Learn how to make pulled pork on a charcoal grill faster and speed up your grilling time by about 20 to 30%. So, keep reading to see how to prepare and grill a pork shoulder or pork butt roast. Also, this is a part of our Grilling on Charcoal collection and is listed in our Grilling Recipes Categories.
About This Pulled Pork on a Charcoal Grill Recipe
Making this pulled pork on a charcoal grill is very easy. Also, you can jump to the recipe or read through the tips on how to shorten the slow cooking time.
How to Make Pulled Pork on a Charcoal Grill Recipe
This is how to make pulled pork on a charcoal grill recipe. And, you can use this dry rub for pork to ensure it’s very flavorful. Or, just, salt and pepper. First, you get a pork butt roast, a pork should roast, or a picnic shoulder. Then, remove the wrapping and rinse off the meat in running water.
1. Prepare the Pork Meat
Take the pork roast and cut some half way down deep and wide slits, about 2 inches apart. In short, make the slits about 3/4 of the way across the top half of the roast. To sum up, you just want some deep slits, not full cuts all the way across the meat. The meat still needs a degree of enclosure for it to breakdown.
- Cut a few deep partial slits about 2-inches apart.
Next, follow these simple steps.
- Start preheating the grill
- Then Make the wet rub
- Finally, Apply the rub all around the roast, except for the fat side. Also, get it into the deep slits.
2a. Make the wet rub.
2b. Apply the rub all over the meat and into deep slits.
2. Place The Prepped Pork On The Charcoal Grill
Then, put the roast on the preheated grill, fat side on top or bottom, for indirect cooking.
- If the fat side is on top, it ends up more moist and more flavorful.
- If the fat side is on bottom, it ends up with a more tasty crust. Many prefer it this way and this is how I cook my pork shoulders.
Just keep the charcoal refilled periodically. You never need to turn the roast over. When the internal temp reaches around 175°F, it’s past fully cooked but, to make it maximum tenderness, you’ll want the internal temp to be at least 190°F and it can be a little over 200°F.
3. Pork Rests and Then Shred It
Once it’s done, you’ll remove the roast from the grill and set it aside for 30 minutes. It continues to cook and tenderize further so, this is a critical phase to avoid cutting into it. After that, pull out your pulling claws and shred it to pieces. You’re done!
- Firstly, remove the bottom fat section.
- Then, cut away any excess fat.
- Use shredding claws to begin to rip apart the meat.
- When any bone is reached, it’s discarded.
- Finally, use a knife to remove and cutup any remaining meat that resisted shredding.
Expert Tips on How to Make Pulled Pork on a Charcoal Grill
Pulled Pork on a Charcoal Grill Temp
The overall preferred pulled pork grill temperature is 275°F to 325°F. That’s for the grill. It starts with a good solid preheating. Every grill is different. If not using gas or electric, you’ll want to plan ahead and know when to start to preheat the grill, to save overall time. After that, there’s a nominal temperature range to maintain.
The lowest grill temp is 225°F and the highest is 325°F, although the preferred lowest is 275°F. The temp drops each time you add more charcoal so, you can plan around that.
Pulled Pork Internal Temp
The desired internal temp of pulled pork for maximum tenderness is about 190°F. The minimum internal temp is 175°F and the max will be a little over 200°F.
It will require your own personal experience in managing vents and your heat source. If using charcoal, you’ll need to maintain it and never let it get below half full (usually refills might be about every 45 minutes). Although certain lump charcoals last better between refueling cycles.
Plan ahead or use the microwave in a Defrost cycle to thaw the roast.
Can I use a lean pork roast or trim off excess fat when starting the prep work?
The preferred cuts of meat (for pulled pork) have been selected purposefully for its typical level of fat and muscle. Despite its common appearance, usually you won’t initially cut off any excess fat on that fatty side, unless you see an uncommonly high fat content throughout the entire roast itself. Much of it will gradually cook down and it will add to its overall flavor, the tenderness, and it aids in moisture retention.
This recipe lists the top 2 popularly (and professionally) preferred cuts of pork roast for excellent pulled pork results. So, regarding using a leaner pork roast, it is said that it won’t be as tender or flavorful but it’s still sometimes a personal choice for individuals. Here’s an excellent article on the preferred cuts of meat to use for pulled pork and it discusses using a leaner pork.
How do I keep the charcoal burning for this long period of time?
Here’s our article on “How To Keep The Charcoal Grill Hot” while grilling or smoking for long periods of time. It discusses several ideas on adding charcoal, types of charcoal and grills, as well as venting. All of those coordinate together to offer extended times for grilling or smoking on a charcoal grill.
Nutritional Values of Pulled Pork
Overall, a serving of pulled pork is about 335 calories. What’s more, the remaining detailed nutritional values are shown in the <Print Recipe> option.
Similarly, below are some related articles and recipes.
- Pork Tenderloin on Grill
- Dry Rub Recipe for Pork
- Complete Guide to Using a Weber Kettle with Rotisserie
Now that you know how to more easily make your own pulled pork, why not plan it for this coming weekend?
Also, here’s a related article on the type of grill we use for most of our grilling recipes. It’s about “How To Use Weber Performer Charcoal Grill“. For more grilling details, also see our article on how to add charcoal to a grill including for long grilling sessions like this recipe.
Recipe for Pulled Pork on Grill
- `1 Disposable (or Metal) Drip Pan Needs to hold 8 cups of water and be under the roast. Size must be about same as roast to offer moisture but also to catch drippings.
- 1 Pair of Shredding Claws Optional. Can use some sturdy forks alternatively.
Tap to reduce/increase Servings
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- 8 lb Pork Butt Roast alternate is Pork Shoulder Roast or Picnic Shoulder
- ½ cup Dry Rub for Pork or wet rub
Optional Adds: To Convert to Wet Rub
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar alternate is white vinegar
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp honey
- Preparing the Pork RoastPrepare the Rub for Pork and set aside.
- Rinse the roast and pat somewhat dry. Cut deep slits (cross-sectional) deeply into the roast to make about 2-inches apart. The slits will be at least halfway deep inward and about ¾ wide across.
- Apply the rub by hand over the pork on all sides, top, and bottom.
- Grilling (indirect heating)Place a disposable/foil drip pan in a location that will be under the meat during cooking. Pour 6 cups of cold tap water into the drip pan. Preheat the grill, place the roast (indirect heating) on the grill grate, ensuring the water drip pan is under that grate. Roasting fat side down gives a better, flavorful dark crust. Fat side up gives better meat flavor but not much outer crust. So, it's your choice. Charcoal or heat source should not be under the roast and should be accessible for adding more charcoal.
- During cooking, cover the grill and work vents to maintain 325°-375°F, throughout the cooking process. It's okay if it's a little hotter at times. Recover to that temperature range each time after you remove and recover the grill lid, e.g., after adding more charcoal or water.
- After every 1 hour & 15 minutes, check the charcoal to ensure it gets refilled well. When meat internal temp reaches 190°F to a little over 200°F, it's ready and tender. While it varies, it takes about 5 hours cooking time for an 8 lb. Roast.Remove the roast carefully and let it set for about 30 minutes before cutting and shredding.
- Shredding, Serving, StorageEnsure the roast is in a deep wide bowl or roasting pan. Before shredding, remove any large fat sections. Then, begin to take it apart using shredding claws (or sturdy forks). Tougher pieces can be cutup with a knife.
- Optionally, add your preferred barbecue sauce now or as you serve it.For food safety, as soon as you can, serve it. Then, put the rest in the fridge and any excess pork into the freezer.