So I am from Western North Carolina, grew up eating BBQ. I live in LA and have had for 6 years. There's just nothing comparable here. Usually it's more Texas and anyone that smokes doesn't do whole hog and uses too much mesquite. Tastes like liquid smoke to me!
So I bought a pellet smoker. I bought a Traeger first and it was AWFUL. I actually returned it. So I went for a Green Mountain Grill and found myself extremely pleased.
So I went for a quicker smoke. I think next time I'll do it at 225. I did it at 275 this time around for time reasons. It was done in about 7 hours. In fact it was just perfect, I might have over cooked it just a touch but that only seemed to be one small part of the shoulder. The rest was so tender It just fell apart when chopped.
As for Carolina Q, I can highly recommend a great book by Elliott Moss owner of Buxton Hall BBQ in Asheville, NC. If you haven't heard of it, you will. His recipes for rub and the vinegar pepper sauce especially are spot on. Also a great hush puppy recipe !
So I did a shoulder with his rub at 275 for 4 hours and then foil for about 3. The GMG stayed within a degree of 275, it's pretty incredible after having a Traeger shoot up over 70 degrees past where I set it.
A test bowl with some hush puppies. I'll say this, it brought me right back to North Carolina all the way in LA. Literally I felt like I had take out from a BBQ spot back home. Can't recommend that vinegar pepper sauce recipe that Buxton Hall has in their book enough !