I love BBQ Pulled turkey but didn’t realize I did until well into my adult years. I grew up in Goldsboro, North Carolina – where everything is celebrated with a pig pickin’. I also grew up disallowed from eating pork, which made all the pig pickins tough.
Once when I was 10 I snuck some (A LOT OF) pulled pork at my uncle’s cookout and I remember it being DELICIOUS. I also remember being sick for 2 days after and having to admit to my staunchly Seventh Day Adventist grandparents that I’d eaten some unclean meats and everybody praying over me in church the next Sabbath. ?
Over the years I discovered places that had Eastern NC BBQ Pulled Turkey (and beef if I was really lucky) to accommodate the ‘no pork on my fork’ folks like myself so I’ve been able to enjoy our region’s signature spicy vinegar-based BBQ style.
I also happily ate my weight in hushpuppies at various places with only pork (pour one out for Wilbur’s, where they had the BEST hushpuppies!).
This recipe for Eastern NC BBQ Pulled Turkey is actually chopped, and instead of BBQ’d it’s made in the Crockpot because I live in an apartment and I can’t cook outside. Meh.
It’s really good though – the flavor still hits almost the same, so it’s a good substitute if you can’t get the real thing.
I make my own BBQ sauce, but I am not sharing that recipe, and highly recommend using Scott’s Barbecue Sauce if you’re looking for a good one.
Explore my Southern Food category for more delicious Southern meals.
4cups Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce (Scott’s & Smithfield’s are two popular options)
Use a knife to pierce the turkey pieces all over. Season with poultry seasoning, adding more if needed.
Place turkey in the slow cooker and turn on. Pour in BBQ sauce, then add butter and brown sugar. Cover and cook for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low, turning halfway through cooking time.
When the meat is pulling away from the bone, remove the turkey to a cutting board. Let it cool, then remove fat, bones and gristle and discard. You’ll want to use your hands to make sure there are no hard bits in the meat.
Shred or chop up the meat and set it aside while you pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a bowl. I like to pour it through a strainer to remove any bits of skin or gristle that separated from the turkey while it cooked, but this is optional.
Add the turkey back to the slow cooker, then pour in Texas Pete and 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Cook for an additional 1-2 hours. Most of the liquid will be absorbed or evaporate but the turkey shouldn’t be dry. Add more of the cooking liquid as you go, if needed.