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Low-and-slow oven roasting yields super tender and delicious Pulled Pork.
Many of our A Family Feast readers live in the Southern Region of the United States, so I feel that I need to start this post off with a little bit of a disclaimer.* 😉 My husband Jack makes a mean Pulled Pork, *even if he does happen to come from Massachusetts!
Our recipe for Pulled Pork does take time – although most of the time involved is either in brining the pork before cooking, or roasting the pork in the oven. But – like any good barbecue – the time spent is well worth it, especially when it results in fork-tender, easy-to-shred, pulled pork with really fantastic flavor like ours!
One of the keys to our delicious Pulled Pork is in the spice rub – a mix of brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper, plus ground cayenne pepper. (All ingredients you probably have on hand in your kitchen.) That spice rub is used in both the brine, and as a rub on the meat while the pork cooks in a dutch oven.
That spice rub browns and caramelizes the outside of the pork shoulder as it cooks. And those caramelized bits of outer crust all get mixed into the shredded pulled pork, so every bite is a mix of juicy, tender pork and sweet, spicy bark.
Following our Pulled Pork recipe, anyone can make delicious, moist and flavorful pulled pork at home, even without a special smoker or barbecue pit! That Bourbon Barbecue Sauce takes just minutes to prepare – and it’s the perfect complement to serve alongside or on top of our Pulled Pork.
This recipe makes a generous amount, so it’s great served at a party or when feeding a hungry crowd. The leftovers (if you have any) reheat nicely too, so you can enjoy a second meal.
You may enjoy these other Pork recipes:
- Milk Braised Pulled Pork with Mushrooms
- Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork
- Pork Lomitos Tacos
- Grilled Porterhouse Pork Chops
- Pork Larb Lettuce Cups
This post originally appeared on A Family Feast in December 2012.
4–5 pound boneless pork butt**
For the Brine
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup molasses
2 quarts cold water
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons of the dry rub (recipe below)
For the Dry Rub
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
8–10 bulkie or kaiser rolls
Prepared Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
- To prepare the brine, mix all of the brine ingredients in a bowl and stir until the salt dissolves. Place pork in a large container (you could use the roasting pan you plan on using to roast in) and pour brine over pork, making sure the meat is completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
- Remove pork from the brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels and discard brine. Wipe out the pan and place pork fat side up – making sure that there is some air flow on all sides of the pork for even cooking in the oven.
- Pour the rub all over the pork using your hands to completely cover the pork.
- Place a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and set the probe thermometer to alarm at 200 degrees internal temperature of the meat.
- Place uncovered in the center of the oven. When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 200 degrees (about 6- 8 hours*), turn oven off, cover pan with foil or a cover and leave pork in the oven with the heat off until internal temperature drops below 175 degrees (approximately two additional hours).
- While the roast is cooling, prepare the Bourbon Barbecue Sauce and Coleslaw to serve with the pork.
- Remove the pork from the oven.
- Begin by removing the top fat cap from pork and discard.
- Shred remaining roast with two forks.
- Scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pan and mix them into pulled pork. (This adds great flavor.)
- Place shredded pork on good bulkie rolls, top with a tablespoon or two of the Bourbon Barbeque Sauce and a spoonful of Coleslaw. Serve with a dill pickle and enjoy.
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*Ovens vary and the size and thickness of the roast will vary which is why there is a two hour window of doneness.
** Pork butt is also called pork shoulder, not to be confused with a fully-cooked smoked shoulder.