Pulled Pork on a Pellet Grill

Our pulled pork on a pellet grill method will help you make a perfectly smoked, easy to shred, low and slow cooked pork butt. Pellet grills offer a bit of ease when it comes to long cooks. These units do not produce as much robust smoke flavor as an offset smoker, however, they will impart a fair amount of smokiness to the meat. This pulled pork method starts with an injection marinade, followed by a good dose of seasonings to form a beautiful bark on the surface of the roast. Plan on a cooking time of 7-10 hours or more for a 6-8 pound pork roast. And remember that time is just an estimate; the best guide is the internal temperature of the meat. But before we get started on our smoked pulled pork journey, we need to address a few key items.

Pork Butt vs. Pork Shoulder

These two cuts of meat come from the shoulder area of the pig. However, the pork butt (Boston butt or shoulder butt) is located higher up on the animal, while the shoulder (also called a picnic roast) runs further down. Although these two cuts originate from the same area, they differ in use. Both benefit from long, low, and slow cooking, with pork butts being the better choice for barbecue. Pork shoulder contains a fair amount of skin, so this cut is recommended for pork crackling recipes. We will be using pork butt for this pulled pork on a pellet grill recipe.

Planning:

  • Availability and Price: You can find pork butt in most grocery stores, or source it through a local butcher, or online at Porter Road. The current cost per pound in some areas is $2.00 to $3.50 per pound. Online specialty pork butts will typically run about $5.80 or more per pound.
  • Serving Size: Plan on one-half of a pound of meat per person. If your guests have smaller appetites, plan on one-third of a pound per person. It’s better to overestimate than underestimate the amount needed. We firmly believe that if you come away from your gathering with leftovers, you’ve planned properly! A 5-pound pork butt will typically yield 3 pounds of meat. See the table below for recommendations.
Pulled Pork Chart

Pulled Pork on a Pellet Grill: Time, Temperature, and Fuel Checklist:

  • Time: As mentioned above, plan on anywhere from 7-10 hours of cooking time for a pork butt that weighs between 6-8 pounds.
  • Temperature: This pork butt on a pellet grill recipe requires low and slow cooking temperatures. Plan on 225 degrees F. with an increase toward the end of cooking time. As always, have a temperature monitoring device or instant-read meat thermometer or temperature probe nearby. You’re going to need it!
  • Fuel: We recommend taking an inventory of your current fuel supply. Do you have enough wood pellets to get you through a 7-10 hour cooking time? If not, it’s time to stock up on wood pellets. Speaking from experience, there is nothing more frustrating than running out of fuel halfway through the cooking process!
  • Wood Suggestions: We recommend apple, cherry, maple, or pecan wood for this recipe. For more robust smoke flavor, use hickory.

Trimming a Boston Butt:

  • Trim the fat cap down to about 1/4 of an inch. Do not worry about the intramuscular fat. You want that to stay right where it is. 
  • Scoring: Some folks like to score the fat cap for a few reasons. It helps the fat render during cooking. It is a nice decorative element, and finally, it allows you to get the rub deeper into all those cracks and crevices. We’ve scored the pork roast for this recipe guide, but this step is entirely optional.
Garlic Maple Pork marinade
derrickriches.com

Injection Marinade:

Some outdoor cooks love using an injection marinade for smoked pork; others are opposed to it. We prefer to use it because it helps to flavor and moisten the roast from the inside out. Pork butts are large hunks of meat that require hours of cooking time. A rub only seasons the surface, and for that reason, we recommend applying an injection marinade 4-12 hours before putting the pork in the smoker. Some of our favorite marinade recipes include our Garlic-Maple or Basic Pork Injection recipe. You can purchase a food-safe meat injector at most stores or online.

Texas Style Pulled Pork Rub
Sabrina Baksh/derrickriches.com

Flavoring Your Pulled Pork:

The key to a delicious pulled pork comes from layering the flavor. The first layer happens internally from using an injection marinade. The second layer is applied externally and consists of two rubs: Our SPG and Honey BBQ Rubs. SPG is a simple salt, black pepper, garlic powder mixture, and the Honey BBQ Rub imparts a little sweetness (brown sugar and honey) and heat (cayenne) to the pork. You can use whichever combinations sound right to you, but the goal is to build a nice flavorful bark. Feel free to use your favorite bottled rub or our Memphis Dust Rub, but keep in mind that if you plan to use more than one rub, the flavors should work together, not overpower each other. 

  • Should I coat the pork before applying the rub? 
  • That depends on your personal preference. We recommend trying one with and one without to see which one yields the best results. 
  • Mustard: Typically, the pork roast is coated with yellow mustard before applying the rub. It helps keep the seasonings in place and adds an extra layer of flavor as the pork butt cooks. Don’t worry; the meat won’t taste like mustard! It mellows out as it mixes with the natural flavor of the meat, the rub, and the smokiness of the cooking environment. 
  • Mustard and Worcestershire sauce: You can also use a combination of Worcestershire sauce and mustard. I like to combine 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce with 3-4 tablespoons of yellow mustard and use that. Place the mixture into a squeeze bottle and squirt it right onto the pork roast before applying the rub.
  • Hot Sauce:  Some folks like to coat the surface of the meat with hot sauce like Frank’s Red Hot or Sriracha. It provides a bit of spiciness to the finished product, and works well with a sweet rub.

Wrapping: Butcher Paper vs. Aluminum Foil

Butcher paper and aluminum foil both serve the same purpose. They help the meat to work through the stall in a sealed, moistened environment. However, there is one key difference. Butcher paper allows smoke to permeate into the meat while the foil blocks it out. We highly recommend wrapping smoked brisket in butcher paper but prefer to wrap smoked pulled pork in foil inside of a disposable pan. See below for details. Please keep in mind that this is our preference, and you can certainly wrap your pork roast in butcher paper. 

Ingredients for Pulled Pork on a Pellet Grill:

Making Pulled Pork on a Pellet Grill:

  • Remove excess knobs of fat and reduce the fat cap to 1/4″ thick. 
  • Combine injection ingredients and slowly inject the pork roast with marinade. Wipe away any spillage with paper towels. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place pork butt into the refrigerator for 4-12 hours.
  • After the pork has marinated, remove it from the fridge, and unwrap.
  • Optional step 1: Score the fat cap of your pork butt with a sharp knife.
  • Optional step 2: Apply a thin coating of mustard or mustard-Worcestershire sauce mixture to the pork roast.
  • Rub: Next, season pork with SPG rub first, then coat it with the Honey BBQ Rub. Let the meat stand at room temperature while you prepare your grill.

Set up and Smoking:

  • Preheat your pellet grill for 225 degrees F. 
  • Plan on anywhere from 7-10 hours or roughly 1 hour per pound of meat. This is a very rough estimate, as each pork butt cooks differently. So, we advise going into this with an open mind. You might have the perfect pulled pork in 7 hours, or it might take 10 hours. The most important rule of good BBQ pork is not to rush the process. 
  • Once your pellet grill reaches 225 degrees F, place the seasoned pork butt onto the grill, scored fat side up. Close the lid and cook for 4 hours or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Wrapping and End Stage Cooking:

  • Remove your pork butt from the pellet grill and place it into a disposable aluminum pan. 
  • Increase the heat of your pellet smoker to 275 degrees F.
  • Add roughly 1/3 cup of apple juice to the pan. Wrap the pan tightly with foil and return it to the smoker.
  • Once the internal temperature of the meat reaches 195-205 degrees F, your pork butt is done.
  • Remove the covered smoked pork from your pellet grill. Leave it wrapped and cover it with dry kitchen towels to keep it warm. Let the pork rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If you need to rest it longer, leave it wrapped place it into a clean cooler for 2-3 hours. Insulate the with towels.

Pulled Pork on a Pellet Grill: Resting and Pulling

Pulled Pork on a Pellet Grill
derrickriches.com
  • Once rested, unwrap the pork. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, drain it into a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Reserve it. You will need the juices later on. 
  • We recommend using heat resistant-food safe gloves for “pulling” the pork.
  • Remove the large bone from the pork butt and any large clumps of fat. 
  • Break apart the meat, and hand pull the pork. Most of the roast will be incredibly tender and require little effort. You can also use the two-fork method if preferred.
  • Add remaining reserved juices as needed. Pat yourself on the back, you’ve now made pulled pork on a pellet grill!
  • Serve immediately sandwich style with coleslaw and BBQ sauce.
  • If serving for a long duration, consider placing your pulled pork in a warmer, with extra pulled pork jus. 
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Slaw for Sandwiches

What to Serve With Pulled Pork:

BGDR's Pulled Pork Spring Rolls

Pulled Pork on a Pellet Grill Leftover Recipes!

Pulled Pork on a Pellet Grill

Pulled Pork on a Pellet Grill

One of our most popular pork recipes. We take a bone-in pork shoulder roast and smoke it to perfection on a pellet grill. Whether you have a Traeger, Pit Boss, or other pellet grill, this is the easiest way to make fantastic Carolina Style Pulled Pork.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: pellet grill pulled pork, pulled pork, smoked pork butt, smoked pork shoulder
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 14 servings
Calories: 182kcal
Author: Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1 pork butt: about 6-8 pounds
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Optional Coating: mustard or mustard and Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic-Maple Pork Injection
  • 2 tablespoons SPG Rub
  • 2-3 tablespoons Honey BBQ Rub
  • 1/3 cup Apple juice
  • Aluminum foil or peach butcher paper
  • 1 Disposable aluminum pan 9″ x 9″

Instructions

  • Remove excess knobs of fat and reduce the fat cap to 1/4″ thick.
  • Combine injection ingredients and slowly inject the pork roast with marinade. Wipe away any spillage with paper towels. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place pork butt into the refrigerator for 4-12 hours.
  • After the pork has marinated, remove it from the fridge, and unwrap.
  • Optional step 1: Score the fat cap of your pork butt with a sharp knife.
  • Optional step 2: Apply a thin coating of mustard or mustard-Worcestershire sauce mixture to the pork roast.
  • Rub: Next, season pork with SPG rub first, then coat it with the Honey BBQ Rub. Let the meat stand at room temperature while you prepare your grill.
  • Preheat your pellet grill for 225 degrees F.
  • Plan on anywhere from 7-10 hours or roughly 1 hour per pound of meat. This is a very rough estimate, as each pork butt cooks differently. So, we advise going into this with an open mind. You might have the perfect pulled pork in 7 hours, or it might take 10 hours. The most important rule of good BBQ pork is not to rush the process.
  • Once your pellet grill reaches 225 degrees F, place the seasoned pork butt onto the grill, scored side up. Close the lid and cook for 4 hours until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Remove your pork butt from the pellet grill and place it into a disposable aluminum pan.
  • Increase the heat of your pellet smoker to 275 degrees F.
  • Add roughly 1/3 cup of apple juice to the pan. Wrap the pan tightly with foil and return it to the smoker.
  • Once the internal temperature of the meat reaches 195-205 degrees F, your pork butt is done.
  • Remove the covered smoked pork from your pellet grill. Leave it wrapped and cover it with dry kitchen towels to keep it warm. Let the pork rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If you need to rest it longer, leave it wrapped place it into a clean cooler for 2-3 hours. Insulate the with towels.
  • Once rested, unwrap the pork. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, drain it into a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Reserve it. You will need the juices later on.
  • We recommend using heat resistant-food safe gloves for “pulling” the pork.
  • Remove the large bone from the pork butt and any large clumps of fat.
  • Break apart the meat, and hand pull the pork. Most of the roast will be incredibly tender and require little effort. You can also use the two-fork method if preferred.
  • Add remaining reserved juices as needed and serve immediately.
  • If serving for a long duration, consider placing your pulled pork in a warmer, with extra pulled pork jus.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 56IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
Pulled Pork on a Pellet GrillPulled Pork on a Pellet Grill

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