Dry rubbed and slowed cooked to pure perfection, this barbecue pulled pork is tender, juicy, and packed full of flavor. With or without added sauce, this is an irresistibly succulent southern dish that feeds a crowd and soothes the soul.
Pulled pork is the ideal meal for large gatherings because it’s so easy with incredibly delicious results. Basically, set it and forget it until it’s dinner time. And there are so many ways you can serve it.
What’s the secret to creating the best, most tender and juiciest pulled pork? The right cut of meat and time. It’s that simple.
First, the right cut of meat that’s well seasoned. Hands down, using a cut of meat from the pig’s shoulder is best when it comes to pulled pork. When serving a crowd, I like to use the full cut of pork shoulder, which can weigh anywhere between 10 to 20 pounds. This cut includes both the upper shoulder known as the pork butt, also called the Boston butt, and the lower shoulder section known as the picnic shoulder. For smaller crowds, I use only one of the shoulder sections — which one is depends on what I’m able to find at the market.
I gently message a homemade Barbecue Dry Rub all over the pork shoulder. The sweet and spicy rub blends well with the fat and juices from the meat as it cooks. The combination creates a powerful punch of flavors and that distinctive barbecue taste.
Now, the second secret. Time.
The cooking time is around 10 to 12 hours on a low temperature, regardless of the size or section of the pork shoulder. I prefer to use my electric roaster oven over a Crockpot or slow cooker.
A roaster oven is the perfect size to the hold a pork shoulder without having to cut it up to fit or stripping off the dry rub. Plus, the self-basting lid creates added moisture while roasting and produces the juiciest, most tender meat.
When you slow cook the right cut of well-seasoned pork, you’ll create one of the most amazingly tender, juicy, and flavorful meals. Slather on some homemade barbecue sauce for a treat you won’t soon forget.
This pulled pork recipe serves a crowd and is perfect for cookouts, weeknight meals, and holidays. Plus, it freezes well and makes terrific leftovers.
- An electric roaster with a self-basting lid is ideal for slow roasting recipes like this one — it’s also especially good for cooking my Thanksgiving turkey every year.
- Use two forks or Metal Meat Claws to shred the pork after its cook. The grips on these claws make it easier to hold and shred meat. You can also use the claws to remove the meat from the roaster oven with greater ease than other kitchen utensils.
- Serve this pulled pork as a sandwich by spooning onto your favorite bun or bread. Add a little coleslaw for a little crunch and contrast to the barbecue pork.
- Create a heavenly barbecue meal by serving a heaping helping of pulled pork alongside some favorite sides like Loaded Baked Potato Salad, a spoonful of Creamy Mashed Potatoes, piles of Southern Baked Beans, or even a plateful of Cheesy Ranch Bread Bites.
- Don’t forget to serve some extra Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce on the side. Delicious.
- Leftovers the next day are just as good as the first day. Store cooled pork in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat in the microwave when ready.
- This pulled pork is so versatile and has so many uses. Use pork to make sliders for a handheld hors d’oeuvres at your next party, toss on a baked potato for a succulent treat, or add to your next plate of nachos for a super tasty barbecue dish. The options are endless. Get creative.
- Pulled pork is freezer friendly for sure. Toss leftovers into an airtight container or freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to five months. When you’re ready to eat again, thaw in the refrigerator before reheating in the microwave.
- This recipe calls for a boneless pork shoulder, which can be either the pork butt, also called the Boston butt, or the picnic shoulder. If you can only find bone-in pork shoulder, that’s okay. Just be sure to remove all bone pieces after cooking the meat and before shredding.
- If you’re serving a large crowd or want to have leftovers, use the full pork shoulder that includes both the pork butt and picnic shoulder sections. Simply double up on the ingredients and cook the same.
- I leave every piece of fat on the pork shoulder because it keeps the meat moist during cooking and adds a ton of the flavor to the dish. If you’re not a fan, there’s no harm in trimming off the fat before coating with dry rub.
- This recipe uses my homemade Barbecue Dry Rub. It’s full of all the spices you need to give the meat a distinctive barbecue flavor. Be sure to massage the rub into every nook and cranny of the pork shoulder. The more you rub it in, the less will fall off while slow cooking.
- You’ll know when the pork is ready because the meat will separate and easily fall apart when you stick a fork in it. Cooked pork is super tender, so you’ll want to care when removing from the pan.
- The pork releases liquid as it cooks, especially if the meat has a lot of marbling and fat. You’ll want to save the juices after removing the cooked pork from the pan, then add enough of the juices to the shredded pork to fully moisten the meat. Usually about one to two cups is enough.
- For the full barbecue experience, stir some homemade barbecue sauce into the shredded pork. If you prefer, you can use your favorite store-bought sauce instead.
- The dry rub adds a ton of flavor to the meat, so you can easily skip the barbecue sauce if you’d like. Just shred and serve without adding the sauce.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a comment and star rating below. It’s always refreshing to hear how others like a recipe, find success with it, or tweak to suit. I’d love to hear from you!