Everyone has their own preferences and histories when it comes to BBQ, and may prefer a different kind of BBQ, and that is fine and wonderful: BBQ is as much or more about hosting as many friends as you safely can as it is about the food itself. Anything cooking up in large batches and served outside on a hot summer day to friends is a good thing.

That being said, for me personally:, growing up an order of BBQ, without adjectives, meant a pulled pork bbq sandwich, likely with cole slaw and a eastern Carolina style sauce or mop on it, and this is how I prefer my BBQ to this day.

In that spirit, this is my BBQ.


  • A smoker

This recipe is geared towards a charcoal smoker reinforced with some wood chunk for flavor. If you have a stick burner or other smoker, I’m sure you’re more than qualified to adjust to your needs.


  • 1 boston butt, picnic roast or full pork shoulder.
  • Spicy brown mustard
  • 6-7 fist size chunks of apple wood.
  • 1/2 cup of rub per 6-7 pounds of pork.
  • Coleslaw, always just buy the stuff Costco sells. You want a sweeter creamier slaw to offset the astringency of the sauce, and Kirkland sure knows how to provide when it comes to that.
  • Martin’s Potato Rolls


  • Equal parts:
    • Berbere
    • White Sugar
    • Brown Sugar
    • Table salt


  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar.
  • 1 cup drippins from the smoked pork, including both fat and gelatin.
  • 2 tbsp pepper flakes. I usually smoke and dry my own peppers for this, but store bought red pepper flakes will work fine enough.
  • 2-4 tbsp molasses.



12-18 hours before cooking time, slather your pork in a coat of spicy brown mustard and then apply a generous coating, not caking, but coating of rub.

At cooking time get your smoker set up to 225-235 degrees, leaning slightly higher before hand is fine because the cold meat will drop the temperature inside for a bit, but during the whole cook you’re looking to keep the ambient internal temperature locked in around 225-230.

You do not want to see big puffy clouds of smoke, you want a nice nearly clean combustion – that’s where you’re going to get your good smoke flavor. A small hot fire is better than a larger cold fire in this regard.

Place the butts in the smoker, with as large a water pan as you can fit in there somewhere closer to the heat, and a dripping tray under as much of the pork as can be managed. Humidity is good for your cook, drippins are good for your sauce, you’ll want both.

Get temperature probes set up on the butts, if you have them, close the smoker and then stop doing anything or thinking about the pork for a few hours. Your only concern for the next 6-9 hours (depending on butt size) is just keeping the fire going at the right rate to keep the smoker ambient temperature at 225.o

Your meat will jump up to 160-170 degrees pretty quickly. It is going to stall. The stall will take longer than you expected and longer than you remembered. Making BBQ rewards trust and patience, the stall will break.

If you absolutely have to, you can foil or parchment paper wrap the butts into the stall. If you do not wrap them tightly and without holes though, it will not do anything for you, other than make a mess and risk your bark formation.

Once the pork hits an internal temperature of 197 or so, remove it and place it in a cambro like container (a cooler stuffed with towels and newspaper will do), for 2 hours. This is quality time for the inside of the meat to get some carryover cooking and for any remaining gelatin and such to break down in the meat, do not skip it. It will also make the meat slightly less than scalding hot, which is important for the next step.

Closer to serving time, mix up the sauce (see ingredients section) to taste. I usually start with the vinegar, then add the pepper flakes, then the drippins and do the molasses carefully and judiciously at the end just to balance out the rest of it, not to make it actively sweet.

Pull the pork by hand. Chopping seems to waste a lot of juices and gives a less enjoyable mouth feel than ropey pieces of pork that you get by hand pulling.


Place 4-6oz of pork on a bun, squirt on 1-2 tbsp of sauce, scoop about 1-2 tbsp of cole slaw on top and serve.

Optionally toast the buns.

The pork freezes better than you would think, and can be snuck into a Bolognese sauce with ease.


  • This is the only recipe where I apply a salt based rub, rather than doing a dry brine before and a rub at cooking time. I agree with that rubs are best done without salt, but I’ve made this recipe enough that I’m hesitant to fix what isn’t broken.