This easy Barbecued Pulled Pork recipe is slow roasted in the oven to fall-apart, melt-in-your-mouth, fork-tender perfection.
Seasoning is everything. A pork shoulder, or pork butt, is covered with a brown sugar and spice rub and roasted in a flavor-packed, tenderizing beer bath until it literally is falling apart. Choose to add sauce or go naked, it’s amazing either way!
Barbecued Pulled Pork is also a great make-ahead dish for parties and tailgating and a secret weapon on weeknight dinners. It can be used in countless meals like Pulled Pork Sandwiches with my favorite Pineapple Slaw, pork tacos, pork nachos, in pasta, on pizza, the list is endless!
Barbecued Pulled Pork is basically fool proof:
- Cover with a spicy brown sugar rub
- Place the pork in a baking pan surrounded by a bath of flavorful beer.
- Cover with foil and oven roast to fall apart perfection.
- Choose to sauce or not.
What cut of meat should I buy and use for barbecued pulled pork?
I always choose pork shoulder or pork butt. Even though it’s called a “butt,” it’s actually part of the shoulder meat. Choose bone-in or boneless, whichever you prefer, but for this recipe, I’ve specified a 4 pound boneless, half butt roast because it’s easy to source and a common size. Bone-in shoulders take a little longer to cook, but can make the meat more flavorful and succulent. Boneless cuts can be sliced into smaller chunks to shorten the cooking time.
How to make Barbecue Pulled Pork
Begin by prepping the pork roast. Seasoning makes all of the difference in pork, which can be a bit bland otherwise. I really like the spiced brown sugar rub that I use on a lot of my pork and chicken recipes like Sticky Asian Ribs, Smokey Brown Sugar Crusted Pork Tenderloin, and Sticky Asian Grilled Chicken Thighs, both because of the spice combination but also because it caramelizes in the most delightful way.
If your pork roast is in a net, remove it as it limits the rub coverage. Stir together the brown sugar and spices and rub all over the roast.
Place the roast in a 9×12 baking dish. Pour a 12 ounce beer along side of the roast but not over it so as to not wash off the rub. Then cover tightly with foil.
Is there another ingredient I can substitute for beer?
Beer produces the best results, but stock or broth may be substituted.
Roast in a 300 degree oven for about 3.5 hours.
When the meat easy pulls apart with a fork, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes or so.
Reserving a cup of the beer/pork broth, drain the remainder of the liquid. Use two forks to shred the meat. Add back in the liquid and any barbecue sauce that you desire. I add 1 cup to the pork in addition to the reserved beer broth, and have more available when serving.
To get caramelized (some call burnt ends), place the pan of shredded pork under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the tips darken and brown.
What to serve with Barbecued Pulled Pork:
- Pineapple Coleslaw (pictured below)
- Sweet and Spicy Peach Jalapeno Pickles
- Pickled Cucumber and Red Onion Salad
- Grilled Street Corn Salad
- Asian Ramen Chop Salad
- Grilled Asparagus with Grilled Lemon
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Barbecued Pulled Pork
- 4 pound boneless pork butt / shoulder roast
- 12 ounces full-flavored beer preferably not a light beer
Brown Sugar Spice Rub
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Stir together the Brown Sugar Spice Rub in a small bowl.
- Remove any netting or twine from the pork roast, pat dry with a paper towel, and massage in the Brown Sugar Spice Rub completely covering the roast.
- Place the roast in a 9×12 baking pan with the fat cap on top.
- Pour the beer along side of the rub covered roast without washing off the rub.
- Cover tightly with foil and roast in the oven for 3-4 hours, or until the meat easily pulls apart and is fork tender.
- Remove from the oven, uncover, and rest for 10 minutes.
- Reserving 1 cup of the beer broth from the pan, drain the remainder of the liquid and shred the meat with two forks. Add back in the 1 cup of reserved liquid and 1 cup of barbecue sauce if sauce is desired.
- To achieve the caramelized 'burnt ends', broil the shredded meat in the pan for 3-5 minutes until the tips brown.
Mother, Gardener, Book Devourer, and Food Obsessor. I love being inspired with fresh, seasonal ingredients and relish every opportunity to elevate my home cooking. Join me!
The spice rub went really well with the pulled pork. Worked so well and tasted amazing.
Thanks for the feedback Mary. I agree!