Hey there, my fellow barbecue enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving headfirst into the mouthwatering world of Traeger pulled pork shoulder. So, get ready to fire up your Traeger pellet grill and let’s embark on this smoky adventure together!
How to make the best Traeger pulled pork shoulder
Alright, y’all, hold onto your hats ’cause we’re about to make some magic happen! First things first, you’ll need a nice hunk of pork shoulder. I’m talking about a sizeable piece here – this ain’t the time to go small! Go big or go home, am I right?
Once you’ve got your pork, it’s time to rub it down with some serious love. I’m talkin’ a flavorful dry rub with a mix of spices that’ll make your taste buds do a happy dance. Don’t be shy with the rub; you want every inch of that porky goodness to be covered in flavor!
Now, let’s get that Traeger smokin’ hot and ready for action. Toss in your favorite wood – hickory, apple, cherry, pecan, you name it! But remember, we’re going for that classic smoky flavor, so choose wisely.
Next up, plop that seasoned pork shoulder right on the grill. Close the lid, and let the magic happen. Oh, the aroma that’ll fill the air is enough to make your neighbors come knockin’ on your door!
Low and slow, my friends, that’s the name of the game. This bad boy needs time to get tender and juicy, so be patient. It’s worth the wait, trust me.
Once your pork is cooked to perfection (and it will be!), it’s time to shred it like there’s no tomorrow. Grab a couple of forks and go to town, pulling that meat apart until it’s so tender it practically melts in your mouth.
How much pork do you need
Now, you might be wonderin’, “How much pork should I get for my hungry crew?” Well, that depends on how many folks you’re feedin’ and how big their appetites are. I’d say a good rule of thumb is to plan on about half a pound of raw pork per person. But hey, if you wanna impress ’em, go for a full pound each! Who doesn’t love leftovers, right?
Should you brine before smoking
Ah, the age-old question of whether to brine or not to brine. Look, it’s totally up to you and your personal taste preferences. Some folks swear by brining to keep the meat moist, while others prefer the natural flavors of the pork to shine through. Me? I’m team brine all the way! It adds that extra oomph to the flavor, and my guests always appreciate the juiciness.
Best wood to use
Now, let’s talk wood. The type of wood you use can make or break your pulled pork experience. As I said earlier, you can’t go wrong with hickory, apple, cherry, or pecan. Hickory adds a robust, smoky flavor, while fruitwoods like apple and cherry lend a touch of sweetness that pairs perfectly with pork. Pecan gives a milder, nutty flavor that’s a crowd-pleaser.
What to serve
Oh boy, the possibilities are endless! Serve it up on a soft, fluffy bun with some coleslaw for that classic pulled pork sandwich. Or go wild and use it as a filling for tacos or nachos! Throw some pickles on the side, whip up some homemade BBQ sauce, and you’ve got yourself a feast fit for kings and queens.
What to do with leftovers
If you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, fear not! We can work some culinary magic here too. How about a pulled pork omelet for breakfast? Or toss it into a hearty stew or chili for a smoky kick. Trust me, folks, leftovers are just an excuse to get creative in the kitchen!
How to reheat
Listen up, ’cause we gotta treat these leftovers right. To reheat that pulled pork, you gotta do it low and slow, just like when you smoked it. You can use your oven, a slow cooker, or even a skillet on the stovetop. Add a splash of apple juice or broth to keep it moist, and you’re golden!
Overall, making Traeger pulled pork shoulder is a labor of love that rewards you with the most tender, flavorful pork you’ll ever sink your teeth into. It’s a show-stopper at any gathering, and it’s gonna leave your guests singing your praises!
Finally, thank you for joining me on this smokin’ adventure, y’all. Remember, no two cooks are alike, so don’t be afraid to put your own spin on this recipe! Get out there, fire up that grill, and let the good times roll with some finger-lickin’ Traeger pulled pork shoulder. Happy grillin’, folks!
Random Fact: Did you know that the term “barbecue” comes from the Spanish word “barbacoa,” which originally referred to a method of slow-cooking meat over an open fire?
Traeger Pulled Pork Shoulder
Get ready to indulge in the perfect combination of smoky and savory flavors with our unbeatable Traeger pulled pork shoulder recipe.
- 1 whole pork shoulder about 8-10 pounds
- Wood chips/chunks hickory, apple, cherry, or pecan
- Soft hamburger buns or slider rolls
- Coleslaw pickles, and BBQ sauce (optional, for serving)
For the Dry Rub:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust to your spice preference
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
For the Brine (optional but highly recommended):
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups ice cubes
Brining (Optional but Highly Recommended)
- In a large pot, combine the water, kosher salt, brown sugar, whole black peppercorns, and bay leaves. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve completely.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the ice cubes to cool the brine rapidly.
- Once the brine is completely cooled, place the pork shoulder in a large food-safe container or a resealable plastic bag.
- Pour the brine over the pork shoulder, making sure it's entirely submerged. If needed, add more water.
- Seal the container or bag and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. This brining process will infuse the pork with incredible flavor and moisture, so don't skip it if you can!
Preparing and Smoking the Pork Shoulder
- Take the pork shoulder out of the brine, if you've brined it. Pat it dry with paper towels and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you prepare the dry rub.
- In a small bowl, mix together all the dry rub ingredients until well combined.
- Generously rub the spice mixture all over the pork shoulder, making sure to cover every nook and cranny.
- Now, it's time to fire up that Traeger pellet grill! Preheat it to 225°F (107°C), and while it's heating, soak your wood chips/chunks in water for about 30 minutes to prevent them from burning too quickly.
- Once the grill is hot and the wood is soaked, add the wood to the firebox or smoker box of your grill.
- Place the seasoned pork shoulder on the grill grates, close the lid, and let the magic happen! Keep an eye on the temperature, and try to maintain it around 225°F (107°C) throughout the cooking process.
Slow and Steady Smoking
- Sit back, relax, and let that pork shoulder smoke away for the next 8-10 hours. It's a long process, but oh boy, it's so worth it!
- If your grill has a water pan, keep it filled with water to help maintain moisture in the cooking chamber.
- Every now and then, spritz the pork shoulder with some apple juice or apple cider vinegar to keep it moist and add a bit of sweetness to the bark.
Checking for Doneness
- When the internal temperature of the pork shoulder reaches about 195°F (90°C), it's time to check for doneness. Use a meat thermometer to get an accurate reading.
- The meat should be tender and easy to pull apart with two forks. If it's not quite there yet, let it cook a bit longer until it reaches the desired tenderness.
Rest and Shred
- Once the pork is done, carefully remove it from the grill and place it on a cutting board. Tent it loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 30 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute and ensures a juicy, succulent result.
- Now comes the fun part - shredding the pork! Use those forks to pull the meat apart, and watch it fall apart like a dream.
Serve and Enjoy!
- Now that your Traeger pulled pork shoulder is ready, it's time to serve it up! Grab those soft hamburger buns or slider rolls and pile on that juicy pulled pork.
- If you're feeling fancy, top it with some creamy coleslaw and a couple of pickles for a perfect bite. Don't forget to drizzle some BBQ sauce over it all!
- Dig in and savor the deliciousness you've created from scratch. You'll be the pitmaster hero of your next gathering!