Whether you are shredding your smoked pork butt for a sandwich or enjoying it straight up, this honey whiskey barbecue sauce is tangy, smokey and finger-licking good! Got leftovers? Find leftover pulled pork recipes here.
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Most of us have propane grills of various qualities. You know, the kind that doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot of fancy bbq, but it gets the job done. Ours lasted, well, a very long time. We do live in San Diego, so it is grilling season 365 days a year!
Needless to say, around year 7 we noticed the grill’s age. The bottom of the grill started falling off in chunks, then a burner stopped working. You noticed things like super hot spots and uber cold spots just inches away from each other, too.
Yet, despite our war-torn-looking grill, we managed to squeeze even more life out of that grill and continued grilling with it for 8 more years.
For something different, we said goodbye to propane and decided to get a kamado grill. Hello Big Steel Keg! This baby lets you grill and smoke meats, so let the fun and yummy barbecue commence!
Why this recipe rocks!
The first time we smoked a pork butt, we thought it would take 6 hours too cook. We put the meat on the grill around 2pm. By 6 that evening I found myself scrambling to get a quick meal on the table, because the roast was nowhere near ready.
In fact, I ate dinner, hung out with the kids, tucked the kids in bed and went off to sleep and the roast was still not ready! It wasn’t done cooking until 2am, but dang, it was fantastic!
Well, we’ve learned a lot since that first time and have enjoyed many, MANY smoked pork butts since. As much as I love pulled pork, I will never go back to my slow cooker again. There really is no comparison in texture or flavor.
Why did our first pork roast take so long to cook? Well, we ran out of coal and had to heat some more up. But we didn’t notice this until the grill temperature had dropped. It takes forever, especially in the middle of a January night – even for Southern California, for the temperature to rise up again.
So we invested in another tool which we found priceless, especially for these long slow cooking projects. When we needed to keep the heat consistent for a long time our CyberQ bbq temperature controller, WIFI meat thermometer for the grill, was a life saver.
This baby runs a little fan to control the heat in your grill. It also sends you texts/emails so you can control it via wifi, too. Priceless.
For a big 10-pound pork shoulder roast, it took about 6-hours to cook, plus an hour of rest. We followed the basic recipe and technique by the BBQ Pit Boys.
Needless to say, this roast was Ah-Mazing! It was ridiculously amazing and just like the barbecue pork I devoured as a kid in those meat joints in Texas. Jaw-Dropping amazing. Trust me.
I don’t think I will stuff a pork roast in a crockpot ever again.
Ingredients you need
Smoked Pulled Pork Ingredients
- Pork roast: You can also use a a pork shoulder or Boston butt (which is from the high part of the pig’s shoulder, above the shoulder blade and not the actual butt of the pig). You can also use the picnic shoulder, or picnic ham, is a shoulder cut with the shank attached. This cut is cheaper than the other cuts because it requires less work butchering it, and it contains more bone. You can go bone-in or boneless, but remember this adjusts the cooking time. But the cooking process is the same.
- Seasonings: Sometimes we keep it simple with just kosher salt and pepper. I like using kosher salt as it is less salty and the flakey nature of the salt melts easier, creating a nice crust on the exterior. Sometimes we season it up with paprika, garlic powder and onion powder.
- Brown sugar: A little brown sugar with barbecue pork is so delicious. With the size of the roast, this is not a lot of sugar.
- Onions and water: You place the roast in a roasting pan with onions and water. As it smokes, the water adds steam and moisture. You can also use apple juice instead of water. This also becomes the basting liquid you use for the roast, so use apple juice if you want more flavor.
Honey Whiskey Barbecue Sauce Ingredients
- Extra virgin olive oil: I primarily cook with extra virgin olive oil. Since you are only sautéing onions, you could use any neutral oil instead.
- Onion: Use brown, white or yellow onions.
- Garlic: I prefer to use fresh garlic. You can use shallots, too instead of garlic and onions.
- Liquid smoke: This is a fabulous way to add smokiness to your foods and is perfect for homemade barbecue sauce.
- Whiskey: You can use any whiskey you like to drink.
- Cider vinegar: The tang of this sauce comes from my favorite apple cider vinegar.
- Pantry staples: Tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, honey and Dijon mustard.
- Seasonings: Paprika, red chile powder and salt.
Tools to Use
1. About 12-24 hours prior to grilling, cut the fat cap on your pork roast in a cross hatch pattern. Avoid cutting into the meat. Mix together brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Apply the rub all over the pork roast, including into the crevices of the cross hatched fat cap.
Double wrap the roast in plastic wrap and place it on a baking sheet or place in a large resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
2. Remove roast from refrigerator approximately 1 hour prior to grilling.
Slice the onion into ¼-inch round rings and place on the bottom of a roasting pan. Add enough water to cover onions. You can also use apple juice, which we have also done. Place the rack on top of the onions.
Rub black pepper all over roast then place on top of roasting pan, with fat cup facing up.
3. If using a charcoal grill, fill coal chimney full with natural mesquite lump charcoal and add to one side of the grill. Mix in half a chimney full of lit, hot briquettes with the non-lit briquettes. Add 3-4 chunks of hickory wood for smokey flavor.
4. Bring grill temperature up to 275ºF with the coals placed to the side. Place roast opposite of hot coals for indirect cooking. Cover grill and cook 5-6 hours or until internal temperature reaches 190ºF, adding hot coals as needed.
5. Every hour, baste roast with pan drippings.
6. Once roast reaches 190ºF internal temperature, remove the grill, wrap in heavy duty foil and allow to rest for 1 hour.
7. While the roast rests, make the honey whiskey barbecue sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat add olive oil and sauté onions until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Reduce heat to low then add remaining ingredients. Simmer sauce for 20 minutes then serve warm or chill for later use.
Expert tips and recipe FAQs
I did make some homemade Honey Whiskey Barbecue Sauce, for my little touch. I find most barbecue sauces to be unnecessarily sweet, so my sauce is much tangier. Feel free to add more whiskey, if you want a stronger booze flavor. Me, not so much. I’m a lightweight.
The sauce went quickly. And quite frankly, so did the roast. We are so going to do this again.
I’ll definitely be featuring more grilled recipes this year, especially since the hubby is helping out with the experimenting.
And bring on the leftover pulled pork recipes!
Now, as far as the Big Steel Keg is concerned, we give it two BIG thumbs up. It gets super hot and retains that heat extremely well. As one Amazon reviewer said, “The grill can get up to 700-800 [degrees] in a matter of 20 minutes.” It’s also super easy to use. We really are thrilled with the new addition to our cooking family!
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Smoked Pork Butt with Honey Whiskey Barbecue Sauce
Whether you are enjoying a smoked pulled pork sandwich or some baby back ribs, this honey whiskey barbecue sauce is tangy, smokey and finger-licking good!
Smoked Pulled Pork Ingredients
- 1 8-10 lb pork shoulder roast
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 TBS black pepper
- 1 medium onion
Honey Whiskey Barbecue Sauce Ingredients
- 2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 15 oz tomato sauce, canned
- ¾ cup honey
- ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ⅓ cup whiskey
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 TBS dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon red chile powder
- About 12-24 hours prior to grilling, cut the fat cap on your pork roast in a cross hatch pattern. Avoid cutting into the meat.
- Mix together brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Apply the rub all over the pork roast, including into the crevices of the cross hatched fat cap.
- Double wrap the roast in plastic wrap, place it on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
- Remove roast from refrigerator approximately 1 hour prior to grilling.
- Slice the onion into ¼-inch round rings and place on the bottom of a roasting pan. Add enough water to cover onions, the place grate on top of the onions.
- Rub black pepper all over roast then place on top of roasting pan, with fat cup facing up.
- If using a charcoal grill, fill chimney full with natural mesquite lump charcoal and add to one side of the grill.
- Mix in half a chimney full of lit, hot briquettes with the non-lit briquettes. Add 3-4 chunks of hickory wood for smokey flavor.
- Bring grill temperature up to 275ºF with the coals placed to the side.
- Place roast opposite of hot coals for indirect cooking. Cover grill and cook 5-6 hours or until internal temperature reaches 190ºF, adding hot coals as needed.
- Every hour, baste roast with pan drippings.
- Once roast reaches 190ºF internal temperature, remove the grill, wrap in heavy duty foil and allow to rest for 1 hour.
- While the roast rests, make the honey whiskey barbecue sauce.
- In a saucepan over medium heat add olive oil and sauté onions until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Reduce heat to low then add remaining ingredients.]
- Simmer sauce for 20 minutes then serve warm or chill for later use.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 8974Total Fat: 648gSaturated Fat: 238gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 349gCholesterol: 2722mgSodium: 7454mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 705g
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Wow..This is awesome. I will try this today
I hope you like it!
I have an electric smoker and can’t deny I love the ease but now you do have me hankering to fire it up. Making my own sauce is a passion, especially boozy ones and yours sounds fabulous.
Yeah, when you get into smoking time really becomes a factor! Easy to screw that up, but one always learns. This looks excellent — my kind of food. And thanks for the link to the BBQ Pit Boys — that’s new to me. Hubby might want to check out the Virtual Weber forum, if he hasn’t already — lotta good smokers gather there and talk Q. Or at least they used to — I haven’t check that site out for a couple of years. Anyway, really fun post — thanks.