The Best Smoked Pulled Pork Ever

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The Best Smoked Pulled Pork Ever – feel like a pitmaster with our foolproof never-dry method for delicious smoked pork shoulder with a crunchy bark and tons of flavor – this juicy, tender pork is loaded with flavor before it ever even touches sauce!

Picture of smoked pulled pork in a bowl
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Smoked Pork Butt

Today I’m bringing my husband’s method for a delicious summertime staple – The Best Smoked Pulled Pork Ever!

Pulled pork is such a perfect summer staple, in part because there is so much you can do with it.

Pulled pork is great in tacos, salads, quesadillas, and classic pulled pork sandwiches.

It’s so easy to add to a ton of different meals for a big, smoky, meaty flavor!

This pulled pork is epic. Friends always beg my husband to make it for cookouts and parties – it’s his signature recipe! We love to serve this pulled pork with Bacon Wrapped Cheddar and Garlic Jalapeno Poppers, The Best Easy Air Fryer French Fries Recipe, Green Chile Skillet Queso, The Best Smoked Pork Ribs Recipe Ever, and Homemade Corn Nuts!

Picture of smoked pulled pork in a bowl

How To Smoke Pork Shoulder

We like to start the smoker off by heating up wood chips or charcoal in a chimney, and then adding them to the side.

You’ll want to get the grills temperature up to 210, where you will try to keep it for around 14 hours.

Don’t worry about that huge number- you will only be working on the pork for about 30 minutes, including prep time.

The rest of the time you will just be waiting!

There are a couple of crucial components of cooking pulled pork that we’re going to go over that will set up the flavor for your pork shoulder – the pork rub, and the pork mop. Both are ways we’re going to be adding flavor to the pork as is smokes, so your pulled pork is loaded with tons of rich, salty, smoky, and spicy herb notes before you ever add sauce.

Pulled Pork Rub – adding seasoning to your pulled pork is a crucial step to add tons of flavor without adding more calories to your pulled pork.

A rub is a blend of seasonings that you literally rub all over your pork butt – usually containing garlic, onion, cumin, paprika, and other herbs and spices, which sink into your meat to give a complex flavor that isn’t just dominated by smoke.

Part of why this recipe is so delicious starts with a rub that covers your pork butt in flavor even before you start smoking it!

Pulled Pork Rub Ingredients:
2 TBSP garlic powder
2 TBSP onion powder
2 TBSP season salt
2 TBSP ground pepper
3 TBSP paprika
3 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP cumin
2 TBSP celery salt
2 TBSP cinnamon
2 TBSP cardamom

To rub your pork butt, coat generously with herbs and spices, making sure to really work into the pork meat.

Pulled Pork Mop – a mop is similar to basting a roasting turkey, except on a smoker. Traditionally, people use an actual mop made for BBQ meats that you can soak in liquid and then use to baste your meat as it sits on the smoker to add tons of flavor and keep it juicy, tender, and delicious.

While this mop is made for this smoked pulled pork, it is low in sugar, and can be used as a mop for other grilling, too! Normally smoked mops are too sweet for grilling, since smoking meats involve indirect heat and are at a lower temperature – which means you can use sugar that would normally just burn when used on grilled meats.

Pulled Pork Mop Ingredients:
One half a beer
2 cups apple cider vinegar
remaining rub

To mop your pulled pork, use a bbq mini mop brush or other grill brush, and cover meat with sauce as it smokes, about 4-6 times as it smokes. Make sure to mop pulled pork evenly, getting all sides, so the rich flavor can build upon itself and keep your pork juicy and delicious.

Picture of smoked pulled pork in a bowl

Tips To Perfect Smoked Pulled Pork & FAQs

Some of my best tips to ensure a delicious smoked pork shoulder are below:

-Always let the shoulder rest for about 10 minutes after taking out of package to help it dry. Pat dry with paper towels before adding rub.

-Let your pork shoulder sit in the fridge, with rub, for 12+ hours (we like to go for 24 hours).

-Add basting mix as a “mop” every couple hours. You can also mix your own- we’ve tried beer, dr. pepper, coke, apple juice, and more.

-We tend to use apple cider vinegar because we like the taste- but you can use whatever drink and spices you like.

– To easily get your pork to shred without burning your hands, pop it in a mix master with the paddle attachment.

A couple minutes on medium and you will have a perfect consistency!

Sometimes we like thicker chunks for meatier sandwiches – if you want a chunkier pulled pork, just use to forks to pull the meat apart for a thicker style.


How much pulled pork should I buy per person?

A good base rule to go by is to plan 1 pound of cooked pulled pork for every 3 people.
This means that about 1/3 of a pound (or 5 ounces) is good for one serving.
That applies to COOKED pulled pork weight – but pork will lose some weight in the cooking process from the original uncooked pork shoulder or butt weight.
I like to plan for about 1 pound of UNCOOKED pork per person for pork shoulder that has any bones in, or a lot of fat that will be trimmed off, since they take up a lot of the uncooked weight and won’t be eaten.

When is pulled pork done?

Pulled pork will take 6-8 hours, and is done when it is tender and is easily pulled with light pressure from a fork.

Is pulled pork keto?

Pulled pork is low carb, keto, and good for a carnivore diet – however any sauce or seasoning should be checked for sugar content.

How long does pulled pork keep?

You can keep pulled pork in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days, or frozen for up to four months.

How do I store pulled pork?

Pulled pork can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container. If not being served, pulled pork should be refrigerated after 40 minutes at room temperature after shredding.

What is the fastest way to shred pulled pork?

You can shred pulled pork with meat forks, using your hands, using forks, or by placing the whole smoked pork shoulder, with no bones, into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment attached and mix on medium speed until shredded, about 40 seconds.

Picture of smoked pulled pork in a bowl

What to Serve With Pulled Pork

If you’re looking for the most delicious, easy dishes that pair perfectly with smoked pulled pork – including other delicious smoked recipes you can cook alongside your pork shoulder – check out my favorites below.

We love serving pulled pork with chicken wings, Air Fried Corn Ribs, The Best Yeast Rolls, Double Beef Chili, and some of our game day favorites below:

For more delicious game day ideas, check out our tailgating and football game eats here.

Serving notes: If you have a lot of hungry eaters, and the pulled pork is the main dish you’re serving (and you aren’t serving it sandwich style, where guests will eat less), plan for about 1 pound of meat, uncooked, per person.

If you are serving pulled pork as a part of a sandwich, or you will be serving lots of other meats, you can plan for about half a pound or a three quarters of a pound of uncooked pork per person.

Picture of smoked pulled pork in a bowl

The Best Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe

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picture of pulled pork on a table with sauce

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The Best Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich with Coleslaw and Fries.

The Best Smoked Pulled Pork Ever

The Best Smoked Pulled Pork Ever – foolproof never-dry method for delicious smoked pork shoulder with a crunchy bark and tons of flavor!
Course Pork
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq, keto, pig, pork, pork shoulder, smoker, super bowl
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 13 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 101kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell


  • 1 pork shoulder or boston butt 6-10 pounds
  • One half a beer
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar

Rub Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp season salt
  • 2 tbsp ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp celery salt
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp cardamom


  • Mix ingredients for rub together in a bowl.
  • Remove pork from packaging, pat dry with paper towels and allow to come to room temperature. I like to trim off excess fat and silver skin at this point. You do want to keep about 1/4” of fat on the top called the fat cap. As your meat slowly cooks, this melts and keeps the meat moist.
  • Apply rub, and refrigerate over night. Soak wood chips or blocks over night in water.
  • Remove meat from refrigerator and let come to room temperature.
  • Next morning, prepare lump charcoal in smoker using newspaper and charcoal chimney. I do not use lighter fluid or compressed charcoal briquettes because I believe the leave a petroleum taste on the meat.
  • While the coals come to temperature, combine the ingredients for the mop and put in a spray bottle on plastic container.
  • When coals are glowing and grey, add the brisket to the smoker. Keep the meat as far from the fire as possible. If you have a barrel smoker with a fire box, keep on the opposite side of the grill surface from the fire box. If you have a conventional smoker or Weber-style kettle grill, build small fire on one side of kettle and keep meat on the other side.
  • Add handful of wet wood chips/block to fire. Cover and let cook. You’ll want to keep your temperature between 200-225 degrees F. That should take approximately 12-14 hours to smoke a 7-10 pound butt.
  • You’ll likely need to check the fire every 30-45 minutes. After an hour of smoking you should start mopping your meat every time you check the fire. I like to use a silicone basting brush for this. The inexpensive fibre brushes that are commonly sold at big-box stores begin to come apart quickly and in my experience often shed bristles on the meat.
  • I also rotate my meat every hour to ensure that all sides get even exposure to the heat and smoke. This is particularly important if you’re using a conventional kettle grill for your smoking.
  • If you have an outdoor temperature probe, use it to track the internal temperature of you meat. After several hours, your meat may “stall” around 150F. I usually keep smoking mine. In Texas, they wrap them in foil with a cup of mop to finish.
  • You’re shooting for your meat to get to 185F. Once you hit that mark, remove your meat from the smoker, double wrap in foil and let sit in an unheated over for an hour to hour and a half depending on fat content of the meat.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 1854mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g

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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  1. I love smoked pork shoulder and your photos are so gorgeous! It’s making me hungry! Thanks for sharing with us at Throwback Thursday!


  2. Looks so good! Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Shared.Hope your having a great summer.

  3. Pulled pork is a favorite of mine and I’ve never tried it on the grill before! I love the charred look to it- full of flavor I’m sure!
    Thanks! Michelle