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Weekend Recipe: Smoky Pulled Pork on a Gas Grill

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Photo courtesy of Cook's Illustrated

In the battle between gas and charcoal grill, gas wins this round. Thanks in part to the hickory chips soaked in water and put into foil packets, the pork gets just the right amount of smoky flavor. (America's Test Kitchen does not recommend mesquite chips -- the smokiness can be too intense.) Serve with white bread or hamburger buns with pickles and coleslaw.

Smoky Pulled Pork on a Gas Grill
Serves 8 to 10

Before beginning, check your propane tank to make sure that you have at least a half-tank of fuel. If you happen to run out of fuel, you can move the pork to a preheated 300-degree oven to finish cooking.

Kosher salt and pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
1 (5-pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed
9 1/2 ounces wood chips (4 cups)
2 (9-inch) disposable aluminum pie plates
1 (13 by 9-inch) disposable aluminum roasting pan

Vinegar Sauce
2 cups cider vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the pork: Combine 5 teaspoons salt, 2 1/2 teaspoons pepper, paprika, and sugar in small bowl. Cut pork against grain into 3 equal slabs. Rub salt mixture into pork, making sure meat is evenly coated. Wrap pork tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.

Just before grilling, soak 2 cups wood chips in water for 15 minutes, then drain. Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap soaked chips in 8 by 4 1/2-inch foil packet. (Make sure chips do not poke holes in sides or bottom of packet.) Repeat with remaining 2 cups unsoaked chips. Cut 2 evenly spaced, 2-inch slits in top of each packet.

Remove cooking grate and place wood chip packets directly on primary burner. Place disposable pie plates, each filled with 3 cups water, directly on other burner(s). Set grate in place, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 15 minutes. Turn primary burner to medium and turn off other burner(s). (Adjust primary burner as needed to maintain grill temperature of 300 degrees.)

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place pork on cooler side of grill, directly over water pans; cover; and smoke for 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer pork to disposable pan. Return disposable pan to cooler side of grill and continue to cook until meat registers 200 degrees, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Transfer pork to carving board and let rest for 20 minutes. Pour juices from disposable pan into fat separator and let stand for 5 minutes.

For the vinegar sauce: While pork rests, whisk all ingredients together in bowl. Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-size pieces. Stir 1/3 cup defatted juices and 1/2 cup sauce into pork. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

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