There’s nothing like Smoked Pulled Pork Barbecue! This is my all-time favorite, tried and true pulled pork recipe that always satisfies the crowd. Cooked low and slow after getting dry rubbed, this succulent pork literally falls apart in your hands! Check out today’s new video to see the entire process, too.
Smoked Pulled Pork Barbecue
Whether from the Carolinas or over to Texas, pulled pork is a staple of Southern cooking.
Typically saved for holidays, parties and picnics, I enjoy making this on any weekend and having leftovers during the week for stuffing sandwiches, potatoes, tacos, enchiladas or to top a salad!
Nothing beats a low and slow cooked pork BBQ! That aroma as the pork smokes gets me salivating every time. If cooked properly the pork should barely hold together and when pressed, literally fall off the bone and shred easily. Pulling the pork is fun and satisfying knowing you did a job well done.
Some brine or inject their pork shoulder with brine liquid first, but I simply give it a good dry rub of my Sweet Pork Dry Rub, but let it rest overnight. As for smoke, I like to use a mixture of hickory and either cherry or apple wood chips. After the initial first 4 hours I also like to spritz it with apple juice, but this is completely optional.
After pulling the pork I like to add some more of the spice rub to bring all the flavors together and eat it just as it is, but many people like to add BBQ sauce and mix it in. I like to eat it plain and also add BBQ sauce on it in a pulled pork sandwich. If you leave it with out the barbecue sauce mixed throughout it allows you to use it in different ways. Options!
What cut of pork is best for pulled pork?
It’s the shoulder. The pork shoulder includes the entire front leg and shoulder of a hog. Sometimes in your meat department, you’ll find this divided into two cuts, the Boston butt and the picnic roast. My butcher has it labeled as a Pork Shoulder (Boston Butt).
How much pork do you need for pulled pork?
A third to a half pound of meat per person is pretty standard. When cooked and shredded, a bone-in pork shoulder will lose around 40% of its weight. For example, this 10 pound pork shoulder (Boston Butt bone-in) yielded about 6 pounds of pulled pork, serving 12 to 16 people.
Do I need to dry rub the pork shoulder?
Adding a dry rub all over prior to smoking is crucial to penetrating the flavors deep and helps with getting the “bark” on the outside due to the spices and sugars creating a caramelization.
What spices are in a pork dry rub?
The spice rub consists of pantry spices starting with brown sugar, garlic and onion powders, kosher salt and black pepper, paprika, cayenne and chili powder.
How long do I leave the dry rub on the pork shoulder?
I rub the spice blend all over and wrap or cover it and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Before smoking it, unwrap the pork shoulder and let it come to room temperature (1 hour).
What temperature should my smoker be at?
I set mine at 225°F for a low and slow cook.
How long does it take to smoke a pork shoulder?
If I’m going to be making pulled pork I make a lot. You can always freeze the leftovers. I typically get a 10 pound pork shoulder. Smoke your shoulder at 225°F at 90 minutes per pound. Start early, or even better, smoke it overnight while you sleep!
For this 10 pound pork shoulder (Boston Butt) it went 90 minutes per pound which came to 900 minutes or 15 hours total. Allow it to rest and if you love that fall apart pulled pork, I also set it in a cooler to rest for 1 additional hour covered, before pulling the pork. So you’re looking at 16 hours.
You can see below in the process photos how the size of the pork changes as does the color while it slowly smokes outdoors during the day.
What temperature is smoked pulled pork done at?
If you’re going for fall apart pulled pork, then cook until internal temperature reaches 205°F.
So let’s recap the entire process for Smoked Pulled Pork
- 10 pound pork shoulder (Boston Butt)
- dry rub all over, cover and refrigerate overnight
- bring pork to room temperature
- set smoker to 225°F, prep wood chips or pellets
- smoke unwrapped at 90 minutes per pound at 225°F
- after 4 hours spritz all over with apple juice (optional)
- smoke 2 more hours
- take out, wrap in double layer of aluminum foil
- place back in smoker for remaining time (9 hours) wrapped
- place in a cooler lined with towel to assist with lifting out, cover 1 hour
- remove from cooler place on tray and remove bone and pull pork
There you have it! Sweet tender pulled pork ready for BBQ sauce or not and perfect to feed a crowd. Enjoy!
Watch how to make this below!
Smoked Pulled Pork Barbecue
- 10 lb pork shoulder Boston Butt
- 1/2 cup apple juice
Sweet Pork Dry Rub
- 1/2 cup Dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp salt
- 4 tsp chili powder
- 4 tsp garlic powder or garlic flakes
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp paprika (See Note 1)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- In a bowl mix together the spice blend ingredients. Using paper towels, dry off the pork shoulder.
- Rub the spice blend on all sides of the pork shoulder, reserving 1/2 cup for later.
- Wrap or cover it and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- Before smoking, unwrap the pork shoulder and let it come to room temperature (1 hour). Preheat smoker to 225°Prep your wood chips or pellets as per manufacturer's instructions.
- Smoke directly on the cleaned grill of the smoker, unwrapped, at 90 minutes per pound at 225°F.
- After 4 hours spritz all over with apple juice (optionathen smoke 2 additional hours.
- Remove from smoker and wrap in double layer of aluminum foil. Place back in smoker for remaining time (9 hourwrapped.
- After it's reached an internal temperature of 205°F remove from smoker. Set it, still wrapped, in a cooler (lined with towel to assist with lifting out), to rest for 1 additional hour covered.
- Lift from cooler, remove foil wrap and discard. Place smoked pork shoulder carefully on a baking sheet or tray. Remove bone and discard. Pork should fall apart. Use gloves or BBQ claws to pull and shred pork pull pork.
- Season with remaining Sweet Pork Dry Rub spices to your liking. Feel free to add more apple juice or your favorite BBQ sauce.
- Substitute with Smoked Paprika for a more smokey flavor.