Melanie Dunia didn’t know much about barbecuing when she was hired as a sous chef at The Pit in 2013, but her experience working in Asian restaurants turned out to be a real help: On one of her first days, The Pit’s head chef asked her to roll a couple hundred of the restaurant’s beloved BBQ Soul Rolls — North Carolina–style pulled pork, collards and carrots in an egg roll wrapper. “They were so impressed, but it was nothing for me!” she says. In just a few years she shot to the top spot in the kitchen and became the only woman in the region running a pit.
Preheat a grill to medium low and prepare for indirect cooking: On a gas grill, preheat the grill, then turn off the center burners. On a charcoal grill, light the coals, then push to the edges of the grill, creating an open space in the middle; put a disposable aluminum drip pan in the middle of the grill under the grates.
When the grill registers 250˚ F, place the pork on the grill grates over the cooler part. Cover the grill and cook the pork until the skin is crisp, the meat easily falls off the bone and a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork (away from the bone) registers 190˚ F to 200˚ F, 7 to 10 hours (if using charcoal, adjust the air vents and add more coals as needed so the temperature stays around 250˚ F).
Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce: Combine 1 cup water, the vinegar, hot sauce, sugar, red pepper flakes, 2 1/2 tablespoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and salt dissolve. Let cool.
If using a gas grill, turn off the heat and carefully transfer the pork to a cutting board. If using a charcoal grill, do this quickly, as the grease may cause the coals to catch fire. Let the pork rest at least 30 minutes, then pull the meat off the bone with tongs and a large fork; discard the bones and any large pieces of fat. Chop the crispy skin and stir into the meat. Transfer to a bowl and toss with 1 to 2 cups of the barbecue sauce. Serve on buns with the remaining sauce.
Tools You May Need
Photograph by Ralph Smith
Tools You May Need
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