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Pulled Pork

May 25, 2009


Just because I am not stateside, doesn’t mean I can’t BBQ some hog. We’re not talking grillin’ here, we’re talking low & slow with hickory smoke. I smuggled in the giant (by Belgian standards) grill in when I moved here five years ago. Since it’s gas, Mary smuggles hickory chips in for me when she visits.

Well it was the chicakdee’s birthday last week and we decided to have the whole family and some friends over for a BBQ. It all started a few days before when we had to put in an order to the butcher. I asked the chickadee to place the order. Who then asked her mom for help. You see where this is going?

I explained to her that we needed “two 3-4 kilo (the rest of the world uses the metric system) Boston Butts.”

“Welik?” (“What?”)

Of course, we’re in Belgium; a Boston Butt might as well be a fat lady from Boston’s ass.

“Pork Shoulder, sugar plum. Ask them for a pork shoulder. The same cut we ordered last year.”

The evening before the big day I rushed from work to get to the butcher before it closed. Of course the two ladies behind the counter are the only two people in Antwerp that don’t speak any freakin’ English. I mean, what?! Do they really expect me to learn the local language? Niet vol dunde! Anyway after some mass confusion the two ladies emerge from the back with two whole picnic hams (front leg of the pig) only missing the hoof.

Understand that last year when we ordered, we asked for a cut with plenty of fat and they told us it would be difficult because people always wanted a lean cut, but they would try. Whatever. I think they gave us less fat because we asked. This year I had to skin the damn things and cut the legs off. I tell ya what, even in the country that invented compromise, sometimes it’s all or nothin’.

Anyway, back at the flat I went to work skinning my hogs. Plenty of fat on these babies, that’s for sure! After skinning I gave them a good rub down with Memphis Rub, from Steven Raichlen’s BBQ Bible, and laid them to rest for the evening wrapped in plastic in the fridge. Good night little piggies! Off to bed.

The next morning I fired up the grill at 8 am and had the oinkers smoking by 8:30. I soaked the morning’s hickory chips overnight. Over the course of the next 7 hours I replenished the wood chips periodically and started “mopping”  them toward the last couple hours of the process.  I also made a fantastic mustard BBQ sauce (From Steven Raichlen’s: “How to Grill”.).

Basic Recipe

Big Pork Roast Boston Butt works well as it is well marbled and isn’t good for much else so it’s cheap.
I later read that the BBQ pro’s use a full picnic ham just like the crazy butcher ladies gave me.

Indirect heat. 300-325 degrees Fahrenheit

6-8 hours until the core temp reaches 195 degrees Fahrenheit

Use mop during the last couple of hours

Memphis Rub:

See also BBQ Bible

Mix together and store in an airtight container:

1 Cup Paprika

1/3 Cup Black Pepper

1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

4 Tbsp Kosher Salt

2 Tbsp Celery Salt

2 Tbsp Granulated Garlic or Garlic Powder

2 Tbsp Dry Mustard

2 Tbsp Ground Cumin

2 Tbsp Granulated Onion or Onion Powder


2 Cups Cider Vinegar

1/2 Cup Ketchup

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup thinly sliced Onions

1-2 Tbsp Garlic minced

1 Tbsp Kosher Salt

1 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper

1 tsp each Black & White Pepper – optional

Cole Slaw

1 Green Cabbage thinley sliced

1 Red Cabbage thinly sliced

3 Cups Shredded Carrots

3 Cups Mayo

1 Cup Mop (recipe above)

Kosher Salt to taste

Mustard BBQ Sauce:

See also:
How to Grill

Toast in frying pan:

2 Tbsp Yellow Mustard Seeds

Let Cool.

In Sauce Pan over medium heat:

1 Tbsp Butter

1/2 Onion Diced

1 Cup Dijon Mustard

1/2 Cup Cider Vinegar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Tbsp Molasses

Toasted Mustard Seeds

Bring to boil. Simmer until thick & rich. About 5 minutes.

Really if you have the wood chips and the time then the rub isn’t necessary and the BBQ sauce used is up to personal taste. I just wanted to show off anyway.

When pulling your pork it should be an easy process.  If it’s hard to pull, then you haven’t cooked it long enough.  Add some of the mop to your finished product along with any juices or fat that have secreted during your pulling process.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. John C. permalink
    May 25, 2009 2:56 pm

    Que Bueno!
    We have always eaten well in Belgium. This includes the Niki Delight.
    I am sure GreeMo (sp) was eyeing the bones with envy.
    We hope to treat you and Niki to some good fare when you get here in July. Mary now has dueling bbq grills (gas and hardwood).
    Keep grilling with love!


    • pat permalink
      May 25, 2009 6:27 pm

      You’ve piqued my curiosity. What’s a Niki Delight?

      • John C. permalink
        May 26, 2009 8:13 am


        When we were in Belgium last year, Mary cooked up the smuggled Chicago bacon.

        After several beers and we all looked at the pan with the bacon grease. Niki told us about a family treat that included bacon grease.

        While the bacon is still warm, you mix in some brown sugar and then dredge bread into the pan. The semi-soggy sweet grease laden carbohydrate melts in your mouth-Niki Treat.


      • Frank permalink
        May 26, 2009 11:02 am

        I’ll put the recipe on a future post. When Mary & John were here we actually made a slight improvement by topping the whole thing off with bacon. I made the classic version for Niki’s Birthday breakfast.

  2. Sean permalink
    May 25, 2009 5:57 pm

    Funny, I have a mini version on the grill today! I use the Memphis rub for my ribs but I use a Mean chef variation that I got off recipezaar for pulled pork. I also go with a lower temp for a longer time period 250 degrees for 8+ hours depending on the size of the piece of meat.
    1/4 cup paprika
    1/4 cup turbinado sugar
    1/4 cup black pepper
    2 Tbsp salt
    2 tsp dry mustard
    1 tsp cayenne

    • Frank permalink
      May 26, 2009 11:00 am

      I did the same temp and time last year. It wasn’t a big difference, but I thought it turned out a little better last year. This year the cuts were a lot bigger and I was a little concerned about time.

      • Sean permalink
        May 27, 2009 10:57 pm

        Ah, yes, time, the critical factor in slow food. Oh, I should post my ‘little piggies’ picture.

  3. pat permalink
    May 25, 2009 6:26 pm

    Happy Birthday to Niki!

    I love your stories as much as I love to see/read about your bill of fare! Everything Belgium brings back fond memories!

  4. krypto092108 permalink
    May 23, 2010 2:45 pm

    That looks down right delicious to me!

  5. October 21, 2010 10:34 am

    great post

  6. krypto092108 permalink
    October 21, 2010 5:59 pm

    That pulled pork looks so good, I gotta get some RIGHT NOW!

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