The Best Smoked Pulled Pork Ever – foolproof never-dry method for delicious smoked pork shoulder with a crunchy bark and tons of flavor!
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!
Just Take Me To the Best Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe Ever Already!
I have readers of all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site – so I try to provide lots of information to make cooking more accessible to everyone.
If you’d rather skip over my tips and tricks to the best pulled pork – including how much to buy for a crowd, and what a mop and rub are – please scroll to the bottom of the page just above comments where you will find the easy printable recipe.
How To Smoke Pork Shoulder For Pulled Pork
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!
How To Smoke Pork Shoulder
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.
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.
The Best Smoked Pork Ribs Ever Recipe
The Best Smoked Pork Ribs Ever Recipe - juicy, tender delicious restaurant quality smoked ribs at home are easier than you think! This is the best ever pork ribs recipe you can make at home.
The Best Easy Smoked Brisket Recipe Ever
Spicy Black Bean Soup
Grandma Curly’s Bean Bake
Corn and Black Bean Pasta Salad with Cilantro Lime Yogurt Dressing
Restaurant Style Instant Pot Pinto Beans
Restaurant Style Instant Pot Pinto Beans are the most delicious, easy way to make delicious pinto beans in under an hour - no soaking overnight needed!
AntiPasti Pasta Salad
Slightly tangy and delicious, this antipasti pasta salad is full of robust antipasti flavors, is totally vegan, and perfect for crowds. Appropriate for Orthodox Christian fasting periods.
Sour Cream Cornbread Recipe
Easy Sour Cream Cornbread Recipe - the best easy soft and moist cornbread that is crazy delicious and never tastes dry. Sour cream cornbread is smooth, full of flavor, and goes great at a picnic or BBQ with your favorite summer dishes!
Spicy Grilled Watermelon
Spicy grilled watermelon is a perfect treat for a summer party - sweet, spicy, a touch smoky - this grilled fruit is a unique and refreshing treat!
What Type of Pork is Pulled Pork
How Much Pulled Pork To Plan Per Person
One of the questions I get the most about pulled pork is how much pulled pork to plan per person – it can be tricky to know how much pulled pork to buy for a picnic or party.
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.
What Size Pork Shoulder to Buy For Smoked Pulled Pork
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.
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.
Pulled Pork Rub Ingredients
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!
The Best Smoked 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
What Is a BBQ Mop
How to Mop BBQ
Pulled Pork Mop Ingredients
Another crucial part of smoking pork butt for pulled pork is using a mop to keep if juicy, delicious, and help develop a rich crust and rich flavor everyone loves.
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
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.
The Best Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe
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The Best Smoked Pulled Pork Ever - foolproof never-dry method for delicious smoked pork shoulder with a crunchy bark and tons of flavor! : Main Dish Cuisine: American Author: Courtney O'Dell Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 12 hours Total time: 12 hours 15 mins Serves: 12
- Pulled Pork Ingredients:
- 1 pork shoulder or boston butt, 6-10 pounds
- 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
- One half a beer
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- remaining rub
- 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 150oF. 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 185oF. 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.