Roasting pork in your oven for that perfect pulled pork we all love isn’t difficult. It takes a little time but very little effort and the rewards are exceptionally delicious!
No need for a grill or smoker, my oven-cooked pulled pork is flavorful, fork tender and amazingly delicious and so easy to make it almost cooks itself.
I love pulled pork! There are so many ways to use this delicious slow-roasted pork that it will become a regular item on your menu, once you see how easy it is to make.
If you love pork, my Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs are easy to make and amazingly delicious. And you’ve got to try my Wild Boar Pulled Pork Sliders and Korean Pork Barbecue, they are OMG delicious!
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make a Dry Rubbed Pork Roast. In Chef Speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
You’ll love the seasoning blend for the pulled pork, made with black pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and other flavorful spices.
What Cut of Pork should I use for Perfect Pulled Pork?
Most barbecue restaurants use whole pork shoulder roast for their pulled pork, but they’re rarely available in grocery stores. The shoulder roast is the entire front leg and shoulder of a hog. For home consumption, this cut is generally too large, but perfect for restaurant use. This is the cut the Famous Kansas City BBQ uses for their pulled pork.
In your grocery store, you will usually find this divided into two cuts, the Boston butt (cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg ), and the picnic roast.
Either of these cuts are good for pulled pork, but I prefer the Boston butt also known as a pork butt.
Once you’ve got all your ingredients together the first step is mixing all the seasonings together in a small bowl. Make sure they are all well blended for the spice rub.
Then begin the dry rub process which actually means rubbing the spices into the pork butt.
Chef Dennis Tip:
To make this recipe I split the pork butt into two pieces to make it easier to control and also to help reduce the overall cooking time. A large Pork Butt can take a long time to cook, two smaller butts will cook faster.
Wrap the pork in cling wrap, double wrapping it to make sure that its completely sealed to help avoid leakage.
Place a plate under the wrapped pork and refrigerate for at least 12 hours up to 24 hours.
When the pork is ready it’s time to start the cooking process. Dice an onion and saute it in olive oil (or oil of your choice) for 2-3 minutes.
The pot you saute in should have a lid and be oven ready.
Next, add the pork and begin searing the pieces on all sides. Searing each side for 3-4 minutes until the entire roast has been seared and has a nice color.
Add your favorite beer (or Dr. Pepper, Root Beer or Cola) to the pot. Place the lid on the pot and put the pot into a preheated 300 degrees F oven for 3 hours. If you’d like a smoky flavor you can add a little liquid smoke to the cooking liquid.
You can check the roast at the 90-minute mark to see if it needs more liquid. If it does add more beer or water to the pan. Mine had more than enough liquid in the pan and didn’t need any additional liquid.
Chef Dennis Tip:
Make sure to have the fat side up when you’re ready to roast the pork butts.
Do I have to use a pot with a lid to roast the pork butt?
No, you don’t. You can cover the pot with aluminum foil, or place a half sheet pan over the top of the pot when you make this recipe.
You can also place it in a baking dish that is big enough to hold the pork, onions and beer and cover it with foil.
You can also forgo the beer and onions double wrapping the pork butts in foil and placing them on a sheet pan to roast.
Depending upon the size of your pork roasts it will take 2.5 hours to 3.5 hours to cook to the desired temperature for pulled pork.
*Average cook time is 40 minutes per pound.
What temperature should I roast Pork Butts to for Perfect Pulled Pork?
For pulled pork, the ideal temperature is 205 degrees F. This goes well beyond the recommended 165 degrees F that most of us are used to cooking pork too.
The high internal temperature allows the collagen in the pork butt to break down making the meat very tender.
When the pork reaches an internal temperature of 190 F to 195 F, the meat is ready to be pulled. Cooking the pork to any temperature below that won’t give you meat that is tender enough to pull apart properly.
Rember that the pork roast will continue to cook internally by and the temperature will increase by about 10 degrees after it’s been removed from the oven.
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I absolutely love my Meater Plus | Smart Meat Thermometer It takes all the guesswork out of cooking meats in the oven, on the grill, or in a smoker.
How do I shred pulled pork?
When the roast is cool enough to handle (but still hot) begin the process of pulling the meat. The tried and true method is using your hands to pull the meat against the grain into slivers.
Here are two other ways to get perfect pulled pork.
Two Fork Method:
Cut the meat into workable pieces. Then use one fork to hold the meat stable, and the other to rake it into shreds. Or use the forks to pull the meat away from each other.
Using a stand mixer is the fastest and easiest way to shred pork (or chicken). Place the cooked meat in the mixing bowl, attach the flat beater paddle into the mixer and lock the lever., Turn the mixer to medium speed and let it run for approximately 30 seconds, or until the meat has shredded.
If you’re serious about pulled pork and will be making it on a regular basis, get a pair of Meat Claws aka Bear Claws.
Use your favorite barbecue sauce to turn pulled pork into a masterpiece of deliciousness! And if by some chance you have leftover bbq pulled pork, try my Ultimate Pulled Pork Cheeseburger.
Can I Make Pulled Pork in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can. Use the seasoning method as described in the recipe.
If possible sear the pork as in the dutch oven method, but you can cook the pork without searing. Add the onion, beer, and seared pork to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours depending upon your slow cooker.
Shred the pork while warm.
Pork Shoulder is the best cut of pork for pulling. It has the right fat content that yields to create the tender meat for pulled pork. Because of the nature of the shoulder, it needs to be cooked slowly to allow the protein to break down properly.
This is one of the biggest complaints with pulled pork, usually due to being exposed to a high temperature for too long and being overcooked. After pulling apart the pork, use the pan juices to moisten the meat. Adding a barbecue sauce will help add moisture to the pulled pork.
Let a cooked pork shoulder rest for 15-20 minutes loosely tented with foil before pulling or serving the meat. This “relaxes” the meat, which makes it juicier and more flavorful.
The rule of thumb for pulled pork is one-third to one-half pound of meat per person. With about a 40% loss while roasting a raw 10-pound pork shoulder (or two 5-pounders) will yield about 6 pounds of finished meat, which will serve 12 to 18 people.
Yes, you can. Shred the pork first, then store it with the barbecue sauce in a large resealable freezer bag. Make sure to take out as much of the air as possible before sealing the bag.
I can’t wait to try this. I’m going to make it for my residents at our July pool party. I’m going to cook two 4 or 5 pound roasts. Thanks for this recipe it was exactly what I was looking for.
I am excited to use this recipe for my neice’s grad. party next week! I will be using this recipe to make pulled pork bbq sandwhiches. I am going to have to start 2 days early since I have 65 lbs. to do! My questions are: should I sauce it up right away and store in fridge, or should I wait to sauce until ready to serve on buns? Also what is the best way to reheat?
Chef Dennis Littley
You definitely want to pull the pork while its hot. You can definitely sauce it ahead of time and the pork will absorb the flavors, or you can just pack it ziplock bags and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.
For that much pork, I would put it deep baking pans or sheet pans to reheat. Add some water, chicken stock or apple juice to the meat and cover it tightly with foil. Place it in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes to reheat. Have the sauce on the stove heated and ready to go. Depending on how deep the pan is you can sauce it right in the baking pan and toss it. Or place the heated pulled pork in a big bowl and sauce it.
I wouldn’t try to do too much at a time as it will get clumpy. Smaller batches will allow you to mix the sauce into the pork more easily.
Also with the pans you can heat the pork, as needed, if you don’t need it all at once.
let me know if you have any other questions.
Thank you so much Chef! This is very helpful!!! Val
Without a doubt the best pulled pork I have ever made. Cooked 7.5 lb shoulder (cut in half) and did exactly as the recipe stated. Worked great. Tender and juicy. I did make sure to take it out of the oven when the meat reached 195 degrees F. Thank you so much.
Love this blog!
Made pulled pork for me and my husband – we loved it! Paired it with homemade BBQ sauce.
Chef Dennis Littley
I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the pulled pork!
Easy to follow directions. The pork came out so juicy and tasty! I can’t wait to serve at our next party.
Hello Chef, trying this recipe for a party next week….question if I have a 5lb shoulder roast, is it ok to roast whole or do I need to split it in half?
Chef Dennis Littley
You can roast it in one piece, but it’s going to take a lot longer to cook, which is why I cut the roast. If you’re pulling the pork having it in one piece really doesn’t matter. I would split in half to save cooking time.