North Caroline-Style Pulled Pork with Lexington-Style Vinegar Sauce
pork butt, Boston butt, or untrimmed end-cut pork shoulder roast, 7-9 pounds
freshly ground pepper
hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Lexington-Style Vinegar Sauce (recipe below)
North Carolina Coleslaw (recipe below)
plain white hamburger buns, optional
- Build a charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking.
- 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.
- Before placing the meat on the grill, add the soaked wood chips. Place the chips directly on gray-ashed 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.
- Place the pork in the center of the cooking grate, fat-side up, over indirect low heat. Cover and cook slowly for 4 to 5 hours at 325 degrees F to 350 degrees F, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork registers 190 degrees F 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.
- Let the meat rest for 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Using rubber kitchen gloves (because it is so messy), pull the 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 2 forks by crossing the forks and pulling the meat into small pieces from the butt. Alternately, you can chop the meat with a cleaver. Chop the reserved crispy bits and mix into the pulled pork. While the meat is still warm, mix with enough Lexington-Style Vinegar Sauce to moisten and season the meat (about 3/4 cup). 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 hot, with the coleslaw on the side or serve sandwich-style (preferred) on a hamburger bun and top with coleslaw. Serve more sauce on the side, if desired.
Lexington-Style Vinegar Sauce
cups apple cider vinegar
cup packed brown sugar
tablespoon kosher salt
tablespoon ground white pepper
tablespoon red chile flakes (the more, the hotter)
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Mix all ingredients together in a large nonreactive bowl and let sit at least 10 minutes or almost indefinitely, covered in the refrigerator.
North Carolina Coleslaw
recipe Lexington-Style Vinegar Sauce
medium head green cabbage, chopped
- Toss the sauce and cabbage together until well mixed and not quite wet. You may have sauce leftover. Refrigerate. Let sit for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.