June 22, 2015

Perfect Pulled Pork

This post was originally published on August 26, 2008. It’s one of our oldest and most popular recipes on our entire site. It’s been made thousands of times from readers all over the world. This is how to make authentic Southern Pulled Pork.

Southern Pulled Pork. This is the real deal.

After photos were updated June 2015.

Southern Pulled Pork. This is the real deal.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Remember last week when we were talking about company recipes? This is one of those recipes. I’ll never forget the first time I had this *perfect* pulled pork. I was a guest in someone’s home and this was their company recipe. And true to company recipe fashion, I immediately fell in love with it and begged for the recipe.

This pulled pork is SO yummy and flavorful and tender, it just melts in your mouth. And it really is *perfect* for company because everyone I’ve ever made this for has just raved over it. You have to try it, at least once. Really. You will be hooked. :)

Let’s pick out the perfect pork shoulder for your perfect pulled pork. The best piece of meat for pulled pork is a 4-7 lb whole boston butt.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Make sure your pork shoulder has a layer of fat on the bottom:

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

And it should also have a bone going about halfway through it. (It doesn’t go all the way through. Just halfway.)

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Now, if you notice, my pork shoulder is 7.91 lbs. I got a big one because I wanted to feed 6 people *and* have tons and tons of leftovers. Normally I hate leftovers, but I LOVE this leftover. People always want some to take home with them and it *just* as yummy heated up the next day. Just pop it in a 350-375 degree oven for about 5 mins. You’ll know when it’s done because the whole kitchen will start smelling so good and your mouth will be watering and you just won’t be able to wait any longer before you yank it out of the oven and put it on a plate. It even freezes really well, although we never want to freeze it because we always want to keep eating it for the next couple of days. lol.

After you pick out your perfect pork shoulder, you may want to pick up a few other items while you’re out..

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

You’ll need a 3″ deep roasting pan that’s big enough to hold your pork shoulder so that there is at least 1″ of extra room on all sides. Of course you may have a nice roasting pan at home that you can use. I just pick up one of these disposable ones at the grocery store for easier clean up. You’ll also need something LARGE to brine the roast in. I use a 2 gallon ziploc bag. And the last thing is a digital thermometer with an alarm. You don’t *have* to have one of these, but I find this an *extremely* useful piece of equipment in my kitchen. The thermometer stays in the meat, in the oven while the digital reader sits outside on top of the stove. You set the alarm and it will go off when the meat has reached the desired temp. I LOVE it because I don’t have to constantly keep checking on the roast. I just put it in and forget it! :) You can pick one of these up pretty cheap (less than $20) at the grocery store (and almost anywhere- Amazon, Target, Walmart, Linens-N-Things, Bed, Bath and Beyond, etc). And you can use it for everything- chicken, steak, burgers, etc. I love it for baking chicken because you know exactly when the chicken is done and it doesn’t get dried out. :)

So! Now that you’ve got all your equipment, let’s start out by making the special dry rub that makes this pulled pork perfectly seasoned.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe Dry Rub

1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Mix all ingredients together well and store in an air tight container.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

This smells absolutely divine. Cover it and set it aside for a sec.

Now for the brine – A brine solution gives the meat the extra moisture it needs for a long, slow cooking process so you don’t end up with tough, dried out meat.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe Brine Solution

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 qts cold water
3 tbsp dry rub mix
2 bay leaves

Add salt to cold water and stir very well until all the salt is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar and dry rub and stir well to combine.

Rinse the pork shoulder in cold water and place in a 2 gallon ziploc bag (or a container big enough so the shoulder is completely covered in brine solution).

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Carefully pour in the brine solution…

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

And add two dried bay leaves.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

You can find these in the spice section of the grocery store.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

And refrigerate for at least 12 hours. 24-36 hours is best. I usually do it about 24 hours. I like to clean out a spot in my door and keep the pork there because it helps keep the shoulder completely covered in brine.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe At least 12 hours later…

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. (Yes, 225 degrees, that is not a typo :)) Remove the pork shoulder from the brine solution and place in the roasting pan.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Pat the skin dry with paper towels so you’ll get a nice, crisp crust.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Generously, generously, cover the WHOLE thing in your dry rub mix.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

And massage it into that skin real good. Be sure and get it up under any flaps you may come across.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

It should look like this when you’re done massaging. If you have dry rub mix left, that’s okay. We will be using it later.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Make sure the fat layer is facing UP and stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the shoulder, but not touching the bone.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Place uncovered in a 225 degree F oven on the middle rack.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Set the alarm on the thermometer for 200 degrees. We don’t want to take it out of the oven until the center of the shoulder reaches at least 200 degrees. The first time I made this, I was like what?? 200 degrees?? Are you kidding?? Isn’t a roast usually done at 170 degrees?? Won’t my meat be tough and dried out?? But here’s what I found out. The pork is finished to the point of being sliceable at 170 degrees, but to get that tender, falling apart shredded meat, the ideal internal temperature should reach at least 200 degrees. And it’s still just as tender, juicy and flavorful because smartypants you brined it first. Pat yourself on the back for being in-the-know.

Now, cooking at 225 degrees F, this shoulder will probably take between 1.5 to 2 hours per pound to cook. This 8 lb shoulder took 13 hours, so a little over an 1.5 hr per pound.

Here’s how I normally do it… Two nights before I want to serve this, I prepare the brine solution and let the shoulder brine over night and all day the next day in the fridge. That night right before bed, I season the shoulder with the dry rub and put it in the oven and let it cook overnight. Even a small shoulder will take at least 10 hours to cook, so you don’t have to worry about the alarm waking you up the next morning.

Note: Some ovens automatically turn off after 12 hours. Note the time you put the shoulder in the oven, and you may want to set an alarm on your phone to alert you 12 hours later so you can check and make sure your oven is still on. A large shoulder could easily take 13-16 hours to cook.

When the alarm goes off and the shoulder has reached 200 degrees, turn off the oven and let the roast rest for about 2 hours before removing from the oven. Turn off the alarm, but keep the thermometer in the meat, so you can monitor the temperature. If the bottom of the pan is dry (or crusted with dried spices) cover the pan with foil to retain internal moisture of the meat during the resting period. Mine still had a lot of moisture in the bottom, so I didn’t cover mine.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

After a couple hours, when the temperature drops to 170 degrees or slightly lower, remove the shoulder from the oven.

Remove the large sheet of crusted fat on the top. Using two large forks, begin pulling the meat apart. It will fall apart *very* easily and it should not take you long at all to pull apart this whole roast.

Southern Pulled Pork. This is the real deal.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

The inside will be fall-off-the-bone tender, and the outside will have a deliciously seasoned crispy crust. Feel free to add any leftover seasoning if you want a little more kick.

Southern Pulled Pork. This is the real deal.

It’s so juicy and flavorful, you won’t even need BBQ sauce.

Southern Pulled Pork. This is the real deal.

This famous pulled pork is requested at every get-together we go to. Go ahead and impress your friends with this slow roasted, seasoned and savory pulled pork.


Perfect Pulled Pork
  • 1 (4-7 pound) whole boston butt (bone in with a layer of fat on the bottom)
Dry Rub
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • ½ cup brown sugar
Brine Solution
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 qts cold water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp dry rub mix
For the Dry Rub
  1. Mix well and store in an air tight container.
For the Brine Solution
  1. Add salt to cold water and stir very well until all the salt is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar, dry rub, and bay leaves and stir well to combine.
Pork shoulder preparation
  1. Rinse the pork shoulder and place in a large container, pour in the brine solution until the shoulder is completely covered. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  2. Remove pork shoulder from brine solution, pat dry with paper towels, place in baking pan that is bigger than the shoulder by at least a inch in length and width and at least 3 inches deep. Sprinkle dry rub onto the surface of the shoulder and massage in such that it adheres to the surface. Coat all sides. Make sure the fat layer on the shoulder is facing up before cooking! Place baking pan uncovered in a 225 degree F oven on the middle rack. Insert a probe thermometer into the center or thickest part of the shoulder, but not touching the bone. Monitor the temperature throughout cooking (a digital thermometer with an alarm function is the easiest way to do this). Do not remove from the oven until the center of the shoulder reaches 200 degrees.
  3. When the shoulder has reached 200 degrees, shut off the oven and let the roast cool for a couple of hours before removing from the oven. If the bottom of the pan is dry (or crusted with dried spices) then cover the pan with foil to retain internal moisture of the meat during the cooling period. When the temperature drops to 170 degrees or slightly lower, remove from oven. Place on a large, clean work surface such as a cutting board, and remove the large sheet of crusted fat on the top. Pull apart with two forks, it will pull apart very easily. Serve for friends and family!

This pulled pork is so delicious, it earns two pages in the recipe book.

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

Perfect Southern Pulled Pork Recipe

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rich August 27, 2008 at 7:51 pm

can’t waite to try it. i smoke pork butts (tough to keep em lit) and they come out great, but I’ve never tried the brine idea on it. I will brine turkeys so it makes sense to try it with this too. thanks for the tip. Nice web site!!!!


Donna March 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm

@ Rich – LOL!! Hardy har har!!!

cindy September 1, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Amanda, I made this, this wkend…and it was GREAT!!!!!! I am wondering though, if you have tried it in a crockpot? It would be a great thing to brine overnight, rub it in the AM, and throw in crockpot. I wouldn’t dare leave my oven on all day, but would my crockpot. What do you think?
thanks!! cindy


janice belcher February 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I tried it in the crockpot and it is fantastic. Only thing, you don’t get the crust, because all the fat melts, but still really delish. I put it on high for 7 hours, put a layer of onions cut in half on the bottom first, then the rubbed shoulder. No additional liquid required. Mine was about 4.5 pounds of meat. I wish I could have fit a bigger piece. This will be gone in no time. I think for a larger group of people you would want to get a gynormous hunk of meat and do it in the oven:)

Thank you Amanda for a great site!!!

Tammie November 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I made this in the crockpot according to Janice’s directions. I was a little nervous about making pulled pork (especially in a crockpot) for my boyfriend, who is a barbecue/grill/smoker expert! But he just raved about it… He said he could set up a stand on the corner and sell it, then he also said he could eat a whole bowl of the stuff by itself! Lol. We served it on Kings Hawaiian rolls with a little bit of store bought barbecue sauce. When my boyfriend went back for seconds, he said he added a little butter to the roll as well, and it was heavenly! The only recommendation that he had was to add a little Liquid Smoke to it next time to help give it the smokier flavor it was missing from being made in a crockpot instead of a smoker.

Anyway, this recipe is definitely a keeper! Thanks for posting it! And thanks, Janice, for the crockpot directions! :)

Amanda September 1, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Cindy.. Please try it and report back!!! :D I’d love to know the answer to this! When I first had this at my friend’s house, I asked my host the very same question.. Back then I actually had a working crockpot. :p He was afraid it’d turn out too dry in the crockpot, so I never tried it that way. Since then, my crockpot has died and I never replaced it, so I just keep on making it in the oven. But I’d love to know!! :)

P.S. So glad you liked it!! :D


Jennifer July 25, 2010 at 8:50 am

Hi Amanda,
Love this site, just found you and already have lots of inspiration :) Thank you!
I was just wondering on the crockpot, do you add any liquid to the crockpot when you cook the pork?

Jenn February 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm


I have made it in the crockpot. It turned out fantastic. Thank you for sharing!

lizalu March 22, 2011 at 9:05 am

Hi, this recipe came out great! I did everything you said to do. The only thing I did differently was that I cooked it in the the crock pot instead of the oven. I sliced 2 onions and put a little bit of water and cooked in on low for about 7 hours. It was so juicy and tender and delicious! It didn’t dry out at all. Great recipe! Thanks!!

Brian July 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I have tried to make this pulled pork recipe twice now and both times I have had much longer cooking times than you guys say are necessary. Both times I have used only a 4 pound roast because that is the largest size my local Vons sells and each time I have used a digital thermometer as well as an oven thermometer to make sure my oven is working correctly so I know I am at 225 in the oven. Currently the roast has been in for 7 hours and is only reading 152 degrees. In fact, for the last 90 minutes, it has only gone up 4 degrees. This is going to take more like 10 hours plus the sitting time will be 12 hours. The recipe said it should only take 1.5 – 2 hours per pound. Clearly it is taking much longer than that for me. I waited until the roast was room temperature before putting it in the oven. Do you have any idea why this might be happening?
Just wondering,
Brian Wittle

Eric April 3, 2013 at 8:32 am

When my smoker died, the crock pot was the next best option. I’ve made many a pork butt in the crock-pot with different types of basting juices, even root beer. It wasn’t bad but too sweet for my taste. It’s ALWAYS juicy and flavorful and as another reader stated, the only thing missing was the genuine smoke flavor. Liquid Smoke is a fine substitute, but I’m kind of a purist when it comes to that. Bottom line to anyone who is apprehensive about making pulled pork from a crock pot. DON’T BE.

Great site. Great recipes & tips!

John G June 20, 2013 at 7:44 am

I tried this 2 weeks ago in the crockpot and used McCormicks Cowboy Rub as opposed to my own. It was the absolute best Pulled Pork I ever had. Brining keeps it juicy but not greasy and I cooked it on low for about 9 hours. For the sauce I used Wegmans Kansas City style which was great but will probably make my own for next time. Amoroso rolls and provolone cheese rounded out the amazing sammich that ensued. The leftovers were just as good as it was hot from the pot and it didn’t last more than a few days. Will be trying your no machine required ice cream tomorrow!

scott August 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I have to agree with Brian the temp. cant be right have a four lb. pork and took 7 hours I will try this reciepe again but think I will bump the temp up to 250-275 , add a little something for more juice.

Krissy September 2, 2008 at 9:12 pm

I made this too on Saturday night. It turned out pretty good…Took Forever! I knew you said around 13 hours, but I now know that I need to get it in the oven a lot earlier the night before because it still wasn’t done at 1 PM the next day! (put it in at 11:30 PM on Sat) Anyway, I passed the recipe along to a co-worker on Friday and she too made it this weekend. We both will totally make it again. My Hubby and my Dad loved it! Thanks for such great recipes!


Melissa September 3, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Hi Amanda – I came for the fonts and left with this recipe! Cant wait to try it! Thanks so much what a beautiful site you have!


Jacqui September 4, 2008 at 6:16 pm

mmmm that looks really yummy!! i’ll definately be trying this one out. thanks for the great recipe:)


Lacey November 29, 2008 at 9:10 am

I made this in the crockpot a few weeks ago and it turned out awesome! I let it cook around 9 hours and it was perfect! Thanks for the yummy recipes!


DrZibbs December 6, 2008 at 3:06 pm

I just put mine in the fridge to brine. Thanks!


rachel in Cali. December 8, 2008 at 12:04 am

OMG!! My mouth is totally watering! I guess I’ll be headed to the store in the morning! :0)


Sally December 8, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Amanda…. We (the girls in my office) have thoroughly enjoyed your web site… we have tried several recipes already.. Do you know if I can use a boneless pork roast instead of the boston butt for the shredded pork recipe? Oh and my the way, Happy Birthday! The girls from Berryville Virginia


lisa July 24, 2011 at 10:23 am

Depends on what you mean by “pork roast.” Is it a boneless boston butt? Or a boneless sirloin roast? Can’t use the latter, for sure. The former will be OK, but not as flavorful without the bone.

Amanda December 8, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Hey Berryville Virginia Girls,

I’m sure you could… It is a pork shoulder roast? That would definitely work. This brine, the seasonings & method of cooking are very versatile! :)


Brian November 11, 2011 at 11:28 am

Trying the recipe for the first time. I usually put some beer, onions and garlic in with the shoulder and cover it. I have also browned before putting it in the oven. It has turned out great, but have not brined.

Do you think it will be fine if I brine, dry rub, but throw a beer/onions and garlic in with it (I put something on the bottom of the pan so the shoulder is not sitting in the liquid), but not cover or brown it?

Crystal December 29, 2008 at 10:09 am

Hi Amanda! I love your website. I am making a recipe book (scrapbook style) for me and my little boy. I came to this website for the scrapbook ideas and the fonts. I love your recipes though! Will definitely try this! Hopefully for New Year’s! I love how you go thru every step when making the recipe! Thanks!!!


Thos Weatherby January 2, 2009 at 4:25 pm

To the brine I added 1/2 cup apple vinegar, 1/2 bourbon and used sea salt. Also to the rub I used smoked paprika. I also coated the pork with a spicy brown mustard. What’s nice about this dish are the variations on the theme. Great dish either way, Thanks!!!


Tassos January 5, 2009 at 9:47 pm

I want to surprise my parents with this, but I am a bit confused with the temperature. Is it Celsius or Fahrenheit?


Beth May 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I am a lil confused on the temp too, because I’ve only had my roast in the oven on 225 for about 4hrs and the thermometer is already reading 141 degrees farenheit. So I’m wondering if I should be cooking this to 200 celsius. It is a little over 11 lbs, so I know it is no where near that close to done.

Peter May 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm

It’s farenheit. You’ll find it will cook closer to what she says if you take the brining bag out of the fridge towards the end of the brining period and then hopefully get the meat closer to room temperature before starting to roast it. Roasting it at 225 f starting from 38 f will add several hours to a 9 lb roast.

David January 6, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Hey there! Just wanted to let you know that we found this recipie through stumbleupon and tried this recipie tonight! It was AWESOME! Thanks!


Ken January 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm

I have been smoking pork for years and have never tried brining…I am going to try this complete next time i do a pork shoulder in my smoker…We have an old farm with shag bark hickory trees that are perfect for smoking….we just us the limbs that fall and the nuts…


Heather S January 13, 2009 at 11:17 am

If you really want to get a house warming present for us, make this one night and bring it over. *wink* *wink* LOL! Just kidding. I can’t wait to use the thermometer probe in my new oven to try this out!


Coronae January 15, 2009 at 3:29 am

and I though the chocolate cake was the only thing on tap for tomorrow.


disneypal January 16, 2009 at 10:37 pm

This looks wonderful. I’ve been trying to find a good pulled pork recipe – I knew nothing about the best cut of meat to use, spices, etc. Your recipe and tutorial is PERFECT. I’ll be going to my local Kroger this weekend to get the stuff to make this.


Heather S January 20, 2009 at 9:39 am

Cooked the pulled pork this weekend and it was SO YUMMY! I loved it! Will for sure be making this again soon!!!


chris January 28, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Now I know why they call it “pulled” pork! Hey, I can’t be blamed, I’m from England!
It looks so good!
I Love all your recipe cards.


Mark B. February 1, 2009 at 10:25 am

One word – Fantastic…. Just pulled it apart (it fell apart). 7lb Boston Butt took 11 hrs. It looks and tastes perfect. Good recipe.


Kevin February 2, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Cooked this for the Super Bowl and was a hit with everyone. I barely touched the meat with a fork and it fell apart…ohhh sooo good. Brining is definitely the ticket. You have a great collection of recipes….Thanks for Sharing!!!!


Darren February 8, 2009 at 9:08 am

Crawled out of bed at 6 this morning to get this all rubbed up and into the oven. I’m cooking it in a gas oven, supposed to be a moister heat than electric, so I anticipate a most marvelous moist meal tonite! Maybe my 12 year old will even eat if! Better not tell him it’s pork butt though!


Woodstock February 11, 2009 at 10:09 am

Amanda, wow! The only problem I had was that I live alone, so 8lbs was a bit much. Had to call an entire crew over to even attemt to finish this meal. I made a burben and maple bbq sauce that I used to toss the pulled pork with. Everyone was amazed. You have a great website, very user friendly.


Jennifer February 13, 2009 at 9:23 pm

I made your pulled pork a few weeks ago, but I was a little short on time so I had to rush it a bit, but it was still quite good. I am brining one as we speak and I can’t wait to cook it properly and eat it tomorrow! I’m hoping to get some friends over to share this awesome pork!


Jennifer February 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm

My friends are raving about the pork. Thanks again!


Kristin February 18, 2009 at 9:01 am

When I saw my grocery ad’s this morning and that they had an awesome sale on Boston Butt’s I immediate printed this recipe. This is on my meal plan for next week and I CANNOT WAIT!


Jay - feedmedelicious.com February 21, 2009 at 3:55 am

This looks sooooo good, I’m dying to try it. Maybe this weekend or next. I wonder what one is the better of the two, in the oven or the crock pot. I love anything cooked in a crockpot. I’ll probably try the oven first.

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!


Kathleen February 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm

I tried to cook this today. Only had a 4 1/2 pound roast and it has cooked for 9 hours and the temp is at 177° so I am giving up for tonight. Tomorrow I will throw it in the crock pot and see if I can finish it off. I’ll let you know how it turns out.


Michelle February 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm

It turned out perfectly. My friends and family loved it and I will use this method forevermore. Thank you.


Meredith February 28, 2009 at 12:07 am

Fab Fab Fab recipe! Cooked it from 10pm to about noon today then just turned off the oven and left it for three or four hours and it was perfect! The local store has more meat on sale for $1/lb so I think I’ll throw a few in the freezer! Thanks for a great recipe and an adorable website!


Eric Hoffman March 4, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Looks great. Just the way I do it, except I use my smoker. Nice work.


Mark Sandford March 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Wow, just tried this, and it was great. Now I’m going to have to spend the rest of the night ignoring it as it calls my name from the fridge.


Scot March 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm

You forgot one of the best parts. That ‘crusted fat’ is pork skin. Make your own pork rinds after removing it from the cooked pork place it in a separate pan and roast or broil all the fat off and you have your pork rinds….. good to break apart and put on your pulled pork or as snack all by themselves. All protein…no fat!!


DawnLee March 19, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I made this yesterday in a Crockpot and it was FANTASTIC! I cooked it for over 12 hours (on low) but, couldn’t get the meat theometer to read 200 degrees. However, the meat fell off the bone and shredded perfectly. I would recommend you allow for plenty of time to make this. I started cooking at 8 am. It was after 10 pm when it was ready to shred.


Brian May 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

when cooking in a crock pot are you putting fat side down or meat side down?

Troy P March 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm

This sounds great! I’ve been smoking butts for a few years but I’ve never used a brine. I will definitely try this weekend.I use applewood in my smoker….I highly recommend it :)


Laura April 13, 2009 at 8:51 am

I made this pulled pork for my son’s 1st birthday party, and it was a huge hit! Not only was the pulled pork absolutely delicious, but it was also fun to make and pretty ‘fool-proof’. I’ll definitely be using this recipe again. The meat with the seasoning is so good that you won’t even need barbecue sauce!


Paula Titel February 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Hi, I wanted to also make this for my daughter’s 1st birthday! If the roast is between 4-7 lbs, how many people do you think this will feed? I’m going to have small rolls that my guests can fill themselves (among a lot of other foods). Should I make two roasts?

Katie May 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Wow! This was phenomenal! Our family and friends RAVED about it! Thank you so much! I’ll definitely be trying more of your recipes!


kesha May 2, 2009 at 10:35 am

Thankyou! Thankyou! Thankyou! I am very shy about cooking for other people. I just tried this recipe and everyone loved it. There was barely any left for me!


Darline May 5, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I made this and was sad becaues it was to saltey, what did I do wrong?? I ready to make it aging, can you help me


kk May 6, 2009 at 2:49 pm

I’ve been searching the web for a pulled pork recipe and this one looks the best by far. I can not wait totry it out.


Darline May 8, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I recooked it and it came out GREAT!!!! I put less salt 1/4 cup only and I washed it off after the soak. Worked for me


Elizabeth January 19, 2011 at 6:01 pm

THANKS for this tip- the same problem happened to me- i figure it was because i used a 4 lb. cut.
lessening the salt in the brine and rinsing it worked like a charm.

if it is too salty- i added more sugar to my first (too salty) roast and it turned it to a sweet taste, which was a hit with my family.

Sherry May 19, 2009 at 8:31 pm

I made this today and it was a big hit!! The kids couldn’t get enough. Thanks for the great recipe.


Paul May 20, 2009 at 4:45 am

Wow………..this was totally amazing. Had a gang of friends over in London yesterday, and have never seen them so blown away by a dish. The only shame was the lack of left-overs…….the plate was cleaned!

Thanks again.


MICHELLE June 20, 2009 at 1:11 pm

I’ve made this twice now and it is so delicious. Thanks for sharing.


Becky June 28, 2009 at 7:35 pm

YUMMMM !!!!! I love pulled pork sandwiches but never tried to make my own. Now I can give it a try. Thanks for sharing, Becky


Noela June 29, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Amanda, thanks for the recipe! I’ve never tried cooking anything that takes longer than 2 hours, but I’m willing to give this one a try especially since I absolutely LOVE pulled pork!:)

BTW the reason you need to pat the pork dry after the brining is so that the dry spice mix will stick better. If the meat is wet, the dry rub will start falling off.


Misty June 29, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Ohmygosh, do all your recipe cards look that cute? You just motivated me to do the same! I am sick of looking at the mess of recipes I have. What kind of book do you keep them in?

Thank you for sharing this recipe, it looks delicious!! I can’t wait to try it.


Noela July 4, 2009 at 12:05 am

Amanda, I finally made this today and was blown away by the flavor! We’re going to Tahoe with family during the week, so have packed loads of the pulled pork to be able to brag about it!:)

Can’t wait to make this again!


Tony W October 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Several people have mentioned making this recipe in a crock pot. I have made it both in the oven and in a crock pot and thought I would post my results.

First, the oven gives better results. Especially if you have a roasting pan that will keep the pork held above the juices that collect on the bottom. This allows the dry rub to create a better “bark” on the outside and keeps the bottom of the roast from overcooking slightly. Also, assuming you have used an oven thermometer to confirm your oven cooking temperature, the oven allows for a more even and slower cooking process. The key to this recipe is cooking “low and slow” to give the connective tissue in the meat time to break all the way down. This is what gives the tender and moist flavor.

However, the Crockpot does have advantages. It cooks the roast faster and is portable. I use a Hamilton Beach Crockpot with handles than clamp the lid and a rubber gasket between the lid and the Crockpot’s sides. It is called a “Stay or Go” Crockpot. While others may work, I think this one is well suited to this recipe because your thermometer’s probe wire can go between the lid and side and the gasket keeps the lid sealed tight.

So how do I do it? Exactly as the recipe states to cook it in the oven. Brine the pork in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. Pat all the way dry. Coat well with the dry rub. Now put the pork in the Crockpot with the fat layer up. Insert the temperature probe. Clamp the lid and turn on LOW. Nothing to add and nothing else to do. Both of the Boston Butt’s I have cooked have been in the 7.5 pound range. I don’t think I could fit one much bigger in the Crockpot. Each time they were done (reached 200 degrees F internal temperature) between 9 and 10 hours later. That is a cook time of about 1 hour and 15 minutes per pound.

So how is the Crockpot pulled pork? Pretty good. It isn’t quite as tender as the oven version. And because the Crockpot fills half up with the pork drippings, the dry rub on the bottom half of the pork gets somewhat washed off. But it allows me to make the pulled pork on a camping weekend when there is no oven available. And the convenience of cooking, cooling and serving the pork all in the Crockpot is nice.

Amanda October 20, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Thank you, Tony! I totally agree! :)

Dan December 15, 2010 at 9:16 pm

I just made some with a different recipe in a slow cooker, and here’s the key: fill up the crock pot with some root beer or Dr. Pepper. Let it cook in that and you don’t have to worry about the bottom burning, it keeps it moist, and imparts some great sweet flavor.

Brandi July 6, 2009 at 10:04 am

I too landed here looking for a font, and left after hours of perusing with loads of fonts, and some great recipies, too! Such a great site! Tried this pork over the weekend – OMG I LOVE IT!! Even my picky 16mo old practically vegetarian twins licked their plates clean. I almost cried when I realized that there were no left overs. I will definately have to make it again and soon! Next time I am going to try vaccum brining for an hour and then cooking in the pressure cooker to speed up the cooking, but keep the juicy goodness.


Janine Nicholson July 9, 2009 at 10:08 am

I tried this recipe for a family gathering on July 4th. It is awesome! The flavor is amazing!! I had to cut it in half in order to cook it because it was so big (lots of people were expected). I wanted to see what worked best for me so half went in my crockpot and the other half went in the oven. The crockpot worked best for me.


Grace July 21, 2009 at 12:55 am

That looks absolutely scrumdiddlyumptious.


Jenn July 25, 2009 at 6:46 pm

This was oh so yummy!!!!!!! I will be adding this to my dinner line up frequently. Thanks for sharing!!!!

PS…I did it in my crockpot. Perfect!!


Cassie Hagood August 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Hi there! I came looking for fonts two days ago and am serving pulled pork sandwiches and ultimate baked beans for dinner tonight. I nibbled on the pork already and WOW… it’s fabulous. Your website is fabulous… thanks for the fonts AND teh yummy recipes!


Jada August 6, 2009 at 10:50 pm

I absolutely love your 5.5 x 7.25 recipe pages. I think they are the bomb!!!! You are very talented. I am going to attempt to do the same with family recipes for my grandchildren…..Thanks for the great website. I look forward to more.


snarflemarfle August 8, 2009 at 7:33 pm

I’ve probably commented on this post more than is polite, but I have to say that I’ve used this seasoning mix on grilled chicken and it turns out fabulously! The sugar chars beautifully and really gives the chicken a great flavor! I’m always looking for different seasonings for chicken and I think I’ve found my favorite one now.


Brandi August 9, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Just wanted to let you know that the pressure brining and pressure cooking turned out amazing results in about an hour and half. Not bad for a spur of the moment Sunday night dinner for 10 unexpected guests. The only difference we noticed was that the brown sugar wasn’t qutie as prevalent. Next time I will probably brush on a glaze to give it a little more sugary kick (I love that honey glazed taste) while it is cooling off.


Laura RPh August 15, 2009 at 5:08 pm

I have been on this earth over 50 years and I have to tell you that this is probably the best thing I have ever eaten between 2 slices of bread!!!!!!!!!! I had an 8 lb. pork butt and it took 11 hours in a slow oven, but boy, was this ever worth it!!!! Now, I’m dying to try the other recipes…thank you so much for sharing!


Lesley August 19, 2009 at 9:29 am

I have not tried the recipe yet, but this sounds delicious!! It is the type of recipe I have been looking for!! Thanks!


Marilee Vickers August 24, 2009 at 10:33 am

I made the pulled pork and the ultimate beans this weekend. It was AWESOME! Both recipes were a huge hit for our party and they were so very easy.

Thanks again for your fab recipes!



Thomas September 8, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Made this for a get together I had. I’m not the worlds best cook but it came out amazingly. People raved about it. THANKS!


Ashlee September 10, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I made this pulled pork three times this summer. I made it the first time I cooked for my soon-to-be in-laws. It was such a hit I made it again when my parents visited! Thanks for a great recipe!


Cathy September 12, 2009 at 9:15 pm

I love the way you describe, exactly, and with pictures, how to do this! I’m the sort of cook who likes to SEE how it is done as well! thank you! I love your blog!!! (ALL of them)


Theresa September 16, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Wow! I’m new to this website – this is terrific. I LOVE all the pictures. especially great here is the photo of the meat – I never know what kind to buy for recipes. Now I definitely know! Thank you so much. What a wonderful website!


Jane Fleming October 9, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Kick it up too with cole slaw, sliced pickle and a vinegar base bbq sauce on the sandwich! I’m a Carolina girl and that’s the way we do it!


Angela November 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Hi Jane: I’m a Carolina Girl too! Love Maurices but now that its 5 years from your original post, its hard to find. Well, Maurices sells it but it is so expensive.

I’m getting ready to brine mine and then will put it in the crockpot. Should feed my big eater son for a day or two, It is an 8 lb butt too.

I lived in Aiken County but recently moved to Augusta, GA about a year ago. Still consider Carolina home,however. Take care, Angela

Rich Binell October 13, 2009 at 6:45 am

Try real chopped onions and a few cloves of real garlic and chuck them in the brine. Also if you try a smoker with hickory or apple wood smoke for around an hour, you’ll go completely crazy. I promise. Great recipe. Thanks. Oh. Stumbled upon you.


Cyd October 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I’m making this right now for my pork-loving boyfriend’s birthday! This recipe made my stress level go down about a bajillion points. Thanks!


Brian Watson November 1, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I brined the meat as suggested which I always do for chicken, pork or turkey. I put a 6 lb butt on the grill and indirect grilled for one hour, then transfered to the oven for 9 hours at 250 degrees. It turned out wonderful. I loved the idea of adding more dry rub at the end. Thanks for the recipe!


Amanda Falls November 17, 2009 at 3:25 pm

I made this pork last night and it was OUTSTANDING! I’m recommending it to everybody I know. Though next time I think I’ll cut the cayenne in half….


Sandy November 29, 2009 at 9:58 am

How many servings does and 8 lb. roast make? I want to make this for 70 people, how many lbs. of meat do I need?


Kim November 30, 2009 at 10:31 am

Hi Amanda! Just browsing and came across this today. I’ve been looking for a pulled pork recipe, so I’ll tag this page and try it the next time pork goes on sale. Thanks for the photo-glorious how-to! – Kim


Sandy December 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm

I made a 7lb roast in a crock pot. I cooked it on low for 11 hours and on high 3 hours. It was so tender and good. This is a great recipe. This roast made 20 plump bun servings.


Mireya December 5, 2009 at 4:01 pm

My family thinks I am a genius thanks to this recipe! This is the BEST pulled pork recipe. My husband asks me to make it everyweekend. Thank you for this delicious pulled pork…..


Leslie December 24, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Just wanted to say THANKS so much for this great recipe. I am currently living in Argentina and while they do great beef (called asado) – they are lacking in the area of pork and US style BBQ – I used a unique cut here called bondiola de cerdo – more like a tenderloin, but it worked like a charm and now all my Argentine friends want the recipe. My neighbors came down while it was in the oven to ask what I was cooking!! This recipe followed to the letter will give perfect results.


Leslie Mac May 25, 2012 at 8:48 am

Just a quick update as I am about to make this dish for the umpteenth time – I switched to using my large crock pot for the recipe last year (upon return to the USA). It worked just great, no complaints & no changes. Just cooked on low for the designated time. If you are a little short on time, you can also cook on high for several hours & then turn down to low for the end of the cooking time. Simply use a couple of forks to determine when the pork is done.

Rune December 31, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Going to attempt your pulled pork for New Year’s Dinner! This is my first pulled pork endevour . Crossing my fingers! Will let you know how it turned out!


Pippa January 7, 2010 at 8:33 am

Oh My!!!! I have just made this for the first time, for company. Awesome! And wouldn’t you know, our friends have left with the recipe. I had a 3kg (about 7lb) shoulder roast and that fed 4 adults and 5 kids, plus seconds and leftovers!!!! A real crowd pleaser. Thanks for sharing Amanda :)


Rachel Gomez January 15, 2010 at 8:06 pm

We too stumbled on this recipe by googling pulled pork. Your recipe is so simple! i love your website and thank you for such a wonderful, simple and delicious recipe. You rock.



Andrea Hall January 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I made the pulled pork today and it was wonderful. The meat was juicy and very flavorful and it is definitely a recipe that I will make again. Thanks a lot.


Charlotte's ...fine art photography January 23, 2010 at 12:42 am

I don’t know how I came across your blog, but I am so glad I did. Not only have I learned some ways to pimp my blog, I found this recipe for pulled pork. We usually put a pork shoulder on our traeger grill, but it just never seemed to be easy to pull apart. I tried your way exactly and I was sold. The key definitely was the oven temp to get it pulled apart easily.

Thanks so much for posting this….Charlotte


Ellen January 25, 2010 at 7:54 pm

So good, so easy. What else is there? Oh yeah–so affordable! My grocery store sells this cut at 99 cents/pound once in a while. When I see this great deal, I pounce on it. Thanks for the recipe! I shared it with friends, then posted on Facebook.


Sara February 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Hey Amanda,

I live at 5,000 ft. and I was wondering if you knew whether the altitude would cause it to take longer to cook through. Thanks for recipes!


Connie February 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Kevin and Amanda,

I made this pulled pork yesterday for our Super Bowl Party and it was the best ever!!! Your instructions with the pictures really helped me. My guests all loved it. I also made a spicy cole slaw for the sandwiches using a basic slaw recipe but adding horseradish and brown creole mustard. Very yummy indeed! Thanks again.



Stephanie February 9, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I cannot wait to try this recipe! My meat-loving family will love this!!! I have a question for you, what sides do you serve with this? Potato chips? Baked potatoes? Thank you for posting these great recipes! Keep up the great work!!!


sonia February 10, 2010 at 11:14 am

Was on a pulled pork frenzy, taking to swim meets, team handball tournaments, tailgates and tried half a dozen different recipes. By far the fan favorite .


Steve February 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm

I tried this out for a super bowl party this past weekend and it went over SO WELL! The dry rub was great and the flavor was just awesome. I added chipotle seasoning and smoked paprika instead of regular. I also used bourbon in the brine and found the flavor to be simply great. I even got a compliment for a “true southerner” Thanks guys for a great recipe!


Kristi Gilleo February 13, 2010 at 11:22 am

Hey Kevin & Amanda,
What a wonderful recipe !!! I had an 8 lb butt just sitting in the freezer and really had no idea as to what to do with it (except the traditional baking). I used your recipe and served wonderful pulled pork for our Superbowl party. It was a complete hit. Thank You !!!
Kristi in TX


Lori February 17, 2010 at 10:53 pm

I make something very similar, but with a large beef brisket. I do the same dry rub procedure but not the brine. I buy a bottle of the dark BBQ brisket sauce (It’s a very thin, dark liquid with a lot of liquid smoke flavoring) and pour the entire bottle in the pan, throw in some bay leaves, then add enough water to cover the brisket, then place in the oven. I do not marinade, just leave the liquid in for cooking process. I also cook mine overnight in the oven using a large disposable pan. Once it reaches temp, pour off most of the liquid, leaving just a bit to keep meat moist for the day. I thought I was the only one with this procedure!


Lori February 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm

This is the ABSOLUTE BEST pulled pork recipe EVER! Thanks so much for sharing!!!


Rob March 7, 2010 at 7:22 am

SICK!! This is the best pulled pork I’ve ever had. I made this about 3 weeks ago and I’m roasting another right now! Awesome stuff. Thanks for the great recipe and instructions.


Cindy March 9, 2010 at 8:16 am

Made the pulled pork and my even my picky eater teenage boys loved it!! I shared a sample with neighbors and now we’re serving it at a dinner party/shower, can’t wait. Great job on the directions. I did make one mistake and used all the seasoning in the brine, oh well, I just another half recipe. Thanks Kevin & Amanda.


Robin Luna March 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I make kind of the same thing but in the slow cooker! Cook for about 12-14 hours. Thanks for your seasoning recipe. Sounds better than mine- will try.


Christina-Nicole March 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Amanda! Kevin! I love this recipe! I am actually making it the second time tonight (in the brining stages now). According to the recipe I should be enjoying it once again for lunch tomorrow! I CANNOT WAIT! YUMMY! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!


Don March 24, 2010 at 11:19 am

What a great step by step guide to making pulled pork. I wish more cooking sites would do this. I got a pork shoulder yesterday and will cook it tomorrow based on your post.


Bill March 28, 2010 at 12:07 am

I found your site through google. Right now, I’ve got my pork butt brining in the fridge, and I’m putting it in the smoker first thing in the morning. Here’s hoping it turns out good!


Lindsey March 31, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I tried it this past weekend, it turned out amazing! I have never made one of these and wanted a good basic recipe, this one was perfect, the meat was melting away after I broke through the shell the dry rub made :) My husband tried it after we broke it open and was actually speechless. It was awesome!


Bill April 2, 2010 at 8:16 am

Wow, the results are in and this recipe is a winner! This was my first time brining a pork butt. It made a tremendous difference in the quality of the finished product. The rub is awesome and added a wonderful flavor. My coworkers with whom I shared this were amazed, and pronounced it “restaurant quality”. I’ve been asked numerous times when I’ll be making another one.

I cooked mine in my smoker, but next time I’m going to do it in the oven to see what difference that makes in the flavor.

Yay to Amanda and Kevin for this amazing recipe!


Aimee April 10, 2010 at 6:21 am

I’m Australian, and I had never heard of pulled pork until I saw it made on a cooking show, and it looked delicious. I’ve been looking for a good recipe since then, and this looks fantastic! I can’t wait to make it for my husband and friends… I’m going to try it out in my brand new slow cooker!
Love your website!


Daniel April 10, 2010 at 1:11 pm

In the process of making this. It’s sitting in the brine in my fridge now. Thankfully my oven has a plug in probe that you can set through the stove and after it’s reached that temperature it will shut off. But thanks for this recipe. You were right after making that dry mix it smelled superb! I will be sure to leave a comment when I finish. Thanks again.


Marie March 26, 2012 at 8:12 am

Hi, I have a probe in my oven also. Jenn Air, but it does not go over 185 degrees. Does yours? This is my problem! I made this a few months back and it was great, but I cooked it forever because I was guessing at the eternal temperature. Great Recipe!!

Alica April 12, 2010 at 2:13 am

Has any one try it in a turkey bag before? I don’t like the result the crockpot produces. I usually use a turkey bag for my briskets and the meat is so tender and easily pull apart. I think I will try it this weekend.


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