Best Pulled Pork is fall apart tender, juicy, and packed with flavor from the perfect seasoning! This pulled pork can be made in the slow cooker or oven!
I am beyond thrilled to finally be sharing my good old pulled pork recipe with you guys! You know I've said it before, Kansas girl, I know BBQ, and I am biased but this is really the only pulled pork you ever need. This recipe is so good with our Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, try it out! I've shared by Bacon Bourbon Pulled Pork and an easy Instant Pot Pulled Pork too. But, this is my tried and true oven or slow cooker method that I have used for many many years and perfected. You guys asked for it, and I hope you love it as much as we do! What makes this the best? It's the combo of seasonings in just the right amounts which I've played around with for along time to get it just right. It's cooking it in the right liquid for the perfect amount of time until it just falls apart and melts in your mouth! It's amazing!
Pulled Pork Seasoning:
The seasoning is super simple, it's more about that perfect blend in just the right amounts. We use brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, a good amount of salt & pepper, and a pinch of cayenne! Make sure you use all of the seasoning! Also, really rub it into the pulled pork, get all of the nooks and crannies! After seasoning, I recommend if possible, to wrap the pork in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight. This step is optional and the pork is great either way even if you don't have time for that.
What is the Best Cut of Pork for Pulled Pork?
You will want a good sized, 3-5 pound cut of pork for this recipe! I almost always use a pork shoulder and that's what I'd recommend you use too. Note that pork shoulder is also sometimes called "pork butt" and they're the same thing. This is a really easy cut of meat to find at your grocery store. The pork shoulder is higher in fat (which does NOT make this fatty the fat cooks down) but it adds a ton of great flavor to your pulled pork. If necessary, you can use a pork loin (not tenderloin) for this recipe as well.
What Goes Well With Pulled Pork?
We always serve this on oven toasted buns! Well, almost always. It's also great made into some pulled pork nachos on top of your favorite chips with cheese and whatever toppings you love. It's great stuffed into baked potatoes or served with Mashed Potatoes! We also really enjoy a big pan of Green Beans to get a green veggie in. A couple of my personal favorites are this easy One Pot Mac and Cheese, there's something nostalgic for me about a big bowl of cheesy noodles with my pulled pork! Last but not least, the very perfect Potato Salad or our tired and true family fave Macaroni Salad because this pork reminds be of spring and summer bbq's!
Best Pulled Pork Recipe Notes:
- Noting again on chill time. You don't have to chill the roast at all after seasoning if you need to get it cooking right away. I promise it's amazing either way. For the best flavor though, it's nice to let it refrigerate and marinate in the spice blend for 2-12 hours.
- Seasoning blend! Don't leave anything out. I've tested this blend so many times and it is perfect. You can eat this meat shredded right out of the crockpot even without BBQ sauce if you want. It's that flavorful!
- Smoked paprika is worth getting if you can. Every grocery store I've seen carries it and it's easy to find with the other spices. It' lends a nice smoky flavor to the pork without actually having to smoke it. Regular paprika will do if absolutely necessary.
- MUST cook this pork low and slow! In the slow cooker it will take anywhere from 10-12 hours total, and in the oven it will take around 6-7 hours at 300 degrees. It's worth the wait, but plan ahead! Don't be tempted to cook this on high in the slow cooker or raise the oven temp. This will boil the meat and it won't be nearly as tender.
Best Pulled Pork
- 3-4 Pound Boneless Pork Shoulder
- ⅓ Cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- ½ Cup Beef Broth
- ⅓ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Lay the pulled pork out on a large cutting board lined with plastic wrap.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne.
- Evenly season the pork with the seasoning mixture and use your hands to massage the rub into all sides of the meat.
- OPTIONAL: Wrap in plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator and chill for 2-12 hours.
SLOW COOKER METHOD:
- When ready to cook, pour the broth, vinegar, and worcestershire sauce in the bottom of your slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Place the pork into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours until fork tender and falling apart. Remove the pork to a large plate, tent with foil and allow the pork to sit for 10 minutes. Shred the pork and serve with buns and bbq sauce if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Season the pork as directed above, and chill if desired.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Pour the beef broth, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce into the bottom of a large dutch oven and stir. Then, add the pork to the pot.
- Cover the pork with the lid of your dutch oven and roast in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Remove the lid and continue cooking for 3-4 more hours until the pork is tender and falling apart.
- Remove the pork from the oven and place on a large serving platter. Tent the pork with foil and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before shredding and serving.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, and frozen for up to 2 months.
Shelley Person says
I've made this too many times to count always with perfect results ! Thank you Nichole!
I’ve made this recipe before and it’s always amazing. I have one wrapped up with the spices right now. But instead of Worcestershire this time I’m going to try liquid smoke!
Pamela Baker says
Can I freeze the left over cooked pulled pork?
Yes, you can! Just make sure to cool it completely first. It should freeze ok for 3 months or so.
Just put mine in the slow cooker. I’ll up date in many hours and let you know how it turned out. Can’t wait !
Best pulled pork I've ever had! The only addition I made was dry mustard. Piled it high on homemade focaccia buns with smoked gouda and dill pickles for insanely good sandwiches. Already looking forward to the leftovers in pulled pork eggs benny.
Could I use a throwaway roasting pan instead of the Dutch oven To cook the roast in?
What if it isn’t boneless? Should I remove bone first?
I bought a should butt roast and it is quite large! It’s just over 13 lbs and I was wondering what to do about cook time? Could you help me with that?
Carla Destramp says
Delicious and easy. I used beer in place of the beef stock. Came out awesome.
My friend found this recipe and made it for our Sunday get together and OMG it was the best pulled pork my husband and I ever had.
She shared the recipe with me and the next week I made it and it was just as delicious.
She did hers in the slow cooker and I did mine in the oven and both were perfect.
So glad I have this recipe. Will be making it again.....
This looks incredible! Do you remove the skin from the pork shoulder before cooking?
Donna Searfus says
Can I use a bone in pork shoulder
This recipe is amazing! I usually do 8-9lbs boneless butt and I double up on everything except the cooking time. I also always go for the chilling 12 hours wrapped with seasoning. I usually cook mine ahead of time though so I save the juice from cooking and after letting it coagulate in the fridge I skim all the fat and strain some of the settled seasoning out so I can use the juice to reheat the meat.
Can I freeze the leftovers? I completely forgot to add liquid back to it.... but if I can freeze some for another day it would be awesome!
I'm using an 8 lb pork butt. Do I need to double the ingredients in the rub and/or the liquid portion?
No need to double the spices - you should have more than plenty for your 8 pound pork butt. I have a similar sized picnic shoulder and plan to increase the liquids by 50% when I cook it tomorrow.
When do you put the bbq sauce on? Do you shred, apply sauce and cook a bit longer? Help!
BBQ sauce goes on before serving 🙂
Really delicious. We made the Instapot version and it was easy and so good. We served as sliders on Hawaiian bread with pickles and/or cabbage. After shredding the meat we did not return it to the liquid, instead adding much less sauce back to the meat (we prefer less sauce, or self serve sauce).
What is the instant pot version?