Tennessee-Style Smoked Pork Butt Recipe


Once everything is put together, you can count on a smoky, tangy and [slightly] crunchy BBQ sandwich that screams Tennessee flavour.


Pork Butt

3.6 – 4 kg pound pork butt


140 ml apple juice
110 ml vegetable stock
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ – ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

Tennessee Vinegar-Based Sauce

½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flake
½ teaspoon hot sauce

Tennessee Creamy Coleslaw

½ head green cabbage, shredded
1 small wedge purple cabbage, shredded
1 half sweet onion, peeled & shredded
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon celery seed

Also needed

10-12 potato buns


  1. Mix the apple juice, stock, salt, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until salt and sugar dissolve, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the xantham gum and mix the injection in a small blender until slightly thickened about 15 seconds. Xantham gum is a substitute for gluten in gluten-free dishes. Here it is a thickener to help keep the injection inside of the pork.
  3. Using a meat syringe, inject a little bit every inch or so across the entire roast. Inject about 5ml every 2.5 cm in a 2.5 cm grid pattern across the top of the roast (the side without the fat cap).
    HOT TIPMeat injection will often squirt out around the meat. Injecting through plastic like this sandwich bag will help keep the splatters from making a mess.
  4. Lightly coat the outside of the pork butt with canola or peanut oil.
  5. Liberally sprinkle your seasoning of choice all over. About one-half cup of seasoning should suffice; just make sure it’s enough to coat the entire pork butt. Let sit for 12 hours or overnight in fridge.
  6. Preheat your Oklahoma Joe’s Smoker to 135°C at the cooking grate level, which should be around 150-160°C on the lid mounted thermometer depending on the model.
  7. Add your smoking wood and once the wood is burning light white or clear smoke, place the pork butt in the smoker’s cooking chamber.
    HOT TIPHaving the fat cap facing down will yield a better bark. Close the lid and smoke until finished, which should take 1-2 hours per pound.
  8. Add smoking wood every 30 to 45 minutes to maintain heat.
  9. Spritz the pork butt with apple juice every 45 minutes. This will help create good colour, help make a smoke ring and layering flavours.
  10. When the pork butt reaches 95°C and is tender when stuck with a meat thermometer probe or a BBQ skewer, it’s done cooking.
  11. When finished, wrap it in a sheet of foil or butcher paper, place it in a small, empty cooler and let it rest for one to two hours.
  12. After letting it rest, place it on a cutting board and pull out the bone out. Next, shred the pork using Oklahoma Joe’s Meat Shredders, pulling and discarding any unrendered fat pieces.
  13. For the sauce – Mix sauce ingredients and stir until blended. Dress the pulled pork with several tablespoons of this sauce after shredding. Serve the remainder on the side and shake well before using.
  14. For the coleslaw – Mix the cabbage, onion and carrot in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper and celery seed. Toss the veggies in the mayonnaise dressing. Serve on the side or on top of the pulled pork.

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