Best Crispy Baked Pork Shoulder

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This delicious best crispy baked pork shoulder has a crispy crunchy crust that makes the best pulled pork ever!

pulled pork with crunchy skin shredded on a cutting board
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picture of pulled pork with crunchy skin shredded on a cutting board

Crunchy Roasted Pulled Pork

When you think of pork shoulder, you usually think “slow and low”. It’s the way we’ve been told to make pulled pork forever – cook it for a very long time at low heat to let the fat render, and meat soften and get incredibly tender.

It’s the most popular way to make pulled pork for a reason – but we’re upping the flavor in this recipe big time by creating a crispy, crunchy crust outside of our tender, delicious pork shoulder that cooks slowly to perfection!

And if you’re looking for other easy BBQ classics, be sure too check out my oven baked ribs, easy instant pot ribs, slow cooker ribs, easy smoked brisket, smoked pulled pork, or Crunchy BBQ baked chicken drumsticks, best crunchy baked chicken wings recipes! Click here to see our web story for this recipe.

crispy shell baked pork shoulder

How to Make Crispy Baked Pork Shoulder

To make this pork shoulder, you will need:

  • Pork shoulder
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Celtic sea salt or kosher salt
  • optional:
  • Garlic powder
  • Adobo seasonings
  • Smoked paprika

We will use the following process:

  • Prep. With the oven rack in the middle of the oven, preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with foil. Set a wire cooling rack or roasting rack over foil lined baking sheet or roasting pan. Season pork liberally with salt, pepper, and optional spices or pork rub.
  • Slow roast. Place seasoned pork on rack and place in oven. Roast until you can easily pull meat by gently twisting with a fork when inserted into pork shoulder, about 8 hours.
  • Crisp skin. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Let oven fully preheat. Add pork to oven and let skin puff and get crispy – rotate every five minutes to make sure you get an even blister around the pork shoulder.
  • Rest. When pork is crunchy around all sides, after about 20 minutes, remove from oven, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Pick/shred/pull pork meat and serve immediately.
  • Leftovers. Store leftovers in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to six days in the refrigerator, or up to four months in the freezer.
picture of pulled pork with crunchy skin shredded in a bowl

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Crunchy Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder vs pork butt. Pork shoulder and pork butt don’t actually come from the rear end of the pig, but are from the leg and shoulder area. Butt is really the “shoulder” area of the pig, and pork shoulder comes from a little lower down the leg. Neither come from the rear of the hog – and refer to the front legs, which is kind of confusing! Normally, we call for pork butt for pulled pork, since there is more delicious marbling – but for this recipe, we specifically call for pork shoulder, so the fat and skin can crisp and give us that amazing crispy crunch!

How to prep pork shoulder. To start, you’ll prep your pork shoulder – trim excess fat, and pat dry any liquid to help aid in seasoning generously.

How long to bake pork shoulder. You will bake for approximately 8 hours, until pork is tender and shreds with light pressure from a fork.

How long to crisp pork skin for crunchy crust. Finally, you’ll crisp the pork at 500 degrees for 20-30 minutes to get an amazing out of this world crispy, salty crunchy skin!

What tools you need to make crispy skin pork shoulder. This recipe is incredibly easy because it doesn’t require many ingredients (just salt, pepper, pork, and optional spices) – OR kitchen equipment (a baking sheet, oven, foil, and roasting rack/metal rack) are all you need.

Is pork low-carb? Pork shoulder is a great option for people following a low carb diet – but you do need to be sure to watch any pork rubs, seasonings, and even sauces after your pork is cooked, since they can add hidden carbs.

How to make pulled pork keto. To make your crunchy baked pork shoulder keto, please follow these tips:

  • Golden monkfruit sugar can be used as a brown sugar substitute at a 1:1 ratio. It isn’t an exact replacement since you won’t get the rich caramel flavor but it works and keeps your macros in check.
  • Reduce garlic and onion powders in a rub mix if you are strictly limiting carbs, as they can contain more than other spices.
  • Watch BBQ sauce when serving – BBQ sauce can be loaded with carbs and sugar.

Make sure to grab a low carb sauce (vinegar and mustard based sauces often have less carbs, as does Alabama white sauce – make sure to grab a keto approved version of Kansas City style sauce if you want a traditional pulled pork sweet BBQ sauce.)

crunchy crust baked pork shoulder

What to serve with pork shoulder. This pulled pork is so delicious, you’ll want to eat it right out of the oven – but I’m sharing some of my easy meal ideas with pulled pork:

How to serve pork shoulder. To serve this crunchy baked pork shoulder, I usually just treat it as pulled pork – shredding it and serving with buns, sauce, coleslaw, and other toppings for guests to make pulled pork sandwiches. If you’re making this crispy pork shoulder for a party and serving pulled pork sandwiches, I’m listing some of my favorite pulled pork sandwich ideas below:

  • Korean BBQ pulled pork sandwiches – toss pulled pork with Korean BBQ sauce and top with kimchi or favorite asian slaw.
  • Combine pork with green chili enchilada sauce and top with monterey jack cheese, shredded lettuce, and jalapeños for a spicy pulled pork sandwich.
  • Toss pulled pork in BBQ sauce and top with crispy fried onion strings and shredded iceburg lettuce and a slice of tomato.
  • Pulled pork hash browns – combine hash browns, a diced onion and diced bell pepper, and pulled pork and pan fry for a delicious pork breakfast skillet. Top with a fried egg for even more flavor!
  • Pulled pork mac and cheese – top creamy and delicious mac and cheese with shredded pulled pork!
  • Pulled pork tacos – add pulled pork, hot sauce, salsa, beans, and cheese for meaty pulled pork tacos.

FAQ’s

When is pork shoulder done?

Pork shoulder is done cooking at 145 degrees when read by a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat.
Pork shoulder often isn’t a recipe we check the temperature of to determine doneness – we will be cooking past 145 degrees, and instead will cook until pork is fork-tender, meaning it shreds with light pressure from a fork.
Since we’re cooking this shoulder for a long time to break down connective tissue, we’re not going off temperature for this recipe.

Can I pre-cook pork?

This pork shoulder takes 8+ hours to cook to tender – which either means waking up early, eating late – or pre-cooking for some of the time.
We’ve made this pork numerous times by roasting 5-6 hours one day, and then finishing off a few hours the day we serve it – and its always delicious!
Wrap pork tightly in foil and store in fridge, and either let it come to room temperature or expect to add 30-40 minutes additional roasting time if you take it cold from the fridge – it will still turn out perfectly!

Which roast for pulled pork?

For this crispy skin pulled pork recipe we are using pork shoulder to get a great crispy crunch from the additional fat and skin, unlike other pulled pork recipes which call for pork butt.
Either will work – but for the most crunch, opt for pork shoulder.
If using a pork butt, watch cooking time, as the butt is smaller and may cook faster.

picture of pulled pork with crunchy skin shredded on a cutting board

What to Serve With Crunchy Baked Pork Shoulder

This pork shoulder goes with your favorite BBQ classics – but I’m sharing some of my favorite sides to go along with this crunchy pulled pork I think you’ll love:

For another knockout game day pork shoulder recipe, please check out my green chile pork carnitas. They are so delicious in tacos, and are also low carb and keto!

pulled pork with crunchy skin shredded on a cutting board

Best Crispy Baked Pork Shoulder Recipe

If you love this easy crunchy baked pork shoulder recipe, please give it a five star review (simply click the stars in the recipe below) and help me share on facebook and pinterest!

pulled pork with crunchy skin shredded on a cutting board

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shredded pork shoulder with crispy skin on a cutting board

The Best Crispy Baked Pork Shoulder

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes

The Best Crispy Baked Pork Shoulder Recipe - delicious baked pork shoulder for pulled pork with a crispy crunchy crust - makes the best pulled pork ever!

Ingredients

  • 1 pork shoulder (8-10 pounds)
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp adobo seasonings
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. With the oven rack in the middle of the oven, preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with foil.
  3. Set a wire cooling rack or roasting rack over foil lined baking sheet or roasting pan.
  4. Season pork liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, adobo seasonings, and paprika.
  5. Place seasoned pork on rack and place in oven.
  6. Roast until you can easily pull meat by gently twisting with a fork when inserted into pork shoulder, about 8 hours.
  7. Remove pork from oven and tent with foil, at least for 20 minutes but up to two hours if prepping ahead of a party.
  8. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  9. Let oven fully preheat.
  10. Add pork to oven and let skin puff and get crispy - rotate every five minutes to make sure you get an even blister around the pork shoulder.
  11. When pork is crunchy around all sides, after about 20 minutes, remove from oven, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.
  12. Pick/shred/pull pork meat and serve immediately.
  13. Store leftovers in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to six days in the refrigerator, or up to four months in the freezer.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size about 1 lb cooked pork
Amount Per Serving Calories 71Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 20mgSodium 408mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 5g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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