Pulled pork in a 57 cm (22.5 inch) Weber kettle
From Wikipedia: "Pulled pork is a form of barbecue. It is a method of preparation in which pork,
usually shoulder cut (sometimes referred to as Boston butt) or mixed cuts, is cooked using a low-heat,
long-cook method. With these extended times at low temperatures, the meat becomes tender enough
that its weakened connective tissue allows the meat to be 'pulled', or easily broken into individual pieces."
There is a lot of instructions on the Internet describing how to make Pulled pork in a Weber kettle.
The challenge lies in keeping a steady low temperature by adjusting the vents,
sprinkling water on the briquettes should it get too hot and adding briquettes on a regular basis
to keep the fire going. Inspired by
http://www.weberguru.dk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2332 (in Danish),
I started to experiment on how to place the briquettes in order to archive a setup which will burn the whole day
and doesn't need nursing. I found that this can be achieved by placing the briquettes in a "fuse"-like formation
where you stack the briquettes in layers. The difficult part is to find the balance between maintaining
a low temperature that is still hot enough to keep the fuse going.
The type of briquettes used, wind speed, wind direction and surrounding temperatures etc. may influence the setup.
See the pictures below, for the best solution I found so far.
I'm using a 57 cm (22.5 inch) Weber One-Touch Gold and Heat beads for briquettes.
For smoking chips I usually use Weber FireSpice Hickory Wood Chips.
I have tried with several setups e.g. only 2 layers, but it burned out. 3 layers give a little too much heat
but will keep the fire going, which is of course what's most important.
The surface of the roast will be a little hard, but just cut it into smaller pieces and mix it with the
rest of the meat. Next time I'll try to close the top vent a little and see if this can lower the
temperature without the fire going out.
The temperature inside the kettle should be around 100-110°C (212-230°F). The temperature inside the roast will slowly rise
but can stagnate around 75°C (167°F) and stay there for several hours before suddenly rising again.
The roast is done when the core temperature reaches 95°C (203°F). This will normally take between 9-16 hours.
When the roast is done, you can use the meat in a variety of ways, but I'll recommend using it for sandwiches
to begin with. See the last pictures. As one of my daughters said the first time I made Pulled pork:
"Dad, this is the best you have ever done on the Weber..." :-)
Top the meat with BBQ sauce and serve it in a toasted bun together with lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red onion
and mayo and with e.g. coleslaw and roasted potatoes on the side.
Preparations on the day before:
- Mix below ingredients (can be replaced by own choice) and rub it into the roast:
4 tablespoons of paprika
2 tablespoons of cumin
2 tablespoons of salt
2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- Wrap the roast in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator.
- Place the Heat beads (make sure they are dry) on the grate in three layers as shown in the pictures. Place a Heat bead on top of another one in both ends to prevent the others from slipping.
- Add wood chips to the middle third quarter of the circle. To reduce the risk of the Heat beads to burn out, do not soak the wood chips in water and do not use wood chips in bigger pieces.
- Place a large drip pan between the Head beads and fill it up with water using a watering can or a garden hose.
- Put 15 Heat beads in a chimney starter. You will only be using 10 but 15 seems easier to set on fire and it's good to have a spare in case you drop one in the water.
- Store the chimney starter and the grill in a dry place during the night.
In the morning:
- Light up a couple of firestarters and place the chimney starter on top.
- Add more firestarters if needed (e.g. if it's windy) when the fire is about to burn out.
- After all the Heat beads are lit and covered with a gray layer of ashes, light the Heat bead fuse in one of the ends with 10 Heat beads. (See picture.)
- Make sure the vents in both the bottom and in the lid are fully open.
- Insert the probe of a digital thermometer into the roast so the tip of the probe is in the middle of the meat.
- Stick the probe of another thermometer into one of the holes in the lid to measure the temperature inside the kettle. (Skip this if you have a thermometer mounted in the lid.) If you only have 1 thermometer use it to monitor the temperature inside the kettle. Later you can move it to the roast.
- Put the lid on and make sure that it is placed with the vent in the opposite direction of where you lit the Head Beads.
- The temperature inside the kettle should rise to about 110°C (230°F).
- When the core temperature of the roast is about 95°C (203°F) the roast is done.
- If needed you can let the roast rest for a couple of hours wrapped in tinfoil.