Perfect Pulled Pork

Ever wonder how your favorite BBQ joint makes their pork so dang good?  I did too until now.  The secret to their recipe?  Cook your pork shoulder low and slow.  Okay, that might be a very well-known secret but this was the first time that I tried the “low and slow” method in an oven.

Up until now, I had prepared my pork shoulder in my crock pot.  Inspired by an episode on Food Network this week (they’ve been airing BBQ madness for a while now) I decided to try my luck with the oven.  Now that I have tasted the juicy, tender, all-mighty oven pork, I will never cook pork shoulder in my crock pot again.

My pork turned out absolutely perfect.  I feel like if I would place my plate of pork (Subject A) next to that BBQ joint’s plate of pork (Subject B), taste-testers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference!  I’m that confident.  The catch?  You can’t leave your oven on all day unattended like you can with a crock pot.  So if you’re going to try this method, do it on your day off (I recommend glasses of cold beer to keep you busy in the mean time).

View a list of all of my pork recipes here.

Note:  I updated this recipe based on all of your suggestions.   I changed the internal temperature from 170 degrees to 200 degrees.  170 degrees is where a pork roast is cooked and sliceable, but 200 degrees is fall-apart tender.  I also added two more hours to the cook time, to accomodate the internal temperature change.  Thank you for your comments!

Perfect Pulled Pork

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 12 hours

Total Time: 13 hours

Yields: Serves about 8

Perfect Pulled Pork


  • 1 (6-pound) pork shoulder or pork butt, bone in preferred
  • Dry Rub:
  • 3 tablespoons paprika (I used smoked paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt


  1. Preheat your oven or smoker to 225 degrees F. Lightly score your pork with a sharp knife. Mix the dry rub ingredients together and rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
  2. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast for 10-12 hours, uncovered. Check the pork at 10 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the pork should register at least 200 degrees F. Your pork should also pull easily apart. If it isn't done, increase the cook time in increments of 30 minutes.
  3. When the pork is cooked, take it out of the oven and place it on a platter to cool. Allow the meat to rest for at least 30 minutes. Once rested, use 2 forks to shred the meat. Serve as is, on a bun, on a baked potato or combine with your favorite BBQ sauce.


If you wish to use the meat later, wrap the cooked pork in double foil to retain the juices and refrigerate or freeze.

Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay and Tyler Florence’s Pulled Pork Recipes

Photo courtesy of

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  19 comments for “Perfect Pulled Pork

  1. David Allbrook
    June 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

    0o0o0o0o0o i’ve gotta try this! Love me some BBQ, now I just need to work on patience.

  2. September 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    If you want it to be really good, you should cook to 190°. That is when the magic happens.

    • Miss McBooty
      September 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      I like your style Adam. The lower and slower the better. Unfortunately, I have to compromise with my apartment oven and it’s 200 degree limit (it tends to run a bit hot too, more like 215). *shakes fist* Must buy a smoker… Thanks for stopping by!

      • September 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm

        Actually, I meant cook to an internal temp of 190°. You can go higher on the oven temp. 190° is about where the collagen and stuff breaks down and gets silky smooth.

        • Miss McBooty
          September 17, 2012 at 10:43 am

          Oooh! My mistake. 190 internal temperature huh? And here I thought 170 was on the higher end. I know the new standard for pork is 145, but it still scares me a bit. I’m old school like that. Here’s a New York Times article about the “new” pork safe cooking temp:

  3. Tom
    February 27, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I agree with Adam Clark; internal @ 190* is where the connective tissues break down. It takes time to get it there with an external temp of 225* but it’s well worth the wait.
    I do the slow smoke method in a Weber grill. 2 hours per pound at 225*.
    170 is considered medium doneness for pork and it’s perfect for sliced and jucy but for Perfect Pulled Pork it needs more time and more heat.

  4. Miss McBooty
    March 6, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Noted! Thanks for the input Adam. I will definitely cook my pork longer the next time I make this recipe.

    • Tom
      March 10, 2013 at 4:33 am

      I did a 20 hour burn fro pulled pork last weekend.
      A 7 Lb Boston Butt(bone in)on the smoker for three hours and in the electric roster in a cooking bag for 17 hours @ 225 degrees.
      Results: Perfect! Falling apart with lots of bark due to using plenty of brown sugar in my rub.
      This is not my usual method, I normally just keep it smokin’ on the smoker but a cold rain took control of the heat and I didn’t want it ruined.

      • Miss McBooty
        March 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm

        Tom, your pork (bark and all) sounds AH-MAZE-ING! I bet it was completely drool-worthy. Sometimes unexpected weather brings out the creativity in us home cooks. I’m glad it turned out and now you know, you can rock your Boston Butt in an electric roaster! :)

  5. January 9, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I prefer cooking bag, in this case i don’t need any babysitting for cooking meat… in this case temperature is not a big issue, i’d prefer to go for higher range, well above 200!

    • Miss McBooty
      January 21, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Steve, cooking bags are a great way to make some juicy pork too! I love how easy cooking bags make cooking pork roasts, pot roasts or even turkey, but for me personally I miss the ‘bark’ that’s created from dry roasting meats. I love those crunchy, smokey bits!

  6. ab78
    March 16, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    do you recommend shoulder or but?

    • Tom
      March 18, 2014 at 11:46 am

      I have had great success with both the picnic shoulder and the butt.
      The Butt seems to have less fat but the Shoulder seems to have better flavor and usually costs less. Get one of each and do them together. It won’t be wasted.

      The only other two secrets are to always get the bone-in cuts and cook at 225 degrees (F) for an hour and a half per pound.
      That’s #Lb.s x 1.25Hr @ 225* F. = perfect for all my fellow BBQ technogeeks.

      Oh yeah, one more “secret”: try to let it sit for five-ten minutes before pulling.
      Best wishes!

      • Miss McBooty
        March 24, 2014 at 8:28 am

        These are awesome ‘secret’ tips Tom! Thank you! And ab78, I have tried both and I typically enjoy the results of the shoulder more. As Tom put it, its probably because the shoulder has a bit more fat and flavor. Try to buy bone in if possible for more XTREME (lol) flavor.

  7. ab78
    April 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Lbs x 1.25 or 1.5 HR?

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