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Philly Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches and ribs

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Joined: 14 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Dec 09 2011    Post subject: Philly Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches and ribs Reply with quote

Philly Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches and ribs

My entire family spend a week down in OC MD for a week long vacation, there are 14 of us and this is a tradition we have done for over twenty years.
Every family picks a dinner night and prepares the meal, serves and cleans up.
This year I wanted to try and Wow my family.
Dinner was a total success, even a few of the cereal/pork roll kids had no complaints.

I figured some folks would be interested in a detailed post of one of my typical "Q-ing" events,

Now this is a very long post and I strongly suggest grabbing a Coffee, beer or glass of wine and a few snacks.
I know some of the guys here have read this already on another forum, So NO ... you don't have to read it again!

Lets Begin.
First I mixed up my Rubs, I had some pork rub already, the photo below is old.

Pork/Rib Rub:

1/3 cup coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1-1/2 cup (packed) Sugar in the Raw(brown sugar is ok)
1-1/4 cup paprika
1 Tbsp freshly coarse ground black pepper
2 Tbsp garlic powder
¼ cup dried onion flakes
¼ cup onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp coriander
1 Tbsp rosemary

Then onto my Philly Style Pulled Pork Rub, this isn’t the traditional Rub that others use but very similar.
This is my first shot at this

Philly Style Dry Rub:

¼ c. kosher salt (updated, was 1/2 cup , increase to 1/2 cup if using low sodium broth in the finishing sauce)
¼ c. black pepper (freshly ground if possible)
½ c. Italian seasoning (OR equal parts: basil, oregano and rosemary)
½ c. Minced Onion Flakes
2 tsp. chili powder
2, 7- 10lb Pork Butt

I start off prepping the ribs, “St. Louis style”, I then line a steamer pan with some plastic wrap, sprinkle some of my pork rub on the bottom, then start layering them in, coating each one, no I don’t use mustard.
After all the Ribs are prepped and rubbed they are wrapped tightly still inside the steamer pan and placed inside the downstairs refrigerator, if you don't have a dedicated refrigerator your wife will kill you.

All the rib meat will be smoked, the trimmings will be used for my next batch of chili I make, nothing goes to waste.

Now onto the Butts, the butts are trimmed, I remove the Fat cap and False cap. A lot of folks will leave on the fat cap and score it. I think there is enough fat marbled throughout to provide enough flavoring to the meat without the fat cap. If you like a lot of bark, remove the fat, this will give you more surface area, this however is not my reasoning for this particular smoke, I am not looking for a heavy bark.
Some leave on the fat to protect the meat from flareups or temp spikes like in the situation your meat is directly over the heat source.

I then line a steamer pan with some plastic wrap, sprinkle some of my Philly rub on the bottom, then place the trimmed butts in the pan rubbing each one real good, no I don’t use mustard.
After the Butts are prepped and rubbed they are wrapped tightly, still inside the steamer pan and placed inside the downstairs refrigerator, where they will have to wait till morning.

Good morning!

Ok its now 7:00am, 90 minutes later than I planned, oh well.
I promised myself I wasn’t gonna stress over this cook and DAMN IT, I WONT!

7:00 am Saturday
Butts are removed from the fridge and placed on the counter.

Ok, now its time to fire up Frank, first I choose some wood for a coal base and toss into my handy basket, I’ll usually use my junk wood for this.

Then I turn on the propane supply and open the valve for the log lighter, get my nifty butane lighter that rarely ever works and Voila! Instant fire.

Now I place the basket directly over the log burner.

As the burner does its thing, I get out my toys; thermos, gloves, tongs and such.
Here I am sliding out my storage bin and getting out my toys.
I know its a bit messy, I have to organize it better.

Now I light my pre-warmer burner and as that’s warming up I head upstairs to get the butts

In retrospect I should have lit the preburner first then the log lighter.
Let me explain.. the draft is so strong from the fire going under the plate and out the exhaust stack, that it was a bear to ignite the preburner, hell I do it wrong every time… oh well, maybe I’ll get it right next time.

I let the smoker heat up to around 400° then turned off the gas supply. Reaching 400° barely took 10 minutes.
My rule is not to use gas with wood once Frank is up and running, I don't want Frank to become a bomb.
The only exception is when I am smoking with propane as my fuel source as opposed to wood, I'll lay a chunk on the grate to add smoke flavor throughout the smoke.

7:30 Saturday
Ok so back to the Butts, Butts are unwrapped brought to the smoker still in the steamer pan.
Next I slide one of the grates out of the way on top of the other grate to the left and place one butt on the grate to the right and one butt on the grate to the left.

The pan is then placed underneath the grates on top of the reverse flow plate to catch the drippings.
There is a cast iron grate on top of the reverse flow plate, you can not see it in the photos below but it is there.
The Steamer pan will sit on top of this grate.
Now I slide the grates back in place with the butts on top of the grates without disturbing the butts.
The butts were not tied up, I just placed any trimming I had inside the butts and tucked it tightly in place.
I’ll add 2 cups of water to the steamer pan, this prevents the drippings from burning.

Time to set up my probes.
Once the probes are inserted and ready to go and everything is in place the door is shut and sealed and I hit the timer button on the Taylor Thermo and do an actual time check.
The official smoke has begun.

Ok, time to tidy up, I’ll put everything back into the bin that won't be used during the smoke and close the bin.

I start with all 4 intake valves open, for the first hour or so.

I check the fire once more and wow its going good. This fire will not be raging like this during the smoke, this is the first burn to get a good bed of hot coals.

Now I start to monitor my temps, at first I don’t mind if it goes over 275° and sometimes as high as 300° the first hour or so but will shoot for 225° - 240° for the long haul.
Once I have a good coal base and can feed it every 30 - 60 minutes I can maintain my preferred temps, I dial in the smoker every smoke.

Ok, now that everything is done and seems to be running smoothly, it is now a waiting game and I know I cant go anywhere, its time to chill out, so I head upstairs for a cup of coffee and quick meal.
Then I head downstairs with my coffee, get a notepad, and grab my maverick receiver and relax with some episodes of Lost.

This Timothy's Kahlua is awesome.

Gotta love this Netflix.

I’m on episode 3, yep that’s right never seen lost before and have 117 left.
After an episode its time to see how the smoke is coming along.

8:30am Saturday
Everything’s looking good, threw on a few more chunks of cherry wood and added a quart of water on the reverse plate, I usually don’t do this.
For the next 2 hours I dial in Frank and get a my preferred temp range. I ended up with 2 valves fully open and 2 valves fully closed, throughout the entire smoke.

10:30am Saturday
Its 10:30 now and a few episodes of Lost later, it's time to throw on the ribs.
(Although this is a Philly Style Pulled Pork recipe, I threw on some ribs and documented the ribs as well)

The Ribs are unwrapped and taken to the smoker. I checked the fire and add a few more chunks of wood.
The smoker temps are looking good, hovering around 240°.
I open the smoker and place the rib rack inside and do my best to fit everything without disturbing the butts. I add a cup of water to the drip pan and add a 3 cups of water to the reverse flow plate.

Ok, the ribs are in and everything’s looking good. The steamer pan is cleaned and set a side for the foiling stage of the ribs.

The Butts had broken 140° a little while before adding the Ribs.

Adding the ribs knocked the snot out of my temps but Frank recovers pretty quickly, plus the fact that it's over 100° outside helped out quite a bit.
It took around 10 minutes to recover temps, I usually throw a few chunks on right before opening the smoke chamber for any length of time, such as I did here.

Back to my show.
For the next three hours I monitor the temps and feed the fire, peeking only once and opening another time to add the ribs.
I usually mop but decided not to do so this time, I wasn’t going for a heavy bark on the Butts and felt the ribs would be fine.

1:30pm Saturday
Now it’s 1:30pm and still nasty hot outside I believe we topped out at 103° - or 106°
Ribs are ready to be foiled, ribs are removed from the rack, placed in the steamer pan and foiled, then placed back in the smoker.
The reason I do it this way is, none of the rib juices are lost and it's a whole lot less messier.

Since were open, lets take a look at the butts.

2:15pm Saturday
Its now nearly 7 hours into the smoke and the butts have reached 165° at nearly the same time as one another. I decide to foil these butts at this time because as I said before I am not going for a heavy bark on this smoke. When I am doing my "Traditional Barbecue", with my pork rub, I do not foil and I will usually mop to get a heavy bark.
It's fun to play with your food sometimes.

3:30pm Saturday
Ribs are removed from the pan and placed directly on the grates and a few marinated chicken breasts are added, it was way too hot out to cook inside so the wife reluctantly let me throw the chicken on the smoker.
Everything is looking good and incredibly both butts are around 190°, they did hit a stall at 160° at 12:30 for two hours, but that was it, steady climbing the rest of the smoke.

4:30pm Saturday Happy Hour!
First things first, time for an ice cold Killians, WOOHOO!

after my first cold one… one of many to come, I remove the ribs and they are placed in a steamer pan and taking upstairs to rest about an hour

5:30pm Saturday
Ribs are sliced for dinner and some placed in the refrigerator awaiting to be vacuum sealed and frozen for next weeks vacation.
I know, I know, the presentation sucks, but I was in a hurry to feed these guys after you see the picture after the rib pics you'll understand.

As everyone ELSE eats their DINNER, its time for me to do a few more things.

Scary, Huh!

Since the butts are ready as well, I remove the butts, place another layer of foil, wrap in towels and place in a cooler to rest.

The drippings are then removed from top the reverse flow plate, strained into a pot and placed in the refrigerator for later.

I was a bit surprised that the butts were finished in 10 hours, they were roughly 9 pounds each, trimmed to about 7.5 pounds, that would be a cook time of 80 minutes per pound. I checked the probes in different spots for about twenty minutes and even switched the probes from one butt to another just to make sure.
I knew the thermos weren't lying and the butts seemed tender by feel, no resistance from the meat when probing.

I have a theory as to why the butts were done so quickly, that I am going to research.

While the butts are resting, my game plan was to make 4 different toppings:

1) Broccoli raab
2) Horseradish sauce
3) Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese
4) Grilled peppers

Anyhow I decided to make them the following day, but at the least finish the butts tonight.

8:00pm Saturday

The butts are removed from the cooler and placed on the counter, the foil is opened slightly to cool a bit as I make the finishing sauce. I don't want too much of the steam to escape too quickly.

Time to start the finishing sauce.

Finishing Sauce

2 c. red wine (merlot) will increase to 3 cups next time
1 box beef stock (4 cups) (or 1 qt. pork stock )
1 tablespoon. canola oil
1 small white onion, chopped finely
1 tbs. fresh garlic, chopped finely

In a skillet add a tablespoon of oil
Add the onions and garlic and cook 5-7 minutes.
Add the wine and allow it to reduce by half.
Add the broth
Remove the drippings from the fridge, skim off the grease and add to the skillet, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat.

Note, make sure to watch your salt if using this finishing.

After the finishing sauce is made, remove from heat.
Now its time to shred the pork, once the pork is shredded, the finishing sauce is slowly added to the pulled pork, I would add a few cups at a time, mix a bit and let the pork absorb as much as it could, wait a while and repeat.
Make sure to taste the finishing sauce before adding it to your pork!

I ended up using a little more than half, the rest will be saved for “Au jus”.
Watch your salt here, it was more than enough salt from the Rub and Beef broth, don’t add any salt.
The finishing sauce was incredible, and if I had to tweak anything, it would be an extra cup of merlot…that’s it!

Ok lets Fast forward to the next day.

10:30am Sunday
At about 10:30 am I drag my sorry ass out of bed, I know… late start, anyhow I make myself a cup of “Jamaican me Happy” and now I’m ready to go.

I start off with the Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese sauce.


5 red peppers, rinsed (I used 4 this time)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
11 ounces goat cheese
8 oz. whipping cream
10 basil leaves


Roast red peppers under the broiler for about 10 minutes each side you want the peppers skin to blacken
Put peppers in a paper bag, fold top closed, and let steam for about 20 minutes.
Carefully remove the peppers from the bag - they will still be hot. the skin will peel right off. Remove the stem and seeds inside.
Place the pepper flesh, skin and seeds removed, in a food processor.
Add salt, pepper, vinegar and basil leaves.
Pulse until smooth.
Transfer to a pot on very low heat, add the whipping cream and goat cheese once everything is smooth, remove from heat
Taste and add additional pepper as desired.
Store in the refrigerator for 10 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

After that was done I placed the sauce in a Jar, Labeled and refrigerated.

Ok now onto my next topping, “Horseradish Sauce”.


2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream


In a small bowl whisk together horseradish, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, ground red pepper and sour cream.

Alright the Horseradish sauce is finished, bottled and in the refrigerator.

Whats next…
Broccoli Raab

Looking good!


1 large bunch of fresh broccoli raab
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole bulb of fresh peeled garlic, coarsely chopped
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Crushed red pepper, to taste

Rinse and trim 1/4-inch from bottom of stems.
Cut stalks crosswise into 2-inch pieces and drop them into salted (optional), boiling water.
Cook in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes and remove with slotted spoon.
In a large heavy cast iron skillet over medium heat; add a tablespoon of olive oil then add the chopped garlic and sauté briefly, 1 minute, add the blanched broccoli raab/rapini cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add salt and few dried red pepper flakes, 1/8 teaspoon.

That was painless, quite easy actually.
Off to the fridge with ya!

Ok, this is the easiest and so far my favorite and I’ll explain later.

Simply Gorgeous!

2 red peppers (optional)
2 yellow peppers
2 orange peppers
Tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
Teaspoon balsamic vinegar(sorry not in the picture)

Grill or sauté peppers 5 minutes toss with a bit of Sea salt and balsamic vinegar.

Damn! Thank goodness that’s all done, now its time to make some sandwiches and get some feed back.

First, all of the toppings are laid out.

Lets break it down.

A few sandwiches were made in the following manner
Long roll split, smoked provolone slice, pulled pork then grilled for several minutes each side.
I am sure the grilling and foiling makes a big difference in the quality of the sandwich.

Then toppings were added.

Then the sandwiches are wrapped in foil for 10 minutes for a short rest, unwrapped, sliced and served.

These would be great for a party, make a bunch of different ones use long Hoagie rolls and slice in 2" pieces

You will definitely want to serve these with the option to dip, just serve with little bowls of your finishing sauce... trust me on this.

Ok, now that that’s all done, the pork and Ribs are vacuum sealed and frozen, except for a bit set aside for another dinner.

So how did everything come out? Great!
Here are my notes on this cook

The Ribs
Awesome as usual.
No complaints from any of the dinner guests and hopefully they will be enjoyed on vacation next week.
Update, Everyone loved the ribs.

The Pork
The pork itself was top notch and the finishing sauce threw it over the top, and the general consensus was that the Philly Style was preferred over my traditional Pulled Pork as was my Italian Porchetta.
Update, this was served down the shore to 14 people and the above statement applies here as well.

The chicken
Everyone liked the chicken as well.

The toppings, well this is another story.

I’ll start off with the least favorite.

Horseradish Sauce, everyone found this to be a bit too bitter on the pork, my suggestion would be to use horseradish cheese in place of the sauce, unless you have a better recipe. The sauce was so so and I am sure it has its place somewhere, but not on my pork sandwiches, would I make it again? No, not for sandwiches, not this particular recipe anyway.
Update, this was served down the shore to 14 people and although I didn't care for it, many of the dinner guests really liked it, go figure.

The next in the Lineup:

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese sauce, while this was a good sauce, and mostly everybody liked it, I think it would get better recognition with a stuffed pork loin. I would definitely make this again for a party, but most likely not for sandwiches for my family. It does make a fine dip.
Update, this was served down the shore to 14 people and some of the dinner guests really liked it.

Broccoli Rabe, This was ok by itself but really came through on the sandwich, me and my wife gave this 2 thumbs up and I would definitely make this again for sandwiches.
The kids however are a little weird with green stuff on their sandwiches.
Update, this was served down the shore to 14 people and most of the dinner guests really liked it.

Grilled Peppers, Now this was my favorite, something about grilled peppers.
This was an awesome topping for the pork, it added a nice sweetness and a welcomed crunch to the sandwich.
Update, this was served down the shore to 14 people and most of the dinner guests really liked it.

My kids loved the sandwiches plain, sometimes you cant improve on perfection and this pork did not need any help at all from the toppings. The toppings complimented the sandwiches and did not take away from the pork.
My oldest prefers barbecue sauce, so she slathered hers with Sweet Baby Rays, go figure.

I will be serving this next week for a crowd of 15, then I can give some more feedback.
I am going to serve some as a French Dip, the gravy (finishing sauce), is outstanding

Update: No matter what topping was added, everyone liked to dip in the finishing sauce.
You will definitely want to serve these with the option to dip, just serve with little bowls of your finishing sauce... trust me on this.

Now that wasn’t so bad was it?
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Joined: 09 Dec 2011
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Dec 10 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wholly dinner wow is right. Great post and it looks amazing. I'll admit I didn't read the whole thing yet but I will. I'm bookmarking this post for sure. Makes me glad I joined.
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PostPosted: Dec 10 2011    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah. Something a bit different to try. Looks fantastic!
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