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Memphis-style pulled pork a hit

  • Published Wednesday, June 29, 2011, at 12:06 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, June 29, 2011, at 9:01 a.m.

Many of you will be celebrating July Fourth with a barbecue. Not long ago, I spent a wonderful weekend in Memphis and had the opportunity to sample authentic Memphis-style barbecue.

There are several famous barbecue regions in the U.S., each with its own flavors and cooking styles.

Memphis style features a spicy rub that covers the meat, usually pork, and then it is smoked and served with a tomato-based barbecue sauce that has just a touch of heat.

Pork shoulder, or butt as it is often called, and ribs are wonderful when prepared this way.

It takes a little time to combine the seasonings for the rub mixture, but once the meat has been rubbed, the rest is very easy.

Recently, I taught a class featuring Memphis cuisine. I will share the pulled-pork recipe with you as it was a hit in the cooking class.

Once the meat was rubbed, I smoked it over hickory chips in a stove-top smoker, then popped it in an oven and cooked it slowly for several hours. The meat was succulent, tender and juicy and easily shredded.

Combined with a little Memphis-style barbecue sauce, it tasted just like what I had at a restaurant on Beale Street.


1/4cup paprika

1/4cup dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon celery salt

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

The Wichita Eagle—06/29/11


Serves 10.

1 boneless pork butt (about 5-6 pounds)

2 tablespoons wood chips

Memphis Rub (See recipe above)

Memphis Barbecue Sauce (see recipe above)


Coat pork shoulder with rub, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.

Place wood chips in bottom of stove-top smoker. Place tray on top with rack. Place pork shoulder on rack. Since the meat is too large for the lid to fit, place a double layer of heavy aluminum foil over meat, sealing tightly around edges of the pan, leaving a small area open so you can see when it starts smoking.

Place over medium-high heat until smoke appears out of the opening. Then seal the foil tightly and turn heat to medium low. Smoke for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place smoker in oven and cook pork slowly for 6 hours or until very tender and pork reaches 185 degrees. Once pork is cooked, remove from smoker. Wrap tightly in foil and allow to rest for an hour. Then shred, discarding bone and fat. Combine pork with enough of Memphis Barbecue Sauce to moisten. Keep warm and serve on buns with remaining sauce on the side.

Optional: Top with cole slaw or serve it on the side.

The Wichita Eagle—06/29/11


2 cups ketchup

1/2cup yellow mustard

1/2cup packed brown sugar

1/4cup apple cider vinegar

1/2teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2teaspoon celery salt

1/2teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium non-reactive saucepan.

Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth and thickened. Place a splatter-screen or lid over pan to prevent splashes. Let cool slightly, and serve. Best if made a day or two in advance; warm to serve.

The Wichita Eagle—06/29/11

Bonnie Aeschliman is a certified culinary professional who owns Cooking at Bonnie's Place in Wichita. For more information, call 316-425-5224 or visit cookingatbonnies.com. To submit a question to Bonnie, e-mail her at bonnie@cookingatbonnies.com.

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