Smoky, sweet, tangy, and tender: North Carolina-style pulled pork is perfect for sharing with friends at backyard barbecues. The deep flavor comes from rubbing the meat with sugar and spices and then low, slow cooking -- just the right pace for this time of year.
This recipe takes the idea of cedar-plank-cooked fish a step further, using cedar branches and maple leaves to impart a great smoky, woodsy flavor. Grape leaves can be used in place of the maple leaves.
Maintaining low smoker and oven temperatures is the key to achieving the most tender and moist smoked pork. When the pork has reached 180 degrees, all the fat should be rendered, and the meat should pull apart easily. You can cook the entire time in the smoker, but the smoked flavor will be very strong. If you do not have a smoker, use our oven method in the note below.
Where there's smoke, there's flavor. Smoking fish at home may sound intimidating, but it's no more complicated than grilling. Just add aromatic wood to a charcoal grill and let the fragrant, flavorful smoke do its work.