North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich

Carolina Pull Pork SandwichToday we felt like slow cooking on the barbecue, and decided to make a genuine Carolina Pork Loin. We chose a 3 pound pork loin for our roast — instead of the typical pork butt [pork shoulder] roast most typical of this recipe. Our choice of a pork loin over pork butt was mostly because of the lower fat in the pork loin. The pork butt will shred better, but as you can see below the pork loin made a great pulled pork sandwich. Chose the roast the suits your taste and diet. We lean toward the leaner cuts of meat.

Now you can’t rush a Carolina Pork Roast. It is a very slow cooked recipe, cooked either in a smoker or a covered grill over indirect heat. It’s a 4 – 6 hour long adventure that ends in a sensuous delight. We cooked our Carolina Pork Roast on our Weber kettle grill with indirect heat using Kingsford charcoal briquets. We chose the Kingsfords briquets over lump charcoal because of the long burning time we needed.

Our Carolina Pork Roast recipe uses two different steps in seasoning. First, we coat the roast with a dry rub made up of simply pepper, paprika, and sugar. Then we baste the roast every 20 minutes or so with a mix of red pepper flakes, sugar, and vinegar.

Recipe for North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Dry rub

Mix together in a large zipper storage bag. Set aside.

Basting Sauce

Combine in a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup, or some other glass container. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Don’t be afraid of the amount of red pepper, the vinegar will neutralize most of the heat. The pepper itself will form thicker and thicker layers on the roast as you baste and will keep the pork roast moist as it cooks slowly.

To make Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • Dry Rub (above)
  • Basting Sauce (above)
  • 3 pound pork loin roast
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce
  • Kaiser rolls
  • Coleslaw
  1. Place about 20-25 Kingsford charcoal briquets in a pile on one side of your grill. Using charcoal lighter fluid, light the coals.
  2. While the charcoal is getting started, mix the dry rub and the Basting Sauce together.
  3. Place the pork roast in the zipper storage bag, seal, and shake to evenly coat the roast with the Dry Rub.
  4. When the coals are going, place the pork roast about 6 – 8 inches from the coals (if using a Weber grill, the coals should be on one side, and the roast close to the center). Apply a first basting of the Basting Sauce on the roast. Cover, close the vents to about half way. We want this to cook a long time (4 to 6 hours) over slow heat (about 200° F.)
  5. Baste the roast every 20 minutes with the basting sauce.
  6. You’ll need to add at least one more load of charcoal to be able to cook the length of time required. When the coals are half way burnt, and another 20 – 25 briquets. Repeat one more time if needed. The coals should be slowly burning so if they’re going fast, close the vents some more. We cooked our roast for 4 1/2 hours and only needed one refill of the briquets.
  7. As you baste the roast, you’ll notice the red pepper is building up on the roast. This coating will absorb the basting sauce and keep the roast moist.
  8. We like to keep a can of water on the grill over the coals to add moisture to the covered grill.
  9. Turn the roast around [and not over] every hour or so, so as not to overcook any one side of the roast.
  10. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 175° F when done.
  11. Remove the roast from the grill, and place on a large cutting board. Scrape off the red pepper.
  12. Chopped Carolina porkChop the pork roast into 1/2″ to 3/4″ size chunks using a heavy meat cleaver. A cleaver is the best method of doing this task.
  13. Toast the Kaiser Rolls.
  14. Mix the chopped pork with some barbecue sauce such as Kraft, Open Pit or KC Masterpiece. Don’t overload the sauce, mix so that you’re adding about 1 1/2 tsp per 1/3 cup serving of meat.
  15. Place the pork on a toasted Kaiser roll, and top with coleslaw (we’ll post a recipe for excellent coleslaw soon).
  16. Serve with coleslaw on the side.

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