Smoked BBQ Pork South Carolina Style by Chef Mark O'Brien - Charlie Oven

Smoked BBQ Pork South Carolina Style by Chef Mark O'Brien

This recipe is one of a series of recipes from our Carolina BBQ Masterclass with Chef Mark O'Brien.  

Pork steak is often overlooked because it is a cheaper end cut of meat with lots of interconnecting fat, sinue and collagen. However it gives you a roast barbecue pork feeling without have to spend 14 hours smoking a whole shoulder.

The art of low'n'slow smoking meat is where you look to break down the collagen in the meat into gelatine. You need a moist, low-temperature environment over a long time create gelatine and when it is combined with the succulent meat fat, it will give you that moist and tender result. 

There are a number of stages involved to create the perfect low'n'slow BBQ taste and mouthfeel. 


Servings   Prep Time      Cook Time

6-8                      1 hour (combined)               5-6 hours




800g Pork Steak


Lightly Spiced BBQ rub

20g Salt

20g Black Pepper

15g Paprika

10g Garlic Granules

10g Onion Granules


The butter mopping/basting liquid

250g Butter

20g Dijon Mustard

1x Whole Lemon (cut in half)

1x Whole Onions (Sliced)

50g Brown Sugar

Dash of Hot sauce

Dash of Worchestershire Sauce

200ml Beer

Place all the ingredients in a pan and melt the butter over low heat until the butter is fully melted. Give it all a good mix and set it aside to use during the cooking and wrapping processes. 


Preparing the Charlie Oven for Low'n Slow BBQ

Place charcoal at the back of the oven and light it with a blowtorch. Bring the temperature to 110°C and close the vents to 2.5 cm of the air vent rods showing. Then, once the temperature has settled at 120°C and the air vents are adjusted, add a couple of small chunks of cherry wood. You don't want to add the wood until after the oven is to temperature, or the wood will flare up the temperature and burn away too quickly. Instead, you want to achieve a slow burn on the wood to release its smoke slowly. 

Applying the BBQ rub to the meat 

Take the meat out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature.  

Here, we use a simple BBQ rub that compliments the pork  flavour perfectly while still allowing the meat to absorb the smoke. 

The key is to season liberally from above, applying the rub to all sides of the meat. The rub should be applied just before the meat is cooked. Otherwise, the salt will draw out the moisture from the meat.  


BBQ Smoking the meat

There are three stages involved in creating the perfect low'n'slow cook.

1. We start by building the colour/bark.

The bark colour gives you a strong idea of how smokey the meat will be. Next, we place the meat on a rack positioned high in the oven at a temperature of 120°C. Make sure to create the fire in the Charlie Oven so that is offset from the meat. So, either fire at the back and meat at the front or vice versa. During this process, you will regularly spritz the meat with apple cider vinegar and followed by mopping or basting the meat with our melted butter mix. Do this at 20-minute intervals. This whole process will take 5-6 hours on average. Finally, when the meat is around 78-79°C, it's time to wrap it. 

Mopping BBQ butter on Carolina BBQ Beef

2. Wrapping the meat

When the meat has been cooking for about 4 hours, and the bark looks lovely and dark, you want to take the meat out and wrap it in butcher's paper or tin foil. Butcher's paper, in theory, breathes better than foil, but you can use both. To wrap the meat, place it on some paper and baste/mop it thoroughly in the butter mixture. Then wrap it ready to go back in the oven. The temperature of the oven should be set at 110°C and cooked until the internal temperature is about 90-95°C.

3. Resting

Well-rested meat is the difference between good and great barbecue!  The meat fibres need time to fully relax after cooking and all the moisture to distribute throughout the meat. So allow the meat to rest for at least one hour, if not longer. Then, leave it wrapped, and it will hold its heat just fine, ready to eat when the time is right.


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