorite methods for pulling pork. We got some awesome responses! We had purists who only pull by hand, and some folks who like to rely on handy gadgets to help get the job done. One of the most recommended items was a set of Bear Paws. After reading your comments, we figured they must be worth a try and Bear Paws was nice enough to send us a set to try out. To put this new tool to the test, we fired up the Traeger and followed this recipe for the perfect Pulled Pork.
Juicy and tender, this pulled pork has the perfect texture and salty-sweet bark. This pork will have you wondering what you ever liked about pulled pork from a restaurant. Cook time is around 10-12 hours depending on the size of your roast, so plan your day accordingly (don't worry, it is definitely worth it!)
Traeger's Perfect Pulled Pork
1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (Boston butt), 5 to 7 pounds
Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub, or your favorite barbecue rub
2 cups apple juice in a food-safe spray bottle
Traeger Regular Barbecue Sauce
10 hamburger buns
Coleslaw for serving
Generously season all sides of the pork roast with the rub.
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. Put the roast on the grill grate, fat-side up, and smoke for 3 hours, spraying with apple juice 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 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 20 minutes. Pour the juices from the bottom of the pan into a gravy separator.
With your hands (this is where the Bear Paws really showed their worth), 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.
Traditionally, hot pork is pulled by hand because it is easier to separate the fat and gristle from the pork. It is also the best way to get those long, beautiful strands of pork without turning your super tender meat into mush. The problem with hand pulling is that it is hot. Really, really hot. Here is where the Bear Paws really show how useful they can be. Made out of tough, durable nylon and heat resistant up to 400 Degrees, the Bear Paws are like an extension of your hands. I used mine to lift, move, and carry my pork before I ever got to the shredding. The slight curve on the "claws" is perfect for getting under a heavy piece of meat and the grips are thick and easy to hold so you don't worry about them slipping. All of these features are useful, for sure, but the real moment of glory was when I first tore into my finished pork shoulder. The meat was like butter in my paws, and the sharp claws made crazy fast work of shredding. I was in control the whole time, so I was able to pull those long strands, just like I would have done with my hands. I also had a front row seat for the action, so I was able to catch all of the gristle and fat while I pulled.
The final verdict? Awesome. Seriously awesome. The Bear Paws offered the benefits of hand pulling (plus the added benefit of being a great meat carrier) without any discomfort from the heat.
If you are interested in owning some Bear Paws of your own, the easiest way to get them is from Amazon. They will cost you around $15-$17.