Championship Pulled Pork

Championship Pulled Pork
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 6Servings


Spice Rub and Pork

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp. raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 6 - 7 pound bone-in pork shoulder, at room temperature
  • 4 cups applewood or other wood chips, soaked in water 1 hour and drained

Memphis-Style Vinegar Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Hamburger buns, for serving


In a spice grinder, grind 1/4 cup raw sugar into a powder. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add the granulated sugar, salt, chili powder, paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder, dry mustard, black pepper, cayenne and cumin; shake to blend. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. rub and drizzle 2 1/2 tbsp. yellow mustard on the meat (not the fat) of the pork; pat onto the surface. Following the instructions at right, prepare the grill for smoking using 2 cups wood chips.

Place the pork on the top rack over the drip pan. Cover, maintaining heat at about 250 degrees , for 3 hours. For a charcoal grill, when the heat drops below 210 degrees (after about 1 1/2 hours), prepare more briquettes. Transfer the rack with the pork to a work surface. Arrange the briquettes around the drip pan; scatter with remaining 2 cups wood chips. Return the rack and pork to the grill. For a gas grill, after 1 1/2 hours, transfer the rack with the pork to a work surface. Add remaining 2 cups wood chips to loaf pans. Return the rack and pork to the grill.

Arrange two 2-foot-long pieces of heavy-duty foil on a baking sheet, crisscrossing the pieces. Place the pork in the center of the foil. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. rub and drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp. mustard; pat onto the pork. Sprinkle with the remaining 3 tbsp. raw sugar. Wrap the pork in the foil; return to the grill. Cook, covered, maintaining the heat at around 250 degrees , until an instant-read thermometer inserted through the foil into the center of the pork registers 195 degrees , 2 to 3 hours. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet. Poke holes in the bottom of the foil. Cover with a few towels; let rest 1 to 2 hours.

For the sauce, in a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium. Add the onion; cook until translucent, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup, honey, brown sugar, white vinegar, Worcestershire, tomato paste and dry mustard. Bring to a simmer, stirring often; stir in 2 tbsp. rub, cider vinegar and crushed red pepper.

Unwrap the pork; shred the meat, discarding fat and bones. In a large bowl, toss the meat with 1 tbsp. rub and 1/2 cup vinegar sauce. Pile on buns and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.