Kamado Joe Jr Pulled Pork - Low and Slow

 (Last Modified: June 20, 2024) #Kamado Joe #My Kamado Journey #Kamado Joe Jr. #Pork #Pork Butt 

Welcome back to "My Kamado Journey" on Idle Time BBQ! Today, we're delving into the art of making succulent pulled pork on the Kamado Joe Jr. We'll be cooking an 8 lbs bone-in pork butt low and slow, ensuring tender, juicy results perfect for a variety of dishes.

What is a Pork Butt?

Despite its name, a pork butt is not from the rear end of the pig. It’s actually the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg of the hog. This cut is well-marbled with fat and connective tissue, making it ideal for slow cooking methods like smoking. The fat and collagen break down over time, creating tender and flavorful meat perfect for pulled pork.

Why is it Used in BBQ So Often?

Pork butt is a favorite in BBQ for several reasons. First, its rich fat content ensures a juicy and flavorful result, making it a crowd-pleaser at any gathering. Its versatility is another key factor; beyond traditional pulled pork sandwiches, it can be used in various creative dishes. Moreover, pork butt is a forgiving cut for beginners, as the high fat content helps prevent it from drying out during the cooking process.

Beyond Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled pork is incredibly versatile. Here are a few ideas to take your pork butt to the next level:

  • Pulled Pork Tacos: Top with slaw, pickled onions, and a squeeze of lime for a fresh twist.
  • Pulled Pork Nachos: Layer with cheese, jalapeños, and BBQ sauce for a hearty snack.
  • Pulled Pork Pizza: Spread over a pizza base with BBQ sauce and mozzarella for a smoky delight.
  • Pulled Pork Stuffed Potatoes: Fill baked potatoes with pulled pork and your favorite toppings for a comforting meal.
  • Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese: Stir into creamy mac and cheese for an indulgent twist.

Ingredients and Equipment

To achieve the best results, we used the following products for this cook:

1. Kamado Joe Jr: A compact grill with a 13.5-inch diameter cooking surface. It was tight, but it accommodated the 8 lbs pork butt.

2. Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal: Known for its great flavor, consistent cooking temperature, and long burn time.

3. Seasonings:

  • Kinder’s The Blend (Salt, Pepper, Garlic): A versatile all-purpose seasoning.
  • Traeger The Rub: Adds excellent BBQ flavor and color.

4. Meater Wireless Temperature Probe: Helps monitor temperatures and predict when the cook will be done.

5. Miscellaneous Tools:

  • Grate Grippers: For easily handling the grates.
  • Protective Gloves: High-temperature gloves for handling hot equipment.
  • Nitrile Gloves: For handling raw meat and the cooked product.

Cooking Steps


Begin by selecting a good bone-in pork shoulder or pork butt. Take it out of the packaging, pat it dry, and trim any loose pieces or hard fat (deckle). The goal is to remove any parts that won’t render down properly during cooking.

Scoring and Seasoning

With the pork butt fat cap up, score it in a criss-cross pattern. This doesn’t need to be perfect but helps the seasoning penetrate closer to the meat. Apply a binder, such as yellow mustard, to help the seasoning stick. Although the binder’s flavor typically gets lost in the smoking process, it can add a subtle layer of complexity. For instance, using Frank's Hot Sauce can add a slight heat and flavor.

Season the bottom side first with Kinder’s The Blend, followed by a heavier layer of Traeger The Rub. Flip the pork butt fat cap down and repeat the process, ensuring the sides are also covered. Once seasoned, place the pork butt in the refrigerator to allow the seasoning to become tacky while you prepare the grill.

Setting Up the Grill

Start by cleaning out any ash from the charcoal basket and ash can to ensure good airflow. Fill the basket with Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal, adding pecan and apple wood chunks for a nice smoke flavor. For this cook, aim for a grill temperature of 250°F. Achieve this by setting the bottom vent about thumb-width open and keeping the top vent petals fully open.


Once the Kamado Joe Jr stabilizes at around 250°F (this may take 15-20 minutes), place the pork butt on the grill fat cap down. Try to bunch it up slightly to allow smoke to flow around it and fit inside the Kamado Joe Jr. Insert the Meater probe to monitor the temperature. Maintain a steady 250°F and let the pork butt cook until the internal temperature reaches 160°F, which should take about 5-7 hours.

Wrapping and Finishing

When the meat reaches 160°F, it’s time to wrap it. While aluminum foil can be used, it tends to soften the bark by trapping moisture. Instead, wrap the pork butt in butcher paper, which absorbs some moisture and helps maintain the bark’s texture. After wrapping, place the pork butt back on the grill and increase the temperature to 300-325°F. Cook until the internal temperature reaches about 203°F and the meat is probe-tender. This might take a couple of additional hours or more, depending on the meat and the heat.


After reaching the desired tenderness, let the pork rest until the internal temperature drops to around 160°F. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute and the cooking process to settle, enhancing the overall flavor and texture.

Pulling the Pork

Finally, it’s time to pull the pork. Using insulated food-safe gloves, remove the bone, which should come out clean if the meat is properly cooked. Shred the meat with your hands, savoring the delicious aroma and flavor.


Now comes the best part – enjoying your hard work. Whether you’re making pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, or adding it to mac and cheese, the smoky, tender meat will be a hit with everyone. Happy grilling!

Stay tuned for more adventures in Kamado-style cooking on "My Kamado Journey." Keep experimenting and enjoying the art of BBQ!

Frequently Asked Questions: Kamado Joe Jr Pulled Pork

Curious about the details of cooking pulled pork on the Kamado Joe Jr? Here are some frequently asked questions to help you master the art of low and slow BBQ, ensuring tender and flavorful results every time.

A pork butt, despite its name, is actually the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg of the hog. It's well-marbled with fat and connective tissue, making it ideal for slow cooking.

Pork butt is popular in BBQ due to its high fat content, which ensures a juicy, flavorful result. It’s also versatile and forgiving for beginners, as the fat helps prevent it from drying out during cooking.

While pork butt is preferred, you can use pork shoulder or picnic roast. These cuts also have enough fat and connective tissue to produce tender, flavorful pulled pork.

The ideal cooking temperature for pulled pork on a Kamado Joe Jr is around 250°F. This low and slow method allows the meat to become tender and flavorful.

Cooking an 8 lbs pork butt can take approximately 10-12 hours. This includes 5-7 hours to reach an internal temperature of 160°F, followed by additional time after wrapping to reach about 203°F.

Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal is recommended for its great flavor, consistent cooking temperature, and long burn time.

Wrapping the pork butt helps it retain moisture and speeds up the cooking process. Butcher paper is preferred as it absorbs some moisture, preserving the bark’s texture.

Yes, you can use aluminum foil. However, it tends to make the bark softer as it traps all the moisture inside, whereas butcher paper helps maintain a better bark texture.

The pork butt is done when it reaches an internal temperature of about 203°F and is probe-tender. This means the probe should slide in and out of the meat with little resistance.

Resting the pork allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, enhancing its flavor and tenderness. Let it rest until the internal temperature drops to around 160°F.

Pulled pork can be used in tacos, nachos, pizza, stuffed potatoes, and mac and cheese, among other dishes.

Scoring the fat cap in a criss-cross pattern helps the seasoning penetrate closer to the meat and renders the fat more effectively during cooking.

Yellow mustard is commonly used, but you can use other options like olive oil, hot sauce, or gourmet mustard. The binder helps the seasoning stick to the meat.

To maintain a steady 250°F on the Kamado Joe Jr, keep the bottom vent about thumb-width open and the top vent petals fully open. Monitor and adjust as needed to maintain the temperature.

For this cook, pecan and apple wood chunks are recommended. They add a nice smoke flavor without overpowering the meat.