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Smoked Pulled Pork 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! Got leftovers? Find leftover pulled pork recipes here.

A pile of smoked pulled pork topped with honey whiskey barbecue sauce by FamilySpice.com

When my husband and I married 20-some-odd years ago, a good friend of ours bought us our first propane barbecue grill. We were newlyweds in our new home and loved having family and friends over for some good grilled eats.

That grill was lovingly used all year long, since it’s always barbecue season here in Southern California. 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.

Why we chose a kamado grill

But before we turned our backs on ‘old faithful,’ my husband was continuously researching his future dream grill. First, we considered having a custom-made backyard kitchen, but that fell through. Then my hubs was going to build his own, but that required time that he didn’t have to give.

We knew that smoked meats were a must in our future, so we said good-bye to the ease of gas-powered grillin’ and decided to go back charcoal. And just in time for the holidays, we bought our Big Steel Keg. Because everyone grills their Christmas dinner, right?

I deferred all of the grillin’ research to my husband, because I cook inside the house and he’s in charge of the outside cooking. Hubby wanted the Big Steel Keg, so hubby got his Big Steel Keg. By the way, this is not a sponsored post. Just an honest review.

Within days of our baby’s arrival, hubs was researching YouTube videos and he made smoked salmon (twice), baby-back ribs (three times), smoked chicken (twice) and a smoked pork roast (twice).

There is some finesse involved with smoking meats and grilling with charcoal – especially when you are used to gas grills. And then there was some lack of trust from my husband in regards to cooking time.

Smoke coming out of the our Big Steel Keg by FamilySpice.com

How long does it take to make smoked pulled pork?

The first time hubby smoked a pork roast, for example, he believed it would take 6 hours too cook while I thought it would need at least 8. So Hubs 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 I went off to sleep and the roast was still not ready. Hubby didn’t come to bed until 3am. He later told me how ridiculously delicious the roast was and how he was pissed that he couldn’t eat more of it at 2am.

Not to mention that the smell was driving our pup crazy.

Yeah, I hate it when that happens.

Smoked pork roast on the grill by FamilySpice.com

What went wrong? Hubs ran out of coal and had to heat some more up, but not until after he noticed that 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.

A do-over was quickly rescheduled.

We made the pork roast again for a family barbecue Easter Sunday. This time hubby was up early and had the roast on the hot grill by 5am. For a big Pork Shoulder Roast, 10 pounder, it took about 6-hours to cook, plus an hour of rest. We followed this basic recipe and technique by the BBQ Pit Boys, a real man-friendly site, I might add. Check it out.

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.

Honey whiskey barbecue sauce

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.

A bottle of homemade honey whiskey barbecue sauce by FamilySpice.com

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!

Yield: serves 8

Smoked Pulled Pork with Honey Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

A pile of smoked pulled pork topped with honey whiskey barbecue sauce by FamilySpice.com

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!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Additional Time 13 hours
Total Time 1 days 1 hour 30 minutes


Smoked Pulled Pork Ingredients

  • 1 8-10 lb pork shoulder roast
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 TBS black pepper
  • 1 medium onion

Honey Whiskey Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 15 oz tomato sauce, canned
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup whiskey
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 TBS dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp red chile powder


  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.
  2. 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.
  3. Double wrap the roast in plastic wrap, place it on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
  4. Remove roast from refrigerator approximately 1 hour prior to grilling.
  5. Slice the onion into 1/4-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.
  6. Rub black pepper all over roast then place on top of roasting pan, with fat cup facing up.
  7. If using a charcoal grill, fill chimney full with natural mesquite lump charcoal and add to one side of the grill.
  8. 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.
  9. Bring grill temperature up to 275ºF with the coals placed to the side.
  10. 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.
  11. Every hour, baste roast with pan drippings.
  12. Once roast reaches 190ºF internal temperature, remove the grill, wrap in heavy duty foil and allow to rest for 1 hour.
  13. While the roast rests, make the honey whiskey barbecue sauce.
  14. In a saucepan over medium heat add olive oil and sauté onions until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  15. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  16. Reduce heat to low then add remaining ingredients.]
  17. Simmer sauce for 20 minutes then serve warm or chill for later use.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 8974Total Fat: 648gSaturated Fat: 238gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 349gCholesterol: 2722mgSodium: 7454mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 705g
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. All of the opinions I expressed here are my own. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t blog about it.