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Lexington-Style Pulled Pork

Boneless pork butt (also labeled Boston butt) is often wrapped in elastic netting; be sure to remove this netting. To test the meat for tenderness in step 4, stick a fork into the top of the roast, then remove it. If the fork comes out with little or no resistance, the roast is ready; if the fork is difficult to remove or picks up the roast, the roast isn't ready.

Serves 8


2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 (4- to 5‑pound) boneless pork butt (see note above)

4 cups wood chips, soaked, drained, and sealed in a foil packet

1 (13 by 9‑inch) disposable aluminum roasting pan


1 cup water

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1. For the pork: Combine the paprika, pepper, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and rub it evenly with the spice mixture. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 1 day. (If refrigerated, let sit at room -temperature for 1 hour before grilling.)

2a. For a charcoal grill: Open the bottom grill vents halfway. Light a large chimney starter three-quarters full with charcoal briquettes (75 briquettes; 41/2 quarts). When the coals are hot, pour them into a steeply banked pile against one side of the grill. Place the wood chip packet on top of the coals. Set the cooking grate in place, cover, and open the lid vents halfway. Heat the grill until hot and the wood chips begin to smoke heavily, about 5 minutes.

2b. For a gas grill: Place the wood chip packet directly on the primary burner. Turn all the burners to high, cover, and heat the grill until hot and the wood chips begin to smoke heavily, about 15 minutes. Turn the primary burner to medium-high and turn off the other burner(s). (Adjust the primary burner as needed to maintain the grill temperature around 325 degrees.)

3. Clean and oil the cooking grate. Place the meat on the cool part of the grill, away from the coals and flames. Cover (positioning the lid vents over the meat if using charcoal) and cook until the pork has a dark, rosy crust, about 2 hours. During the final 20 minutes of grilling, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.

4. Transfer the pork to a roasting pan, cover the pan tightly with foil, and roast the pork in the oven until a fork inserted into the center meets no resistance, 2 to 3 hours.

5. For the sauce: Meanwhile, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl until the sugar and salt are dissolved; set aside. (The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.)

6. Remove the pork from the oven and let rest, still covered with foil, for 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, unwrap the pork and pull the meat into thin shreds, discarding the excess fat and gristle. Toss the pork with 1/2 cup of the sauce and serve with the remaining sauce in a bowl on the side.

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