What you'll need...
- Pork shoulder (7-12 lbs) or pork shoulder roast (3-5 lbs)
- Rub (this is enough for a large shoulder, extra can be stored in an airtight container)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon mustard powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- BBQ Sauce
- Hamburger buns
Begin by warming up your smoker to 225 degrees. I used apple wood for this cooked on my Traeger pellet grill.
Rinse your pork shoulder under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Time excess fat from the shoulder. Mix all the rub ingredients together. Using a shaker sprinkle the rub all over the pork shoulder, you'll want a healthy covering of the pork to create a good bark.
After your smoker has reached 225 degrees and stabilized place the shoulder on the grate, close the lid and leave it alone for a few hours. If you have a remote thermometer probe it in the middle of the shoulder and monitor your temperature.
When the internal temp of the shoulder reaches 160 degrees place it in a foil pan and cover with heavy duty foil. This will help get your shoulder through the "stall" at 160 and also collect some drippings for later.
When your internal temp hits 195 degrees begin checking for tenderness. If you can place a fork in the shoulder and twist easily, like it was in butter, you're done. Each piece of meat is different and on this particular cook I removed the shoulder from the cooker at 201 degrees, but have had some go as high as 203, the end of the range for doneness. Anything past 203 is over done and will turn to mush.
Let the shoulder rest, in the pan and covered in foil for about an hour. This allows time for the juices to redistribute within the shoulder. After that hour place the shoulder on a cookie sheet and pull apart. You can use your hands to pull the pork apart, the traditional method. A pair of forks, or use "Bear Paws" like I do. These are available online for about $15 and make quick work of pulling meat.
Once the meat is pulled, return it to the foil pan with the juices and toss to coat the meat. I don't add BBQ sauce to the pulled pork now, I save it for the sandwich once assembled. This pork doesn't need sauce, but at least you can give your guests some variety in BBQ sauce flavor when they assemble their sandwiches. Pile the pork on the buns, add some coleslaw, BBQ sauce, if you'd like, and enjoy!