When it comes to competitive BBQ, few can claim to know more than Diva Q -- the hardest-working woman in the industry. That's why we turned to the renowned 20-time grand championship winner to learn a few secrets to smoking truly competitive barbecue. Lucky for us, our BBQ baroness was all too happy to teach us some new tricks! Best part is, it's significantly easier than you might think. So, if you're in the mood to whip up the juiciest, most tender, absolutely melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork you've ever tasted in your life... Grab some ingredients and let's get smoking!
Ingredients for Pork Butts
- 2 bone-in pork butts, 8 lbs each
- 2 cups Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub
Ingredients for Wraps
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 ½ cups apple juice
- ½ cup chipotle tabasco sauce
- ½ cup Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub
Ingredients for Spray Bottle
- 2 cups apple juice
Items You'll Need
Instructions for Pulled Pork
- Pat your pork butts dry with paper towels, setting them in the center of a disposable aluminum pan each with the fat cap down. Position the pork butts so that none of the sides touch the walls of the pan. This allows heat and smoke to reach the bottom of the pork butt for maximum flavor and bark formation.
- Start preheating your smoker to anywhere between 225–250°F.
- Really nailing that delicious, crispy bark means applying three quick layers to the roast. First, generously spritz the pork butt with fruit juice — we recommend apple juice for its excellent acidity, which will help bring out your bark’s best. Follow this by coating the entire roast (including that thick fat cap on the bottom) with your chosen BBQ rub or seasoning blend. Finally, give the roast one last generous spritz of juice.
- Set your uncovered pans in the center of your bottom cooking grid, then close the lid. Once it reaches an internal temperature of between 170–180°F, remove the butts from your smoker. While you coat and wrap your pork butts, ramp up the smoker’s temperature to 275°F for the second preheat.
- Abundantly coat each pork butt with seasoning, chipotle hot sauce, ghee, brown sugar, and apple juice. Pat these nicely into your pork butts; once you’re satisfied, whisk together whatever loose ingredients wound up in the bottom of the pan.
- Tent the pans with foil, ensuring the surfaces don’t rest against either pork butt. You’ll want to keep this space free over the pork butts to promote the best and largest amount of crunchy bark formation.
- Return the pans to the center of the bottom cooking grid and close the lid again. This time, you’re waiting until the center of your pork butts reach an internal temperature of 204–208°F. This can certainly be a challenging wait, but we firmly guarantee that first bite will make every second of patience worth it.
- Once the butts finally reach that temperature, turn off the grill and keep the lid closed. Let your butts rest for about an hour, but bear in mind that the internal temperature should remain above 140°F at all times. Otherwise, you encourage spoiled butts. And nobody wants spoiled butts.
- The pans have done their job admirably. Move the pork butts to a second pan (or a cutting board, for functionality and presentation value) and begin by removing the bone. For a key indicator of spectacular BBQ taste mere minutes away, that bone should effortless pop out from the meat — nice and clean.
- Really get your hands in that butt! Channel your inner Wolverine, pulling the pork apart by hand. As you make a small shredded mountain from the roasted butts, soak the pieces in your pan drippings to absorb even more of that succulent, mouthwatering flavor. Serve and enjoy!
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