Recipes

crispy oven pulled pork

This site has been bereft of a giant pork roast for too long. This one, to us, has been worth the wait and it came from the most logical place. I’ve been Bo Ssam-ing since the David Chang recipe was published in the New York Times in 2012. For legions of fans, it quickly became a generation’s go-to dinner party dish: a spectacularly low-effort, high-reward way to feed a crowd. The masterful thing about this slow-roast is the way the exterior takes on a dark, glossy, crisp, varnished edge that collapses easily under the tines of a fork, revealing pale, perfectly cooked pulls of pork within, and that you did almost nothing to make this happen. The ingredients couldn’t be simpler (got salt? sugar?), and in just a small fraction of the time that you’ve been liberated from any kitchen toiling while the pork slow-roasts and permeates your apartment with an unholy delicious aroma, you make the accompaniments. I wanted the pulled pork recipe on this site to have all of that, but designed with barbecue-style sandwiches in mind, no smoker required.


thickly coatedscored the fatone hour ina couple hours in

I make a slew of adjustments. Chang’s Bo Ssam calls for a bone-in pork shoulder or butt but I prefer boneless — it’s smaller, cooks faster, and has a more dramatic collapse. Instead of a simple salt and white sugar rub, I channel barbecue flavors, keeping the salt but swapping in brown sugar, paprika (smoked is wonderful here) and cayenne. I enlist a thin marinade known as a mop throughout the process — to initially baste the roast, to flavor the slaw, to dress the final roast as you pull it apart, keeping it moist, and then more at the table. We find it eliminates the need for a standard dark red barbecue sauce, but hey, if you’re nervous you’ll miss it, here is my simplest and a more elaborate recipe. Both sauces keep for what seems like forever in the fridge. (I will never admit how old my jar is.)


crisp and collapsed pork roastmade some buns, had the timea mop saucefinal slaw

Most of all, I wanted this whole recipe to have an economy of ingredients and processes. This entire recipe, including the meat, slaw, and rolls, has ten ingredients. If you want to make the rolls I did from scratch (you’ll have the time, though probably not my tenuous grasp on how to use it sanely), you’ll need to add flour, an egg, some butter, milk, and yeast. I used to make ribs for summer holidays. With this almost completely hands-off recipe, those days might be over.

crisp and collapsed pork roast

Previously

One year ago: Ciambellone, An Italian Tea Cake
Two years ago: Best Hot Fudge Sauce
Three years ago: Funnel Cake
Four years ago: Oven Ribs, Even Better
Five years ago: Blue and Red Berry Ricotta Galette
Six years ago: Peach and Pecan Sandy Crumble
Seven years ago: Triple Berry Summer Buttermilk Bundt and Chopped Saald with Feta, Lime, and Mint
Eight years ago: Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes
Nine years ago: Strawberry Ricotta Graham Tartlets, Crushed Peas with Smoky Sesame Dressing, and Chocolate Doughnut Holes
Ten years ago: Horseradish Potato Salad and Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes
Eleven years ago: Project Wedding Cake: Mango Curd
Twelve years ago: Everyday Yellow Dal

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Baked Buffalo Wings
1.5 Years Ago: Stromboli
2.5 Years Ago: An Easier Way To Make Cookies
3.5 Years Ago: Spaghetti Pie with Pecorino and Black Pepper and Banana Puddings with Vanilla Bean Wafers
4.5 Years Ago: Fried Egg Salad and Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Biscuits

Crispy Oven Pulled Pork

  • Servings: 10 to 12
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder (sometimes called Boston butt), about 3 3/4 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons Diamond brand kosher salt (use half of any other brand)
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne or chipotle powder
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small (2-pound) head green cabbage
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, plus more to taste
  • 12 sandwich rolls

The night before, prepare your roast: Combine 3 tablespoons salt, 4 tablespoons of the brown sugar, all of the paprika and 1 teaspoon of cayenne in a small bowl. It should taste saltier than it is sweet, and have as much kick as you like, so add more if you wish.

If your pork shoulder has a thick fatty layer on one side, scoring can help prevent it from tightening the meat below as it shrinks. To score the fat, make shallow (1/8-inch deep) diagonal cuts in two directions a little under an inch apart in two directions, forming a diamond pattern.

Use your hands to pat the rub onto all sides of the pork — it’s going to be very thickly coated but don’t leave any rub behind. Place roast in a bowl or, if it fits in your fridge, the pan you’d like to roast it in tomorrow, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Make your mop: Combine remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, all of the cider vinegar, ketchup, black pepper, and 1/3 cup water in a bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves. You want it to be pleasantly sharp (the fatty meat will cut right through any overpowering vinegar vibe) but not quite sour. I don’t find that I need salt, but you can add some if you wish. You’ll have a little over 1 2/3 cups.

Cook your pork: The next day, heat oven to 300 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap from pork and pour off any juices in the dish. If your pork is not in a roasting dish, transfer it to one. Cook pork for approximately 5 hours, or until it collapses, yielding easily when pulled back with a fork. After the first hour, add 1/4 cup mop to juices in pan and baste the meat with it. Continue to baste once an hour with juices that collect.

Make your slaw: Quarter, core, and thinly slice your cabbage. If slices are long, I cut them into 1 to 2-inch lengths, so the slaw doesn’t end up too cumbersome to pile on a sandwich. Place in a large bowl and pour 1/3 cup mop over, toss to combine. Add mayonnaise and mix well to combine. Season with salt and more pepper, if you wish, and taste, add more mop or mayo if needed. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

To finish and serve: Once meat is cooked, you can leave it at room temperature for up to an hour and a half. Rewarm briefly in a 450 degree oven. Shred pork into bite-sized pieces, discarding any larger chunks of fat, and pouring up to 1/2 cup of reserved mop over as needed to season and keep the meat moist.

Serve pulled pork on buns with slaw, seasoning with a splash of remaining mop and/or a barbecue sauce of you choice.

Note: I suspect you’re about to ask me if you can make this roast in a slow-cooker or InstantPot. Of course you can, but it will not be the same — it doesn’t get crisp or glossy. A slow-cooker can do this in 5 to 6 hours on high; an IP in about 80 minutes at high pressure, but neither will be varnished or crisp. You could blast it in a high-heat oven to create an edge, but it’s not going to be as astounding as the one took hours to form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

218 comments on crispy oven pulled pork

  1. Pat

    It’s my birthday, and this is the best gift you could give me. Please note that I am indeed the kind of person who would use the cooking time to rise the enriched bun dough.

  2. Katie

    I gotta ask, how does your white baking dish wash up after cooking something like this? It looks amazing but the lack of foil/parchment scares me, haha!

    1. deb

      We soaked it and scrubbed it — it gets clean! I’ve used it for lots of roasts like this. It’s this dish, by the way, my forever inexpensive, not-too-heavy favorite. I have three. :)

  3. Ellie

    If you were to make the rolls from scratch and the pork (such as in your pictures), how would the sequence of events go with one oven? Do you make the rolls and bake them the day before, and then the day of make the pork? Thank you!

    1. deb

      I actually mixed the dough maybe an hour or two after putting the pork in (always procrastinating!) and they “nearly doubled” in an hour or so. Made it into rolls, let the puff on a tray for another hour. Brushed them with egg wash (although the butter is delicious, I was craving gloss). Once the meat came out, changed the temperature from 300 to 375 and baked them. It truly makes 8 standard-sized hamburgers, no more. I made 12 slightly smaller rolls. If you want extras, double it. The meat was still warm but then my family dawdled to the table so I heated it for a few minutes — it’s still hot inside so it only needs very little warming.

      Btw, the previous time I made this roast, I made Alexandra Cook’s best no-knead brioche buns. They’re also an excellent option, although mine proofed wildly in the fridge overnight.

      1. Gail

        Agree – this burned the heck out of my pan. I think the secret is using a pan that’s only just a little bigger than your roast. I didn’t have one quite that size so had to use a biggie, and then the juices burn as they come off the meat. Still delicious but definitely makes clean up more of a challenge.

    1. Jennifer

      There’s a paragraph entitled “Make your mop” – that’s a way of saying that you’re mixing together the ingredients that you’ll use to “mop” onto the meat (baste). So you’ll add 1/4 cup of that mixture to the pan juices, and the combination of them is what you’ll be basting the meat with as it roasts. That’s the same mixture you’ll stir into the slaw and serve alongside the meat if you choose.

    2. Ginger

      She tells you how to make the mop sauce, which is used both to baste and to make the slaw. So add 1/4 cup of that mop sauce (the vinegar, etc) to the pan and ise that to baste with. :)

    3. Katia

      I’m making this with pork loin – not as fatty but was the only cut of pork I had in the freezer I didn’t want to wait this looked awesome. It’s basting in the fridge with the rub right now.

    1. A

      I made this with two pork tenderloins tonight in the same pan (Staub 4 qt braiser, no lid) because that is what I had in the freezer. Cooking time is shorter (we were done at about 3 hours and 45 minutes), but it was excellent in every way. I probably had to add more of the mop to keep it moist, but I may never go back to my slow cooker pulled pork again.

    1. deb

      So you can have extra to serve at the table. It can be used instead of barbecue sauce. (You probably won’t feel that you need any.)

  4. Kim W

    I make pulled pork practically the same way for big gatherings & it is one of the easiest, fuss free things for a crowd though I usually use a bone in roast. I then save leftovers to use in chili or baked beans later. Even a few ounces really adds something to either.

  5. Laura

    Out of curiosity, is there a specific reason you cover the meat while in the refrigerator? I’ve found with steak that dry-brining uncovered produces a great crispy sear, and I wonder if the same is true here. Or maybe the long cooking time would crisp the outside too much if the roast was uncovered during the dry-brining? Or maybe it doesn’t matter?

  6. Susan Seyler

    Hey Deb,
    I have a huge favor to ask of you. I know all about the whole differences in saltiness in different brands of kosher salt, but Diamond Kosher isn’t readily available in Los Angeles. Most Kosher sections and Jewish-leaning stores carry David’s. I use David’s. While there’s a ton of info online about how to substitute Diamond/Morton’s, I can’t find anything for David’s, and have a feeling that maybe it’s the same salt as Diamond, but the West Coast version, kinda like the whole Hellman’s/Bestfoods distribution thing as in regards to mayo. Anyhoo, my point … everyone says the best way to approach this discrepancy is to weigh your salt, that it’s the different volumes because of the salt’s structure that causes the issue. So my question: how much does 3 tablespoons of Diamond Crystal kosher salt weigh? Grams or ounces? Then I can just weigh my David’s and know it will be right. Thank you!

    1. deb

      Interesting — I looked it up by package weight
      Diamond brand is 8.4 grams per tablespoon
      Morton brand is 14.4 grams per tablespoon
      David’s brand is 18 grams per tablespoon

      … So for David’s, use a tiny smidge less than half.

    2. Meredith Mulhern

      You can also buy a huge box from amazon for like $9. I just bought one because I forgot to add it to my Penzey’s order…

    3. stee

      @SusanSeyler can you find the Diamond salt in the regular salt section of the store? That’s where I buy it (on the East Coast); it isn’t in the Kosher section of the supermarket here.

    1. MER

      Did you add the mop at the begining, or after an hour? Dud you baste at all? Slow cookers say not to open or cooking time increases dramatically, so I’m curious.
      Pork butt was on sale, but we’re having a heat wave & I don’t want to put the oven on for hours & hours.
      TY!

  7. Hi Deb,
    I have a few venison boneless shoulders in the freezer and don’t eat much pork, so I’d love to try this recipe with the venison. The venison is not super gamey – it tastes quite like beef. It is very lean but I have successfully braised it (with plenty of oil when cooking the aromatics first) to tenderness in the past. I’m not sure about slow roasting rather than braising, maybe it will be too dry, but the mop should help? What do you think – is it worth giving it a go? Thank you!

    1. Deb (not Perelman!)

      I cook with venison (roasts and steaks) fairly often- I would be nervous to roast this long rather than braise. I just feel like it would be super dry! If you’re looking for some really great venison recipes, I’d love the techniques “Buck Buck Moose” author Hank Shaw uses. That being said, this pork recipe looks incredible, and if you’ve got venison you’re willing to risk using, it seems like having the extra mop to pour on the sandwich could alleviate the dryness. Just my two cents!

    2. Deborah

      I cook with venison (roasts and steak) fairly often. I would be nervous that this type of roasting vs. braising would make it very dry. Also, it seems that one of the things that cuts the sharpness of the sauce is the fattiness of the pork, which the lean venison wouldn’t have… I recommend “Buck Buck Moose” author Hank Shaw’s recipes- they’re incredible for cooking wild game. That being said, this recipe for pork does indeed look delicious, so you could always give it a go and pour the extra mop on the sandwich to alleviate dryness! I’m sure that would help. Just my two cents- hope it’s helpful!

  8. Chris

    I’m just gonna say … check out the Alton Brown molasses brine. Life-altering for any pulled pork. I happen to chuck some star anise and fish sauce in for good measure. Yum.

  9. Charlotte in Toronto

    Thank you so much for this! The crispy crust looks devine. Should it be covered or uncovered in the oven?

  10. dustedeste

    Ha! This is almost precisely how I’ve been doing my pulled pork for years now! I feel extremely genius now that I’ve been validated by knowing I’m not the only one

  11. Susan M

    Thanks for another delicious version of pulled pork. I live in eastern NC where vinegar and red pepper flakes rule the “dip”. This mop sauce looks equally appealing!
    Question About your baking dish-I’ve been wanting some new ones to replace my Pyrex which, while serviceable, won’t go under the broiler. Can you broil in yours? if so, would you provide a link to where they can be purchased?
    Thanks a million

    1. Diane

      Deb provided a link to where you can buy the porcelain pan. Just click on the words “this dish” in her response.

  12. i love this recipe!
    will try it out for the fourth of july as is…
    but! the second time will make it in my air fryer. looooove the air fryer!
    thanks so much for all the great recipes you send our way!
    happy july 4th!
    :)

  13. Ila

    Good for you, for leaving a smaller waste footprint on our poor planet:
    1. NOT using a roasting pan “liner” (yes, soaking+scrub cleans a pan just fine)
    2. using the already-hot oven to bake the rolls.

  14. BetsyD

    Thank you for a new pork bbq recipe. I’ve been using the “Pioneer Woman’s” recipe (which is fantastic) for years, but need to change things up a bit. Question: I often find it easier where I live to purchase a bone- in pork roast/shoulder/butt. I’m guessing I would lengthen the time significantly (as in the aforementioned recipe) to cook for 8-10 hours?

    1. Carrie

      I don’t know if you’ve tried yet, but my 7.5 lb bone-in roast (I also rarely see a boneless) took 8hrs on high to really render the fat and get an easy pull. At 7 hours I started to shred, but the middle was still pretty firm. Giving it a first shred then really rendered the rest of the fat quickly though. If your roast is smaller, the 6 hours would likely do it.

      1. Dani

        Carrie, when you say “on high” what does this mean? I have a 7 lb. bone-in that I plan on doing tomorrow…should I go higher than the 300 in the recipe?

        1. Carrie

          I did it in the crockpot – so I used the high setting. If oven I’m guessing you can just follow the instructions and increase the time.

  15. Stacy Koehn

    Note to SoCal subscribers: I get 3 boxes of Diamond Kosher Salt shipped via Amazon for a ridiculously low price – I keep one and give the other two boxes to friends.

    1. Carla

      Me too…love Amazon! Not sure why Diamond is so hard to find in Denver any more. I used to get it at King Soopers, but now they only have teeny little round containers. Haha..guess I’m getting lazy…it is easier to order than go hunting and gathering!

        1. Carla

          Carrie…thank you..this is great to know. I’ll definitely check that out. There is a Safeway not too far from me.

  16. Kathy

    In your recipe about scoring the meat, you write: “scoring can help prefer it shrinking up” I think you meant to write: “prevent”

      1. printb

        Mel, I feel like it’s the equivalent of telling a friend they have spinach stuck in their teeth – there may be a twinge of embarrassment, but in the end everyone wins :)

    1. BetsyD

      Thank you, Kathy, for mentioning this. I read over it a number of times and wondered if I was not familiar with this “cooking” term! LOL. I bet Deb appreciated the feedback!

  17. Carrie Armour

    Hi Deb. Gotta love Costco…How do you adjust cooking for bigger piece of pork? Should I cut it down into two roasts or increase roasting time?

  18. Brenda

    This looks delicious, and I will definitely give it a try. There are only two people in my household, so I was wondering if I could freeze leftovers?

    1. Francoise

      You absolutely can! We often smoke large pork roasts and then vacuum seal the leftovers. Re-warm in 350 oven or even stovetop. I add broth to keep juicy. Note: it won’t be as crispy as when fresh

    1. deb

      I have read 170F for the internal temperature as being correct but I didn’t find this helpful because my meat reached that temperature before it collapsed easily with a fork.

  19. Quinn

    The smallest boneless pork shoulder I could get at the store was about six or seven pounds. How long should I cook it? Is there an internal temp I should be shooting for? I never cook pork so I really have no idea what I’m doing. Thanks!

    1. Quinn

      Also, should I increase the mop and the rub? Not sure how much more surface area I have with the extra pounds, but I feel kind of lost. Thanks again.

      1. Cut it in half and make the recipe as directed. Freeze the other half for later. We do this all the time when pork shoulder goes on sale!

    2. deb

      It could need 6 hours instead of 5, but might not. You’re looking for the meat to “collapse easily under the tines of a fork.” You can double the mop; it keeps forever if unused.

  20. Daniel Pepper

    I am thinking of trying this but smoking it (wood KBQ smoker) at 300º F instead of in oven. Any thoughts, warnings, admonitions?
    Thanks,
    Daniel

  21. Didi

    Looking forward to making this for 4th of July. Got a boneless pork shoulder but where I live (UK) this came with skin on and a fairly big (1/2”) fat cap? Should I take skin and most of the fat off?

    1. Megan

      Super super recommend this slaw that Deb posted back in 07, I think it is adapted from Bobby flay. https://smittenkitchen.com/2007/04/chicken-jealousy/

      I make it almost any time I have pulled pork. I serve it with sandwiches, tortilla wraps or even just with the meat by itself and maybe some guac or beans.

      I love the pretty purple color and the fresh taste of pureeing scallions Into the dressing.

    2. Gina

      Deb has the instructions ‘Make Your Slaw’ right below “Cook Your Pork’ in the recipe instructions. It’s a very simple slaw. I have the pork in the oven as I type this and I can’t wait for dinner:)

    3. A

      If you want to go sort of homemade, I use the Marzetti original slaw dressing with a pre-shredded undressed coleslaw mix (roughly half a jar to what I think is a 16 oz shredded cabbage and carrot blend). It’s the closest approximation I can find to the deli coleslaw I grew up with in my hometown.

    1. deb

      It should be close to the same roasting time, but no harm in check in at the 4 hour mark. In general, muscle takes the same amount of time to break down, regardless of size. But a smaller piece can warm up faster, etc.

  22. Barbara

    This looks delicious! But I wonder (health reasons) if it would be possible to do it with chicken thighs? Obviously I would have to adjust the cooking time and I would also cut back on the vinegar, as chicken is not as fat as pork. I would also ad olive oil to the roasting dish.
    With all these adjustments, do you think it could work?

  23. Gina F.

    WOW! This is probably the best bbq I’ve ever made. The sauce created during cooking was incredible. The taste (and process) reminded me of an uncle who used to cook whole hogs and literally used a mop to baste the meat with his vinegar based sauce. This was perfect for our Fourth of July meal.

  24. Laura Burridge

    This looks amazing! Does anyone have a suggestion for adapting the mop for someone with a tomato allergy (no ketchup)? Thank you!

    1. CMK

      Pretty sure they’re the same thing. I used apple cider vinegar making mine today. It’s still in the oven, but the slaw with the mop tastes delicious.

  25. Jackie Callahan

    Help! 2 hours in the oven so far, instructions followed to a T and the juices/mop are black and burnt on the bottom of my pan. Meat seems to be ok but I clearly can’t baste with them.

    Wondering if it’s because I used a glass dish? A 9×13 pan, like one used for brownies?

    Regardless, should think the meat will be ok without basting? Just let it keep cooking and ignore the burnt part?

    I’m sure you’re not checking comments during dinner time on the holiday but just in case. Happy 4th!!

    1. jerk nugget

      hi jackie! i’m not deb but i have been making pulled pork this way (without the mop) for awhile using deb’s rub and i always throw a few onion chunks and some apple cider vinegar/stock/beer or whatever i have on the bottom at the very beginning just so the bottom of the roast doesn’t burn before it starts too cook down, and that stuff always turns into an oil/tar-like black sludge. it won’t hurt anything. if you’re worried about the pork drying out i always keep mine covered until the last hour or so. make sure to rest the pork covered or wrapped before you pull it. good eats & happy 4th!

  26. jerk nugget

    deb, i gotta tell you – i’ve been making pulled pork this way ever since you posted about the ribs as we aren’t much for ribs around here. but the rib rub was excellent so i had to put it on something and pork butt it was. i rub it the night before and wrap it in plastic and cook it low and slow but i don’t even bother with a mop/baste. just keep it covered and uncover it for the last hour so the outside gets a bit of a crust. then, wrap it in foil and let it rest for an hour, and pull it apart. my partner can’t get enough of it.

    sometimes i make your brioche buns, sometimes i just make buttermilk biscuits. for slaw i make ina garten’s blue cheese cole slaw the night before. the pork doesn’t *need* sauce, but i am fond of making sunny anderson’s blueberry bbq sauce – a pint of fresh blueberries and then some sambal, brown sugar and whatnot. quick and easy and can be done ahead.

  27. Kathy

    What does until it collapses mean? Does the meat fall into itself? Doyou cut it and then pull it apart with forks?

    1. deb

      It should easily pull back with a fork, once you pierce the crisp exterior. And it should want to become strands, not just stay in a slice.

  28. MJ

    This was delicious (and to Jackie, above, follow the directions about adding some mop and basting, and maybe that will solve the problem). I already have a pulled pork recipe that I really like that includes a red sauce, but I think this recipe has just nudged it aside. The tanginess of the mop is great, as are the crunchy bits, and I loved the ease of making the cole slaw. The only issue is that you have to plan ahead to get the rub on the night before. Also, the rub with 1 tsp. of cayenne seemed way too hot when I tasted it last night, but the amount of spiciness was just right in the end. My husband kept exclaiming as he ate about how good it is. Thank you!

  29. Lina

    Could someone advise how this rewarms? I want to make it one day but serve it the next. Just wondering if rewarming it at 300 and throwing some MOP in would make it just as delicious? Thx

    1. Judith

      I have the same question. If not the day before, I’d like to make it the morning of the evening I plan to serve. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

      1. Jenny

        Judith..I used another reader’s suggestion to reward at 450. I covered the pan and it stayed in for only about 15 minutes. I added more mop to it as I pulled it. It came out perfectly.

      2. Daniel Pepper

        When the roasts are finished (easy to shred with fork, internal temp 185-190 °F, wrap in heavy duty foil or butcher paper. Put towels in a tight closing cooler (Cambro), put wrapped roast in towels, cover. If the cooler is good, it can stay warm for 4-6 hours like this, gets even softer.

        1. Gail

          This is interesting- the last bit of steaming helps it schlump some more I’m guessing. Thanks for the tip, I’m going to try this. I used a bone-in roast (what the market had) so I’m sort of guessing when it’ll be done. Longer than boneless I presume but other than that I’m just going to cook til it shreds/falls apart.

    2. deb

      All good advice here. I usually rewarm it through at 300 to 350, then blast it at a higher heat if the crisp edges are compromised.

  30. Joan Welsh

    I made this for the 4th. Good news: we liked it. Bad news: I have to throw out my baking pan. Juices, etc. burned like tar all over (like Jackie, below, I could not baste w/ pan juices). I would definitely add that your pan should be lined with foil!! Could not find boneless pork shoulder. With bone this served the 4 of us, certainly not 12. Also, tested for doneness and took out of the oven about an hour beforehand. Would make again, but use an old pan you don’t care about!

  31. Daniel Pepper

    Made it: everybody raved about it! I bought the Costco vacuum pack of two pork butts (18 lbs!) Did the rub overnight, uncovered in the fridge. Smoked for two hours at 300º on racks, with a foil lined tray at the bottom with a little water in the tray. After two hours in the smoker, transferred to inside 300º oven, both butts in the same pan, uncovered. I used the mop liberally every 30 min, with ½ cup water in the pan, and after the first hour, as the pan juices increased, mopped with the pan juices. When the internal temps reached 185-190º (Thermoworks), at 6 hours, they ‘gave up’. Soft, jiggly, probe tender, could pull open easily with a fork. Removed from oven, wrapped individually in foil, placed in towel inside Cambro (tight styrofoam cooler) to wait for pulling and serving. Poured pan drippings into gravy separator to remove fat, and dribbled a little over the shred meat, let guests spoon more over their tacos if they wished. Of the 2 (total 18 lbs) raw Costco pork butts, 18 adults and about 18 kids (2 years to 9 years), they ate 1 ½ butts! So, I figure you need about ⅔ raw boneless pork per person. (The kids ate almost as much as the adults.)
    BTW, when my wife first tasted a bit from the outside of the roasts, she thought it was too hot spicy, so we at first used center meat for the kids. But, after pulling and mixing the rest, it most definitely is not too hot. Delicious, but not too hot for the kids. The center to crust ratio takes care of the heat intensity.

    1. Daniel Pepper

      And, since I had 18 lbs of pork, I quadrupled the rub. We didn’t make slaw (daughter made a mango/slaw) so only doubled the mop. As we used pan drippings for a gravy, even double of mop was way more than we needed, but it’s not like cider vinegar, brown sugar and pepper cost much!

    2. Jenny

      Wow! You are ambitious! What a treat for all your guest! I’m wondering what kind of pan you used? You must have needed something big for 2 large pieces of meat. Also, how did you scale up the mop and the rub since the recipe is for a small fraction of what you made? You sound like a pro at this so you probably have done something like this before, right? I made this for the first time ever today with great success, by the way, so I’m inspired by your large scale production.

      1. Daniel Pepper

        Thanks Jenny. I’m more ambitious than wise! My wife is not happy with my meat adventures and acquisitions. I have been adding to my supplies, with a stainless chafing tray, ‘bear claws’ shredders, continuous temp monitoring, etc. The tray is a simple ½ sheet 13” by 18”. When I smoked them, each had one rack, but I combined them for the oven.
        I’ve been having fun. I’ve got an 18 lb bone-in prime rib in the fridge, dry aged for about 40 days, and a 13 lb prime strip also aging. Again, my wife isn’t pleased with my retirement energies. 😏🥩
        Daniel

        1. JENNIFER

          Daniel…it sounds great to me. I say it’s best to divide & conquer when it comes to group meals. Do you follow any other sites to get your tips and inspiration?

          1. Pepper Daniel

            Yes. I belong to this group, and have spent too many days of my life on the site:
            https://amazingribs.com

            Talk about scaling for large crowds, Carolina and David are my local Seattle area heroes.
            https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/forum/the-pit-mastery-program/beef-steak-brisket-roasts-prime-rib-etc/651366-italian-beef-feeding-of-the-250

            The following site not only sells thermometers, but has a great blog (check out their French Fry entries! Their temperature discussions are important when cooking meat. I have been dry aging large cuts, then when aged, cutting and vacuum bagging, freezing. Then, slow cook in low oven (180-190ºF) with thermometers in the steaks until 120º, then remove. Can let sit in kitchen while making other items, visiting with guests. When you are ready to eat, quick sear over very high heat (I’m now using wood fire, but can use a gas grill if it has very high heat, or pan sear). See articles on ‘reverse sear’. Similar to sous vide, but I prefer just using the oven and pulling at target internal temp.
            https://blog.thermoworks.com

            Finally, Serious Eats, lots of meat science, but as with most of life, I don’t always agree, of course, with everything.
            https://www.seriouseats.com

            And, another: https://kalamazoogourmet.com/lifestyle/

  32. Audrey

    This is amazing! Made it yesterday. So much better than the slow cooker version. Will most definitely make this again and wouldn’t change a thing.

  33. Isabel

    This was excellent! I confess, I only basted two or three times, and it still turned out moist. Thanks for this fantastic recipe!

  34. In the fridge now. Can’t wait to cook tomorrow to prove to my family that I am capable of cooking delicious meat. Grains, veggies, fish, baking – I’m more than capable. Big pieces of meat, historically, not so much. What could go wrong?

  35. Kathy K.

    My grandfather had his own butcher shop and would tell you that a boneless roast lacks the flavor and tenderness of a bone-in roast. (Think dry, flavorless boneless, skinless chicken breast.) I look forward to making this, using a bone-in roast (and a foil-lined pan :).

  36. Wow Deb, you have truly outdone yourself here. I took the time to properly make this as in your instructions. This has been one of my favorite pulled pork sandwich recipes overall.The flavors completely blew my mind. I think my most favorite part about this recipe is that I made a lot of leftovers to enjoy this for more than one meal. The only part I did differently was that I took the mayo out of everything. I’m not a big fan of too fatty during the summer when eating outside which there was plenty of in the pork. Made a nice delicate balance between the pork and the slaw. When the warm weather stops, I am excited to try this recipe the way you intended.

  37. With having a few summer parties coming up I thought I’d give this a whirl and it was just perfect! I added a couple of star anise to the marinade which gives it a bit of an extra flavour layer. Thank you for the inspiration.

  38. cloudyproject

    Did it and I’ll do it again, the flavors really work with the pork; I put mine in the smoker (just a modified Weber kettle) at 250° for the first 2 hours though; then finished in the oven – just can’t imagine shoulder without smoke. I kept the oven at 260° – I think 300 is too hot for a shoulder, you’ll lose more juice at that temp. I cooked until it reached an internal temp of 200° (collagen breaks down at about 202°, turned the oven off and let it rest under foil, temp rose to about 204). It was really very good and a faster alternative to the 2- or 3-day project of Cuban pork I usually do. (I used a bone-in for this recipe, store was out of boneless – I wouldn’t be surprised if all the bone really does is add time though, will try it boneless).

  39. Anne

    This was wonderful! I used a 2 lb bone-in piece of pork shoulder (what I had), and it cooked in about 4.5 hours. I never had any liquid in the pan from the pork, so added a few tablespoons of water each time I basted it. I also added green onions to the slaw for a bit of bite.

  40. Lauren

    OMG. This was amazing and a huge hit! I used a shoulder that was 7.5 lbs, and nearly doubled the dry rub to cover. I used smoked paprika and a full 2 tsp of cayenne; then I was worried I’d over done it but, nope! The spice was just right and didn’t really have much kick after cooking. I served the crunchy lacquered fat on the side and my guests loved it. Thank you!!

    1. cloudyproject

      That’s how I did it. Allow more time though. And, I dunno about boneless, but I think 350° is too hot for a shoulder – a lot of juiciness will get cooked out. 250-270 is really the low & slow standard. Collagen really breaks down at about 180° internal temp, but most barbecue cooks get the internal temp just over 200°, I went that route and it was juicy and tender, 6-7 hours to get there though.

  41. Emily H

    I made this the other day and literally just bought another pork shoulder to make it again!! The “sauce” this makes (juices from the mop/basting) is all you need – so flavorful. We ate this on sandwiches and even put the pork on nachos one night – my husband said it was amazing and I agree!
    Quick question though – just realized that I have all the other ingredients but am almost out of cider vinegar. I have a bunch of other vinegars in my cabinet, would any other kind work with this, do you think?

    1. deb

      I’d go with whichever is most mild, and maybe either dilute it a little more, or bump up the sugar a bit. Maybe a sherry vinegar?

  42. Molly

    This was amazing! I’ve been making pork roast in the crockpot, for pulled pork sandwiches, but from now on this is my go-to. My whole family loved this and it was just as easy as a crockpot. Thanks for a great recipe, Deb!

    1. Jenny

      I followed the suggestion of another cook on this thread who suggested covering it until the last hour of cooking. I’m glad I did because I used all the mop in the process (had just enough to moisten it when I pulled it at the end).

  43. Kaylyn

    We made this on sunday using a 8 1/2 pound bone in pork butt. While the result is still absolutely delicious, it isn’t as tender or fall off the bone as I would have liked. My husband even had trouble shredding it. We cooked it about 5 and half hours. I imagine we just didn’t cook it long enough for that size, but sleep was calling my name. Any other suggestions. We have a gas oven if that makes any difference.

    1. deb

      A bone-in should be roasted for 6 hours. (That’s how long mine always take.) But the most important piece is that it’s not done until the meat collapses easily with a fork.

  44. Jen

    I made this in an instant pot with great results. I haven’t made the oven version to compare, but my family loved the IP pulled pork. I cut off most of the fat from the outside of the boneless pork shoulder since nothing boils away in the instant pot. Ended up marinating the meat for 24 hours, then put it into IP for 80 minutes with 1/4 C of the mop sauce. After it cooked I let it cool with natural release. Shredded the meat into chunks and discarded remaining fat. Preheated oven to 375 and put all of the meat onto aluminum foil lined sheet pan (sprayed with cooking spray.) Poured half of remaining mop over the pork, and roasted for about 10 minutes. Took the meat out, stirred meat and added remaining mop, and put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes. The meat absorbed all of the mop and became somewhat crisp at the edges. Delicious! (I think it tasted even better/more flavorful as leftovers in tacos the next day.)

  45. Brie

    Deb, this recipe is brilliant – I’m a little in awe of it, actually. After buying an extremely affordable cut of meat and putting forth minimal effort, the finished product tasted like a million bucks! I will 100% be making this again (and again…)

    Can’t thank you enough for sharing!

  46. Gina

    This was fantastic. My ultra-picky grandson loved it and spent the evening reaching into the fridge for ‘just one more piece’! I have never made a slaw that had mop in the recipe but together with the pork it was perfection. This will be a mainstay at our house.

  47. wllmrogers

    Hi there. I love your site and am excited to try this. I have done the dry rub and put the pork in the fridge. My question is about time at room temperature. My plan was to cook in the morning, following all the steps up until you let it rest at room temp and then reheat at 450. Was hoping to skip that step and just pull it after the 5 hours, put in Tupperware and take it to my friends’ picnic in Prospect Park. Now I’m having second thoughts I’m skipping something important. And worried about the meat sitting out for two hours or so before it’s all eaten. Should I be? Should have asked this earlier, but if you do see this and have a quick answer l’d be very grateful. Thanks a lot! Been using your recipes for a couple years now and it has inspired me beyond what I can say.

    1. wllmrogers

      It was great. I was worrying over nothing. After pulling it I did put it back in the oven at 375 after it sat out for half an hour or so. Then took to picnic and it worked great. Poured 1/3 cup mop over when we got to park. Amazing. Love the slaw too.

      1. Has anyone tried this with frozen pork? I’m cooking for a big group (20 adults and 10 kids) and the butcher only had frozen pieces. She suggested I cook it overnight without thawing it first. I like the idea since it’s very hot here at the moment (and I don’t really have the time to thaw the meat anyway), but I hadn’t thought about the rub. Will the rub serve it’s purpose if I put it on frozen meat for 6 hours? Or it’s useless and I should just put it on as I put the meat in the oven?

  48. Carla

    Outstanding! Pork butt was on sale..bone in. Took 6 1/2 hours..before it was fall apart tender. Slaw was perfect with the meat. Made King Arthur no knead cheese burger buns. As everyone else has said..it’s a keeper! Best part….4 packages in the freezer, one in the fridge for nachos this week. One effort, 6 meals for the two of us!! Winner, winner…no work dinners!!!

  49. paul

    I’m going camping this weekend and am thinking of making this in advance, pulling it and mixing it with some of the mop then vacuum sealing it and heating it up in hot water below a boil. Do you think it would still be tasty or is this a foolish idea?

    1. Carla

      Do it! It’s just two of us and I always vacuum seal pulled pork. In fact, I just sealed up 4 bags of this pulled pork yesterday. It will be perfect for your camping trip. Keep the reheat water ability it the temp you want your meat. Think Sous vide!

  50. Jeannine

    This was fabulous! I made for family and friends at a lake house weekend. Followed Deb’s recipe with no change. The crust of pork became browned and slightly charred which added to the flavor. Will make this many times. Thank you! 💐

  51. Um, just for clarity here, how do you get your roaster clean? It looks thoroughly blackened from the marinade and mop. Supplementary question – why do you have a white roaster for stuff like this? I’ve got a black one so I can’t see how black it gets.

    1. Carla

      I cooked mine in a glass Pyrex pan…it was very, very black and dirty. I soaked it overnight and every scrap slid out the next morning…. lean as a whistle with really no effort. IMO…glass or porcelain are easier and quicker to clean than metal.

    2. wllmrogers

      I used a metal roasting pan, generic thing that was in my apartment when I moved in, and tin foil, cooked great and cleanup was easy. Threw out tin and soaked pan overnight.

  52. Regula

    I am planing on making this for a party. Do you think I could cook it the day before, refrigerate, and then reheat the next day for the event?

  53. Melinda

    Any recommendations or cautions about making this for a large party, freezing for two weeks and then serving at said party?

  54. Karen Kay Rasmusson

    This sounds amazing! Can it be prepared in advance and then frozen? My lake cabin kitchen is very small with a tiny oven and no air conditioning>?

  55. Lj

    Made this for dinner tonight…so good! Even my picky teenager devoured it. I cut back on the salt a bit but this had a slight bit of heat which was great and we all loved the crispy exterior on the pork. Will definitely make this again!

  56. cathydellinger

    I’m doing this for a large group. Actually planning on 3-4 bone roasts each about 3.5-4lbs. Can I do this a day or two in advance of the gathering. Wrap and reheat the day of the party. Your invaluable assistance is greatly appreciated.

    1. deb

      What a lucky group! I think you can do it a day or two in advance. I’d reheat them uncovered, unless they get too dark. You don’t want to lose the crisp.

  57. Has anyone tried this with frozen pork? I’m cooking for a big group (20 adults and 10 kids) and the butcher only had frozen pieces. She suggested I cook it overnight without thawing it first. I like the idea since it’s very hot here at the moment (and I don’t really have the time to thaw the meat anyway), but I hadn’t thought about the rub. Will the rub serve its purpose if I put it on frozen meat for 6 hours? Or it’s useless and I should just put it on as I put the meat in the oven?

  58. Becca

    How do you think that leftovers would freeze, just the pork. I know you would lose the crispy, but do you think it would freeze and reheat ok?

  59. Carrie

    Wow, I made this for a party last night and people couldn’t stop talking about it. I did it in the crock pot rather than oven because it was 90 degrees yesterday and we don’t have AC, so no way was I working the oven on before a party for longer than it too to bake your cookies. Did a 7.5lb bone-in Boston butt roast and it needed 8 hours on high. I did it dry for the first hour and hot a few crispy edges or so then added “the mop” I held 1/4 cup back to add when serving. I also added a couple teaspoons of dry mustard to the rub and about a tablespoon of grainy mustard to the mop because I’m obsessed with mustard. So delicious!

  60. tricia brown

    Hey Deb. you’re on to something here with the mop. I made this last Friday, used the mop as directed and it is delicious.

  61. Katt

    Yum!

    Have you stopped linking to photos of your cute kiddos? I totally understand if you have, but I just want to make sure I’m not missing them!

  62. Megan

    If I make this roast in a slow cooker. How do I “mop” it? Or do I skip that step entirely and put it in with rub only.

    1. Carrie

      I added most of the mop after about 1.5 hours, I wanted it to cook pretty dry for a bit. I saved a small amount to pour ever at the end. It came out great, everyone raved.

  63. Teddy

    I’m very excited to make this recipe. So excited, that I hastily went out and bought the wrong cut of meat (bone-in Pork shoulder). Does that affect how much rub or mop to use? How much longer should this be cooked? Thanks for your recipes- we love them around our house.

  64. This looks delicious and i’m going to make this weekend when friends come over, but it’s been a long day and I’m more than a little brain dead and I’d welcome some suggestions on what to serve this with. Thanks.

    1. Carrie

      I went classic BBQ. The slaw, fresh corn on the cob, baked beans and potato salad. Mac and cheese would also be nice (I actually mixed some leftover pork into some boxed mac and cheese for a snack the other day) or some crispy roasted potatoes. Roasted carrots with a mustard sauce?

  65. Katie

    Amazing! Best pulled pork I’ve ever made. I followed the recipe and it turned out terrific. My guests really enjoyed it and was super low stress. Perfect! Will make again :)
    Thanks Deb!

    1. meterrilee

      Joshua… the instructions say: “After the first hour, add 1/4 cup mop to juices in pan and baste the meat with it. Continue to baste once an hour with juices that collect.”

      There are a few different sections to the instructions. This is under the Cook Your Pork section. :)

  66. Celeste

    Just finished doing this at double the size for a party of 19 and it was *awesome*. Thanks so much for the great recipes; I’d say at least half of my regular rotation dishes are from your site or your cookbook.

  67. Gail

    Just came out of the oven. Like I said in another comment, I wish I’d used a smaller pan because of the burning, but overall it’s delicious. I especially like how the vinegary mop cuts the fattiness of the meat. Two big thumbs up!

  68. Brenda Whiting

    Followed recipe exactly, and used the exact same pan. Turned out beautifully with no burning. (I selected a bone-in roast, but had the butcher remove the bone.) I just love it when a recipe meets or exceeds my expectations, as this one did. It now has a permanent home in my cooking repertoire. Thanks so much, Deb!

  69. Rose

    Made this for a family gathering this weekend. I bought the twin pack of boneless pork shoulder from Costco. Used one for this recipe and froze the other. The shoulder was a little over 7 pounds, so I doubled the rub and the mop. I was quite concerned about all the comments about the mess in the roasting pan, so I used my All Clad roaster and sprayed it with cooking spray before adding the roast. I basted it every hour and for the first 4 hours or so, I could actually baste from the juices in the bottom of the pan. I checked the temp after 6.5 hours and it was spot on and the meat was shredding with a fork. I let it bake another half hour while other dinner items were being prepped. Took it out of the oven after 7 hours. Shredded all the meat, sliced up the crusty, crispy coating. Served on potato rolls with the slaw and some quick pickled red onions. Everyone loved how the shoulder smelled while it was cooking and how it tasted when served. The youngest and oldest of our family group went back for seconds on the pork. And I was thrilled that our pickiest eater said that the pork was great. Great recipe that we will definitely use again. Next time I’d like to rewarm the pork at 450 degrees after shredding to make it even more crispy, the next time we try this. My roasting pan cleaned up easily; that helped make my day.

  70. Becky

    Thank you for a successful pulled pork recipe! I brushed a little extra mop on the roast after the first hour, and by the second hour the juices started flowing. Oh Yummy! For those of you who hate charred pans to clean, line the roaster with heavy duty foil.

  71. Christina McCallum

    So I have a butt roast but it’s bone in, 5+ lbs. It was purchased for a slow cooker pulled pork recipe, how can I adjust cooking time to accomodate the bone? This looks SO good!

  72. Marian

    This was delish. After roast was finished, I made the mop into bbq sauce to thicken up, as this was a picnic meal for us. While I love a drippy, thin type of bbq sauce, I wasn’t sure others in the group would appreciate the drippiness of the sauce (dripping down front of shirt). I tossed the pulled pork with a smidgen of the sauce, then made the sandwiches. Thicken up the mop sauce with some ketchup, added some liquid smoke and cayenne. Once at our concert venue and ready to eat, I had bbq sauce available for us to put on sandwiches. It was a hit with everyone! I’ll make this one again. Thanks, Deb. Oh, yes, I also made Deb’s pickled slaw for topping. That too was a hit!

  73. Em

    Coming back to say, made this yesterday for the fam and my husband who was born and raised in the bbq capital of the world (or so he says) said that this was better than he’s had in most BBQ restaurants. Thanks for helping me win dinner. So delicious.

  74. Nancy Asin

    Is there a downside to starting the process two days before (cooking it the day before the dinner party) and just reheating it the day of?

  75. Pulled pork is probably my top 3 favorite summer meats to make. This recipe looks very good! Although I prefer using the slow cooker for pulled meats or roasts, the oven if sufficient. I just love the idea of cooking meat slooooooowly.. always seems more juicy and tender. The roast looks amazing!

  76. MR Downing

    Yum. This turned out well – and agree that the glossiness and crispness from the oven really makes a difference vs the Instant Pot. Dropped the oven to 200/250 and covered the roast in the last hour or so, and had to add ketchup, brown sugar, wors to thicken the mop for coating at the end- too much vinegar taste. Didn’t use cayenne in the rub at all. (Hubs prefers sweet and not too spicy). had a two lb shoulder, will prolly yield two meals for us.

  77. Nina Reid

    I made this over the weekend and it was delicious. The taste of the different spices in the rub made it very yummy! I didn’t get a lot of juices from it to baste over my meat so I occasionally added a bit of water to break down the material in my roaster and basted it over the pork and it worked well. The mop was very good with the port and instead of pulled pork buns I had the pork with the slaw on home made soft tacos and that was a bit hit. Perfect meal for a cold day! Thanks again for all your wonderful recipes Deb!

  78. Becky Kelly

    I cannot comment on the slaw portion of this recipe, but the pork is fantastic! I set aside one Saturday a month to roast pork, following the instructions to the letter. If we had it more frequently, we’d be fat as pigs! Note, I cut the mop ingredients to less than half, since I’m not making the slaw, and check the roast temp after 4 hours, since some pieces of meat cook faster than others. Thank you!!