After a long while of trying to duplicate the experience of authentic North Carolina pulled pork barbeque I do believe I have finally found a way that works. Thanks in large part to advice offered by Dave Lineback, Ed Pawlowski, and Matthew Poteat on the Bubba-L list, and Jim Moore of the Silver Pig Barbecue Restaurant in Madison Heights, Virginia.
For those of you used to smoking with off-set rigs who might think this is just roasting, or even low-intensity grilling, well, you're right--that's exactly what authentic North Carolina BBQ is!
I've included a sauce recipe also--those of you who don't like, or won't use, nuoc mam, just substitute Worcestershire sauce...then read the ingredients of the Worcestershire sauce. Water, anchovies, salt, etc.--Worcestershire sauce is basically just dressed up nuoc mam.
Anyways, if y'all try this, I do think you'll like it! Leastways, I hope so...enjoy!
This is a simple, inexpensive, and absolutely unbelievably effective and authentic way to make real North Carolina pulled pork barbeque. All you need is a cheap Brinkmann or like model vertical water smoker (about $30 US), a shovel, and some free time.
Take the water smoker, remove the legs, and sit it on the ground. Take your shovel, mark out a hole slightly smaller than the diameter of the smoker barrel, and dig a hole about 18 inches deep. Dig another, larger, hole nearby, or use a burn barrel--this will be your pre-burn pit. Get some oak and/or hickory wood and some kindling.
Get a fire going in your pre-burn pit. Take the pork butts (or shoulders, or a whole shoulder if you're lucky enough to get one) and generously salt the exterior. Take the barrel of the cheap water smoker and set the grill on the lower setting, about halfway down the barrel (this would be where the water pan would go normally). When you have some good coals in your pre-burn pit, shovel them into the smaller hole, put the barrel of the water smoker over the hole (without the lid, of course--you won't be needing the lid), put the pork roasts on the grill fat side up, and grab a beer or some sweet tea. Add some more logs to the pre-burn pit. Relax.
About every 30-45 minutes, replenish the coals under the pork (you can just lift the smoker off the top of the hole, add coals, and put the smoker back over the hole when you're done). Add some larger chunks of coals if you want a smokier flavor (no worries about creosote, cause this is basically an open pit). After six hours, lift the smoker off the hole, churn up the coals real good, and flip the pork roasts so that the fat side is down. Put the smoker back over the coals, churning as necessary for about 30 minutes to prevent flame-ups as the fat drips on the coals. Continue replenishing coals at 30-45 minute intervals for an additional 3 hours, then bring the pork in, pull (or chop) it, discarding the *inside* fat (you want to use a good portion of the outside fat for flavor), and sauce it according to the directions below.
FOR THE SAUCE:
Mix ingredients together, let stand about 4 hours before using. When using as a finishing sauce, add to pulled pork along with 1 tablespoon of salt dissolved in about 2 cups of warm tap water. Quantities are for about 3 pounds of pulled pork barbeque.
Simple, really, but oh is it good!