Pulled Pork – Uncle Berries’ BBQ Rub & Sauce Recipes

I love my new rub and it’s true what they: using your opposite hand totally feels like someone else.  Now that I’ve set the tone for my first posting in 3-ish years, I will continue.  Man… 3 years.  I suck and I’m super lazy.  I’ll try to make up for it.

I watch a lot of food shows, scour food sites, subscribe to food magazines and whenever I see anything barbequed I need to change my Pampers.  I have 3 Webers now: a natural gas Genesis hooked up to the house, a Portable mini-Weber for the beach and picnics, and The Performer, which is a charcoal grill that lights the coals with a propane flame and also has a good-sized work surface.  It’s really not excessive.  This is my hobby.  Some dudes are car-guys and have a couple of rides they like to wrench on, some have a work shop where they make bird houses and furniture.  I’m a food guy and my workshop is my kitchen or my BBQ and I make delicious stuff to stick in your pie-hole.  Ironically, I do not make pies; that is my wife’s domain.

Back to pulling the pork.  My new rub is similar to my old rub but with a few different spices I noticed chefs using in their rubs and thought I’d try incorporating in my concoction.  Most notably: ground bay leaves, ground aniseed, ground celery seed and smoked paprika (instead of regular paprika) which was a gift from my friend Pam.  There are other small changes, but these were the ones that I wanted to try out and I think really put this recipe over the top.  So here’s the Rub (I always make a double batch):


1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sea salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons regular paprika

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons finely ground black peppercorn

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons smoked paprika (must be smoked)

1 bay leave ground

1 teaspoon ground aniseed

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground celery seeds

Helpful hint: chop up the bay leaf and grind in a coffee/spice grinder with the aniseed.

The way I do my pulled pork is a little different because I smoke it, then braise it.   Start with the biggest Pork Butt  (shoulder) you can find, bone in.  Mine was about 8 pounds.  I’m not bragging, I’m just sayin’.  Rub it liberally.  I used at least two-thirds of a cup.  Smoke this beautiful piece of meat at 225 degrees for 1.5 hours on your Q, coals or gas.  I’ve done both.  Coals give you superior flavour.  Gas is convenient and quicker to get going.  I like a combo of mesquite, cherry and apple wood chips.  What ever you do, keep that smoke going for the full hour and a half.  This is your chance to get some nice stink on it.  That means making a really big aluminum smoke pouch for your gas grill or continuing to throw soaked chips on your coals.  When I’m done the smoking process my butt looks like this:

Now it’s time to braise. Pour a bottle of dry apple cider into a large dutch oven or oven-safe pot and then lower your smoked pork in.  Place the lid on and put it in the oven, preheated to 260 degrees.  After 2 1/2 hours, carefully turn your meat over, and let it cook for another 2 hours.  Then take off the lid and let it cook for another 1/2 hour.  Your roast should be fall-apart beautiful at this point, so take it out gently and place it on a platter to rest for a half-hour.  Have look at my gorgeous butt. Seriously, you can’t turn away, can you?  It’s mesmerizing.

After resting I like to separate the roast apart into 4 big sections to help it cool quicker because I like to pull my pork with my hands instead of forks.  I’m particular about the texture.  I like larger pieces.  I’ve found when I’ve done it with forks it gets a little too shredded and mushy.  After your pork is pulled to your liking, put it in a large bowl.  Then take a baster and suck some of the juice out of your pot (go deep into the pot below the fat that will be on the surface) and squirt it on your meat.  I’d start with a cup, but continue to add the juice back as long as the meat is still soaking it up and it’s not pooling on the bottom of the bowl.  Now it’s time for your taste buds to finish the job and get the exact combo of salty, spicy and sweet that you want.  Start by adding a cup of BBQ sauce (recipe below) to the pork, then sprinkle on two tablespoons of the rub.  Gently turn and mix the pork until the rub and the sauce are incorporated.  Now try a little piece.  Do you want more sauce or more rub or both?  When adding either, but especially the rub, just use a little at a time, then taste again.  You can always add a little more, but once it’s in there you can’t take it back.

That’s it, you’re done.  Now all you need is a bun and some slaw.  I always toast my buns.  I butter them lightly and then throw them in a pan or onto the grill.  Use the slaw of your choice on the side or right on the pulled pork in your sandwich.  This recipe makes a tonne, but if you’re only cooking for a few don’t worry, it freezes well.  To heat it up you can give it a quick blast in the Micro or add an ounce of water to a pan and toss it around for a few minutes. Enjoy.

Here’s the BBQ Sauce recipe.  It’s a little on the sweet side because I like my sweet with my savoury.  It leans toward a Kentucky Style Sauce.  I should mention that both this rub and sauce are killer with chicken.


2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup fancy molasses

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 ounces of Crown Royal or your favorite whiskey or bourbon

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon smoked paprika (must be smoked)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

3 bay leaves


Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for a half-hour, whisking and stirring often. Remove Bay leaves and baste your meat. Serve extra in a bowl with dinner for further applications and dipping.

I would be remiss if I wrote about BBQ and didn’t mention my good friend Rob (aka Fresh Bread) who loves smoking and grilling meat so much he bought his own BBQ Joint called Embers BBQ House.   A lot of people talk about how they’d like to follow their passion for food and have their own place, but Freshy just went out and did it.  I was just on a gig with me&lewis.  We were shooting a new White Spot TV commercial and Fresh was working on the production.  On the second day he brought in a pound of his pulled pork so I could try it…  for breakfast.  There was no sharing.  It is addictive.  Once you start you can’t stop.  Please check it out.  You will not be disappointed.

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6 Comments on “Pulled Pork – Uncle Berries’ BBQ Rub & Sauce Recipes”

  1. October 14, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Yum yum yum! I love pulled pork a ridiculous amount!

  2. October 15, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Excellent recipe today thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading today’s post.

    Check out this healthy recipe – Cheese Topped Vegetables

  3. October 18, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    This looks delicious! I love pulled pork, and that rub sounds AMAZING…great flavors! 🙂

  4. October 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Yummy! I wish I could have a bite…

  5. September 12, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Is this something I can make in a crockpot? I don’t have a smoker… Thanks!

    • September 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      You certainly could. You’d just miss the smoke flavor and the crust texture you get from starting it on the BBQ first.

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