Tender, flavorful, delicious pulled pork. Tossed in barbecue sauce and served on toasted buns. Add a side of carrot fries, mac and cheese, coleslaw, or corn on the cob for a delicious and complete dinner recipe.
Flavorful rub for pulled pork
I cover the pulled pork roast in a spice rub that tastes great and looks beautiful. The paprika, chili powder, and cumin in the rub lend a smokey, meaty flavor (and from the oven no less!), and the cayenne pepper adds a little kick. If you like your pulled pork on the spicier side, increase the cayenne pepper in the recipe; if you prefer more mild rubs, leave out the cayenne pepper altogether. There’s also a touch of sugar that helps the roast develop a crunchy outer layer. Coat the roast the night before to allow the pork to absorb all these delicious flavors.
The secret to fork-tender pulled pork
The secret to fork-tender pulled pork is cooking the roast on a low temperature for a long time. This will allow the tough fats and collagen in the roast to breakdown and tenderize. In this recipe, I first cook the roast uncovered to allow it to develop that crisp outer layer and reach the correct temperature. Then I cover the roast and let it cook for hours while the fat breaks down. Once the roast is done cooking, I let it rest covered, to reabsorb some of its flavor-packed juices. The result is melt-in-your-mouth tender, flavorful, juicy pulled pork.
Picking the perfect pulled pork roast
I use a boneless Boston Butt roast. The Boston Butt, sometimes referred to as a pork butt, is actually a part of a pork shoulder roast. It gets its name from colonial times when New England butchers would store cheaper cuts of meat like the pork shoulder in barrels called butts. As these grew in popularity they commonly became referred to as Boston Butt or Pork Butt. If you can’t find a boneless Boston Butt you can also use a whole pork shoulder or a pork butt with the bone in. I find that all of these cuts have generous marbling, which ensure the roast won’t dry out during the long cooking process. If you use a bone-in roast you may need need to adjust the amount of rub, barbecue sauce and cooking time to accommodate the larger roast.
BBQ sauce for the pulled pork
I toss the pulled pork in a bottle of my favorite bbq sauce. It’s quick, easy, and delicious. My tastebuds gravitate towards either classic bbq sauce or the darker brown sugar and molasses varieties, but this pork will go with any of your favorite bbq sauces. If you feel like making one from scratch, the sauce on my barbecue meatballs would be delicious for this recipe.
Leftover pulled pork?
Check out my Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs recipe for a delicious and colorful breakfast delight 🙂
- 3-4 lb boneless boston butt pork butt or pork shoulder roast
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1-2 cups of barbecue sauce*
- Pat roast dry with paper towels and place into a baking dish. Mix spices together and rub on roast, coating all surfaces. Cover roast with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- An hour before cooking, remove roast from the refrigerator, unwrap, and let sit at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Cook roast uncovered for 3 hours. Cover with aluminum foil, and cook for an additional 2 hours. Let roast rest for at least 1 hour before serving.
- When roast has finished resting, use hands or forks to shred pork, setting aside large fat pieces. Toss in barbecue sauce. Serve on buns with extra barbecue sauce.
*use a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce or try making one from scratch like in my barbecue meatballs recipe.