Smoked Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps with Asian Dipping Sauce

Smoked pulled pork lettuce wraps

What's better than a pile of smoky pulled pork? A million dollars, but that's about it. Properly smoked pork is a taste sensation that few things can match between its rich, succulent flavor, juiciness, and the versatility with which you can eat it.

That versatility will be what we highlight today. Everyone's already tried it plain, smothered in barbecue sauce, on a bun with some diced onions, and other traditional barbecue styles, so let's get a little out of our comfort zone.

To do that, we'll show you how to make some delicious smoked pulled pork for lettuce wraps with an Asian-inspired dipping sauce. It's a bit more than just slapping some meat on a leaf, though, so let's go through every step of making this recipe to show you just how great it is.

Smoked Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps with Asian Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

Before you can get cracking on this recipe, you need to get a few things together first. These include both the ingredients for the food as well as the tools you need to make it, those being:

For Pork

  • 1 pork shoulder (~12 lbs).
  • 4 shallots.
  • 2 clove garlic.
  • 1/2 knob of ginger.
  • 2 cups fish sauce.
  • 1 1/2 cups soy sauce.
  • 1 cup Thai garlic chili sauce.
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar.
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil.
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil.
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt.
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper.

For Sauce

  • 8 limes.
  • 1/2 cup water.
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce.
  • 1/4 cup white sugar.
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Thai garlic chili sauce.
  • 1 tbsp powdered ginger.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

For Wraps

  • 4 carrots.
  • 2 head Boston lettuce.
  • 1 cup purple cabbage.
  • 1 cup red onion.
  • 1 cup green onion.
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves.

Tools

  • Charcoal smoker.
  • Chunk charcoal.
  • Apple wood chips or chunks.
  • Large plastic container.
  • Paper towels.
  • Meat thermometer.
  • Aluminum baking pan.
  • Aluminum foil.
  • Clean towel.
  • Plastic cooler.

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Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps Recipe

When you have everything you need collected, it's time to start cooking. Given all the different parts involved in this recipe, it's good to prepare a day or two in advance, meaning you may wish to buy the ingredients for the sauce and wraps themselves the day you plan to eat for maximum freshness.

Step 1: Marinade the Meat

Begin by trimming off any large bits of fat on the outside of your pork shoulder, then score the surface with a sharp knife. Mix together the other ingredients in the first section sans salt and pepper inside a large plastic container, then place your pork inside. Massage the marinade into the meat, ensuring it's coated all over before allowing it to rest in the fridge overnight. For best results, turn the pork over halfway through to ensure even marination.

After the marination time is up, remove the pork from the container and pat dry with paper towels, discarding any remaining marinade. Season the meat with salt and pepper across the outside.

Another great way to enhance the flavor and marinate the meat would be to use a meat injector.

Step 2: Prep the Smoker

If you're using wood chips, soak them in hot water at the beginning of this step.

Once your pork has been seasoned, move outside to begin prepping the smoker. Fill the smoker with charcoal and set it alight, closing the lid and opening the vents all the way to let the fire burn hot. After giving it a chance to burn down, fill up the water tank and toss on some additional charcoal plus your wood, then place the grate across the top, close the lid, and prepare the smoke.

Pull the pork

Step 3: Smoke the Pork

With the smoker prepped, your pork should have raised to around room temperature during the time it took you to set things up. That means you can move right into smoking, placing the pork shoulder onto the smoker with the fat cap facing up.

Close the lid and allow the meat to smoke for the next several hours. For pork shoulders of this size, it can take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours to fully cook to an internal temperature of 195 degrees Fahrenheit. To test for doneness without a thermometer, simply stick a fork in it and see how easily it inserts as well as how easily you can pull off a piece of the meat.

During the long cooking time, make sure you monitor the wood, charcoal, and water levels inside the smoker as well as the amount of airflow through the lid. Adjust these as necessary. Once the pork has met one or both of the above criteria, it should be done.

Step 4: Rest the Pork

Once your pork has fully cooked, immediately remove it to a large aluminum baking pan and cover the top with aluminum foil. Wrap the pan in a clean towel and place everything inside a large cooler. This makes for the perfect environment in which to rest such a big piece of meat, giving ample time for the heat to finish distributing throughout all of it. Allow it to sit inside undisturbed for the next hour.

Step 5: Prep the Accompaniment

Near the end of the resting period (around 10 minutes out), begin putting together both the sauce and the vegetables for the wraps.

Juice the limes and combine with the other ingredients for the sauce in a large bowl and whisk vigorously until everything has dissolved and homogenized. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Wash and dry all the produce before separating the leaves from the lettuce. Thinly slice or julienne the carrots, cabbage, and red onion, then slice green onion on a bias. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves.

Step 6: Pull the Pork

With everything in order, it's nearly time to eat. Begin by removing the baking pan containing your pork. Using two ​meat shredding claws, pull the pork apart until completely shredded, removing the bone from the inside. Toss the pork with any collected meat juices and 1/4 of a cup of the sauce, seasoning with any salt and pepper if needed.

Step 7: Serve the Wraps

After all that hard work, you're finally ready to taste what you've been putting together. The beauty of the lettuce wrap is that it allows everyone to put everything together exactly as they like it. Pile up a lettuce leaf with pork and vegetables and drizzle it with a bit of extra sauce, then try a mouthful of that spicy, savory, smoky, and sweet perfection.

Pork leftovers recipe

In Conclusion

While it might take over a day from start to finish, one bite of these amazing smoked pulled pork lettuce wraps with an Asian-style dipping sauce will show you just how worth it it all was. A definite divergence from the more traditional smoked pork flavor profile, it's both an exciting and sumptuous change that you'll want to go back to again and again.

If you enjoyed this recipe guide, make sure you leave a comment telling us down below. The same goes for any tips you've got on marinating or smoking pork. As always, remember to share this page with others, especially if their own barbecue game leaves something to be desired most of the time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which lettuce is best for wraps?

What should I look for when buying lettuce for wraps?

What sauce goes well with lettuce wraps?

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