Three Ways to Cook Pork on a Charcoal Grill
The other white meat is calling…Pork is a fun and delicious food to grill - and there are so many different ways to prepare it. If you are firing up your charcoal grill, there are several different approaches you can take to preparing pork, including grilling, smoking, and barbecuing!
Grilling Pork on a Charcoal Grill
This is the most common way to cook pork on a charcoal grill. To grill pork, you will need to set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to medium-high heat. Season the pork with a dry rub or marinade and then place it on the grill. Grill the pork for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Sausages of all sorts are also an easy win for the grill and make a great appetizer or main course for a holiday celebration!
Smoking Pork on a Charcoal Grill
Smoking is a great way to infuse pork with a smoky flavor and a tender texture - and its bound to be a crowd pleaser if you’re cooking for a group. To smoke pork on a charcoal grill, you will need to set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat it to 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the pork with a dry rub or marinade and then place it on the grill, away from the direct heat. Add a few chunks of smoking wood to the charcoal, and then cover the grill. Smoke the pork for about 1-2 hours per pound, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Try smoking a bone-in ham glazed with a mixture of honey, brown sugar, mustard and other spices at your next family get together.
Barbecuing Pork on a Charcoal Grill
Barbecuing is a slow cooking method that is perfect for larger cuts of pork, such as pork shoulder or pork butt. To barbecue pork on a charcoal grill, you will need to set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat it to 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the pork with a dry rub or marinade and then place it on the grill, away from the direct heat. Cover the grill and barbecue the pork for about 1-2 hours per pound, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit for pulled pork. Pork ribs, whether they're baby back or spareribs, are a popular holiday favorite that can be grilled or smoked. For a traditional barbecue flavor, season the ribs with a dry rub or marinade, and smoke them until tender, before applying a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce
The Importance of Rest
Regardless of cooking method, it's important to let the meat rest after grilling/smoking/barbecuing, before carving it or shredding it, to allow the juices to distribute evenly. For longer barbecue or smoking cooks, a charcoal basket is a handy accessory you can use to make your charcoal go further and more easily maintain a consistent temperature for a low and slow cook.
Keep in mind that the internal temperature is the most important way to check if the pork is cooked properly, you can use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature.
What About Cooking Pork on a Big Green Egg?
There are a few Big Green Egg tips to keep in mind when you’re making pork:
Ceramic grills like the Big Green Egg are known for their excellent temperature control, so you'll be able to maintain a steady and consistent temperature for long periods of time. This is especially helpful for smoking and barbecuing pork, which require low and slow cooking. A charcoal ash basket, like a Kick Ash Basket made specifically for the Big Green Egg, makes moving coals around as well as separating ash and unlit coals from lit coals. This makes temperature control much easier.
Just like a regular charcoal grill, when cooking pork on a ceramic grill you'll want to set it up for indirect cooking. This means that the meat will be placed on the grill away from the heat source, and the grill will be closed to trap the heat and smoke inside.
If you're smoking pork on a ceramic grill, you'll need to add wood chunks to the charcoal to create smoke. Make sure to soak the wood chunks in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the charcoal to prevent them from catching fire.
Ceramic grills like the Big Green Egg come with a built-in temperature gauge, but it may be a good idea to use an external thermometer to ensure accuracy of the temperature.
It's very important to monitor the internal temperature of the pork as it cooks to ensure that it is safe to eat. As I mentioned before, cook pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F for fully cooked pork, or 195-205°F if you're making pulled pork.
Ceramic grills are known to retain heat, moisture and smoke well, but it's important to control the ventilation to maintain the right temperature and smoke level. A coal ash basket can also be used to improve airflow to your coals. By separating the coals and ash, the basket allows for better airflow, which can help to maintain a steady temperature, and provide more oxygen to the fire.
Overall, cooking pork on a ceramic grill like the Big Green Egg is very similar to cooking it on a regular charcoal grill, but with the added benefit of excellent temperature control and the ability to maintain a steady low and slow cook for long periods of time.
It's important to keep in mind that the ash basket should be used properly and that it can be dangerous to pour water on hot ashes. It is recommended that you wait for them to cool down first.
You can also consider using high temperature resistant gloves to handle the coal ash basket and the ashes after your cook!
Finally, if you have made a delicious pork recipe on your charcoal grill, we’d love to hear about it! Tell us on Facebook.