How Do I Barbecue Pork?

Lori Kilchermann

To barbecue pork, it is key to build the proper type of fire as gas grills are usually not recommended to produce the best meat. Generally, a slow-roasting fire is preferred to provide the most tender and flavorful pork. While the fire is turning to hot coals, you might want to trim the excess fat off of your pork. Fatty meat will result in barbecue pork that is burned in spots due to intermittent grease fires flaring up beneath the meat. As the barbecue pork cooks, basting the meat with a wet barbecue sauce will maintain the moisture in the pork and prevent dryness.

Barbecue pork is slow roasted to preserve moisture in the meat.
Barbecue pork is slow roasted to preserve moisture in the meat.

Cooking pork requires both patience and determination. You will be required to tend to your barbecue pork intermittently while it is roasting in order to achieve the best results. Many cooks agree that you do not need to marinate the pork prior to placing it on the grill. The moisture in good barbecue pork comes from the slow roasting and the basting of the meat as it cooks. A barbecue sauce high in honey or sugar will provide a crispier finish to the outside of your pork. You can use a gas grill set at the lowest heat to cook your pork, however, a bed of hot wood coals will offer the best cooking temperature along with a smokey flavor cooked deep into the meat.

Cuts of pork taken from different areas of a pig will have varying degrees of fattiness and may be suited for specific cooking styles.
Cuts of pork taken from different areas of a pig will have varying degrees of fattiness and may be suited for specific cooking styles.

To produce the best pork, you will need to turn the meat occasionally as it cooks. This is done to both prevent burning as well as to distribute the natural juices throughout the pork. If you are cooking an entire pig, you may want to use a rotisserie to keep the pork cooking evenly on all sides. Many cooks prefer to section or quarter a pig and cook the individual pieces instead of roasting the meat as a whole pig. The meat can be more evenly cooked in this manner as the cook decides when to turn a piece and when to leave it alone.

Pork ribs are usually basted as they cook.
Pork ribs are usually basted as they cook.

One of the most important components of producing quality barbecue pork is to allow the meat to rest prior to serving it to your guests. You should use a meat thermometer to make certain your pork is cooked to the proper internal temperature, thereby preventing illness in your diners. You might want to remove your barbecue pork from the heat as it is just under the temperature you are attempting to reach because the meat will continue cooking after it is removed from the heat. The meat will reach the correct internal temperature as it rests, and the juices will be redistributed throughout the pork.

Sausage and bratwurst are popular pork items that can be cooked on a barbecue.
Sausage and bratwurst are popular pork items that can be cooked on a barbecue.
In the U.S. South, barbecue pork is the featured attraction at a pig picking. perennial favorite at outdoor summer parties.
In the U.S. South, barbecue pork is the featured attraction at a pig picking. perennial favorite at outdoor summer parties.
A meat thermometer can be used to confirm whether the meat is done.
A meat thermometer can be used to confirm whether the meat is done.

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