So you have a burning desire to cook up your own barbeque? Start with a pork cut called the butt (actually part of the shoulder). When cooked long and low, it’s easily pulled apart into succulent shards that make for a fabulous sandwich.

With this version, you don’t even need a dedicated smoker to prepare the pork, just a covered charcoal or gas grill and commercially available hardwood chunks.

Keep in mind that you’ll be working to keep the grill’s temperature down, and cooking the food indirectly, away from the fire. The recipe includes a dry rub (a blend of dried seasonings used more often with true Q than a marinade because it helps form a flavorful crust on the meat).

There’s a “mop,” too: Q speak for a flavorful basting liquid. When smoking pork, the mop usually contains a high proportion of vinegar because the tang enhances the rich meat. Nothing more is necessary to make a fine pork sandwich, but topping the meat with coleslaw sends it over the top, to bragging-rights territory.


  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried ground New Mexican red chile
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika*
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
  • 2 untrimmed boneless pork butt sections, about 3 pounds each (a tied pork shoulder roast can be untied and used, as can pork shoulder steaks cut at least 2 inches thick)


  • 1½ cups cider vinegar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried ground New Mexican red chile
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Dry Rub (above)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • about 3 pounds wood chunks, soaked in water at least 1 hour
  • sturdy hamburger buns
  • coleslaw, such as Green Chile Coleslaw, optional

Serves 8

  1. Prepare dry rub, mixing all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside 1 tablespoon dry rub for the Mop.
  2. Place pork, fat side up, on a work surface. Cut each pork section in half lengthwise, forming a total of four long strips. Coat pork sections generously with the dry rub and massage well into all sides of pork. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
  3. Prepare sauce, combining all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar and reserve until ready to use.
  4. Prepare mop, combining all ingredients in a small saucepan. Reserve until needed.
  5. Remove pork from the refrigerator and let it sit covered at room temperature for 30 minutes while you fire up a gas or charcoal grill. If using gas, wrap about half of the wood chunks loosely in foil, making a pouch of sorts, with ends and seal partially open so smoke will escape when the wood smolders. (If using charcoal, wood will be placed directly on coals.)
  6. If using a gas grill, light all but one burner. Place the baking pan of water and pouch of wood chunks over one of the heated burners. Place pork over the unheated burner so that it cooks indirectly. If using a charcoal grill, light 20–25 charcoal briquettes or 10–12 handfuls of lump charcoal.
  7. When the fuel is ready, place a baking pan half full of water on the grill’s lower grate. Place hot charcoal alongside, directly over one of the bottom vents. Put half of the wood chunks on coals, and set food on the upper grate above the water pan and under the top vent of closed lid. Monitor temperature near food throughout cooking, keeping it at about 200–225˚ F. Turn heat in the gas grill up or down as needed; open or close vents on the charcoal grill and periodically add a few more preheated coals.
  8. Smoke covered for 3–3½ hours, until the pork’s surface is very deeply browned and internal temperature reaches 170–175˚ F. About every 45 minutes, open cover, tuck several more wood chunks into the foil pouch (with charcoal, just toss them into the coals), fill the water pan with more hot water as needed, and turn pork and brush it lightly with mop. Keep mop warm between bastings, replenishing it with more water if needed.
  9. When cool enough to handle, transfer pork to a baking sheet and shred it into bite-size pieces, discarding fat. Mix any accumulated meat juices back into the pork.
  10. To assemble sandwiches, divide the pork among the bun bottoms, mixing in some of the crustier surface meat with some of the moister interior meat for each one. Drizzle with sauce. If desired, top each with about 1/3 cup of coleslaw before replacing bun tops. Enjoy right away.

*Note: Smoked paprika is stocked in many spice sections. It can also be found at The Spanish Table: (505) 986-2043;

This recipe originally appeared in Red, White, and Q by Cheryl Alters Jamison.