Pulled Pork with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce ~ impossibly tender meat slathered in a sweet and savory barbecue sauce inspired by Hawaiian huli huli, this will make the best pulled pork sandwiches of your life!
This pulled pork with pineapple barbecue sauce is a delicious way to add some variety to your grilling repertoire this summer.
I teased about it in my homemade Hawaiian rolls post last week, and I know so many of you are dying to try this. The sweet rolls make the perfect buns for moist, smokey shredded pork. Homemade barbecue sauces are so easy to make, and I’ll go out on a limb and say that they’ve got to be some of the most powerfully flavored sauces on the planet. They can turn any grilled meat or fish into an instant feast.
How to make perfect pulled pork on the barbecue ~
In the winter we do our pulled pork in the crock pot or the Instant Pot, but come summer, it’s gotta go on the grill. A little patience goes a long way when cooking pulled pork on the grill, and the reward is an intense smoky flavor you just can’t replicate in the kitchen! In this recipe, I used an easy technique known as the “Texas crutch” that helps bring your meat up to temperature a little more quickly while keeping it nice and moist ~ no need for a fancy smoker!
- It starts with the right cut of meat: I used a pork shoulder (also called pork butt or Boston butt) It comes boned or bone in, and I prefer boneless because it makes it easier to shred.
- Light your grill and arrange your coals to one side.
- Season your meat lightly with salt; no need for a rub or extra spices, the meat will be nice and sweet and flavorful on its own. And remember, the bbq sauce is a flavor bomb.
- Add the pork to the cooler side of the grill, cover and allow to cook for about 3 hours or until internal temperature reads around 150-160F.
- Once the pork reaches 150-160 degrees F, remove it from the grill with sturdy tongs and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. This helps keep moisture in and cuts down on the overall cooking time because it lessens the heat that is lost as the pork looses moisture (aka “evaporative cooling,” or the same principle that keeps us cool when we sweat!). Return the meat to the grill, cover and continue to cook until the internal temperature is 203 degrees F.
- Allow to cool down a bit and then shred the meat with a meat shredder, or two forks.
Take the stress out of cooking meat on the barbecue
Get a good thermometer. No need to guess whether something is done or wonder whether your grill temp is too high or too low, just insert the thermometer into the center of the meat to get an instant read. It’s the most important tool you can invest in for your grill.
What is huli huli sauce?
My pineapple barbecue sauce is based on modern recipes for huli huli sauce, a Hawaiian original from the 1950’s that is usually used as a marinade or sauce for roasted chicken. Mine is sweet and tangy, with a little kick from hot pepper. The name means “turn turn” and refers to the way that chicken was traditionally cooked, constantly rotating, rotisserie style. The combo of those sweet, savory, tangy flavors of huli huli make the perfect sub for traditional barbecue sauce and will make some of the most delicious pork sandwiches you’ve ever had!
Pineapple BBQ Sauce ingredients ~
- pineapple juice (canned is fine)
- brown sugar
- soy sauce
- apple cider vinegar
- fresh ginger
- chili sauce
Hawaiian rolls are the perfect accompaniment for the best pulled pork sandwiches!
And nows the perfect time to try making them from scratch! My homemade Hawaiian rolls are unbelievably soft, and lightly sweet.
More grilling ideas ~
- How to Grill a Whole Chicken
- Sausage and Veggie Grill Packets
- Grilled Cherry Tomato Bruschetta
- Grilled Chicken with Peach Jalapeño Salsa
Pulled Pork with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce
Pineapple barbecue sauce
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice (canned)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp red chili sauce (such as Sambal Oelek), or more to taste. Or substitute a pinch of red chili flakes.
- 4-5 lb pork butt
Pineapple barbecue sauce
- Add all of the barbecue sauce ingredients to a saucepan. Gently bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly (it will thicken a bit more as it cools).
- Set aside until the pork is ready. Can be kept in the fridge for a day or two in advance. (This recipe makes about 1 cup of sauce. If you like a lot of sauce with your pork, or if you have a cut of meat on the larger side, you might consider making a 1.5 or double batch!)
- Light the grill with the coals on one side of the grill.
- Lightly season the outside of your pork with salt. Remember that the sauce has plenty of salt and flavor, so I go easy on seasoning meat itself here.
- Add the pork to the cooler side of the grill (over indirect heat), cover and allow to cook for about 3 hours or until internal temperature reads around 150-160F.
- Once the pork reaches 150-160 degrees F, remove it from the grill with sturdy tongs and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. This helps keep moisture in and cuts down on the overall cooking time. Return to the grill, cover and continue to cook until the internal temperature is about 203 degrees F.
- Remove the pork from the grill, allow to cool down slightly, and then shred with two forks.
- Mix the shredded pork with the pineapple barbecue sauce or serve it on the side.
notes and variations