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Pulled Barbecue Pork Recipe

Pulled pork, a classic dish enjoyed at family gatherings and barbecues, is succulent and satisfying. The star of this recipe is the Boston butt roast, which when slow-cooked, melts into juicy, tender pieces that are full of flavor. The addition of homemade barbecue sauce gives it a tangy, sweet and smoky finish.

Pulled Barbecue Pork Recipe

Photos of Pulled Barbecue Pork Recipe

The Boston Butt Roast is the key ingredient here, which is essentially a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder. You may find it under different names such as 'pork shoulder roast' or 'pork butt roast' at your local supermarket. The next thing to be aware of is the barbecue sauce. While store-bought can work, making your own can truly elevate the flavors of the dish.

Ingredients for Pulled Barbecue Pork

Boston butt roast: This cut of pork is typically used for slow cooking methods like braising or smoking.

Garlic cloves: Used for flavor, these will be rubbed onto the roast.

Seasoning salt: Adds depth and savoriness to the pork.

Ground black pepper: Gives a slight spicy kick to the dish.

Cayenne pepper: Provides a spicy heat to the overall taste.

Onion: Used here to infuse the cooking liquid with more flavor.

Barbecue sauce: Adds a tangy, sweet and smoky finish to the pulled pork.

One reader, Finlay Echols says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This pulled barbecue pork recipe is a game-changer! The meat was incredibly tender and flavorful, and the combination of spices and barbecue sauce was just perfect. It's now a family favorite, and I can't wait to make it again!

Finlay Echols

Techniques for Preparing Pulled Barbecue Pork

How to prepare the pork roast: Rub the garlic, seasoning salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper onto the roast to infuse it with flavor before cooking.

How to cook the pork roast: Place the roast in a large dutch oven, fill halfway with water, add the onion, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for at least 3 to 4 hours, until the meat falls off the bone.

How to shred the pork: Once the pork is fully cooked, use two forks to shred the meat into small, bite-sized pieces.

How to incorporate the barbecue sauce: Place the hot shredded pork in a serving bowl and pour the barbecue sauce over it. Stir until the sauce is well blended with the pork.

How to serve the pulled barbecue pork: Serve the pulled pork on buns and enjoy the delicious flavors!

How To Make Pulled Barbecue Pork

For this pulled barbecue pork, the meat is rubbed with garlic and spicy seasonings, then baked for pull-apart, tender pork pieces to serve on sandwiches!

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total: 3 hours 40 minutes



  • 6lbsboston butt roast
  • 4garlic cloves,minced
  • 2tspseasoning salt
  • 2tspground black pepper
  • tbspcayenne pepper
  • 1onion,chopped
  • 3cupsbarbecue sauce


  1. Rub the garlic, seasoning salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste onto the roast.

  2. Place the roast in a large Dutch oven and fill halfway with water, then add the onion. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.

  3. Reduce heat simmer and let cook for at least 3 to 4 hours, depending on the size of the roast, until the meat falls off the bone.

  4. Place the hot roast in a serving bowl and pour the barbecue sauce. Stir until well blended.

  5. Serve on buns, and enjoy!


  • Calories: 601.76kcal
  • Fat: 31.11g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.81g
  • Trans Fat: 0.28g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 12.95g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.04g
  • Carbohydrates: 33.52g
  • Fiber: 1.04g
  • Sugar: 26.43g
  • Protein: 43.98g
  • Cholesterol: 153.40mg
  • Sodium: 952.72mg
  • Calcium: 71.86mg
  • Potassium: 995.47mg
  • Iron: 3.36mg
  • Vitamin A: 14.89µg
  • Vitamin C: 1.70mg

Helpful Technique for Preparing Pulled Barbecue Pork

When preparing your Boston butt roast, it's important to remember that slow and low is the key to achieving tender, pull-apart meat. The roast should be cooked at a low temperature for several hours to allow the connective tissue to break down. This will result in a moist, tender roast that can easily be shredded with a fork. Additionally, don't be afraid to be generous with your seasonings. The flavors will mellow as the roast cooks, resulting in a rich, flavorful dish.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the seasoning and rub it onto the pork the night before and refrigerate. This will allow the flavors to penetrate the meat, saving time on the day of cooking.

Use a slow cooker: Consider using a slow cooker to cook the pork. Simply place the seasoned roast in the slow cooker with the water and onion, set it on low, and let it cook for 8-10 hours. This method requires minimal attention and effort.

Shred with a mixer: After the pork is cooked, use a stand mixer to quickly and efficiently shred the meat. This method is much faster than shredding by hand and produces evenly shredded pork.

Buy pre-made barbecue sauce: To save time, consider using store-bought barbecue sauce instead of making it from scratch. This will cut down on preparation time without sacrificing flavor.

Invest in a pressure cooker: Use a pressure cooker to significantly reduce the cooking time. A pressure cooker can cook the pork in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods, saving valuable time in the kitchen.

Substitute Ingredients For Pulled Barbecue Pork Recipe

  • Boston butt roast - Substitute with pork shoulder: Both cuts come from the same area of the pig and have similar marbling, making them suitable substitutes for each other in pulled pork recipes.

  • Seasoning salt - Substitute with kosher salt and a mix of your favorite spices: You can control the flavor and adjust the salt level by mixing kosher salt with your preferred spices, such as paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.

  • Ground black pepper - Substitute with crushed red pepper flakes: This substitution will add a similar level of heat and a slightly different flavor profile to the dish.

  • Cayenne pepper - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika will provide a milder heat and a smoky flavor, which can enhance the barbecue flavor of the dish.

  • Onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots have a similar flavor profile to onions but are milder and sweeter, adding a subtle depth of flavor to the dish.

  • Barbecue sauce - Substitute with homemade barbecue sauce: Making your own barbecue sauce allows you to customize the flavors and adjust the sweetness and tanginess to your preference.

Presenting Your Pulled Pork Dish

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the pulled barbecue pork on a large, elegant platter, ensuring it is visually appealing and inviting. Consider using fresh herbs and edible flowers as garnishes to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  2. Incorporate texture: Add a crunchy element to the dish by serving the pulled barbecue pork alongside a side of pickled vegetables or coleslaw. This will provide a contrast in texture and enhance the overall dining experience.

  3. Focus on precision: Pay attention to the placement of the pulled barbecue pork on the plate, ensuring that each portion is meticulously arranged to showcase the tenderness and juiciness of the meat. Use tweezers to delicately position any additional garnishes for a refined presentation.

  4. Utilize elegant serving ware: Opt for sophisticated serving ware such as slate platters or porcelain dishes to elevate the visual appeal of the pulled barbecue pork. The choice of serving ware can enhance the overall dining experience and convey a sense of luxury.

  5. Incorporate artistic elements: Consider incorporating artistic elements such as drizzles of barbecue sauce or microgreens arranged in a visually appealing manner to add a touch of creativity and finesse to the presentation of the pulled barbecue pork.

Essential Tools for Making Pulled Barbecue Pork

  • Dutch oven: A heavy-duty pot with a tight-fitting lid, perfect for slow-cooking and braising.
  • Tongs: Essential for flipping and handling the meat while cooking.
  • Serving bowl: Used for mixing and serving the pulled barbecue pork.
  • Buns: Used to serve the pulled barbecue pork, providing a delicious base for the dish.

Storing and Freezing Pulled Barbecue Pork

  • Allow the pulled pork to cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and causing the meat to become soggy.

  • For short-term storage, place the cooled pulled pork in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing to maintain freshness. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

  • To freeze pulled pork for longer storage:

    • Divide the cooled meat into portion-sized amounts and place them in freezer-safe containers or resealable plastic bags.
    • Remove as much air as possible from the bags before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
    • Label the containers or bags with the date and amount of pulled pork for easy reference.
    • Place the containers or bags in the freezer, laying them flat for even freezing and to save space.
    • Frozen pulled pork can be stored for up to 6 months.
  • To reheat frozen pulled pork:

    • Thaw the desired amount of meat in the refrigerator overnight.
    • Place the thawed pork in a saucepan or microwave-safe dish and add a small amount of water, broth, or barbecue sauce to maintain moisture.
    • Heat the pork over medium heat on the stovetop or in the microwave until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
    • Stir occasionally to ensure even heating and prevent the meat from drying out.
  • If you have leftover barbecue sauce, store it separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How To Reheat Leftover Pulled Barbecue Pork

  • Reheat in the oven: preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C). Place the pulled pork in a baking dish and add a small amount of barbecue sauce or broth to keep it moist. Cover the dish with foil and heat for 20-30 minutes, or until the pork is heated through.

  • Reheat in a slow cooker: transfer the leftover pulled pork to your slow cooker and add a small amount of barbecue sauce or broth. Set the cooker to low heat and let the pork warm up for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  • Reheat on the stovetop: place the pulled pork in a saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add a small amount of barbecue sauce or broth to prevent the pork from drying out. Stir frequently and heat until the pork is warmed through, about 10-15 minutes.

  • Reheat in the microwave: place the pulled pork in a microwave-safe dish and add a small amount of barbecue sauce or broth. Cover the dish with a damp paper towel to prevent the pork from drying out. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the pork is heated through.

  • Reheat sous vide: if you have a sous vide machine, you can reheat your pulled pork to perfection. Place the pork in a vacuum-sealed bag or a ziplock bag with the air removed. Set your sous vide machine to 165°F (74°C) and submerge the bag in the water bath. Heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the pork is heated through.

Interesting Fact About Pulled Barbecue Pork

Boston butt roast is not actually from the rear end of the pig. It is cut from the upper part of the shoulder, which is the most flavorful and tender part of the pig.

Is Making Pulled Barbecue Pork at Home Cost-Effective?

This pulled barbecue pork recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The main ingredient, the boston butt roast, is relatively affordable and can feed a family of four with leftovers. The addition of simple seasonings and barbecue sauce enhances the flavor without adding significant cost. The total cost for this recipe, including all ingredients, is approximately $20, making it a budget-friendly option for a satisfying meal. Overall Verdict: 9/10.

Is Pulled Barbecue Pork Healthy or Unhealthy?

This pulled barbecue pork recipe, while undeniably delicious, leans more towards the unhealthy side due to a few key factors:

  • The high amount of saturated fat in the pork butt roast can contribute to heart disease and other health issues when consumed in excess.
  • The barbecue sauce likely contains a significant amount of added sugars and sodium, which can lead to weight gain and high blood pressure.
  • The recipe lacks any significant source of vegetables or fiber, which are essential for a balanced diet.

However, with a few tweaks, this recipe can be made healthier without sacrificing flavor:

  • Opt for a leaner cut of pork, such as pork loin or tenderloin, to reduce the amount of saturated fat.
  • Make your own barbecue sauce using low-sugar ketchup, apple cider vinegar, and natural sweeteners like honey or molasses to control the amount of added sugars.
  • Incorporate more vegetables into the dish by serving the pulled pork over a bed of coleslaw or alongside roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes and bell peppers.
  • Use whole wheat buns instead of white buns to increase the fiber content of the meal.
  • Reduce the portion size of the pork and balance it out with a larger serving of vegetables to create a more well-rounded plate.

Editor's Opinion on This Pulled Pork Recipe

The pulled barbecue pork recipe is a classic and delicious choice for a hearty meal. The combination of garlic, seasoning salt, and barbecue sauce infuses the pork with rich, savory flavors. The slow cooking process ensures that the meat is tender and succulent, perfect for pulling apart and serving on buns. This recipe is a crowd-pleaser and a great option for gatherings or casual dinners. The balance of spices and the use of a dutch oven for cooking adds depth and complexity to the dish. Overall, it's a fantastic recipe that is sure to satisfy any barbecue craving.

Enhance Your Pulled Barbecue Pork Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and chives, topped with melted butter.
Grilled Corn on the Cob: Fresh corn on the cob, grilled to perfection and brushed with a savory herb butter.
Coleslaw: Crunchy coleslaw with a tangy dressing, made with shredded cabbage, carrots, and a hint of apple for sweetness.

Similar Recipes to Try

Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken: Marinate the chicken in a mixture of lemon juice, herbs, and olive oil before grilling to perfection.
Mango Salsa Fish Tacos: Top grilled fish with a refreshing mango salsa and serve in warm tortillas for a delicious taco night.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto: Cook arborio rice with a flavorful mushroom broth and finish with a touch of cream for a comforting and creamy risotto.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Pulled Barbecue Pork

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. Top with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs for a crispy finish.
Bruschetta: Elevate your appetizer game with a classic bruschetta featuring ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Serve on toasted baguette slices for a burst of flavor in every bite.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will leave your taste buds craving for more.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with tender baked apples and a crispy oat topping. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and crunch.

Why trust this Pulled Barbecue Pork Recipe:

This pulled barbecue pork recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. The succulent boston butt roast is slow-cooked to perfection, ensuring tender, flavorful results. The blend of garlic, seasoning salt, and ground black pepper infuses the meat with irresistible savory notes. The addition of cayenne pepper provides a subtle kick of heat, elevating the dish. The use of barbecue sauce adds a rich, smoky sweetness that complements the pork beautifully. Trust in the expertise behind this recipe for a mouthwatering, unforgettable dining experience.

Share your thoughts and experiences with &&Pulled Barbecue Pork Recipe&& in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
What is the best cut of meat to use for pulled barbecue pork?
The best cut of meat for pulled barbecue pork is the Boston butt roast. It has the perfect balance of fat and meat, which makes it ideal for slow cooking and results in tender, flavorful pulled pork.
Can I use a different type of roast for this recipe?
Yes, you can use other types of roasts such as pork shoulder or picnic roast. However, the Boston butt roast is preferred for its marbling and tenderness, which contributes to the succulent texture and flavor of the pulled pork.
How long should I cook the pork for it to be tender enough to pull apart?
The cooking time can vary depending on the size of the roast, but generally, it should be cooked for at least 3 to 4 hours. The meat is ready when it easily falls apart with a fork. Slow cooking is key to achieving the perfect texture for pulled pork.
Can I make the barbecue sauce from scratch?
Absolutely! Making your own barbecue sauce can add a personal touch to the dish. There are many recipes available online, and you can adjust the flavors to suit your taste preferences. However, using a store-bought barbecue sauce is also convenient and yields delicious results.
What are some serving suggestions for pulled barbecue pork?
Pulled barbecue pork is versatile and can be served in various ways. It's commonly enjoyed on buns as a sandwich, but you can also serve it on top of a baked potato, as a topping for nachos, or alongside coleslaw and cornbread for a classic Southern meal. The options are endless!

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