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Summer Health and Safety

Chef Virginia Willis’ Pulled Pork

Pulled pork may feel like an endeavor for the grill, but with Willis’ recipe, it won’t feel like pulling an arm and a leg.

Ready to fire up the grill? “I grew up eating home-cooked pork barbecue,” Chef Willis shares. “There is simply nothing in this world that tastes like pork kissed by fire and bathed in smoke.”

What you’ll need:

  • 4 lbs pork butt, on the bone
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 2 tbsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Piment d’Espelette or cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups wood chips, for smoking, soaked in water
  • Mama’s BBQ Sauce, for serving
  • Big Green Egg (EGG) ceramic grill


  1. Remove the meat from the refrigerator. Combine the sugar, paprika, salt, garlic salt, black pepper and Piment d’Espelette. Rub the meat with oil and rub liberally with the spice blend. Leave at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  2. Set the EGG for indirect cooking at 275°F using wood chips for flavor. Soak the chips in water for at least an hour, then wrap them in a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the foil-wrapped chips on the coals. (Soaked chunks are better for the long cooking time needed for full butts; soaked chips worked fine for the half butt.)
  3. Place the butt in the EGG and cook until the internal temperature is 165°F; this should take about 5 hours. You want to keep the EGG temperature around 250°F; the goal is low and slow. Then, remove the hunk of meat and wrap it in a double layer of foil. Return it to the EGG and cook until desired doneness (for sliced pork, cook until the internal temperature reaches 180°F and for pulled pork, 190°F.) This will take another 2 to 3 hours.

Remove the meat to a cutting board with a moat (drip groove). Cover it with foil and let it rest for about 20 to 30 minute; the temperature will continue to rise.

Chop the meat with a chef’s knife, discarding the fat and bones. The meat should fall apart and have a pink, smoky ring. Place the meat in a bowl and add sauce to taste. Mix well and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serves 6

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