So now for Part II: setting up the gas grill to act as a smoker. This was a really funny process as an innocent bystander, but Branden is still a little salty about it a month later. First, we forgot to rub the meat until about midnight the night before, so our 2 a.m. goal of getting the meat on the grill was kind of crushed. Then Branden stayed up late per normal with a goal of getting it on the grill around 4 a.m. before he went to bed, but ran into problem after problem getting the grill and thermometers configured to what you set above and ended up angry and burnt (from the water AND the fire…he definitely had some singed arm hairs!). All issues aside, the meat finally got on the grill at 6 a.m. and Branden finally turned in to bed. I was up at 8 a.m. (doggone internal alarm clock) and stayed on meat monitoring duty for the next several hours poolside…someone had to do it! This was definitely a little more eventful than it needed to be, but worth it in the end.
The key to tender pulled pork that falls apart when you touch it is low and slow. Remember that: low and slow. It doesn’t matter how hungry you are or when you think the meat should be done, let it do its thing (low and slow) and you will be rewarded.
You’re going to need some hardware for smoking on the grill:
- Smoker Box
- Applewood chips
- Aluminum roasting pan
- Two meat thermometers (the kind with the probe that you leave in the meat)
Branden removed one of the grill grates so that he could put the smoker box as close to the heat source as possible. He then placed a generous handful of wood chips in the smoker box. The left side of the grill was the only side with burners on as we didn’t want the grill to get too hot. On the right side of the grill, we filled a tin roasting pan with water and then placed the meat on a grill rak on top of it. This seems weird, but its used mostly for temperature control. Every time you open the grill, you loose a lot of the heat. The water acts kind of like a stabilizer and helps the grill temperature to not fluctuate so drastically.
For those meat thermometers, go ahead and jam one right into the heart of the pork butt. Crumple tin foil around the probe of the other thermometer and set it inside the grill. We want to be able to really monitor the internal grill temperature to make sure it doesn’t get to hot and cook our meat too fast. We used a thermometer that had an alarm on it and set it to beep if the temp got too hot.
In terms of good cooking tips, Branden plans on 1.5 to 2 hours per pound (our 6 lb. hunk of heaven was projected to take 12 hours). How did Branden arrive at this timing? Check out this link for some details that I think are best from the source. He’s done a lot of research on this topic and found this information really helpful (if you really know my husband, you know how he loves to research!). Bottom line is, you want to keep your grill temp steady around 250° until the internal pork temp reaches 180º. It will stall out for a long time at around 150º, but don’t be tempted to crank up the heat! Leave well enough alone and walk away. Just walk away…
After the pork has reached 180º, let it set for about an hour (covered) before pulling it. Branden just used two forks to pull it and after 13 hours on the grill, the meat literally fell apart. Most folks will eat it on a bun with BBQ sauce, but not me! I took mine bunless (why waste the room in my stomach?) and smothered in sauce. Delicious and well worth the wait!
Need some more tips and details? Check out this link for grill setup or this link for information on smoking. Got questions for Branden? Click on the “Contact the Author” page and shoot me an email- I’d be happy to ask him and get back to you!