Pulled pork. A classic American dish that you’ll find everywhere but especially in the Southern states where BBQ reigns supreme. There are many ways to approach and tackle this dish from slow smoking giant slabs of pork for half a day or more, to more home-cook friendly methods ranging from the stove top and other devices such as instant pots or slow cookers. However you choose to cook it, the end result is the same, heavenly tender pork that’s then shredded and tossed and coated in its own juices and (most likely) BBQ sauce.
Today we’ll be putting our stove top and oven to use in this recipe which involves a dry rubbed pork that’s been seared off and then braised for a few hours until it’s fall-apart tender. Then we’ll shred it, and finish it with some braising stock and BBQ sauce.
Simple, right? So let’s get to it shall we?
To make this melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork you’ll need the following:
- Pork: You can use pork shoulder or a Boston butt roast. Now a note about the meat, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve removed the bone if you’re using a bone in cut along with any skin. More to that you’ll want to trim off any excess fat and cut your pork into large chunks. The reason for this is simply to reduce the cook time, to give more surface area for your rub and for searing (aka flavor development) and to make your meat more manageable.
- Beef Broth: I’m using beef broth for my roasting liquid for extra richness but you can easily use water.
- Oil: This is to sear our pork chunks in before we pop them into the oven to slow roast. I’m using an extra light olive oil, but you can use any clean label cooking oil of your choosing.
- Spices for a rub:-
- Raw Cane Sugar: I’m using some of my finely blended raw cane sugar but since we’ll be blending all spices together it’s not necessary to have pre-blended cane sugar.
- Salt: I’m using a Pink Himalayan but you can also use a sea salt.
- Ground Black Pepper.
- Ground White Pepper.
- Smoked Paprika.
- Garlic Powder.
- Dried Oregano.
- Ground Cumin.
- Fennel Seeds.
- BBQ Sauce: I highly recommend my Homemade BBQ Sauce that is incredibly easy to throw together and tastes amazing! For this specific recipe you’ll need to double to batch. If you’re not a fan of BBQ you can omit the use of it and simply use some of the leftover liquid your pork was roasting in.
To start we’ll blend together all the spices for our dry rub.
Sprinkle your dry rub evenly over your pork chunks and, using your fingertips, rub it in. Let your pork rest for at least 10 minutes.
You can actually do this the night before if you prefer to allow the rub to really penetrate deep into the meat.
To a large, oven-proof pot that has a cover, heat the oil. Once hot, add your pork pieces in a single layer and sear them on each side. Depending on the size of your pot you may need to work in batches. Once all pieces are seared add them all to the pot and pour your stock over them. The liquid doesn’t need to submerge the meat fully so it’s fine if there are pieces above the liquid line.
Cover your pot and place it into your preheated 300F oven for 3 hours.
After three hours (covered) it will look like the image on the left. Remove the cover and allow it to continue to cook for another hour.
At this point in time you can test it for tenderness by sticking it with a knife or fork. If you’re not satisfied with the level of tenderness yet (it happens!) feel free to continue cooking it for 30-60 more minutes and testing it again.
Once your pork is fall apart tender, remove it from the liquid and place it onto a plate or tray. Note: DO NOT THROW AWAY THE LIQUID!! Then using two forks, begin to shred your pork. My pork at this stage was so tender that it was falling apart as I was taking it out of the pot and I could shred most of the smaller pieces by pressing down on them by the back of the fork!
Shred your pork completely and then drizzle some of the liquid in the pot (about a 1/3- 1/2 cup) as well as your homemade BBQ sauce and toss your pork to evenly coat all strands.
And there you have it. Gorgeously tender, juicy, melt-in-your mouth pulled pork that is just waiting to be used however you enjoy it.
Ideas for your Pulled Pork:
- Pulled pork sliders topped with a creamy coleslaw
- Pulled pork tacos
- Pulled pork nachos
- Pulled pork quesadillas
- Pulled pork lettuce wraps
- As a topping for mac and cheese
- As a side dish to pair with whatever you desire
- On top of waffles served with a side of coleslaw
- As a topping for baked potato
- As the meat portion of a Shepherd’s or Cottage pie
- In burritos or burrito bowls
- As a pizza or flatbread topping
I’m sure there are sooooooo many more options, can you think of any? If so let us know below and I’ll add it to the list!
My two favorites are these pulled pork tacos on a warm, freshly made corn tortillas, topped with a pineapple salsa with an extra drizzle of BBQ sauce. (This is a great gluten-free meal option!)
Or some decadent sliders, piled high with pulled pork on either a Hawaiian Roll or a 1-Hour Dinner Roll and topped with some creamy homemade Coleslaw which adds a wonderful texture to the sliders.
As I mentioned earlier, you’ll most likely still have some leftover juices in your pot, don’t toss it out!! There is SO MUCH rich flavor in it. Instead, cool it and pour it into a mason jar. Cover it and stash it away in your fridge for up to a week or if you’re not using them right away, in the freezer for up to a month. As for what we can make with it, I highly recommend using it as a base flavoring for some AMAZING Shrimp Noodle Stir Fry like you see above! It’s a wonderfully quick and easy weeknight meal whose depth of flavor is out of this world.
Oven-Roasted BBQ Pulled Pork
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Trim any skin and fat off of the pork and cut it into large chunks.
- Place all spices for the rub into a high powered blender and blend it together. Sprinkle the rub over the pork and rub it in using your fingertips.
- Let your pork rest for at least 10 minutes with the rub (you can allow your pork to rest overnight if you like).
- Set a large oven-safe pot or dutch oven on high heat. Once hot, add the oil and sear the pork on all sides for 2-3 minutes.
- Once your pork is seared, remove the pot from the heat and pour your broth/stock over the pork. Cover your pot and place it into the oven for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, remove the lid of your pot and allow your pork to cook (uncovered) for another hour. See note*
- Remove the pot from the oven and, using tongs, carefully extract each piece of pork and place onto a plate or tray (be careful because your pork should be falling apart at this point). Don't discard the liquid in the pot.
- Using two forks, shred your pork and spoon some of the liquid in the pot over your pork, tossing to coat it and keep it moist.
- Pour the BBQ sauce over the shredded pork and toss to evenly coat all strands. Reserve some of the BBQ sauce for drizzling over your pork when serving.
- Enjoy! Serve as pulled pork sliders on some dinner rolls (or Hawaiian rolls) topped with some coleslaw, or make some pulled pork tacos topped with a zesty pineapple slaw on top of some freshly made corn tortillas.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 9 months.
- If after being cooked for 4 hours you test your pork and aren't happy with the tenderness of it, cover it and allow it to cook for another 30-60 minutes and check again or adjust the liquid level by adding a splash more and let it cook uncovered.