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- Meat and poultry
- Pulled pork
This is a recipe from my mother-in-law. It takes some time to get done, but you don't have to do anything while the pork cooks. After about 6 hours, you will have succulent and fork tender pork.
London, England, UK
14 people made this
- Dry rub
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 to 2 tablespoons onion granules, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 75g brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons dry seasoning rub
- 2 litres water
- 150g salt
- 75g dark brown soft sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.5kg pork tenderloin, marbled
MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:6hr ›Extra time:1day marinating › Ready in:1day6hr10min
- Place all the ingredients for the dry rub in a container with tight fitting lid. Mix well.
- Scoop 3 tablespoons of the dry rub into a a jug or a bowl and set aside. Tightly put the lid on the container with the dry rub and place in the fridge.
- For the brine add water, salt and brown sugar to the jug and stir until sugar and salt have dissolved. Place the pork into a big freezer bag or into a big bowl and pour over brine. The brine should completely cover the meat. Add the bay leaves and close the bag or cover the bowl. Marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 110 C / very low gas. Take pork out of he brine, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Discard brine. Massage the prepared dry rub into the meat. Make sure to get the rub in every crease or fold and massage until it looks moist.
- Place the pork into a roasting pan and roast in the preheated oven for about 6 hours (4 hours for every kg) until the meat is easily pulled apart with a fork.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(12)
How to Make the Best Oven-Cooked Pulled Pork | The Food Lab
The easiest way I know of to ruffle the feathers of food-minded folks mounted atop high horses is to refer to some sort of vegetable preparation as "bacon." Second is to speak ill of a regional specialty that ought to stay regional (here's lookin' at you, cheesesteaks).
Coming in a close third? Suggesting that pulled pork can be prepared via any method other than low-and-slow in a smoke-filled barbecue.
I used to count myself among those rankled by that third one. My experience with indoor pulled pork was limited to the extra-wet and extra-sweet variety, braised in a slow cooker like a beer-bellied vacationer who accidentally fell asleep in a hot tub of bottled barbecue sauce. How could it ever compare to the tender and moist—but never wet—texture of real barbecue with a dark crust, a rich and smoky flavor, and a lovingly crafted sauce?
Easy: It can't compare, and it shouldn't compare. Just as it's perfectly possible to love both grilled steaks and pan-seared steaks, or grilled burgers and burgers smashed on a griddle, it's okay to enjoy pork shoulder cooked both outdoors and in-. The two dishes are similar but completely different foods that can both be appreciated on their own merits,* without involving a slight to your man- or womanhood.
*That said, I am working on a method for producing real barbecue-style pulled pork at home, complete with smoke ring and bark, which will show up in the follow-up volume to my first book. Stay tuned!
But, just as there are great burgers and poor, not all indoor pulled pork is created equal. My goal with this recipe was to come up with a technique to produce pulled pork that shreds into large, tender chunks that are moist but not wet, with a flavor that balances sweet molasses, bright vinegar, heat, and just a hint of smoke. Oh, and I wanted it to be darn easy to boot.
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 1 ½ tablespoons garlic powder (such as McCormick® California Style)
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup Dijon mustard (such as Hellmann's®)
- 8 pounds pork shoulder roast (butt roast), rind removed
- ½ cup barbeque sauce, or to taste
- 18 large hamburger buns, split
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
Mix brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt in a bowl. Spread mustard over pork roast and sprinkle with brown sugar mixture, using the entire amount. Line a shallow baking dish with aluminum foil. Place a rack in the prepared baking dish and arrange pork roast on rack.
Bake in the preheated oven until very tender, 9 to 11 hours. Let pork cool, then shred into bite-size pieces. Stir barbeque sauce into pork to moisten serve with hamburger buns.
What’s your go-to pulled pork recipe?
Do you smoke it every time, slow cook it, or oven braise it? Have any tips or suggestions you want to throw in? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Chime in below or shoot me a message on social with #girlcarnivore @girlcarnivore.
I have a thing for crazy good pork. Here are some more ways to bring it to the table that will have your family drooling!
Mix up the pulled pork rub
Grab another bowl and add together the rub ingredients. Take one teaspoon of black pepper and one tablespoon each of kosher salt, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Combine these ingredients well and pour them over the pork. Use your hands to turn the meat over and over in the seasonings rub in order to evenly coat each slice.
Smoked paprika, not powdered, can be found in the spices section, Rapone noted. Then heat canola or vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven, big enough to hold all the pork and still be able to cover it with the lid or aluminum foil. Turn the knob to medium heat and let it warm up for a couple of minutes, or until the oil easily slides around the Dutch oven when you tilt it.
Rapone noted that this particular rub would work well on other meats. "The rub would be great on chicken, other cuts of pork, beef like a flank steak, a brisket, or skirt steak especially, or even salmon. It's a great basic flavorful rub to keep on hand," she noted.
- 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 4 equal pieces
- 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 soft sandwich rolls, split
- Store-bought barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in lower and upper positions. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Place pork in a 5-quart Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot rub with spice mixture.
In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, and 1/2 cup water pour over pork. Cover pot, and place in oven on lower rack. Bake until pork is very tender and separates easily when pulled with a fork, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Transfer pork to a work surface, reserving pan juices. With two forks, shred meat. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with pan juices to moisten (you may not need all the juices). Pile pork on rolls, and top with barbecue sauce, if desired.
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How To Cook (and Shred) a Pork Shoulder
Yield Serves 10 to 12 , Makes approximately 10 cups shredded pork
- Calories 462
- Fat 34.1 g (52.4%)
- Saturated 11.8 g (59.1%)
- Carbs 1.9 g (0.6%)
- Fiber 0.4 g (1.5%)
- Sugars 0.0 g
- Protein 32.7 g (65.5%)
- Sodium 511.6 mg (21.3%)
boneless pork shoulder or butt (or 5 to 7 pounds bone-in)
freshly ground black pepper
mixed spices or dry herbs (see Recipe Notes)
medium yellow onion, chopped (optional)
medium carrot, chopped (optional)
liquid, such as low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, tomato juice, light or amber beer, white or red wine, orange juice, or a mix of several liquids
5-quart or larger Dutch oven
Heat the oven to 325°F. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 325°F.
Trim the pork. Trim off any large pieces of fat from the outside of the pork shoulder, but leave small pieces and the interior fat. If using boneless pork, cut the pork into several large fist-sized pieces. If using bone-in, leave the pork as is, on the bone.
Season the pork. Sprinkle the pork with the salt, pepper, and spices if using. Rub the seasoning into the pork with your fingers so the meat is evenly coated on all sides.
Sear the pork (optional). If you have time, searing will deepen the final flavor of your pork and give it some textural contrast. Heat a tablepsoon or two of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork and sear on all sides, working in batches as needed so as not to crowd the pan. For more detailed step-by-step instructions, see How To Sear Meat. If not searing, just place the pork in the Dutch oven.
Add the vegetables (if using). Onions, garlic, and other vegetables also deepen the final flavor of the pork, but are optional. If using, nestle them around the pork in the Dutch oven.
Add the liquid. Pour the liquid and liquid smoke (if using) over the pork. The pork should be only partially submerged, with some of the pork remaining above the surface of the liquid.
Bring to a simmer. Place the Dutch oven with the pork over medium-high heat and bring the liquid to a simmer.
Cover and transfer to the oven. Cover the Dutch oven and transfer the whole pot to the oven.
Cook for 2 to 4 hours, until fork tender. Let the pork cook undisturbed for 2 hours, then begin checking it every half hour. Total cooking time will be 2 to 4 hours, depending on the amount of pork and whether it's bone-in (which takes longer to cook). The pork is done when it is fork-tender (when the meat can be easily pierced with a fork without resistance and easily falls apart with a little pressure). If you're cooking pork on the bone, the meat should be falling off the bone. If in doubt, cook the meat another half hour it's almost impossible to overcook meat with this method.
Transfer the pork to a large bowl. Lift the pieces of pork out of the liquid and transfer to a large bowl. When cool enough to handle, use two forks or your fingers to shred the meat into pieces. Remove any large pieces of fat or bones.
Strain the cooking liquid. Strain the cooking liquid into a measuring cup. The vegetables can be chopped and mixed in with the pork, if desired. Skim the fat off the top of the cooking liquid.
Moisten the pork with cooking liquid or barbecue sauce (optional). For more moist and flavorful pulled pork, you can mix some of the cooking liquid back into the pork. Start with a little, mix, then add more until the pork is as wet or dry as you like. Alternatively, for barbecue pulled pork, you can mix in barbecue sauce.
Slow-cooker variation: In a 5-quart or larger slow cooker, combine the meat, any vegetables, and liquid. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours or LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
Storage: Pulled pork will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 3 months in the freezer.
→ Plain pork (most versatile, season after cooking for use in any dish): bay leaf (used whole) with no other spices
→ Barbecue-spiced pork (good for pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, and pizza): cumin, paprika, brown sugar, dry mustard
→ Herbed pork (good for pasta sauces, ravioli, and casseroles): fresh or dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, bay leaf (used whole)
→ Mexican-spiced pork (good for enchiladas, burritos, tacos and tamales): cumin, chile powder, dried oregano, dried chipotle or ancho chiles (used whole), garlic powder
→ Asian-spiced pork (good for tacos, steamed dumplings, and stir-fried rice): star anise, cloves, fennel, coriander, cinnamon (or Chinese 5-spice blend)
What can I make with pulled pork besides sandwiches
Making pulled pork from a large pork butt or pork shoulder means A LOT of pulled pork, which is great if you are trying to feed a crowd. However, if you are just feeding your family, you probably have quite a bit left over. Of course, you can freeze it for later, but here are a few ways to use pulled pork besides sandwiches.
Pulled pork mashed potato bowls: Start with a layer of mashed potatoes, add corn (or green beans), pulled pork and top with gravy.
Pulled pork quesadillas: Heat up a flour tortilla on the stovetop, add cheese, barbecue sauce and pulled pork. Heat through and serve with sour cream.
Pulled pork nachos: Start with a layer of tortilla chips on a cookie sheet (we cover ours with foil for easy clean up), add a layer of cheese and pulled pork and heat in the oven until cheese is melted. Top it with your favorite nacho ingredients – jalapeños, sour cream, guacamole. You can also do pulled pork totchos – just cook your tater tots and then add your cheese and pulled pork.
Barbecue Pulled Pork Crescents: Use a roll of refrigerated crescent rolls and fill with cheese, pulled pork and barbecue sauce. Cook as directed on the package.
- 1/3 cup light-brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 24 ounces Guinness
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- Potato bread buns, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in the lower third of the oven.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Rub spice mixture all over pork.
Place pork, fat side up, in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven. Add Guinness and garlic cloves and bring liquid to a boil on stovetop over high heat.
Cover Dutch oven, transfer to oven, and braise, basting a few times, until pork is fork tender, 3-4 hours. Shred pork with two forks and stir to incorporate with braising liquid.