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Hot & Fast Bourbon Smoked Pulled Pork

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I know that smoking meat is all about low and slow and especially for things like smoked pulled pork but what happens when you just don't have the 12-16 hours required to smoke a pulled pork?

Do you just give up and go to your local barbecue restaurant?

Absolutely not!

If you are severely limited on time and you really want to make some smoked pulled pork, let me tell you that it can be done and it can be done very successfully. In this newsletter I am going to show you how to put together some hot and fast bourbon smoked pulled pork in record time.

This version of smoked pulled pork does require that you have a smoker that will maintain hotter than usual smoking temperatures but even if you don't you can do a slightly altered version of the hot and fast smoked pulled pork by using your smoker as hot as it will go for about 3 hours then finishing it in your oven preheated to the correct temperature.

Folks, I am talking about amazing, delicious, smoked pulled pork in under 8 hours!

When you have the time to do it up right then grab a drink and a chair and let that baby go low and slow but when you are under the gun, this is your method for pulled pork.

Many, if not most of you, are not going to be able to maintain a high enough temperature in your smoker to get this smoked pulled pork done in less than 8 hours. For that reason, I will prescribe the smoker to oven method when you need to get some pulled pork done in a hurry. The rest of you who can run 325 F in your smokers can finish the entire process in your smoker.

Important Information
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F for 3 hours then 325°F for 5 hours (approx.)
  • Meat Finish Temp: 205 F
  • Recommended Wood: Hickory
What You'll Need
Preparing the Pork Butt

Start by placing the pork butt into a foil pan.


You can use regular yellow mustard if you prefer, but the spicy brown mustard is what I used on this one.

Don't even worry about measuring. Just squirt mustard all over the top as pictured.


Spread the mustard onto the top and sides of the meat. You don't have to worry so much about the bottom since it will be sitting in a pan of juice later.


Place a cup or two of rub in a cheese shaker or other container with large holes. Sprinkle a heavy coating of my original rub onto the top and sides of the pork butt. The mustard will help it to stick and there is really no need to massage it in. Make sure it gets into every little nook and cranny for best results.

My original rub forms this beautiful mahogany crust on the outside of the meat and not only does it taste amazing, it looks amazing when it's all mixed into the meat later.

Be very generous with the rub! It is low on sodium and high on flavor.


Leave the pork butt sitting on the cabinet for a few minutes while you go get the smoker ready.

Preparing the Smoker

For this hot and fast method of cooking and smoking pulled pork, it is ideal if you have a smoker such as a pellet smoker that can maintain about 325 °F while it smokes but most of us don't have this.

For this reason, if you are one of those who do good to cook at 225°F, that is fine. We will simply smoke the meat for about 3 hours then transfer it to a 325°F oven covered with foil.

Set up your smoker or grill for indirect cooking at 225°F with hickory wood if you have it. Any good smoking wood will work and some really good ones for pork are apple, cherry, pecan or oak.

I used my trusty Meadowcreek reverse flow wood smoker for this one.

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Smoking the Pork Butt

Place the pan with the  seasoned pork butt in it on the grate of your smoker. Maintain 225 °F for about 3 hours making sure to keep the smoke going real good the entire time.


Into the Oven (if necessary)

Once the pork butt has smoke cooked for 3 hours, it is time for the hot and fast part.

By this time, the pork will have reached around 140°F as seen on my black thermapen.


Pour about 1 to 2 cups of bourbon, apple juice or a 50:50 mix depending on how much bourbon flavor you want into the bottom of the pan. Pour on some extra rub for good measure. 1/4 cup or so on the pork and about 1/2 cup down in the liquid.

Using all bourbon, you will be able to taste that delicious bourbon flavor all the way through the smoked pulled pork when it gets finished. It just sort of steams the flavor into the meat and together with the rub, makes for some excellent pulled pork.

Note: If you want to tone it down some, dilute with apple juice. If you don't want to use any bourbon at all, then just use straight apple juice.

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Cover the pan with heavy duty foil and seal it real good around the edges.


Place the pan with the pulled pork into the oven  preheated to 325 °F.

Note: I recommend (based on past experience) placing the pan onto a cookie sheet in case any of the liquid bubbles or leaks out.

Continue cooking the pulled pork until it reaches 205 °F in the center.

At this point, the bone will pull out of the meat with little to no effort.

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Pulling the Pork

The first thing I do, once I remove the bone, is to pull the meat apart into it's natural sections. These natural sections are usually separated by pockets of fat.

If I am careful, I am able to separate out most of the fat lickety split!

The way I grade good smoked pulled pork is by how well it was pulled and how much of the fat still remains in the meat. I can tell when someone knows what they are doing by simply observing this.


Once the fat is discarded and the meat is left, simply place the pieces into a large bowl and stir it around. If you cooked it to 205°F, it will just fall apart into perfect pulled pork.


If you took it out of the heat early, you might have to use some bear claws to pull it.

Serving the Pulled Pork

Smoked pulled pork is excellent served as:

  1. Place pork in a foil pan
  2. Apply mustard and my original rub to top and bottom of pork butt
  3. Smoke pork butt at 225°F using hickory for 3 hours in smoker
  4. Add bourbon and/or apple juice to pan and cover with foil.
  5. Cook pork butt in 325°F oven for about 5 hours or 205°F in center of meat.
  6. Remove bone and separate meat from fat
  7. Pull pork into shreds and pieces and serve.

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  1. FIRES IN THE OVEN shame on this admin to post this recipe when there are obviously people reporting fires in their ovens. EXTREMELY NEGLIGENT of you

  2. Just had fire flash back when opening oven door to check on results. Used 2 cups bourbon 1 cup apple juice. Have an electric oven, not sure what happened. Make sure oven is off before opening door that will let oxygen.

  3. Trying this today. It’s in the oven now and the house smells wonderful. I used about a 3:1 mix bourbon to Apple juice. Can’t wait!! I use a Smoke Canyon vertical gas smoker, and all these recipes come out right on target! Thanks for keeping us educated!!

  4. Just started smoking with an electric charbroil we bought our son for Christmas. We wanted to figure out how the temp control worked before we did anything major. Used London broil with a rub. Couldn’t keep temp below 300. Did 3.5 hours. Meat came out hard. Good taste. Doing brisket for bday in june. Should we be spraying something on it?

    1. I have not used the electric charbroil.. sounds like it is cooking way too hot for smoking. If it has a water pan, make sure to keep it full of ice cold water and use a tested thermometer to test the temperature of the smoker right where the food sits (grate level) since your smoker thermometer may be giving you a bad reading.

      If that is the square vertical one with the door on the front, you might consider leaving the door open about ¼ inch or so to let some of the heat escape if it’s running that hot.

      Here’s an article I wrote on how to cook a London broil (usually made from top round): https://www.smoking-meat.com/may-30-2013-smoked-london-broil-top-round

  5. If I want to use the smoker the entire time do I put the bourbon mix in the pan right away or wait a few hours?
    Thanks! Love the site!

  6. Hey Jeff,
    So if I was making this on a Big Green Egg would you recommend starting at 325 and holding it there for the entire cook? What would you recommend for smoke time and when would you foil? Any idea how long it would take to reach 205? Thank you!

  7. Hi Jeff,

    I want to make a vacuum marinator like the one on u tube.  how big of a vacuum pump do I need, horse power wise, how much vacuum psi,  and how long per pound would I keep it in the marinator?  thanks for your help.

  8. Are you actually saving the bourbon/juices in the bottom of the pan and mixing back in when you pull it, or do you remove the meat from the foil pan and discarding the juices? Looks like a great recipe!

    1. Yes.. Funny I found my original question from almost 8 years ago unanswered, but I have made this recipe dozens of times. I keep the juices, separate the fat off, and add back to the meat in case anyone was wondering. :-)

  9. Made this with the Smoked Mac and Cheese. Divine.

    Do make sure you use another layer of foil under the pan when you put in over or put in a glass baking dish to catch all the juices that will bubble up. Some of this spilled on my oven floor and started to burn, may have been a piece of fat. Had to vent the oven and house. Was actually ready a bit faster than the recipe stated

  10. Man do I love this site….Anyway the "Disclamer" has me going Hmmmm?

    Can you explain the various ways to skin a cat??? LOL, I can't think of but a few.

    Thanks for the good laugh.

  11. I tried this pulled pork today, pretty good, just not smokey enough for us. Used a Bradley and transferred to the oven after I got worried about the very hot sides at 310° (high as I could get it). What do you do with the left over drippings after separating the fat?

  12. tried the hot and fast bourbon smoked pulled pork. everyone loved it! may not need even a full cup as there was plenty of good juices there when this was done.

  13. Wow! Your recipe looked really interesting so wanted to try. Followed your recipe but after 30 in oven, 2c bourbon used & sealed, the thing caught fire on the outside & blew my oven door open! Shocked me so I vented & put back in oven then 30 min later oven door opened again??? Temp is at 150 at this point. Vented even more & now it's back in again! Never had this happen before but this is why you shouldn't leave your house when cooking! Any suggestions as to why this happened?? Enjoy your site & recipes!

  14. Hey Jeff
    Been following and using your own recipes and developed several of mine over the past few years since 06 overseas and I now live in Cranberry County, you want to talk about a twist on the way to smoke and the flavor of the end result try some cranberry juice straight up instead of apple cider for a brine and cooking with also incorporate into your sauce for a sweet side to the heat . I smoke most everything with apple and have been kicked back three fingers bourbon on ice watching the deer in the back yard.
    Thanks for your time bud.
    Sgt Stolie Out

  15. I think I already know the answer but would I do anything different if I left it in the smoker the whole time? I assume not but you never know.

    Thanks and I have made several of your recipes and they have all been great.

    1. If you are able to reach 325 degrees or something close to that, cover with foil after about 3-4 hours to keep the rub from burning. If you are running at about 225-240 (normal smoking temperatures) then just cover with foil once the meat reaches about 160 degrees in the center or you can leave it open the entire time since there is no danger of burning. The foil cover just speeds things up a little bit.

      I would keep the smoke going for at least 6 hours or until you cover with foil for maximum smoke flavor.

      Let me know if you need clarification on any of this.