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North Carolina Barbequed Pork on the Grill

By David Bowers
Published: April 16, 2010
Photo by John & Tanya Bäck
Once a year, we head down south to North Carolina for my wife's family's annual summer gathering. And we feast. One morning last year, I decided that I wasn't showing off enough with the grill, and I proposed to slow-cook some real pork barbeque. The idea is to slow-roast the pork for a very long time while your foil package of presoaked wood chips smolders away. I like to use mesquite or hickory wood chips. Serves a crowd.

  • 1  8 to 10-pound bone-in pork shoulder
  • Salt and pepper
  • N.C. Red Barbeque Sauce (see below)

➊ Pre-soak about 3 cups of wood chips for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight. Fold 1 cup of the wood chips into a flat package with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Make 3 of these packages. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Preheat one side of the grill on medium with the lid closed until the internal temp of the grill is 300 degrees F or less.

➋ Place a large disposable foil roasting pan directly beneath the grill rack far from the burner that is turned on. Put the meat on the grill rack directly above the pan. Slash the top of one of the wood chip foil packs a couple of times with a knife and place it alongside the lit burner, where it will start to smoke gently.

➌ Close the lid and let it cook. After the first 1 ½ or 2 hours, replace the foil pack with a new one (don’t forget to slash). After 4 or 5 hours, slash the top of the pork and mop on some of the sauce, putting the third wood chip pack alongside the burner at the same time.

➍ Keep the temperature under 300 degrees throughout the cooking time; it can go as low as 250 degrees. After 6 or 7 hours, depending on the size of your pork shoulder, you should be able to pull the meat apart with a fork. When something has cooked this long, the internal temperature is moot. If it’s not falling apart tender, close the lid and cook it another hour or two. Serve with additional sauce on the side. (You can boil the additional sauce again if you like but unless you’ve been dunking your mopping tool into it, it hasn’t gone near raw pork at all so it shouldn’t be an issue.)

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