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.
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.)
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.
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Crispy Oven Pulled Pork
- 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
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.
351 comments on crispy oven pulled pork
Do you think this would work in an Instant pot?
Check my note at the end of the recipe.
the note at the bottom of the recipe tells you how
It’s the best that this is the first comment :)
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.
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!
This was the first question I have, given that I own said same dish.
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. :)
Where can one purchase this mythical dish?!?!
Click on the words “this dish” in the comment above.
How would this work with chicken? I don’t do pork…
I’d make the slow and low chicken recipe here. It’s not crispy, though.
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!
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.
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.
This looks soooo good!!! I can’t for the life of me figure out what you mean when it says, “add 1/4 cup mop to juices in pan”. Help!
Adding mop to juices and then basting pork. Added flavor of juices enhances mop.
Can this be made with a pork loin? My husband bought a loin instead of a shoulder
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.
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. :)
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.
I can’t wait to try this!! One pan remedy that works wonders for me is to soak the pan with a big dollop of dishwasher liquid (I use Cascade) mixed with hot water, overnight. Big burned chunks just slide off in the morning.
Can I use another cut of pork? Say a loin?
I wouldn’t. I’m thinking it will be very dry. Loin is significantly leaner than butt.
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.
Why so much mop? That is, you say you make 1 2/3 cups, but I only see the recipe using 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup plus maybe 1/2 cup for reheating?
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.)
The mop is so good I doubled it! Simple but the proportions are just right.
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.
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?
It might be the latter. It gets plenty, plenty crisp even when covered overnight.
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!
I live in Los Angeles. I buy Diamond Kosher Salt from Whole Foods. They also sell it at Joans on Third.
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.
I live in Orange County. We get Diamond Kosher salt at Smart and Final all the time.
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…
@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.
“Diamond kosher salt isn’t readily available in Los Angeles” lolololololol
We had slow cooked pulled pork last night – It was amazing. But now I really want to try it again, this time with the buns!
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.
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!
I’m sorry, I’ve never cooked venison before but I bet someone else will pipe up.
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!
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!
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.
Thank you so much for this! The crispy crust looks devine. Should it be covered or uncovered in the oven?
For reasons that are too boring to list, I need to cook this over two days. (I’ve made this a couple times, and it is AMAZING!) Do you all think it’s better to cook all the way on the first day, and reheat in very low oven the day I’ll serve it, or cook half way on first day, finish off second day?
I’m sure this is a very basic cooking question, but I’m having trouble deciding. Thank you!!
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
This looks amazing! Would it completely change/ruin it not to use the mop? Thanks!
You can cook it on the grill! Put it in an aluminum pan and cook at ~300 degrees for ~5 hours.
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
Deb provided a link to where you can buy the porcelain pan. Just click on the words “this dish” in her response.
Can this be made a day ahead of time or is it really best the day of?
It rewarms well. Uncovered, so it stays crisp.
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!
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.
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?
Nope, you’d only need to cook it for 6.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
Carla, I’ve found Diamond at Safeway in the Denver area. Now, finding Safeway can be a challenge…
Carrie…thank you..this is great to know. I’ll definitely check that out. There is a Safeway not too far from me.
I should have said, it’s a big box too! Good luck.
In your recipe about scoring the meat, you write: “scoring can help prefer it shrinking up” I think you meant to write: “prevent”
Why do you feel the need to point out typos?
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 :)
Thanks, will fix.
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!
Do you also make Chang’s Bo Ssam recipe with boneless pork shoulder?
Most of the time, yes.
Could I sub in Beef? I don’t eat pork
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?
You can go up to 6 hours if needed.
Do you think I could do this with beef brisket? I have a guest coming who doesn’t eat pork.
I’m not sure. I usually braise brisket, so there’s liquid in the pan. I’ve never made one dry in the oven before.
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?
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
What should the internal temperature be? Thank you!
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.
That first shot of the pork sandwiches looks so good. Definitely giving these a try soon – it’s not summer without a little barbecue (made in an oven for those without a grill)!
Oven? This time of year? Waiting until Fall.
Depends on where you live. Its 59 at 2 pm here in SF so glad to have the oven going and heating the house!
Yup, not doing oven in the summer and Deb doesn’t recommend slow cooker for this. Will bookmark this for cold weather.
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!
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.
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!
If I marinade it for 6 hours during the day, and cook in the afternoon will it be okay? Or does it need to be marinated overnight?
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.
I am thinking of trying this but smoking it (wood KBQ smoker) at 300º F instead of in oven. Any thoughts, warnings, admonitions?
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?
Celebrating the 4th of July in the UK?! Shouldn’t you be mourning that day? 😏
I’d score it, no need to remove. If it bothers you a lot, though, trim it down, but not too much. Leave a good layer there.
is there a link to the slaw recipe?
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.
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:)
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.
My butcher only had 2 lb roasts:( How can I adjust the cooking time?
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.
Sandra/Deb — my friend just recommended this recipe but I could only find 2.30 lb portions. Should I use the same about of seasoning or adjust?
Use less seasoning but the cooking time will be fairly close; I’d just check about an hour early to see.
These would be perfect for this 4th of July coming up, they look delicious!
That looks delicious, You can just about feel it make your mouth start to water.
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?
Check out this recipe for dry rub oven chicken. It’s, I think, a better approach. (And tested!)
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.
This looks amazing! Does anyone have a suggestion for adapting the mop for someone with a tomato allergy (no ketchup)? Thank you!
Possibly the stupidest question ever – can I sub apple cider vinegar for the cider vinegar?
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.
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!!
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!
It should be just fine. Maybe the glass is more prone to burning, but it’s not an issue with the meat.
The same thing happened to me, which is a bummer because now it’s not getting basted…hopefully won’t dry out.
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.
What does until it collapses mean? Does the meat fall into itself? Doyou cut it and then pull it apart with forks?
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.
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!
Made this yesterday, and it was absolutely amazing. While the shredded meat was cooling, we cooked the remaining mop down in the charred pan and poured the thickened sauce over the meat. My sister declared it delicious, which is high praise from a trained chef! I’ll tackle washing the pan … at some point today.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It rewarms great. No need to add more mop until you shred it.
If cooking one day and serving the next would you shred it after first cooking it or after you reheat it?
I made this for the 4th and it was a hit!
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!
It really sounds like your oven is a bit hot. Do you have a thermometer in it to check the temperature?
The pork recipe Deb mentions, Momofuku Bo Sam, is in The NY Times cooking app. It apparently makes the same mess. However, in the comments section, someone suggested using two disposable foil roasting pans (check your dollar store). Toss and declare yourself a genius.
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.
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!
Daniel..sorry I didn’t read far enough down. I see what you did as far as scaling…
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.
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…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?
Yes. I belong to this group, and have spent too many days of my life on the site:
Talk about scaling for large crowds, Carolina and David are my local Seattle area heroes.
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.
Finally, Serious Eats, lots of meat science, but as with most of life, I don’t always agree, of course, with everything.
And, another: https://kalamazoogourmet.com/lifestyle/
Does the cayenne or chipotle make this a bit spicy for kids? Should I omit?
Use it to taste. My kids don’t like things very spicy but a faint kick is okay.
I left it out given my two year old and instead subbed a couple of shakes of crushed red pepper, which reads as less spicy to me.
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.
One thing I would mention is than I feel that it makes about 6 servings rather than 10-12.
This was excellent! I confess, I only basted two or three times, and it still turned out moist. Thanks for this fantastic recipe!
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?
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 :).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!!
Will this work with a bone-in butt roast?
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.
Yes. You’ll probably want more rub (a thick coat is delicious here) and it will take 6 hours instead of 5.
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?
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?
I used white wine vinegar and it was fine. Apparently we used all the apple cider vinegar pickling onions for tacos.
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!
Do you bake the pork without a cover?
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).
I do. I want the edges as crispy as possible.
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.
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.
This recipe is a keeper! Made it today and WOWWWWW just amazing! Thanks for working on it!
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.)
Oh I LOVE pulled pork! I’ve never managed to actually make it myself, but I always order it when I’m out. I’ll have to give it a go now that I have your recipe!
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!
This was insane. I may never smoke pork shoulder on a grill again.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Oups didn’t mean to post this as a reply to a comment. Will post again at the bottom.
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!!!
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?
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!
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! 💐
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.
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.
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.
It was a white baking dish (this one) and we soaked it with some soap and it got totally clean. I even just texted my husband, who did the dishes, to confirm. :)
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?
Any recommendations or cautions about making this for a large party, freezing for two weeks and then serving at said party?
I haven’t frozen it but I bet it will freeze well. Make sure you rewarm it uncovered so it keeps/restores the crispy edges.
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>?
Yes — check my reply to the comment above this.
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!
Fat side up and uncovered?
Yes, although I don’t think it matters which way the fat is.
I apologize if this is posted already but I can’t seem to find it. Am I remopping every hour?
Yes, you are to continue basting once an hour with juices that collect.
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.
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.
Thanks, Deb! Will do.
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?
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?
I do. And I think there’s some potential to restore the crisp at a high heat blast once it’s warmed through.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 :)
I apologize if this is posted already but I can’t seem to find it. Am I remopping every hour?
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. :)
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
Looks super easy to make and extremely delicious! I would really love to make this at home!
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!
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.
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?
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!
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.
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!
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!!
Do you cook it uncovered the entire cooking time?
First I’m not a “meat” eater or cook!! But wanted to do this for family for New Years Well mine did not look like yours. I’m a good cook, followed your recipe. Meat got to 150, let it rest but it did not pull apart like I had envisioned. We actually had to cut it into slices!! I really can’t understand what or why it turned out this way.
I love your recipes and always go to you first for new ones. any suggestions would be appreciated. I just told my husband, I’m done having New Years dinner!!!
The roast was technically cooked at that temperature, but all the fats and collagen weren’t melted into the meat yet to tenderize it. That’s why you keep cooking till the roast starts to slump, to fall apart a bit, to shred easily and deeply when you insert a fork and twist up a few pulls of meat.
Don’t watch the thermometer too much. Watch the meat itself. It will tell you when it’s tender and ready to shred.
I accidentally purchased a pork butt that has a bone in it. How should I proceed?
It will work — might need a little longer to reach the falling-apart stage, but not necessarily.
I could only find bone in pork shoulder and it is 7.6 pounds! Does it cook for the same amount of time or should I cook it longer??
You’ve got a couple choices: cut in half and freeze one while cooking the other, or; cook the whole shoulder. I’d choose the latter because then you have plenty to serve, and delicious leftover finished meat to hoard in the freezer. Prepare to dazzle company later or save yourself from cooking when you’re tired, cranky or busy. (Er, you may not ever feel this way but I seem to slot into one category or the other on a regular basis, especially cranky.)
The larger roast will definitely take longer but not all that much. Don’t undercook! Keep it moist, covered if necessary, and cook till it shreds easily. It’s extremely unlikely you’ll overcook a roast this size.
This was one of the best pulled pork I’ve ever had. Thank you for sharing this recipe
Dear Smitten Kitchen,
I just had to drop you a line to say that this Crispy Oven Pulled Pork was absolutely fabulous. I had to use half the amount of pork – I live in Dubai, so pork is a little more difficult to get hold off, and with the current C-19 lockdown even more so; however, I managed to get the last pork shoulder! My husband and I absolutely loved this dish – it put a smile on our faces, and reminded us that although our US trip this year might be off the cards, we can plan for next year – thank you. Hope you and yours are healthy and well.
Needed a cooking project for a quarantine Saturday and had been eyeing this recipe for a while. My piece of meat was only 2.5 lbs and I cooked it for about 4.5 hours. Absolutely delicious. I’m so glad I put it in the oven as suggested and not the pressure cooker. The crispy meat was beautiful and my bf said it was the best thing I’ve ever made :) Thanks, Deb.
Deb I hope you and yours are staying safe & well. Our family adores this recipe and I thought the incredible smells would bring some cheer while sheltering this weekend so I applied the rub last night planning to roast today. But my question is: do you think I can wait another day to roast it? Turns out it’ll be gorgeous weather and we thought we might grill burgers/dogs, then roast tomorrow during the cold rain. Is 24 hours too long in just the rub?
My wife would admonish me that I am not Deb, and your question was directed to Deb. Nonetheless, that has never stopped me in the past, so……No problem with leaving the rub on for a couple of days. If it was a thin cut of meat, then yes, the flavor might be overpowering. But here you are on the surface of a large piece of meat, and you will end up with a wonderful bark either way. (Now I need to hold my breath and see if Deb corrects me.)
Thank you, Daniel! I think this makes great sense. Somehow I did not get the alert about your reply so I started roasting it … but will keep this advice in my back pocket for the next time. (Unless Deb weighs in differently.) And there will definitely be a next time!
I think it’s totally fine for another day too! Sorry I didn’t see your comment sooner.
I just realized that my 6.5 pound pork shoulder has a bone in the center! Should I cut the meat off the bone before roasting? Or just throw it in there bone and all and then pull the meat from the bone at the end? I was thinking that it would take me a lot longer to cook since it was almost twice as large as yours, but do you think the cook time would be similar since a lot of the weight is probably actually bone?
Probably should add the internal done temperature should be between 195-205 to pull apart easily. Pork is done at 145, but it’ll be tough to pull. Not sure why I didnt remember this from the previous times Ive made this. Had to call my BBQ expert father-in-law to figure out why the meat was so tough. The fix: was to simmer it on the stove top with its juices and sauce. Not ideal, but I didnt ruin it.
I made this with a bone in 5 lb pork butt and after about 4 hrs it was falling off the bone. It also burned on top. What can I do to prevent the top from burning? Should I still cook for 5-6 hrs even if the meat is falling off the bone?
It’s always taken me 5 hours, but I do not that it’s 5 hours or when it fall apart, to account for variances in ovens. Re, burning, was it good burning or bad? Mine gets dark and charred (as you can see in the photos) but it tastes amazing. If it doesn’t to you, you can cover it with foil while cooking once it hits the color you like.
I have made this recipe at least 7 times since it changed my life last summer – seriously, it is SO. GOOD.
Now, since I have all the time in the world due to our current situation, this is making a nice quarantine Friday dinner with the promise of incredible leftovers for days. Go make this right now if you haven’t already. Thank you Deb!
Is there any way to print recipes without wasting ink on all the ads?
Are you getting ads on the print template (CTRL + P)?
I use my iPad and air printer. I have no problem on most sites, but this one has full color large ads on print page.
We did some ad changes last week that are causing the problem — should be fixed today. Sorry for the trouble.
I just copy and paste the recipe text into a new word document. No pictures, no ads. I convert all to a small font, like Times Roman or Cambria. No big fat heading words. Nice one-page document, easy to read, no wasted ink if you print. But I never print. Just save the Word doc into my recipe folder, and look at it on my iPad or iPhone or Laptop while I cook.
This recipe is fantastic! My only complaint is that there are not enough leftovers so I keep having to buy a larger and larger piece of pork! I also line my pan with aluminum foil because the juices burn. I never eat coleslaw but this recipe has converted me as well. This is my new go-to pulled pork recipe.
I will try this but I am surprised the paprika amount is the same. I love smoked paprika but have found it to be far more potent than sweet & cut the amount in half in a recipe if I’m using smoked paprika.
When you say cider vinegar. Apple or white?
If you have a fatty layer, do you put the fat side down or up?
I know everyone always wants the next new thing, but seriously Deb, how does this compare to Texas homesick carnitas? 🤗
Hello! Eager to make this tomorrow, but I live in Argentina, so can’t find any good ketchup without tons of sugar in it. Can I use tomato paste instead? Or another more natural substitute?
I have two meat smokers and make real BBQ pretty regularly. I didn’t want to fire up a smoker today so I found this recipe and followed it pretty closely. This is some of the best pulled pork I’ve every had! Don’t skip the mop!!! I love how the brown sugar and ketchup give it a sticky, lacquered, almost candy-like exterior. Seriously so very delicious.
I did add cumin and garlic powder as that’s part of my normal rub.
Gee I’d love someone to answer today, has anyone made the slaw a day in advance? I have the mop ready for tomorrow so I can made the slaw today but don’t want it to be too soggy. Any suggestions out there?
I would keep the slaw and the mop separate until right before you want to serve and then toss together.
Not my favorite recipe. Used 1t cayenne, 1/2 smoked and 1/2 normal paprika for the rub and found it pretty spicy. And yes the bottom of the pan burned (from the brown sugar) during the first hour – the addition of the mop over time seemed to control additional burning. The mop has too much vinegar in my opinion and coleslaw as written pretty blah. Definitely better recipes out there – disappointing as this is my first stop for recipes usually.
When you write recipes, can you do one HUGE favor and mention whether you’d put the oven to roast or bake? I always go back and forth as to which to use depending on recipe, would love to get your perspective when you write your recipes. Most people’s ovens have both as options nowadays. Thanks! Love all your stuff!
Another big thumbs up for this recipe. Thanks to the few people who cautioned about issues with burning I both lined my pan with foil, and also put the fatty side down – didn’t have any problems and clean up was pretty easy. I was wary about the spiciness and used a bit less than a teaspoon of cayenne – the rub on its own tasted quite spicy at this amount. But I would use a little more next time – once you pull the cooked meat apart, and add the vinegary mop it wasn’t too spicy. Just very tasty! One of the best versions of pulled pork I have ever had.
Made this today, it is amazing! I could only find a 2.5 lb roast and it had a small bone. After 6 hours it was shreddable and perfect. My 16 year old son asked for seconds, always high praise. This is going into the regular rotation because I literally had every ingredient (used smoked paprika too) except the pork, which is rare. And it was so easy to throw together.
Made this for the 4th – it’s extremely good and so easy. Only variations were to add a little celery seed to the slaw and to slice a couple white onions for the roast to sit on… they were so gorgeous and caramelized, we threw them in with the mop addition at the end. Great, great recipe.
Will this work a with a rib end pork roast? I have one in my freezer, but I’m not familiar with different pork cuts and cooking methods. Thank you!
I made this on my smoker. It was amazing!!
Great recipe. My clients at Carpet Cleaning Lethbridge
would love this.
That looks pretty fantastic!
Well written article! These pictures have me drooling… I am going to have to pick up the ingredients for this tomorrow and cook it for the family. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing! Can’t wait to make this.
This is like, really, REALLY good. An instant household make-again classic. The pork is simple and delicious, but feels special.
Have made this three times and it’s amazing. Even my extended family of picky eaters all raved about it. To keep it kid friendly, use chipotle powder instead of cayenne. Plus, that all that smokey goodness adds an incredible flavor (would then use sweet vs. smoked paprika.) I also add about a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and mustard powder, just cuz.
One suggestion to help avoid intense clean up: use a non-stick roasting pan and add a little olive oil under the roast. Some other suggestions: I’ve found I need to keep adding a bit of mop throughout the cooking process because it burns off. And we generally skip the slaw and buns and just devour the meat – it’s like meat candy!
I have a pork butt in the freezer I want to use but it’s bone-in. Can I still use it and give this a go?? Thanks!
Do you remove or rinse the salt and sugar rub before cooking?
Mine became blackened by about hour 3 or so. What did I do wrong?
The sugars caramelize and get very dark. But it should be good-tasting char, not a burnt smoky one.
Can I ask a question about the cut of pork- when I buy a Boston butt it comes all tied up so it doesn’t fall apart. But it seems with the rub you would want to untie to get the rub in all the books and crannies for flavor. Do recommend keeping it tied and only rubbing the outside or untying and using the rub in all the books and crannies. Thanks!
You can do either, or keep it wrapped for half the time.
Hello! I’m making this right now and I’m at hour 4 of the roasting process. I was wondering when it’s done roasting, do I discard the fat/pan juices? Or do I just shred the meat into the fat/pan juices and add 1/2 cup of the moo juice?
That’s what I do, but if there’s a lot of fat, or more than seems appealing, you can pour some off.
Hello Deb and all lovers of this recipe. Has anyone cooked this lower than 300? I would like to slow down the cooking a bit for convenience mostly. I know lowering the temp would slow it down but wonder if it would affect texture or overall finished results at all. Any thoughts on this?
Can a boneless pork tenderloin be used instead of the roast?
I haven’t slow-roasted one before but my gut reaction is that I’m not confident it’s fatty enough to hold up to the long roasting time without drying out.
Is the intention to keep the lid off while in the oven? At 4 hours my juices had carmelized and there was nothing to baste anymore, so I added more mop and left the lid off. I’ll let you know how it turns out but am curious as I’d rather follow the recipe as it was meant to be done.
Lid off; caramelization is fine.
this recipe was perfect, deb.
thanks for another brilliant easy classic.
my husband rated this the best pulled pork he’s ever had!
Finally got around to making this today. Absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe as written but didn’t make the slaw because cabbage is not loved by the majority of our household. I served it with potato salad dressed with a mustard vinaigrette, homemade applesauce and a green salad. Happy eaters here!
Very nice result with this recipe, though I recommend casting a watchful eye towards the final third of the cooking process, because the meat was basically burnt on the outside, and the pan juice had dried up and blackened (thankfully, I had used an old pan lined with tin foil). The deep caramelization was not a deal-breaker, though, as the meat beneath was tender and delicious. I might add that I didn’t have time to apply the rub hours in advance and yet it didn’t seem to be missing anything flavour-wise. Thank you for the recipe!
This was fantastic. Used a 4.8lb bone in pork shoulder – cooked it for 6.5 hours and it fells apart easily. Loved the recipe – easy to follow and required minimal work.
I’ve made this twice now and each time I think I’ve got waaay too much meat, only to find I have maybe enough for a scant sandwich for leftovers! My husband and kids love this, and some of them are darn picky. Have done it with slaw in a tortilla, may try Asian seasonings for a more bo ssam approach next time. It is stupid easy to make and the result is so satisfying!
Is the pork supposed to be covered while it’s cooking?
I have another question…if I cook it in the IP do I add any liquid, or mop?
This recipe is fantastic. Thanks for sharing it.
I accidentally skipped only taking 1/2 the salt in my rub (oops…lesson learned about multitasking). The pork texture is amazing but it is so salty, I can barely eat it. Any suggestions on what I can do to my 3lbs of too-salty pulled pork? Is there a way to remove or suggestions to cover up the saltiness?
If put the meat in the fridge overnight, do you need to bring it to room temperature before putting it in the oven?
Do you shred, then keep and reheat in the same pan you cooked it in?
We love this recipe! Thank you
You absolutely can.
Should it be covered while roasting?
Understanding that the crust would lose its crispiness, does the leftover pork keep well in the fridge? Or, alternatively, do you think you could make this with a slightly smaller piece of pork? Dying to make this for Fathers’ Day weekend, but also not feeding a big crowd:)
It doesn’t fully lose it because it’s so crisp. Leftovers keep well.
I make pulled pork quite often and started doing it in the oven several years ago. I do not like the texture of meat cooked in the crockpot at all and I find the flavor of a slow roasted meat so much nicer. This is in the oven as I type this!
There should be a Hall of Fame for recipes, and this should be its first inductee.
Made this today as a test run for first time family post-covid party targeted for Oct 2021 (we’re in Brazil which has been, cough, problematic). It’s sheer perfection.
(a) My português is terrible (husband is native Brazil and he was with me but everything meat is cut differently here). We ended up with around 3.5 lbs of something from a pig’s shoulder, which they butchered down to boneless in front of us). The piece turned out perfectly.
(b) There is virtually no Kosher Salt in Brazil. Do not fear, use 1.5 tbsp of any salt or the Kosher brand weigh outs per the comments
(c) when I tasted the rub with our cayenne pepper, I thought wow that’s spicy. I was worried. Don’t be. It all mellows out.
(d) baste at will, every 60, 45, 30 minutes, but baste. Add a bit more mop to your pan if your pan is getting too crusty
(E) you may think, oh this looks burnt, it’s going to be dry. This thought is wrong:
The crust is incredibly good and the meat is tender and pull apart at five hours
(f) I assume everyone has a standalone oven thermometer in your oven.
Absolutamente maravilhoso. It’s a big go for our upcoming party.
This was so good! The delicious aroma drove us all crazy for 6 hours!! I made this with a 4 lb. bone in roast and cooked an extra hour. My son wanted more sauce on finished sammies and we used your BBQ sauce recipe. I thought the slaw made them outstanding! I am going to try David Chang’s recipe as well. Thank you!!
Hi. Do you cover the dish while the roast cooks?
Nope. Uncovered the entire time.
This recipe is amazing. I made it just the way Deb told me to, and she was 100 percent right. I would make more mop, as I think the slaw needed a bit more oomph, but the pork was heavenly. My boys and I had if for supper one night, and leftovers the next, and I think it was even better leftover and reheated on 200 degrees with tin foil on top for about an hour.
Loved it!! Made it with an almost 9 pound boneless pork shoulder for 6 people. We ate it with corn bread and veggie sides and finished all of it…! (I did remove over a pound of fat before shredding but still, maybe turning into sandwiches would have stretched it more??) My husband said he doesn’t usually like pulled pork, but loved this one and asked me about how I made the pork again this morning. I cooked it in a disposable lasagna pan and ended up cooking for about 6.5 hours in the oven at 300. I added a cup of water to the pan after the first hour and basting it with the mop. I basted with pan juices but did not use the mop again until about hour 5. The pork does exude juice but all of the sugar in the rub ends up burning on the bottom. I added at least another cup of water by hour 5 but you may need more along the way. I poured all of the remaining mop into the defatted shredded pork and added a little more salt. You definitely want to use a disposable pan or you will have quite a cleanup with all the fat/oil/burned parts at the bottom. My pork had a big cut in the middle of the roast because it was boneless and I poured a lot of the rub into that cut side of meat as well as the surfaces to sit overnight. Dave Chang says to roast the pork on a rack inside the baking tray and you may want to try that if your pan can fit it as the pork gets pretty browned roasting directly on the bottom of the pan. I also used the full cayenne amount and didn’t think it seemed spicy mixed in with all that pork. Will absolutely make this pork again. Just plan ahead for overnight marinade and a lot of time for roasting.
Is this crispy oven pork definitely on HIGH for 5-6 hours in the slow cooker?
(I love all your recipes by the way! Most of what my family eats are your recipes.)
That’s how I do it, but slow-cookers can really range in temperatures at these settings, unfortunately so if you’ve done other pork roasts for more or less time, you can keep that in mind here too.
I made this. Sort of. I tasted it and went, wow, a Smitten miss?? This is awful! So I reread the recipe, misread the cayenne for 1.5 tablespoons instead of teaspoons. Oh my. Luckily my son in law will eat it. I hope. Maybe with enough bbq sauce, or mayo or something… or I will serve it without saying anything and see what happens. I have very polite children. :P
Could I put the rub on two nights before and leave it in the fridge until I cook it? Thanks!
Still wondering, bake fat side up or down?
I do it up because I want it to crisp.
How many hours does the roast need to marinate? Can I put the rub on in the morning and cook in the afternoon or is that not enough time?
I like to give it a day, or most of one, but I’m sure it won’t be bad for less time.
I know a fattier cut is pork is better for slow cooking/roasting, and I personally avoid using tenderloin, but what about something in between? I was thinking of those long pieces of half loin you find at Costco. It has a more fat than tenderloin but less than pork butt or shoulder. What are your thoughts on using this cut?
Hi guys – making this right now. Quick question about this part of directions: “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.”
So does that mean add 1/4 cup of the mop each hour to baste the pork with (along with the juices) or do you just add the 1/4 cup after the first hour and then the rest of the hours, just baste with the juices in the pan?
The recipe makes 1 2/3 cups mop so that’s why I’m confused… 1/3 cup is used for the slaw but that’s a lot of leftover mop….
Yes, it’s each hour. 1/4 cup of the mop per hour. You will not be sorry you put in the extra time!
Thank you, Elizabeth, for the quick response. :)
I usually do a mixture of both: more mop and then basting with juices in the pan, too.
When you say to pour the mop over the cabbage, you mean ketchup goes in your coleslaw? My brain can’t quite process this idea.
It’s very minor and merely replaces the sugar. I promise it works. :)
Exceptional writing! I’m drooling just looking at these photos… I will have to go shopping tomorrow so I can make this for my family. I appreciate you sharing this.
Nice Jewish girl here, would this work wit a chuck roast?
I haven’t tested it for times/temps but I’d think: yes. Or more of a brisket? You want something fatty that takes well to a long, slow-roasting. Please report back!
So it’s not covered in oven?
I made this last night. It was easy and delicious! I used smoked paprika and chipotle. The slaw was a big hit too. Cheated and bought buns, but I’ll make my own next time.
My new favourite! Only thing I would do differently is to double the mop!
So ….so….so GOOD. A must try. I made the mistake of using my Baster directly in the mop bowl and only realized that the baster touched the raw pork so didn’t use the mop in the coleslaw. Just made a nice vinaigrette. Excellent!
Hi! I’m making this currently and, holy vinegar smell! Did your apartment reek of vinegar while making this? Is there a way to mask it?
I am a little late to the party, but I made this today for a 2 person 4th of July dinner. I made a 2 1/2 pound pork shoulder and dialed back at the rub proportionally. I Was a little salty, I used Dimond. I would use less salt next time. Other than that is was fabulous. Oh and It made about 5-6 servings so I would up the size of men pork for more people.
I love this dish so much, it always turns out incredible! I recently moved to Germany and was able to make it with a cut called ‘nacken’
This is the most outrageously good pulled pork I’ve ever made. I’m not a griller and I don’t have a smoker, but I lived in the Carolinas for a long time and I’ve made a lot of imitation barbecue over the years to try to chase the real thing. This is as close as it gets in the oven. The bark! The slaw! The mop! The vinegary deliciousness of it all! (Someone commented about the vinegar smell this leaves in the house, like that’s a bad thing, and I… just can’t relate.)
My store only had huge pork shoulders, so I ended up doing a 9.5 lb bone-in monster. I tripled the rub and didn’t quite use it all due to my approximate scaling. I also tripled the mop and was generous with it when basting and serving. The monster took a full 8 hours to really yield, but now I have a freezer full of pulled pork, so it was worth it to scale up!
Just used some frozen leftovers in tacos. Crisped in a non-stick frying pan with a bit of oil and mop.
Topped with guacamole and coleslaw. HEAVEN!
That mop is everything.
I just got a new oven with the convection function. Has anyone used it for this recipe before? Hint/ideas? Thank you!
Made this this weekend and it was just astonishingly good.
It got a bit overcooked, for two reasons: I was using a preheated cast-iron roaster, and when I took the twine off my roast it proved to be two smaller roasts tied together. Next time I make it, I’ll go with lower heat for a little less time. But even overcooked, it was amazingly tender once you got through the browned exterior, which was chewy and deliciously flavored.
Chop the leftover meat a little finer than normal and it’s wonderful in quesadillas.
Wow, this was delightful. I used this recipe to make sliders for Christmas Eve appetizer dinner. I doubled the recipe because my piece of meat was so big (and bone-in). It did take a couple more hours to cook. Reheating instructions worked wonderfully. Thanks for this! This is my new go-to!
Hi – what happens if you only let it sit before cooking for 2-3 hours rather than 6-overnight? I have not planned well. Also—what happens if I leave it long, say, 20 hours rather than overnight?
You’ll be fine either way. It’s the oven time that’s most important. It’s a superb recipe.
This is one of the best things I’ve ever made. I used a bone in 6 lb butt and it took about 8 hours. It was for a party and I was a bit nervous bc I was wasn’t going to test out the recipe first but it was absolute perfection. Literally sometimes it just pops into my head how freaking good it was and I feel so happy. We had it on tacos and it was better than lots of restaurant tacos I’ve had. Thank you so much Deb. You give me a confidence in the kitchen I didn’t know was possible!!
Made this exactly as written, in the oven, and it was *unbelievable.* Truly blown away by how good it was, and it was very easy to make.
Has anyone tried making this with a Mexican twist? I’ve looked at the SK Carnitas recipe, and I just don’t think I can use it on the occasion when I really need to cook the meat the day before and then rewarm it. I’m made this pulled pork recipe a few times and thought this method might work better. I think my main question is about sugar in the rub, which I would think adds a lot to the crisp edges and works well with the BBQ flavor, but am not so sure how it would work with a Mexican profile.
I haven’t but I love where you’re going with this!
I went ahead and tried it and it worked well. I reduced the amount of brown sugar, although I can’t tell you exactly by how much. I used taco sauce instead of ketchup in the mop. Seems like I needed more mop than usual. Since I had to cook and shred it the day before, I was really in a quandary about how to rewarm it. I put the shredded meat back in the roaster with the fond on the bottom. I ended up making and adding more mop, putting it in an oven at 275 (no lid) and let it go for 1.5 hours. I’m not sure that I perfected any of it, but overall it worked out well.
And I guess I forgot to mention that I used a Mexican spice rub.