Feel free to test and adjust this recipe. Pork shoulder is an incredibly forgiving cut. Add whatever you personally enjoy to your sliders and tweak what rub you prefer. Have fun and enjoy it! It’s one of the first things I learned to cook low and slow when starting out. It always impresses a crowd, is easy to master and feeds a lot!
Recipe by David Heseltine
Pork shoulder is an incredibly forgiving cut! You can add whatever you personally enjoy to your sliders and tweak what rub you prefer. Just remember: cook low and slow when starting out. It always impresses a crowd, it’s easy to master, and it feeds a lot!
- pork shoulder/butt or picnic roast
- olive oil or mustard
- dry rub of choice
- apple juice and apple cider vinegar for spritzing
- slider/burger buns
- cheese slices
- BBQ sauce of choice
For Tangy Coleslaw Ingredients
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder or 1 tbsp finely grated onion
- 2 tsp celery seeds
- bag of coleslaw cabbage mix
This recipe is based on a 4-5 kg pork shoulder. You can do one of any size though, with the same temps and process applications. The cooking time on average is 60-90 min per 500g of pork. A 4 kg pork shoulder will take somewhere around 8hrs to cook. However they can take shorter or longer, it’s not an exact thing. Suggest starting earlier if cooking to a schedule and resting for longer at the end.
- Trim pork shoulder of any excess hard fat and ensure only a thin layer of fat covering. There is enough intermuscular fat to ensure it gets tender and we want the rub and smoke to get into the meat as much as possible.
- Fire up Z-Grill to 121°C (250°F) or go slightly cooler if you want to get a bit more smoke flavor in your pork. It will just take longer.
- Make approximately 250 ml mixture (for a 4 kg pork shoulder) of apple cider vinegar, apple juice and a dash of your dry rub.
- Inject this mixture using a meat injection syringe just underneath the surface of the pork. Spacing each point of injection about 2.5cm apart until you’ve covered the entire piece of meat.
- Pat outside of pork shoulder dry. Lightly rub olive oil or mustard over your pork shoulder. This will be our binder for the rub.
- Apply dry rub of choice liberally over the entire pork shoulder. For pork I recommend a rub with some sweetness to it, a little bit of heat and salt. Once you pull the meat there is a lot of surface area. So don’t be afraid to go harder than you usually would with a rub. We also want to ensure a nice bark forms on our pork. Let rub absorb into meat for at least 15 min.
- Place rubbed pork shoulder on Z-Grill. Insert meat probe to monitor internal temp. Place in middle of pork shoulder, ensuring it is in meat and not fat or bone. This ensures we will get an accurate temp reading.
- Mix some apple cider vinegar with some apple juice in a spray bottle. After pork shoulder has been on for 1hr, open the lid and give the pork shoulder a quick spritz all over. This will ensure we keep it nice and moist. Only spritz at this point if the bark (outside rub that should be darkening and hardening) is on its way to set. We don’t want to moisten it yet if it’s still quite moist already. We will then spritz every hour until we wrap. Ensure you don’t take too long spritzing as we don’t want to lose too much temp in the z grill.
- Once the internal temp of the pork shoulder reaches around 71-73°C (160-165°F) we are going to wrap it to speed the cooking process up and to ensure it’s extra juicy. You can choose not to wrap if you want the cook to take longer and prefer a dryer bark and not so soft pulled pork.
- Place 2 sheets of overlapping kitchen foil on a surface, large enough to completely wrap the pork shoulder tightly. Remove pork shoulder from z grill and place on top of foil. Slightly bend the edges of the foil up so no liquid runs off. Give the pork shoulder a good final spritz and pour a little of the spritz mix in next to the shoulder. You can also add a little BBQ sauce, butter or honey at this stage for extra flavor. Wrap the shoulder tightly with the foil so no liquid can escape.
- Place pork shoulder back on Z-Grill. Insert temp probe through the foil and continue cooking.
For Tangy Coleslaw
- In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, onion powder, and celery seeds.
- Add the shredded cabbage mix and toss until well coated. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 2 days. Toss again right before serving.
- Once the internal temp of the pork shoulder has reached approximately 93°C (200°F) we will begin to probe it. Use either an instant-read thermometer or some sort of skewer. We want to push the skewer through the foil into the meat and look to see how it feels. The pork shoulder will be done when it starts to easily go into the meat, as if it is pushing into soft butter. This will occur somewhere between 93-96°C (200-205°F). If it doesn’t feel quite soft enough yet, close the lid and try again in 10min or so.
- Once probing like butter, remove pork shoulder from Z-Grill and place inside an esky. Still in the foil. Then cover with a towel, close the esky lid and allow to rest. If you don’t have an esky you can just rest on a bench in the foil, but resting in an esky is the best method to ensure the juices inside redistribute but still stays hot. Rest for at least an hour, but anywhere up to 4hrs is fine and it will still be piping hot when you are ready to unwrap. Resting is a vitally important step. Don’t skip this step if you want tender pulled pork, even with the pork smelling amazing.
- Just before ready to serve, grab the burger buns and give them a quick toast on the Z-Grill to lightly warm them up.
- Remove pork shoulder from esky. Place on surface and gently open the foil, ensuring no liquid is lost. Remove pork shoulder and place in a pan. Keep foil tented to ensure you keep the leftover liquid. Use pork shredders or a couple of forks to begin shredding the meat. It should all come apart easily. Take the bone out if you cooked a bone in pork shoulder. Once meat is shredded to your taste, apply a light seasoning of the rub across all the meat and stir the meat. Pour over the juices leftover in the foil and stir.
You are now ready to assemble your pork sliders on the toasted buns with the pulled pork, coleslaw, optional cheese slices and optional bbq sauce! Enjoy!