Cooking meat on a grill or smoker has become a vital test of every man’s culinary skill. My housekeeper’s unemployed husband recently bought a $3,500 smoker to expand his talents. I have tried to develop the skills of a pit master over the years but have found it to be with serious flaws, mainly because of the difficultly of controlling all of the variables that can ruin a meal. I am basically lazy, but I like to eat, and have learned how to create the flavor and texture of the food I like. For cooking meat, there is nothing better than sous-vide. Here is how I slow-cook pulled pork.

Start with a pork shoulder, 3 to 4 pounds. Cut the meat into large chunks and place in one-gallon freezer bags. Add salt and several splashes of liquid smoke. Cook in a sous-vide water bath at 165 degrees for 16 hours. Place the meat on a cutting board and use two forks to pull it apart. Place the meat back into a pan for the oven and add one cup of the liquid from the sous-vide bags. Season the meat with a pork rub that you like. I like a mixture of Butt Rub and McCormick’s Barbecue seasoning. Heat it in the oven at 350 degrees for maybe 30 minutes, then serve with a liquid barbecue sauce on top.

I have eaten barbecue all over the US, and although there are advantages to every local cuisine, I think the lightly flavored mustard sauce of the low country of South Carolina makes the best base sauce for barbecue. Just a little bit in the meat to set the palate and then add a sweet red sauce to finish it off. Have Crystal sauce available for those who like heat.

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  1. Tennessee Patriot Member
    Tennessee Patriot

    I do a combination of the Bastiat and Pessimist methods. I put spice rubs on two or three pork shoulders or shoulder butts. Vacuum seal them and sous-vide at 160 for 24 hours. Apply a bit more of the rub, then finish them off in the smoker at a low temperature, 200 or under, for at least 3 hours using pecan, maple, or hickory. I think I prefer pecan.


    Makes great BBQ . Doc Bastiat, give this method a try. It is hard to sit with a smoker for long periods of time to keep the temperature regulated.

    • #31
  2. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist

    WI Con (View Comment):

    @ SouthernPessimist , just to be clear, those freezer bags are placed in the 165 degree water bath for 16 hours? The bag will hold up to that? Also, for the water bath for that temperature and for that length of time – are you just doing that on stovetop with large pot of water or something more ‘controllable’ like a crock pot filled with water?

    This post has been a welcome break – also liked those tips on vennison. I typically don’t care for it but my brother-in-law cooked up some back strap from a fresh deer he dressed, like right on the spot, and it was very good.

    Sorry to reply late. Sous-vide uses either a sous-vide water bath machine that is about the size of a bread maker or an immersion circulator set on a pot or most often a plastic bin. Both systems allow you to control the temperature for long periods of time which makes meat incredibly tender. It has the added benefit for dinner parties of allowing the host chef to mingle with the guests without worrying about the meat. The original tabletop machine is about $250 and the circulator that looks like an aquarium pump is $100-150.

    • #32
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