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Straight-on view of pulled pork sandwich. Pulled pork & slaw on a brioche bun, atop a creamy white surface.

Must-Have BBQ Pulled Pork

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes (mostly inactive)
  • Yield: serves 8-10 1x
  • Category: Main Dish, Pork Recipes
  • Method: Stovetop, Braised
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Rich & flavor-filled pork shoulder is studded with garlic, dusted in a heavily spiced BBQ dry rub, & cooked slow & low in an umami-packed braising liquid made of beer & a few pantry staples. The resulting bbq pulled pork is succulent, fall-apart tender, & so flavorful! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 34 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 34 large pieces
  • 810 cloves garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
  • PWWB BBQ dry rub, below
  • 12 ounces light beer of choice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

for PWWB BBQ dry rub:

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • optional: pinch – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper BBQ pulled pork ingredients arranged on a creamy cement surface – Miller High Life, Colgin mesquite liquid smoke, soy sauce, sesame oil, cider vinegar, garlic cloves, spices, brown sugar, & pork shoulder roast.

Instructions

  1. Prep – Stud the pork with garlic & mix the BBQ dry rub: Using a sharp paring knife, carefully cut a few deep slits into each piece of pork shoulder, then insert sliced garlic into each pocket. Set aside. Add all listed BBQ dry rub ingredients to a small bowl or jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Set aside or store in an airtight container on your spice rack for up to 1 month.How to make bbq pulled pork, step 1: a woman's hands shown studding pork shoulder roast with garlic cloves. the pork shoulder sits atop a light pink cutting board next to a bowl of bbq dry rub on a creamy cement surface.
  2. Braise the BBQ pork: Season the pork with the BBQ dry rub & arrange the seasoned pork in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven with a lid, sprinkling any excess BBQ dry rub over top. Add in all liquid ingredients – beer, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, & liquid smoke. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low to maintain a steady simmer. Cover & simmer for 3-4 hours, until the BBQ pork is fall-apart tender. How to make bbq pulled pork, step 2: seasoned pork shown in large white dutch oven atop a creamy cement surface.
  3. Finish the BBQ pulled pork: Carefully transfer the pork to a plate or cutting board. Use tongs or 2 forks to shred the pork into bite-sized pieces. Serve your BBQ pulled pork immediately or cool & store for later use (see Recipe Notes for Serving Ideas, & Storage & Freezing guidance). Enjoy! How to make bbq pulled pork, step 3: shredded pork shown on a speckled ceramic plate, with 2 forks. The plate sits atop a creamy cement surface.


Notes

  • Serving ideas: I like serving this BBQ pulled pork with the braising jus (it’s so good!), BBQ sauce, & a quick slaw. It makes great pulled pork sandwiches. You can also use it as an all-purpose pulled pork; it’s great on burrito bowls, pizza, nachos, quesadillas, in a breakfast hash, stuffed in a sweet potato, etc. Sky’s the limit!
  • Make-Ahead, Storage & Freezing:
    • Storage Instructions: BBQ pulled pork stores incredibly well! Transfer cooled pulled pork to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Easily reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
    • Freezing Instructions: BBQ pulled pork is also incredibly freezer-friendly. To freeze, transfer cooled pulled pork to a freezer container or divide between multiple freezer containers for smaller portions – these are my absolute favorite freezer containers!). Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen BBQ pulled pork in the refrigerator overnight or submerge the freezer container in room temperature water for a quicker thaw. Easily reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • 10-Minute Meal Prep: You can eliminate all of the active work involved in this BBQ pulled pork recipe by prepping the pork & BBQ rub in advance. To meal prep, complete the following tasks. The day you’d like to make pulled pork, all you have to do is assemble & let it cook – totally inactive, totally easy!
    • Stud the pork with garlic according to Step 1 of Recipe Directions. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (5 minutes active prep)
    • Prep the dry rub according to Step 1 of Recipe Directions. Store in an airtight container on your spice rack for up to 1 month. (5 minutes active prep)
    • Optional: Season the pork: For even more flavorful BBQ Pulled Pork, you can season with the dry rub ahead of time. Season as described in Step 2 of Recipe Directions. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 
  • Alternate cooking methods:
    • OVEN BRAISED BBQ PULLED PORK: Prep the recipe according to Steps 1-2, above. Rather than cooking on the stovetop, transfer the covered pot to a 325 degree F oven. Braise in the oven for 3-4 hours, until the pork is fall-apart tender. Complete the recipe according to Step 3, above, & serve.
    • SLOW COOKER BBQ PULLED PORK: Prep the recipe according to Steps 1-2, above, assembling the braised pork in your slow cooker or Crockpot. Slow cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours until the pork is fall-apart tender. Complete the recipe according to Step 3, above, & serve.
    • INSTANT POT BBQ PULLED PORK: Prep the recipe according to Steps 1-2, above, assembling the braised pork in your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. Cover & seal the Instant Pot. Cook on manual high pressure for 50 minutes. Allow the pressure cooker to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes before carefully flicking the valve to its “venting” position to vent out any residual pressure. The pork should be beautifully fall-apart tender. Complete the recipe according to Step 3, above, & serve.

Keywords: pulled pork, BBQ pulled pork, easy, American, oven braised, slow cooker, Instant Pot, dairy-free, comfort food recipes, game day, easy entertaining