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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pork Shoulder Rub and Sauce by Bits.Bytes.Brews


Instagram has become our office space. Without guilt, Jana and I both spend much time and energy exchanging pictures, ideas and sentiments with people around the world as @dragonknuckle_jana and @dragonknuckle_david. We've become those dorks who can't eat without posting it first.

Don't be disappointed. We're building a brand. If we weren't truly artistic spirits who love people and food, we'd be fake.

One of the more interesting cats I've run into is @bits.bytes.brews. He asked me about our gloves and we got to talking about pork shoulders. It's Pork Shoulder Month. I've been asking everyone for their shoulder technique.

So Woodrow (that's his government name) sent me some background along with his recipe for pork rub and barbecue sauce.

How universal is barbecue? Woodrow builds competition-speed computers that run zillions of computations per second, then goes home to cook slow and low. Don't think your PC guru doesn't know his way around the smoker, too.

Here's a little piece of him:

My passion for BBQ started many years ago. In a small town called Charlestown (in the small state of Rhode Island). I was very young, maybe nine years old when I really started watching my Dad work his magic on the ‘Que. In all honesty – it was very rare that my Father wasn’t barbecuing something. Mind you, his pit was nothing spectacular – but he made it work. From burgers to wings, ribs to chops – he did it all and I fell in love…

Fast forward a couple decades – I found a cheap offset smoker at a local department store and figured; why not? I’m married and have a beautiful daughter with one on the way. Why not start doing something that I loved when I was a small boy? Well… This purchase ignited something big. I barbecued nearly every single day until my cheap offset just wasn’t doing it anymore. My wife and I hopped in the truck, drove 2 hours to a small town in New Hampshire and picked up my current pit – A Yoder Loaded Wichita.



Barbecue is an amazing thing. It builds attention to detail, teamwork and brings people closer together when it’s time to finally reap the rewards you worked so hard on. If it wasn’t for my father, my long days of trial and error and for my wife for helping me get what has become an essential part of family gatherings – my life in barbecue wouldn’t be where it is today.

Pork Rub
The base of my pork rub (mainly for my pulled pork) is roughly a 50/50 blend of kosher salt and table grind black pepper. I truly recommend pre-ground pepper due to the fact that it’s a bit lighter in the bite, but still has a great flavor.

For a 8-10lb shoulder
1 Cup Kosher salt
1 Cup table grind black pepper
3 Tablespoons of paprika
3 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Teaspoon Cayenne pepper

When applying the rub; use a shaker with large holes and let your wrists do the work. Salt is MUCH heavier than the rest and tends to settle.



Wood’s Killer ‘Que
¾ Cup finely chopped onion
1-2 Habanero Peppers, seeds removed (Or Jalapeno if you’d like it less spicy)
½ teaspoon of Ghost Chili powder (If you’re feeling brave)
2-3 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
32oz of natural ketchup (homemade is the best!)
1 Cup of apple cider vinegar
1 Cup of brown sugar (I prefer the light stuff)
¼ Cup of agave nectar (or honey if you’d prefer)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire
1 teaspoon of cumin
¼ cup of Brisket or Pulled Pork drippings

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until nearly bubbling. Use immediately or let it cool and store for up to 5 days.


When it comes to cooking, everyone's machine is different. You know your smoker. Cook without hurry and you'll be fine. Pork shoulders are forgiving.

Next time, give Woodrow's sauce and rub a try. I find it unique that his rub has no sugar in it. For mine, turbinado sugar is the #1 ingredient.

The more you share with people, the more you learn. That's your barbecue lesson for the day.

And when it comes to pulling apart that shoulder, we suggest our own claws. Not just because we sell them. We tried multiple variations and found this aggressive curve dug in best and caused less hand fatigue. They're tough and clean up well. That's why we chose this design:



Pulled Pork Month barrels on. Currently I have a shoulder in my Three Shadows brine. I'll be cooking it overnight on Wednesday. Stay tuned.

Until then, keep it slow and low.

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