This is a staple, and we go through most of it during our ultimate sporting events--UNC versus Duke basketball games,--but it can be enjoyed whenever, wherever. It's great on its own for example, or piled atop a bun with a little slaw for a delicious sandwich. And, as a bonus, the blade bone can be used to flavor beans or soups.
Recipe courtesy of Eva Pesantez and Josh Lebowitz
Carolina-Style Pulled Pork
Serves 10 to 15
Serves 10 to 15


  • 1 recipe Brother Jimmy's Dry Rub, recipe follows
  • 1 (6- to 8-pound) bone-in pork butt (also called pork shoulder or Boston butt)*
  • 1 cup Eastern Carolina BBQ Sauce, recipe follows, or to taste
Brother Jimmy's Dry Rub:
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 3/4 cup Lawry's Seasoned Salt 
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 5 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons ground dried sage
  • 1/4 cup dried basil
  • 1/2 cup dried mint
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Eastern Carolina BBQ Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt


Generously apply the rub to the pork, patting it on all over the surface of the meat. 

Prepare your smoker or grill for barbecuing, using the indirect heat setup with a drip pan in place. Preheat to 220 degrees F. Pour some water in the drip pan and place some presoaked wood chunks or a packet of presoaked wood chips directly on the hot coals. Just before you're ready to cook, oil the hot grate. Place the pork on the grate and cook, covered, for 6 to 8 hours, until the internal temperature is 175 degrees F to 185 degrees F. Some smokers cook hotter or more efficiently than others, so the exact cooking time will vary. After 6 hours, start checking the temperature. If it has reached 175 degrees F to 185 degrees F, the pork is done. 

Remove the pork from the smoker and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Once the pork has rested, get ready to start pulling. First, remove the blade bone (simply tug it out). Pull apart the larger pieces of meat and put them into a large bowl. Try to remove as many of the large pieces of fat as you can and discard them. 

Once all the meat is in the bowl, break it apart into smaller pieces. Add the Eastern Carolina BBQ Sauce and mix it all together to incorporate. 

Brother Jimmy's Dry Rub:

This is our original signature dry rub that's been gracing our plates since 1989. We dare you to find another one like it. 

In a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder, coarsely crush the rosemary, taking care not to grind it into a powder. 

Repeat with the fennel seeds. 

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and store in an airtight container. 

Eastern Carolina BBQ Sauce:

This is the classic eastern North Carolina sauce, which doesn't include tomato. The combination of this and pork butt create the staple Carolina Pulled Pork--our quintessential dish. 

Combine all the ingredients in a lidded container and shake well. Use immediately or store for later use in the refrigerator, where it will keep for months. Shake well before using. 

Cook's Note

*I've got to clear up this misnomer. You're not actually eating the butt of a pig-'cause that'd be gross. This cut is from the upper portion of our shoulder. It has plenty of fat to stay moist during long, slow cooking, making it a favorite cut for barbecue. This cut comes bone-in, which is preferable to use for superior flavor and moisture retention, and boneless, which will range from about 5 to 8 pounds. If you can't find a bone-in pork butt, you may use boneless, boneless meats cook faster than bone-in pieces.

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