This pulled pork recipe is requested at every get-together we go to. It’s so fall-off-the-bone tender and packed with flavor you don’t even need BBQ sauce. It honestly makes the best pulled pork sandwich ever. Come see how easy it is to make this pulled pork oven recipe.

Pulled Pork Recipe

Pulled Pork Recipe

Pulled Pork Recipe

Remember last week when we were talking about company recipes? This pulled pork recipe 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 their recipe.

This pulled pork recipe is SO tender and packed with flavor — it just melts in your mouth. It’s so good it doesn’t even need BBQ sauce! And it really is perfect for company because everyone I’ve ever made this for has said it’s the best pulled pork recipe ever. You have to try it, at least once. You’ll be hooked on this pulled pork recipe!!

What is the best cut of pork for pulled pork?

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

Pulled Pork Recipe Equipment

After you pick out your perfect pork shoulder, you may want to pick up a few other items for this easy pulled pork recipe.

Pulled Pork Recipe

Roasting Pan

For this 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.

Brining Bag

You’ll also need something LARGE to brine the roast in. I use a 2 gallon ziploc bag for this pulled pork recipe.

Meat Thermometer

The last thing is a digital thermometer with an alarm. You don’t have to have one, but I find this digital thermometer to be 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 pulled pork. 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, etc). And you can use it for everything- chicken, steak, burgers, and especially this pulled pork recipe. I love it for baking chicken because you know exactly when the chicken is done and it doesn’t get dried out.

Step 1: The Pulled Pork Rub

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

Dry Rub Ingredients

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

This smells absolutely divine. Cover it and set it aside.

Step 2: The Pork Shoulder Brine

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

Brine Solution Ingredients

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 the pork shoulder brine solution).

Pulled Pork Recipe

Carefully pour in the pork shoulder brine solution…

Pulled Pork Recipe

And add in two dried bay leaves.

Pulled Pork Recipe

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

Refrigerate the pork shoulder in the brine for at least 12 hours. For this pulled pork recipe, 24-36 hours of brining time is best. I usually brine about 24 hours. I like to clean out a spot in my refrigerator door and keep the pork shoulder there because it helps keep the pork shoulder completely covered in brine.

Pulled Pork Recipe

Step 3: Preparing the Pork Shoulder

After the pork shoulder has finished brining, preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, 225 degrees, that is not a typo! We cook the meat “low and slow” in this pulled pork recipe. Remove the pork shoulder from the brine solution and place in the roasting pan.

Pulled Pork Recipe

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

And massage the dry rub mix into the skin really well. Be sure and get it up under any flaps you may come across.

Pulled Pork Recipe

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

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.

Pulled Pork Recipe

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

Pulled Pork Recipe

Why 200 degrees?

Set the alarm on the thermometer for 200 degrees. For this pulled pork recipe, we don’t want to take the pulled pork 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, melt-in-your-mouth shredded pork, the ideal internal temperature should reach at least 200 degrees. The pulled pork is still just as tender, juicy and flavorful because you brined it first. That’s what makes this pulled pork recipe so amazing!

Planning Ahead

This 8 pound pork shoulder took 13 hours to reach 200 degrees. Your shoulder will reach 170-180 very quickly, but those last 20 degrees will take much longer. Plan for at least 12 hours, and maybe 15+ hours for this pulled pork recipe.

Here’s how I normally do it… Two days 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.

Check Your Oven!

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 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 with this pulled pork recipe.

When the thermometer alarm goes off and the pork shoulder has reached 200 degrees, turn off the oven and let the pork shoulder 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.

Pulled Pork Recipe

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

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

Southern Pulled Pork. This is the real deal.

Pulled Pork Recipe
Pulled Pork RecipePulled 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 seasoning.

How many people will this pulled pork recipe serve?

How much does your pork shoulder weigh? Multiply that by 1.5 for an estimate of how many people it will serve.

For example if your pork shoulder is 4 pounds, it will serve around 6 people. If your pork shoulder is 7 pounds, it will serve around 10.5 people.

To be more precise, you want to have about 1/3 to 1/2 pound of meat per person. But remember that a bone-in pork shoulder will only yield around 60% of its weight when cooked. So if you buy a 5-pound pork shoulder at the grocery store, when cooked it will yield around 3 lbs of meat, which will serve 6-9 people.

Calculate How Many People Your Pork Shoulder Will Serve:

Type this into Google:
What is 60% of (weight of pork shoulder)?

Multiply that number by 2 for a low estimate of how many people it will serve
Multiply that number by 3 for a high estimate of how many people it will serve

Southern Pulled Pork. This is the real deal.

How To Make The Best Pulled Pork Sandwich

Put a little butter on some hamburger buns, toast under the broiler until lightly browned, and top with pulled pork. It’s so juicy and flavorful, you won’t even need BBQ sauce.

Southern Pulled Pork. This is the real deal.

How to Reheat Pulled Pork

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! Pulled pork also freezes really well, just thaw it and reheat in the oven.

See how easy it is to make this Pulled Pork Recipe!

Watch the video below to see how easy it is to make this pulled pork recipe!


Perfect Pulled Pork Recipe

  • Prep Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 12 hours
  • Total Time: 24 hours
  • Yield: 3-4 pounds
  • Category: Pulled Pork
  • Cuisine: Barbeque


Best ever pulled pork recipe made in the oven.


  •  1 (4-7 pound) whole Boston Butt or pork shoulder (bone-in with a layer of fat on the bottom)

Dry Rub

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

Brine Solution

  •  1/2 cup salt
  •  1/2 cup brown sugar
  •  2 quarts cold water
  •  2 bay leaves
  •  3 tablespoons dry rub mix



  1. Mix well and store in an air tight container.


  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.


  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 12 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!

Keywords: pulled pork sandwich, how to make pulled pork, pulled pork oven, pulled pork recipe oven

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1,357 Responses
  1. Den M.

    Hello, My question is what to do with juices in pan. Are you shredding the pork back into the foil pan with the juices (after defatted) or do you serve the shredded pork “dry” without mop or sauce mixed into it? Thank you.

  2. Darcy

    The best! I skip the brining part and it still turns out delicious! My boys love the leftovers frozen. They pull them out and heat for topping mac and cheese.

  3. Susan Bégin

    Oh. My. Goodness. This is the best pulled pork I’ve ever had. I followed the instructions to the letter and it turned out amazingly delicious ! Read the whole “how to” instructions not just the recipe. It answers many questions about brining and how long to cook to get to 200 degrees. It’s moist and full of flavor. Forgot the BBQ sauce. This one stands alone!

    1. Chrisero

      I am brining now. Can’t wait. Can I cook in oven with foil over it? Or can I place foil over it at any point in time to get a crisp top?

  4. Kim

    This is my go-to recipe for pulled pork and, like Amanda said: a company favorite!!! I think I have made it several times a year since finding it in 2019 (maybe?).

    I once tried it in the crock pot and it was okay and faster, but not quite the same. But in a bind I might do it again. [Crock pot: I still used my thermometer and cooked it on high until meat was about 100-130°, turned it to low until it hit 200°. Then turned the heat down to warm until it came back down to 170°. Meat was nearly as or just as tender as the slower way but only 7-8 hours!!]

  5. Jessica Alvarado

    This recipe is a family crown pleasing staple for many years. I slow cook in my pellet smoker and it’s the perfect mix of sweet and salt that brings the best flavor in the pork. Thank you Amanda for making me look good!

  6. Doodah Gurl

    Can you clarify for “chili powder” is that the kind used to make chili or are you talking straight up chili pepper (hot pepper)?

  7. Faith

    THE BEST Recipe EVER for pulled pork! I have been making this recipe since 2017,about 6years. I have made it without brining and I can tell you that is the key for moist tender flavorable pork. Because my husband is allergic to peppercorn, I deleted the pepper. It is not spicy hot to us. Actually quite mild. I highly recommend this recipe. And am so grateful the authors shared it! It is a game changer.

    1. Carol Anne

      Love this recipe! I’ve made it several times. The longer the brining time, the more moist and tender the meat comes out. Also, I use the dry rub for lots of things — I keep a batch of it in my spice rack to pull out as needed. It’s great on pork chops in the air fryer, and added to the breading for fried chicken, or just about any time I want a bit of BBQ seasoning for something.

  8. Karen

    I used this recipe a couple of years back for a graduation party. I thought this recipe included a chart for 50 and 100 servings. If so, could you please share it again?
    Thank you!!

  9. Mona

    I’ve been using this recipe for 15 years, best EVER!
    I do mine in my crockpot and add a beer….YUMMY!

  10. Shelly

    We love pulled pork BBQ and this is my go to recipe for BBQ. I’ve been making it for over 7yrs now and everyone loves it!! It doesn’t need any sauce but we serve it on the side and with coleslaw. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe!! ?

  11. Andrea Geist

    This recipe is amazing! While I did take the advice of a few others and halve the pepper, the flavor of the meat was amazing without any sauce! I even used this recipe for cooing ribs. Best ribs from the oven yet. I’m anxious to try this before putting the meat on the smoker. This is my “go to” recipe for pork from now on.

    1. Kathy

      Hi Andrea, we cook our pulled pork half way in the smoker and the other half in the oven and it’s delicious. We have also used this recipe on beef brisket and it’s just as good.

  12. Tara Lockwood

    This is the best-pulled pork recipe ever. I can not count the number of times I have this this, but it’s always a hit!

  13. SusanY

    Absolute perfection. I am about to make this for the third time. The first was a gamble for me as I was entertaining new inlaws for a graduation event for two of our children. It was a huge hit. The only problem with this recipe is that it does cook best overnight (if you want to be able to use your oven for anything else) and you won’t sleep half the night when the heavenly smell wakes you up! (I have this same problem when I cook brisket low and slow like this.)

    We agree it needs no sauce, though we serve it on the side for those who want it.

  14. Christine

    I would give this recipe 100 stars if I could! It is the absolute best pulled pork EVER! It is super tender and packed full of flavor. They are correct; there is no need for any sauce, but of course that’s up to you. We eat it “as is.”
    My husband and I have been making this recipe for years now. Everyone always loves it. Make ahead and freeze some.
    Love it love it love it!!!

  15. Sarah L

    This brine & dry rub recipe is my new go-to! The meat was so well-flavored, tender & delicious! I cooked the meat using a crockpot on low with a different sauce but I included a TBSP of the dry rub in my bbq sauce while cooking. So yummy!! Thanks for sharing!!

  16. lala

    This is so easy and delicious every time. Highly recommend. We tweaked the rub recipe to our tastes (only slightly different), But outstanding. Can do overnight and is perfectly done in a.m.

  17. Mollie

    By the far BEST ever pulled pork I have EVER made and I’m making it again for Monday ( Halloween)
    I’ll never make this another way

  18. ChefNana

    My family and I absolutely love pulled pork. We often order it from a local restaurant because theirs is so tender and flavorful. I prefer to cook at home, versus eating from restaurants and I look for recipes to make the things at home that we would order, so I searched for a pulled pork recipe.
    I read through many recipes, but when I saw this one I knew it was the perfect recipe. It is well written, detailed, and easy to follow. I had a girls’ night dinner planned for a Sunday with my daughters and granddaughters. So on Thursday I got the pork butt roast, some kosher salt and bay leaves, and prepared the dry rub, and then I put the roast into the brine Friday morning. I left the roast in the brine until Saturday night and I had the oven preheated and ready. The roast went into the oven Saturday night at 10:00pmand I allowed it to slow cook until 2:00pm on Sunday. I took it out of the oven, covered it with foil and let it sit covered for an hour. I had dinner planned for 3:00pm. The roast was so juicy and tender that it literally fell cleanly off of the bone! And oh my goodness! It smelled so amazing roasting in the oven all night. I took two forks and pulled the pork apart, mixed in the juices from the cooking and we all were immensely pleased with the flavor and how the meat was so tender that it melted in our mouths. We all agreed that I would need to make that recipe again, on a holiday or for a Sunday dinner.
    Two weeks later I made the pulled pork again for my granddaughter’s 13th birthday party. I also used the recipe to make pulled chicken, except that I slow boiled chicken thighs instead of roasting them. Everyone at the party loved the pulled pork and pulled chicken. There was none left after dinner, and I cooked 10 chicken thighs and a 9lb butt roast which I let slow cook for about 17 hours. It is an amazingly delicious pulled pork recipe that I plan to use often from now on. Although the roasts retail for about $22 in my area. The flavor is absolutely worth the cost.
    Thank you very much for sharing your wonderful recipe! I honestly cannot thank you enough!

  19. Guest Please

    I plan to start this recipe tomorrow, I believe it will be amazing. My family andI love pulled pork. This by far the best recipe I have read, both in the clear way that it is written, and also I can almost taste the flavor combinations while reading through the directions.
    My only complaint is with attempting to print the recipe, it took several tries before I was able to get the page to go the print queue without the ads covering parts of the recipe. That was quite annoying.

  20. Sheila Q.

    Oh my goodness, I can hardly wait to make this! I just bought my meat, but unfortunately, the smallest one I could get was 8.92 pounds! I plan to cook it for Labor Day. My question is if you think I should mix up half-again the recipe for the brine? Or, should I mix up the initial brine quantity, first, and see if it covers the butt completely? If you suggest adding more, would I just half the original recipe and add? Looks like I will be cooking it for a while. :-) But that is OK, as it sounds like the time invested will TOTALLY be worth it!

    Thank you so much for all the detail and fabulous pics!

  21. Sue

    My roasts are in the oven cooking SLOWLY for several hours but there is a lot of juice. Will that absorb by the time it is done or do I pour it off? Thanks

  22. Jamie

    I modified a bit, used all the spices and brine, but i seared it and then put in a crock pot with a bit of the brine and slow cooked 8 hours…then I shredded and broiled with a little homemade bbq on top for a few mins, absolutely the best pulled pork I’ve ever made it eaten!!!

  23. Juleni

    Tried this recipe and fell in love with pulled pork. Next week I had to recreate except I needed to cook two pork shoulders since last time I was left craving more! Delicious, easy to prep and cook. Definitely worth trying and highly recommend. Pork was so flavorful, tender, and didn’t miss the grill or smoker. With some Hawaiian rolls, finger licking good. Amazing recipe!

  24. Carol Anne Byrnes

    This is absolutely the best pulled pork I have EVER had (and that’s close to 60 years experience). It is so moist and so flavorful, there really is no need for sauce. It is definitely a keeper.

  25. Ann

    Mine took 13 hours and never reached 200 degrees, fell off the bone. However I had not anticipated it to be so spicy. I only used 1/2 of the cayenne powder. Also after 13 hours there was no juice left.

    1. Mark

      Ann, I agree with you about being too spicy. I love spicy food however the black pepper and cayenne pepper amount should be cut in half or more. My wife a daughter liked it but they both complained it was too peppery. I put mine in a smoker for 6 hours and then finished it off in the oven for another 6 hours. Came out perfect, pork shoulder is hard to mess up.

  26. Dell

    A fantastic recipe. I followed the directions. Tripled the recipe for my 22 pound Boston Pork Butt. I fed more than 60 hungry people at a big family party. I served it with a 30 oz bottle of Kinders BBQ sauce from Costco, rolls , a few side dishes, plus dessert. Cooked the pork in the oven overnight. The meat thermometer reached 200 degrees in less than 12 hours, next time I will leave the meat in the oven longer… just because I like the burnt ends (like YOUR photo shows). After I shredded the meat, I put it in bags and kept the bags in the refrigerator. To heat the meat up the next day, I put it in an pressure cooker with 2 cups of the saved pork broth for 6 minutes of pressure. Kept the pork warm in the cooker during the party. Everyone loved it. **Yummy** Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.

  27. Renee

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve made it 3 times, have one in the oven right now. I always share it with family & friends. They love everything about it. I love it for it’s simplicity, superb flavor & texture. It freezes very well also. I make up sandwiches, using Kaiser rolls & freeze. They can be thawed in fridge & microwaved till heated through. A winner all around!!

    1. Brian

      I have made this recipe more times than I can remember and I always checker cut the fat down to the meat then ensure I get the rub deep in the cuts last. This seems to help get the flavor down into the meat under the fat layer

    2. Marsha

      I think you wait until it is finished she says “remove the large sheet of crusted fat” when you getting ready to shred it. I assume you are to remove and discard it, though the recipe does state to “discard”.

  28. edna

    Just made this and followed the recipe and voila, it came out perfect the first time! Unbelievable how easy this was to make and an outstanding result!

  29. Pam Hurst

    ABSOLUTELY THE BEST RECIPE FOR PULLED PORK! I had 2 Boston butts weighing 14lbs together. Followed recipe exactly and it was perfect. Literally FELL OFF THE BONES! Took exactly 13 1/2 hrs to reach 200*. After removing fat and bones the meat totaled 6lbs. Way more than I needed to feed 14 people. Glad to have enough left over to freeze. Be sure to go by weight of Boston butt as packaged in the deli to determine how many to feed. It’s safer that way. This recipe tells you how to determine that. Multiply every pound times 1.5.

  30. Kathy

    I’ve made this several times now and everyone loves it! No need for barbecue sauce! I make mine in a slow cooker it is soft and tender! I did tweak it a little for my taste on the second batch, I like it a little less hot so I put in a bit less pepper and off set it with a little more brown sugar, ~approximately same amount of sugar as pepper decrease (~ same amount of content).

  31. Kris Dean

    I made this exactly by the recipe. It was very easy and turned out the best pulled pork I’ve ever made. Great recipe with clear instructions and tips.
    I did, however, make one addition. After pulling the pork apart, I mixed some of the drippings with liquid smoke and tossed it through the pork. Sneaking a little smokiness in there gave it that little flavor you expect in pulled pork.

  32. Seb

    Quick question, if I have a 16 pounds piece (with bone) do I need to double everything for the brine and cooking time?

    Thanks for the help :)

    1. Megan

      Awesome recipe. It took some time (18hrs brine-12 hrs in oven-2+hrs cooling) but it was the best pulled pork I’ve ever made. So worth the wait. Thank you for the recipe.

  33. Benjamin Marzolla

    I hosted a super bowl party and made this (thanks dad for sending this recipe). First off the instructions were on point! I cooked a 8.5lb beautiful Boston butt I got from FreshDirect (live in nyc). I brined it for 36 hours, and highly suggest placing this in a large covered mixing bowl over a xxl ziplock, we had a leak and that was not fun to clean. Anyways when it came to the rub, I rubbed and spanked the butt until it was so well blended into the meat I felt good. I placed it in the oven at 8pm Saturday night expecting it would be done by around noon the latest. I have a very good and modern oven / stove. This took nearly 19 hours at 225 to hit 200 degrees for an 8.5lb cut. All good and thank god I planned ahead. What I did was when we were not getting past 190 degrees I just covered it in foil and turned the oven up to 250 for 1 hour. Boom we got to 200. After sitting for 2-3 hours (still covered) NOT in oven (I had other things to cook). The meat legit fell apart and shredded perfectly. I quickly reheated at the start of the game and it was so moist, flavorful and good. My guests looked at me like I was a master meat maker, we had a TON of food and by the end of the night there was maybe under a 12oz of pulled pork left. It was the highlight of the party. This recipe has been printed, emailed to myself, and will be used throughout my life going forward. THANK YOU! my only advice is commit to the butt and don’t cut corners, also expect that time will be totally tbd and to maybe give yourself wiggle room if planning for event.

  34. Mary

    I just finished shredding my pork after roasting overnight in the oven… oh my goodness, so delicious! I brined it for about 30 hours and roasted it for 14 hours 200 degrees and did the cool-down in the oven to about 161 degrees. It was pull-apart tender in most areas of the roast with only a few areas that were not as easy to shred, but still amazingly yummy! Next time, I will roast for a bit longer, especially if it’s a larger shoulder like this one was. We will be doing pulled pork tacos tonight. Thank you for the great recipe! :)

  35. Rob

    Ok, this recipe is ridiculous! It is absolutely fall off the bone tender and incredibly flavorful.

    My cook time was way quicker. I had a 5lb bone-in pork butt. It only took about 7 hours to get to 200 degrees. Then a little more than 2 hours to get back to 170.

    I did cover it in foil at about 195 degrees and about 6 hours in.

    We’re definitely doing this again though! Next time may try smoking it on the Traeger.

  36. Ruth

    Thank you for this great recipe. Brined it for 24 hrs then cooked it with out meat temperature because all I had was the poke in and read kind. For 12 hours I didn’t look not once came back to what was a crusted 208 F pork roast. Let it rest 1 1/2 hrs temp was 166 then shred it to this juicy fall apart meat started with 8.9 lbs . cooking temp 225

    1. Sam

      No need to correct. I think most minor mistakes our brain automatically corrects… I didn’t even notice it. And in today’s day and age, I think most people are used to it. I only will correct my self if the correct word is not obvious, or, the word changes the meaning of the sentence. Sooooo… Noooo worries?

  37. JVH

    We and everyone else we make this for LOVES this! Even though this is great in the oven, if you have a smoker, it brings it to AMAZING! We have tried it both ways and although it is good in the oven, it is so much better on the smoker! Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. JVH

      When we smoke it, we don’t brine. We have tried it a couple of times brined and then tried it wrapped in either foil or butcher paper(non-waxed) non-brined, and there is no reason for the brine if you smoke it, wrap it at 160, and let it finish.

  38. Pam Armand

    This truly is the best pulled pork recipe that I have ever tried. I have cooked six roasts aat one time and they all turned out great. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!

  39. Becki

    So excited to try this. I’ve got a 16lb piece of boneless pork shoulder in the fridge. Anyone want to guess how long I need this to cook for?

  40. Tamara

    Absolutely THE Best Pulled Pork!! We’ve been making this recipe for years. It’s our go to! Don’t discard the drippings!! Pour 4 or 5 cups of hot water into your pan, scrape off all the goodness and transfer to a bowl. Leave it overnight to cool in the fridge and you can easily remove the fat the next day. You’re left with the perfect stock!! We dribble some over the pork to keep it moist and the remainder makes an awesome gravy for pulled pork poutine!! ?

    1. Judy

      I am just now seeing your question about your 16 lb Boston butt you were going to bake, I use this recipe all the time but have never used a butt over a 8 or 9 lbs, I picked up a 14 lb one today. Was wondering if you had good luck cooking your larger one and how long did it take to cook

  41. Donna

    This recipe is THE BEST! We made it last year for the first time. Perfect. The key is to get this into the oven EARLY because it does take a good 10-12 hours for a 3-4lb. butt. Since we opt for the 4lb. butt, ours goes into the oven 12 hours prior to serving. Sometimes that means this happens at 2AM. It is SOOOOOO worth it.

  42. Stephen

    Just like so many others this is my only recipe for making pulled pork. No reason to try to improve on what always turns out to be the best pulled pork you’ll ever make in your oven. I make it at least once a year and it freezes well. Not only is it fantastic as a pulled pork sandwich but it also makes a great ingredient for quesadillas or enchiladas. Anyone who I have shared it with loves it and says anytime I’m making it to send some there way. I currently am smelling the intoxicating aroma of this succulent pig roasting in my oven as I write this. So grateful I found this recipe so many years ago!

  43. Tammy Mignano

    This my third time making this recipe and I always follow it to the letter and it’s awesome!! The ease of the directions, the flavors, and the tenderness of the pork once it’s done is outstanding!!! Anytime and always when I want to make pulled pork this is my go to recipe. Thank you KevinandAmanda for making this my household staple!
    Tammy M

    1. Abigail

      Dina, what settings do you cook on and for how long? I’ve got a 10 lb shoulder. I’m thinking pressure cooking it on high for 90 mins. Can’t decide if I’m going to cut it into pieces and leave bone in or out yet.

  44. Abigail

    Has anyone ever done this in an instapot? I love this recipe, it’s the one we always use; however, I just got an instapot and I’d like to try cooking my shoulder in the instapot for the sake of time tomorrow. Just wanted to get any tips if there are any! I will update with how it goes!

    1. Michelle BG

      Did you ever try it in the Instapot? It’s my go-to method for cooking most meat recipes so if love to know if it worked for this one too!

  45. Debbie Wheaton

    I’ve made this recipe before and parents and sister said it was the best pulled pork they had ever eating. I haven’t made pulled pork since then and it’s been a couple of years now so I have a question. Do you use the whole amount of rub in the brine and then make another batch for the rub after brining? I can’t remember if I just halved it in the brine and the other half on the butt after brining. I’m getting ready to make this again for Super Bowl Sunday and would like to make sure it tastes just like it did the first time I made it. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe, I’m going to surprise my parents and sister with some of it when I’m done.

    1. Debbie

      Oh gosh I’m an idiot…I don’t know how I missed it the first 5 times I read it but I see where it’s only 3 Tbsp of the rub in the brine. Sorry!

    1. Debbie Wheaton

      I’ve made this before but it was a couple of years ago and I’m trying to remember if you use all of the rub in the brine and then make more for the butt after brining or do you just use half for the brine and the other half for the butt after brining? I want it to be just as good as the last time I made it and the directions don’t say either way. Thanks!

  46. Alex Kim

    The way you have presented this blog I liked it. Thank You for sharing such an amazing article. This article contains great facts which I liked.

  47. Terry G

    Kudo’s to all of you for trying this. It looks delish! I have never had 13 hours to cook any meal, so I make mine in the Instapot. I flavor with the dry rub, sear and pressure cook for 45 minutes. On the table in an hour, falls apart and the flavor is fantastic!

  48. krbookworm

    This was the most tender, tasty, not over-woody pulled pork I have ever eaten. My roast was 7lbs and boneless. I used 1/2 cup kosher salt to reduce the sodium in the brine due to the pork having a solution of 12% in it. I reduced cayenne to 1/2 tablespoon, and split the paprika, 1/2 regular and 1/2 smoked. Other than that – I brined for the full 12 hours. I cooked this in the oven just like the recipe said – it took exactly 12 hours to reach 200 degrees, covered it with foil, and let it rest for the full 2 hours. I made a Carolina BBQ vinegar sauce to go with it. Served on a brioche bun with a drizzle of sauce – this was so tender and melted in my mouth. Thank you for this perfection on a plate!

    1. Erica

      This is the only guide I use for my pulled pork. The first time I had ever attempted pulled pork in the oven I used Tyler Florence’s recipe, which said :

      “Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 6 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register 170 degrees F, but basically, what you want to do is to roast it until it’s falling apart.”

      Falling apart it wasn’t lol it was leather. Then I found this recipe. I haven’t tried the brine yet( but want to) but this has saved my sanity! Thank you for sharing this sooo much

  49. Mike

    Great Flavor. I normally have the fat side down while cooking. I want more of the spices on the top for more “burnt” flavor. Whats the reason for fat up?

    1. Debbie

      Mike I’ve always been told to put fat side up so it can melt onto the rest of the meat keeping it moist and tender. That’s what I’ve always done and this recipe is a huge hit. Some prep involved with the brining but so well worth it.

  50. Michelle Adams

    This pulled pork recipe is the best pulled pork I have ever made. It is requested at every family gathering! Once people try it, they can’t believe it’s not from a BBQ restaurant!! Yes it is that good! Thank you for sharing this tasty wonderful recipe!!

  51. Pam C

    This recipe is simply amazing! It really is perfect. Clear directions, easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. My family loved it and are already planning for me to make it again! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  52. Sarah B

    My mom made this for our family once and I stole the recipe and make it for any gathering and everyone loves it. I love that you can make it way ahead of time, if you’re having people over, it cuts back on the things you would need to make day-of. It truly is something that you can stick in the oven and forget about.

    I usually cut back on the amount of cayenne pepper to taste, so it’s not as spicy (usually 1/3 to a 1/2 of what the recipe calls). This is definitely a family favorite this way.

    I have a quick question – I plan on making two of these roasts at once pretty soon. Have you done two at a time before? What should I alter to be able to cook both….or would you strictly recommend doing one at a time? Thanks!

    1. Betsy Carey

      Hi Sarah… I would definitely use digital thermometers to monitor the meat. I did cook 2( same weight) ate a time once and it took longer than usual. 2 lg butts might not do well because you have to have space for air flow around the meat for it to cook properly. The last large function I had to bring this for I cooked them individually 2 days in a row. It was more work but I was afraid I’d ruin them and they came out so moist and tender.
      Kevin and Amanda thanks for sharing this recipe! Its a huge request for BBQ’s and get togethers .

  53. Denise Smith

    Just made this recipe. I brined for 24 hours. Put the rub on and stuck it back in fridge for another 12 hours. Easy and delicious. Though, didn’t realize that my oven shut off after 6 hours. LOL I made an 8 plus lb boneless butt. It took 15 hours to reach 200 degrees at 4 AM this morning. Next time, I’ll put it in the oven over to cook overnight. :) But,,,boy is it tender!!! Thank you for sharing this recipe! Absolutely love it and I am sure my family will also!

  54. Ralph

    This recipe is absolutely FABULOUS.

    The flavor is amazing and the pork turns out very tender.

    I’m, on the keto diet, so all I had to do to make this recipe keto-friendly was substitute Brown Swerve Sweetener for Brown Sugar.

    I’ continue to share this recipe with family and friends – it is that good!

  55. Ali

    I have 1 10lb and 1 8lb boneLESS pork shoulders I plan cooking at the same time. How long would you recommend they cook for? I know they take less time just not sure how much less and I’m just trying to time everything out for the party.

  56. Linda S Schmidt

    ABSOLUTELY the BEST. I started making this now all my daughters make this. One of my daughters makes this for every birthday party and everyone always raves about how good it is!

    Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. Aly

      The BEST EVER! We have been making this pork for years now – whether it is for a college tailgate, Super Bowl party, or just a regular night this is the recipe we use! We normally bring at least two pork butts to any occasion we go to and everyone RAVES about it.

      FYI – Do not be afraid to cook it for some time!!! We have found that 18 hours (including the 2 hour test period) is the way to go no matter the size of the pork. The meat will melt in your mouth the longer it sits.

    2. Erin

      This is my “go to” pulled pork recipe. Never disappoints. I’ve made it countless times just as the recipe says.
      However, today i cheated. I brined a 6ishlb boneless pork butt(shoulder whatever…) For 24 hours then cooked it on 250 instead of 225 for about 8 hours, I let sit in oven for 2. Still came out perfect. ;-)

  57. Andrew T.

    This is my “go to” recipe for pulled pork!
    Works every time!
    The rub is also perfect for ribs!!!

  58. Meghan

    Do you think if you backed off the amount of Brown sugar used it would significantly alter the finished products flavor? How low do you think you could go?

  59. Lee

    Oh my word…first time we’ve ever made a recipe like this and WOW.
    Followed temps per the recipe.
    Brined for 28 hours.
    Into the Big Green Egg, using indirect method, at 7:15 p.m. to get some of that smoke/grill flavor in there.
    Off the Egg, into the oven at 10:15 p.m.
    Temp 200 reached at 6 a.m. so oven off, let it sit.
    Out of the oven at 8 a.m. and it’s falling off the bone.

    Waking up all night smelling this thing was incredible. The cumin in the rub recipe is perfect.
    I forgot to verify the weight before cooking but I recall it being in the 6 lb range.
    Took lots of will power to not stuff my face as I was shredding the meat.

    Thanks for an awesome, KEEPER recipe!

  60. Vesku

    Greetings from FInland. What a great recipe, Thanks!
    Flat cornbread, pulled pork, coleslaw, cilantro and garlic majonaise on top…mmmmm

  61. Ryan

    Hey there!

    This recipe looks fab. Apologies if this question has already been asked but do you think it would work well in a slow cooker as well as in the oven?



    1. Amber Cartieri

      I once found myself in a pinch and threw in in the slow-cooker. Came out just as amazing but was missing the crunchy outside layer. Still delicious!

  62. jean-Philippe

    Thank you Amanda & Kevin for this efficient recipe !!!
    Made it this week-end and it turned out delicious.
    I live in Monaco and all my friends want to taste it.
    I got a 2.5 kg of a nice piece of meet from my butcher, made the brine Friday evening, let the meat in until Saturday 10PM and cooked over the night for 12 hours.
    Our Sunday lunch was spectacular !!!!

  63. Andrea

    This was great! I’ve never made pulled pork before, but as I’m on #coronalockdown I’ve been trying new things. I’m on my own, and I didn’t check the size of meat when O ordered, and TBH didn’t have a choice, and I ended up with a 2lb boneless shoulder cut. It only took 7 hours to cook and was awesome!!! And plenty for one person. I ate so much while I was pulling it apart I don’t actually need dinner ? Thank you.

  64. Jane

    I searched for a pulled pork recipe to make for my son’s high school graduation party in 2014, because that was his favorite party food. Luckily, I stumbled upon this recipe and made six 8-lb. pork shoulders in Nescos (they were all over my kitchen). My son and all his guests just raved about it, and several asked me to share the recipe (I sent them to your website). I had the chance to make this for my son several times before we lost him to suicide in May of 2017. Since then I have continued to make this for my family, but now it has an even more special meaning to his dad and sister and me, as we have kind of nicknamed it “Joey’s Pulled Pork”. I hope you don’t mind – I still give you and your site all the credit for this delicious meal! Thank you for giving me the chance to give my son a wonderful party with his friends, and a memory with him that I can keep forever.

  65. Karla

    This REALLY is the BEST pulled pork ever! I have been making pulled pork in my crock pot forever but I came across this oven recipe and thought I’d give it a shot. Cooking it in the pan with no excess liquid makes it easier to separate and remove the excess fat before serving, making it healthier as well as not sacrificing the flavor from cooking it with the fat. Totally worked like a charm and will be my “go to” recipe for now on!

    1. Tasha

      My 4.7 lb pork shoulder is in the oven as we speak…my first time attempt at making pulled pork during Covid19 lockdown in Las Vegas. ?–how long can you store the brine solution for future cooks? Can’t WAIT to try this?

  66. Monica Fox

    I have made this recipe several times now and each time it has turned out perfectly. I have used different cuts of pork roasts, bone-in skin-on, boneless with no skin, etc. around to 3-4lb size. I brine it for 24+ hours, drain it the night before I plan to cook it and rub the dry rub all over it to sit over night (I use only half the dry rub and save the rest for next time I make this recipe). I pop the roast in my slow cooker on low setting as soon as I wake up, 6:00am. By 4:00pm it is ready to come out and be shredded, I add a little smokey bbq sauce to finish it off. Absolutely perfect every time and my 15year old daughter who doesn’t enjoy meat loves this recipe. We pile it on a homemade spelt bun with coleslaw salad on the side. Amazing!!
    I have printed this recipe to make sure I will always have it. (I have lost other favourite recipes when saving them on my pin in the past. Not taking a chance on this one!!)

    1. Alexis Chitty

      Monica, when you say place in your slow cooker do you just do that “as is” no juices? Just one big hunk of meat sitting in the cooker?

  67. gretchen hatz

    this was my first time making this recipe and would do so again, especially having learned a few things. 1) go big! i made a 7 lb bone-in for 6 people, and had plenty of leftovers. 2) pull apart the meat in the pan it was cooked in, mixing in the juices, fat and delicious fond on the bottom. i found the warm meat loosened the dark fond and added lots of flavor. 3) patience! i brined it for 30 hours, it took 15+ hours to get to 200 degrees (it creeps and stalls, and you wonder if it will ever get there, but it does), and i rested it for 2 hours. plan on having a couple hours leeway incase it takes longer coming up to temp. you can always reheat it if it gets done early. i served it with a vinegar based bbq sauce (on the side if wanted), on a toasted soft white bun, and topped with tyler florence’s spicy slaw recipe. the only thing i was missing was a bit of smoke, but still wonderful without, and i may try to incorporate some next time.

    1. Lena

      Thank you so much for this recipe! I have made this NUMEROUS times. It is a family favorite. I love using the biggest roast I can find so that I have plenty to freeze for future meals. I am wondering… do you think this particular brine and recipe would work on venison? I realize that venison is not necessarily the most common. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!! :)

    2. Amanda

      Hi Lena! So glad you enjoy!! It’s one of our favorites too. Yes, this is a basic brine, you should be able to use with any meat, even chicken! However you may want to Google how long to brine venison, the timing might be different. Hope this helps! :)

  68. Jennifer

    I bought a pork shoulder with a fat cap. I just want to make sure I am doing it right: Do I put the shoulder fat side up when cooking? And I am supposed to cut it off after cooking right? I just didn’t see that part in the video and I am new to this! ?? Thank you!

  69. A

    Would it be ok to put the rib on the pork several hours before I put it in the oven? I want to cook it overbite tomorrow but it will be late before I get home to do that

  70. Linda S Schmidt

    This is absolutely the BEST. I made it once and my family went nuts over it. Now my daughter makes it when she has birthday parties for her kids because between both families there is a large crowd and this is easy and feeds us all. I am getting ready to put one in the brine tonight to cook this weekend for the Super bowl It will be PERFECT for our crowd. Thanks you!!!!!!

  71. Missy

    This is in my oven now! I have made this recipe too many times to count, and it always comes out perfect!! It’s the only recipe I’ll use now! Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this recipe!!
    Happy Holidays!!

  72. kory

    This is the only pulled pork recipe I use. I’ve made at least 6 different roast over the years that I have found this recipe. I never changed the ingredients nor have I altered the cooking still and each time it’s been perfect. For Christmas this year I will make it again. This time using a two 6lb neck cuts at the same time (no bone, German butchers don’t do boston butt style) and a Traeger grill.

  73. Holly

    This is a Family Favorite. I make for every family gathering. Love them as sandwiches and tacos. I have to use the largest pork roast I can find and it still disappears.

  74. Martin

    Hi from Germany. I just wanted to let you know that I have prepared Pulled pork for the first time with your recipe and instructions. It was delicious, and I was absolutely surprised how everything worked out exactly as described! I will now try your other recipes and, if they will be only half as good as this one, they will be great!

    Thanks for your site!

  75. Tia

    I found this recipe when looking for ideas to feed my daughter’s varsity volleyball team. Every week during vb season the parents take turns making a meal for the girls. Team supper isn’t supposed to be a competition, but…. 
    Anyway, I made this using both pork butt & pork sirloin as my little grocery store didn’t have quite enough of either on hand at the last minute. I ended up using several smaller pieces of meat instead of one large. Still took about 12 hours to reach temp. 
    The girls loved it!! So did my hubby & he usually doesn’t care for pulled pork. Guess what I’m making for graduation next year!!! Thank you for the great recipe!

  76. Daniell

    Good Evening,
    My daughter is getting married in 3 weeks. Her and her fiance has requested pulled pork as their main dish. We are expecting to feed around 175 to 200 people. I have bought 130 pounds of pork shoulder roasts. What would you suggest is the easiest way to cook all of this? I know I will probably need to cook up now and freeze until wedding or cook closer to wedding and reheat. Also, what is the best way to keep this nice and warm without drying out throughout the reception? Thank you.

    1. Donna

      I had this for my son’s graduation party. I cooked it and froze it until a day or so before the party. I heated it up in the oven and put it in a couple turkey roasters and it was fine. I used it for tacos so I did add lime juice and taco seasoning, but when I use it for pulled pork sandwiches I sprinkle in some of the rub. Definitely get started takes forever to cook but it is sooooo worth it.

  77. Kate

    I made this with an 8.5# pork butt. I forgot to buy paprika, so I used Tangine spice as a substitute. Mine took 13hrs. After 2 hours, it was only at 90 degrees, so I turned up the oven to 375 for about 40 minutes to get the temp up to 140, then turned back to 225. When it was done and rested, I pulled it apart but there was a fair amount of gooey fat throughout, so I scraped that out. I had plenty of juice in the cooking pan, so I poured it into a large glass measuring cup and threw it in the freezer to solidify the fat. I popped the fat layer off and poured the defatted juices into the bowl with the pork for more flavor. Great recipe!

  78. LaVorna J Tester

    Made this for our family last summer. EVERYONE loved it- even the one who dislikes barbecue. Definitely making it again.

  79. Susan Morris

    This recipe is THE BEST! I’ve made it several times and hubs requests it regularly. Thank you so much! You stepped up my BBQ game big time!????

  80. Chris Ludwig

    Great recipe cooked 10 shoulders last week for my dad’s birthday instead of getting the smoker out. Everything turned out great and everybody really enjoyed the food. Extremely glad I found this site and used the recipe. Thanks

    1. Daniell Sunderland

      Do you mind sharing how u cooked all 10?. Over several days or in different ovens? Thank you have around 15-20 to cook up soon for a wedding

    2. Chris

      Read your post above. We ended up feeding 110 people and had meat left. I used 2 roaster on low temp. 1 to serve out of and 1 to keep meat warm and ready to add to the serving roaster. I used Minors pork base to make a broth to add to the meat to keep it moist. Hope this is helpful.

  81. Ann

    You should not go to this blog if you are very hungry …. After all, you can salivate here, because there are so many tasty ideas and great recipes. I was looking how to cook pork interesting and simple, and finallyI found this recipe! This is one of my favorite recipes now. Each guest who tried this dish at my place, always asked how I managed to achieve such a taste and aroma, and asked for a recipe, of course :))) Thank you for the idea! It looks, smells and tastes fantastic!

  82. Wendy

    I’m trying this recipe for the first time this weekend. My concern is with the rub having 1 Tablespoon each of chili powder & cayenne pepper in it, that it might be too spicy ? for children.  Any thoughts on this?

    1. Amanda

      I like spicy but not too spicy. This recipe is not too spicy for me. But I’d you’re concerned you can always reduce! Good luck!!

    1. Brandy

      I always make this recipe in the crockpot and it’s fantastic. I cook it on low for 9 hours, drain off liquid, shredThe meat, then add barbecue sauce and cook on high for 30 more minutes.

  83. JEREMY

    Just trying out the recipe! Tried to find a comment about someone with 2x 3.5lb shoulders instead of 1 larger one and no such luck! How many hours can I expect to cook 2 smaller shoulders at compared to 1 larger one? Thanks in advance!

    1. Cherith Massa

      Hi Jeremy
      My 2 x 3.5 shoulders are literally in the “cooling off” period as I type this. I did 12.5 hours. The center reached 200 which is, what I think, the goal. As long as it reaches 200, it’s done. I also brined for just over 24 hours.
      I did realize too late that this recipe doesn’t have the skin on and mine did and it was already an hour into cooking. Oops!
      It doesnt look bad at all, although they say you should score the skin in a diamond pattern before dry rubbing, to get that flavor in from the top.
      So Im hoping for the best!
      Good luck with yours! :)

  84. Elizabeth

    I was undecided about whether to use the Bake or Roast or Convection Roast setting on my oven for this recipe. Any thoughts? I ended up using Roast.