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How to Make the Best Competition Pulled Pork

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Harness the power of melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork deliciousness with this how-to guide. Whether you’re making smokin’ sandwiches, nachos, or just enjoying it in all its glory, you’ll be the pork master with our step-by-step instructions.

How to Make Competition Pulled Pork

The Ingredients:

Trim the Fat

1. Start with cold pork butts.

2. Trim the butt of excess fat from the top of meat, leaving the bottom fat cap intact.


3. Trim off any pieces of bone.

4. Trim along the edges to help square up the shape of the butt.


Inject the Pork Butt

1. Inject each pork butt every ½” with 6-8 ounces of pork injection liquid.

Season the Pork

1. Rub each pork butt with Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub.


2. Let sit for 4-8 hours, refrigerated, to let rub settle in.


How to Cook Competition Pulled Pork

1. Preheat Traeger to 225°F and activate the Super Smoke setting if using a WiFIRE-enabled grill.

2. Place pork directly on grill grate. Spritz with apple juice about every half hour, or whenever the surface of the pork butts is dry. Keep the surface of the butts moist but not dripping. Cook until internal temp hits 165-170°F in the thickest part in the middle of the butt and the color is a deep reddish mahogany. The best way to keep a close eye on your internal temp is using a MEATER 2 Plus wireless meat thermometer.

3. Carefully transfer each pork butt into an aluminum pan. Sprinkle each pork butt with 1 cup brown sugar, ¾ cup butter, ¼ cup hot sauce, and ¼ cup Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub. Add ¾ cup apple juice to pan. Cover each pan with foil, sealing it tightly.

4. Increase Traeger to 275°F.

5. Place back in grill and let finish until pork butt internal temp is 204°F, or when the bone can easily be pulled out.

6. Remove pans from grill and strain out pan juices. Add pan juices to Texas Spicy Sauce and Apricot Sauce.

7. Glaze each pork butt with sauce mixture, then cover each with food safe plastic wrap and double layer with foil.

8. Place wrapped pork butts in an insulated cooler, covering with towels. Rest pork butts for 2 hours.

9. After resting, pull the pork butt into large chunks, removing and discarding the bone and any fat.

10. Mix with additional sauce if desired and serve.

Competition Style BBQ Pulled Pork

by Traeger Kitchen

Prep Time

25 Min

Cook Time

10 Hr





This first-place pulled pork is trimmed and heavily injected with an apple juice and spice blend, rubbed down with some sweet and salty pork and poultry rub, then smoked low and slow until melt-in-your-mouth, fall-apart-tender, in true BBQ fashion.

1 (8-10 lb) bone-in pork butt
1/2 CupTraeger Pork & Poultry Rub, divided
2 3/4 Cupapple juice, divided
1/4 CupButcher BBQ Pork Injection
Special Equipment
meat injector
1/2 CupTraeger Pork & Poultry Rub, divided
  • 1

    Trim any excess fat from the pork butt.

  • 2

    In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub, 2 cups apple juice, and the the Butcher BBQ Pork Injection.

  • 3

    Use a meat injector to inject the mixture all over the pork butt. Season the outside with the remaining Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub. Let pork rest for 20 minutes.

  • 4

    When ready to cook, set the Traeger temperature to 225℉ and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes. For optimal flavor, use Super Smoke, if available.

  • 5

    Insert the probe into the pork butt, avoiding the bone and any large pockets of fat. Place the pork directly on the grill grates, close the lid, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 155-165°F, 4 1/2-5 1/2 hours.

  • 6

    Remove the pork from the grill and wrap in a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving one end open. Pour in the remaining 3/4 cup apple juice, then seal the foil packet.

  • 7

    Increase the grill temperature to 250℉. Place the wrapped pork butt on the grill, re-insert the probe, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 204-206°F, another 3-4 hours.

  • 8

    Remove the pork from the grill and open the foil packet to vent for 10 minutes. Re-seal the foil packet and let the pork rest for 45-60 minutes.

  • 9

    After resting, pour the liquid from the foil packet into a fat separator to separate the fat from the broth. Unwrap the pork, remove the bone, and pull the meat to your desired texture. Add the meat to a large bowl with 2 cups of the broth, or enough to reach your desired moisture level, and toss to coat. Enjoy!