Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork

I used to be a travelling salesman and as a bonus I got to seek good food. One of my favorite places to eat BBQ was in Lexington, N.C. They use a vinegar and ketchup based sauce unlike the mustard based where I live now. They also give you a hush puppy.

Traditionally in the Southeastern U.S. most home cooks start with a Boston butt (pork shoulder) also known as a pork hand in the U.K. cooked low and slow using hickory wood. This is usually a very labor intensive process and I am not staying up all night to cook it. So here is my shortcut method.

First Season the pork a day in advance:

This is critical to your success, basically you are dry brining the pork. This recipe is for a 4 to 5 lb butt.

  • Hickory wood chips or chunks, soaked in water (overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (or regular)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Rub you pork with the above seasonings (not the wood) and place in a zip lock bag. Have a nice day.


There is a strong movement in the States towards raising our animals in a humane way. I support this and am seeing a change, it’s more of a farm to table mentality. Now back to the dish.

Start your grill:

Use indirect heat, any grill will work as long as you can burn the hickory on one side. Place your pork in a metal container and add this to it.

  • 1 cup vinegar (cider if you have it)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon oil


Cook at whatever temp your grill will burn the hickory wood, all you are trying to do is get the smoke flavor. Don’t even think about using liquid smoke, period, ever. My charcoal and hickory died out after 4 hours, it’s 12 pm time to go night, night. So into the crock pot it goes.

Wake up at 5 and turn it off.


Then go back to sleep for a couple of hours, your home should smell like hickory by now. When you wake up fix some coffee and wash your hands time to pull the pork. I use my hands/fingers to separate the meat from the fat, if it’s to hot use 2 forks. Nobody is reading this so just use what God gave you and rip it into pieces.

DSCN1991 The pink color is your badge of honor “The smoke ring”.

The Sauce:

In order to properly guild the lilies you will need sauce.This is what I like, remember any sauce you add should be strong by itself.

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oil

Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves, I add half the sauce to the pork and serve the rest on the side.


In the famous words of Jimmy “J.J.” Walker it’s dyno-mite.






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