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close up of a meat sandwich on a bun

Smoked Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches

A Southern favorite, Smoked Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches are 'real deal' Carolina style barbecue.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue, barbecue sauce, bbq, bbq sauce, Boston butt, carolina barbecue, carolina bbq, carolina style barbecue, carolina style bbq, cookout, grilling, homemade bbq sauce, kansas city bbq, make pulled pork, picnic shoulder, pork, pork butt, pork shoulder, pulled pork, pulled pork sandwich, pulled pork sliders, smoke, smoked pork, smoking
Servings: 8 servings based on a 4 pound butt, 2 dinner roll sized sandwiches per serving
Calories: 289kcal

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Equipment

  • charcoal or pellet smoker
  • meat thermometer
  • heavy duty aluminum foil
  • disposable aluminum pan(s)

Ingredients

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    Ingredients for Smoked Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches

      for the pork sandwiches

      • (1) 8 pound bone in pork butt
      • 1/2 to 1 cup Kosher salt
      • 16 yeast rolls or hamburger rolls or as needed
      • 1 stick unsalted butter melted; this will not be used until JUST before serving

      for the Moppin' Sauce

        note: this solution will be divided, 1 cup being set aside for the sauce condiment at the end for serving

        • 1 quart apple cider vinegar
        • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
        • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
        • 1 tablespoon pepper

        for the Moppin' Sauce served with the sandwiches

        • 1 cup the above solution
        • 2 tablespoons ketchup
        • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
        • additional red pepper flakes if you desire more heat

        Instructions

        The Method

          to smoke the pork butt for a Carolina style bbq of smoked pulled pork

          • Set your smoker up for an 8 to 10 hour smoke (this is based on a 4 pound butt; plan on 1 to 2 hours PER POUND of the size butt you are smoking if different than the 4lbs I am smoking)
          • Remove the pork butt from the packaging and rinse under cool water. Pat the outside dry with paper towels and place in a large disposable aluminum pan.
          • Coat the butt on all sides with a sizeable layer of Kosher salt. You will need anywhere between 1/2 cup to 1 cup. Most of this salt will render out along with the fat, however you need this amount of salt for a tender and seasoned finished smoke. Allow the meat sit until the smoker temperature is stabilized. The meat can even be prepped the night before you plan to smoke. Remove it from the refrigerator 45 minutes prior to smoking.
          • Prepare your coals. (add the hickory to the coal as needed for the first 4 to 5 hours). Once your temperature gauge has stabilized to around 225°F, add 2 chunks of the hickory and place the pork butt FAT SIDE UP on the cooking grate. Replace the lid and resist lifting it for at least 2 hours. Check back to monitor your temperature gauge and adjust the vents as necessary to maintain temperature without lifting the lid. Don't worry is the smoker temperature fluctuates. Any temperature between 220°F - 230°F is sufficient. I use THIS DEVICE to monitor both my smoker internal temperature as well as the internal temperature of the meat.
          • Once the pork has smoked for 2 hours remove the smoker lid and observe the meat. Mop or drizzle the top of the butt with a healthy dose of the vinegar sauce. Repeat this process every hour or so until the pork butt hits 201°F degrees internally.
          • Once the pork is cooked through, DOUBLE WRAP the butt(s) in aluminum foil. Allow them to rest for 2 hours on the counter or inside of a dry cooler with a lid.
          • After the meat has rested, remove from the foil making sure to incorporate all of the accumulated juices and blackened bits of bark. THIS IS THE GOLD. Remove the blade bone and shred the meat by hand for a pulled texture. Chopping it finely is how it'd typically be served in a barbecue restaurant here in Charleston and is also a good technique. I personally prefer my pork pulled versus chopped. I make a point of adding a little bit of the crunchy blackened bark bits into each sandwich.

          for the Carolina Moppin' Sauce or pulled pork mop sauce

          • One day ahead of cooking, add all of the ingredients in a bottle or jar and shake well. **NOTE: if you do not have advanced time to allow the vinegar solution to sit, try for a MINIMUM OF 2 HOURS. This solution does not need to be refrigerated but I do out of habit.
          • Reserve 1 cup of the solution and add to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
          • Pour the remainder of the solution into a squeeze bottle (or in a jar with a sauce mop) and set nearer the smoker to use as a baste every hour or as needed.

          for the Carolina Moppin Sauce condiment

          • To the 1 cup of reserved vinegar solution you added to a mixing bowl, add the ketchup and the brown sugar. Whisk well for several minutes until to sugar is COMPLETELY DISSOLVED.

          assembling the sandwiches

          • I enjoy serving these on smaller buns and plating two sammies per person/serving. I also prefer a yeast roll over a potato or Hawaiian roll, but this is strictly my preference. It's your smoke, you serve on whatever works for you. A hamburger bun will do the trick.
          • Melt the unsalted butter in a sauce pan. Use a pastry brush to brush the butter on the inside tops and bottoms of the buns. If the smoker is still hot, arrange the tops and bottoms, buttered side down, atop the grate and cover for 3 to 5 minutes. You can also melt the butter in a shallow skillet and toast the buttered tops and bottoms in the skillet over medium high heat, 2 to 4 minutes.
          • LOOSELY pile a handful of the smoked pork atop the bottom half of each buttered and toasted roll. You can either stop here by replacing the buttered and toasted top bun, or assemble with a scoop of creamy southern coleslaw added before replacing the top bun. Serve with the doctored barbecue sauce.
          • Offer pickled onions and pickles alongside the smoke. They are as much a condiment as the sauce itself. Some prefer the pickled onions over the creamy slaw. It just depends on who you are feeding :-) I have links to both my Creamy Southern Cole Slaw as well as my Cinnamon and Spice Pickled Onions and my 3 Ingredient Flash Pickles herein. I have also linked to bbq sauces other than the sauce I specify herein. Serve them in addition to or in place of. It's your call.

          Nutrition

          Serving: 1serving | Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 9343mg | Potassium: 268mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 612IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 179mg | Iron: 4mg

          Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.