STUDIO CITY (KCAL9) Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill Partner Alex Benes stopped by KCAL9 Thursday to show viewers how to make pulled pork and brisket sliders perfect for the Super Bowl.



1 pork shoulder (the butt section) of about 6-8 lbs, close to room temperature

½ cup hickory chips or wood chunks, depending on your smoker box

½ cup apple chips or wood chunks, depending on your smoker box

Apple juice or apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle

Dry rub

Injection solution

Western Carolina BBQ Sauce

Rub the pork shoulder with the dry rub (recipe below).  Inject (recipe below) the pork shoulder.  Ideally, you want to do this the day before, then wrap the meat in plastic and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, but it helps even if you do it an hour ahead of time.

When you’re ready to cook, get your smoker to between 225 and 250 degrees.  While the smoker gets to temp, soak the wood chips for about 30 minutes in water.

When the smoker is at the right temp, put the wood into the smoker box.  Replace with additional wood as you like.

Put the pork shoulder into the smoker.  After about 3 hours, spray with the apple juice/vinegar.  Spray every hour or two.  This will help with moisture and create a bark on the outside.

Let the pork cook until it reaches an internal temperature of between 190 and 200 degrees.

Take the shoulder out of the smoker and put in a large pan.  Allow the meat to cool for at least 30 minutes before pulling apart.  Once you can comfortably handle the meat, pull apart with two large forks or using your hands.  Tear the larger pieces into smaller ones.

Pour about 3-4 ounces of the Western Carolina BBQ Sauce (recipe below) over the pulled meat and mix together to maintain moisture.  Serve with the rest of the BBQ sauce on the side.  If you’d like to serve in the traditional Carolina style, add your favorite coleslaw to the meat and put it all on a bun.

Dry Rub Recipe (use the peppers according to taste; this isn’t too spicy at all; the salt, sugar and pepper help the seasonings penetrate the surface)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt

2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl.  Apply evenly to the entire pork shoulder.

Injection Solution

3/4 cup apple juice

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Mix all the ingredients and inject liberally, at least 12 times, on each side of the shoulder.  If you like, you can add a little of the rub to this solution to flavor the meat not exposed to the smoke.

Western Carolina BBQ Sauce

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

8 oz chopped onions

1 oz minced garlic

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp cinnamon

2 whole cloves

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 tsp chili powder

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup, 1 oz ketchup

1 cup water

1 tablespoon crushed red chili flakes (optional, use after making sauce)

Melt the butter in a pot.  Sauté the onions until soft, but not browned.   Add the garlic and cook until soft.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Let cool, then strain all the solids from the sauce and use only the liquid.  Add the chili flakes if you’d like the sauce to be spicier.


Day 1: Prep time 30 minutes. Resting time 4-12 hours.

Day 2: Prep time one hour. Cooking time approximately four hours. Resting time up to two hours.


1. Brisket — packer’s cut with the fat cap on — at room temperature. Packer’s cut means you’re getting the whole thing with the point and flat. Get this from a butcher who will give it to you with the proper amount of fat on it.

2. Use enough of a rub (recipe below) to cover the brisket generously on all sides or to your taste. Use any spices you like or my recipe below.

3. Thirty-two ounces of low-sodium beef broth or au jus from bouillon or concentrate — which means 32 ounces of boiling water in which you dissolve the bouillon or concentrate.

4. Injector.

5. Giant plastic brining bag (like the kind you would use for a turkey or to store sweaters).  Alternatively, use a large baking pan and cover tightly with plastic wrap.

6. Wood chips, dry. I suggest oak and a little bit of apple, but hickory and pecan are good, too.

7. Fat separator.  This is optional.

8. A blanket, preferably heavy like the kind movers use to wrap furniture. A couple of towels will also work.

9. Meat thermometer.


(Steps 1-4 can and should be done a day before.)

1. Boil 32 ounces of water and put in the number of bouillon cubes or concentrate called for on the container.

2. Trim any excess fat from the brisket so that you’re left with about a one-quarter-inch fat cap on one side. If there is any silver skin and membrane, remove it. The butcher can do this for you.

3.  Place the brisket fat side down on your work surface.  Inject about half the liquid from Step 1 into the bottom of the brisket — the side with the fat cap is the top — making sure you’ve covered the entire area. The fat cap, in addition to serving as a source of moisture, also provides a barrier to moisture escaping.

4. Put the brisket into the brining bag. Pour the rest of the liquid into the bag and seal it, making sure you’ve gotten out as much air as possible. Let it rest fat side down in the refrigerator for anywhere from four to 12 hours.

5. When you’re ready to cook, get your smoker to 325 degrees with the cover on. Once you’re there, put in the wood chips. If your smoker doesn’t go to 325, get it as high as it will go and adjust the cooking time. For example, if your smoker goes only to 275 degrees, add 30 minutes or so. (See separate instructions below for wood chips or if you don’t have a chamber for the wood.)

6. Take the brisket out of the bag and put it on a rack sitting on top of a cooking tray. I use a large cooling rack. Allow any excess liquid to drain into the tray. Don’t pat the brisket dry. You need the moisture for the rub to stick.

7. Put on as much rub as you like, but cover the brisket on all sides.  Ideally, let the brisket rest at room temperature for at least an hour.

8. When your smoker is at 325 and after you’ve put in the wood chips, put the brisket on the grill/smoker rack fat cap down, put the cover back on the cooker and let it cook for about 2 1/2 hours, assuming it’s at least a 15-pounder.

9. At the end of this time, take the brisket off and put it in a pan. Cover it with foil. Put the pan back on the grill/smoker rack for 1 1/2 hours or until the point reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees. Optional: Since the actual smoking of the brisket has ended, you can move the pan into an oven.

(I’m assuming that you know what the point and the flat of the brisket are. If you don’t, please ask your butcher because it’s easier to show than to describe it.)

10. Once you’ve done all this, take the brisket out of the smoker and out of the pan. Put it on a large piece of foil and wrap it up with two layers of foil. Then wrap it in one of those blankets that moving companies use to wrap your dresser and let it rest for a couple of hours.

11. Take the drippings in the pan and pour them into a fat separator. Pour off the fat. Save the rest.

12. After a couple of hours, take out the brisket, slice it against the grain and brush each slice with a little of the drippings.


4 tbs. dark brown sugar

4 tbs. chili powder

4 tbs. paprika

4 tbs. salt

2 tbs. garlic powder

2 tbs. onion powder

2 tbs. black pepper

2 tbs. cayenne

4 tsps. dry mustard

4 tsps. ground cumin

Put everything in a bowl and mix well. Alternatively, put everything in a plastic bag and shake well to mix. Apply as much or as little as you like to the meat. Put the rest in the freezer.


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