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Best Smoked BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe

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This Smoked BBQ Pulled Pork recipe features tender pork shoulder cooked with cherry wood and doused in flavorful mop sauce. Pile smoked BBQ pulled pork high on sandwich buns and top with your favorite coleslaw!

Updated 4/7/2024: We are so excited to share with you one of our all-time favorite recipes: Smoked BBQ Pulled Pork! Marrekus is a true smoked meat chef and he’s spent hours perfecting this recipe.

From the tender pork shoulder to the mouthwatering mop sauce and our signature seasoning blend, this recipe is the real deal – it’s like a taste of championship BBQ right in your own backyard!

Whether you’re hosting a cookout with friends and family or simply craving some Southern food, this smoked BBQ pulled pork is sure to hit the spot. And the best part? It’s easy enough for even the most novice cooks to master, with simple ingredients and straightforward instructions.

So fire up the smoker, grab a cold drink, and get ready to indulge in some seriously good barbecue.

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • FLAVOR – Hands down, the thing people love most about our smoked BBQ pulled pork is the deliciously smoky taste.
  • TENDER MEAT – The low and slow cooking method results in meat that practically melts in your mouth.
  • SIMPLE – This recipe uses just a dry rub and an optional mop sauce, making it easy to prepare with ingredients you likely already have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10-pound bone-in pork butt 
  • yellow mustard
  • Soul Dust soul food seasoning (alternatively, use your favorite BBQ dry rub)
  • cherry wood, for smoking (preferred)

Note: Yellow mustard acts as a binder (glue) to keep the spices on the meat and helps add to the bark on the pork. Not a fan of mustard? You don’t have to worry about the flavor because once the meat starts to smoke, the mustard will dehydrate and you will not be able to taste it.

Smoked BBQ Pulled Pork Seasoning

A dry rub for smoked pulled pork often includes a combination of spices and seasonings that complement the natural flavor of the pork. Here are some ingredients we recommend as a base:

  • Kosher Salt: Salt is essential for seasoning the pork shoulder and enhancing its natural flavor. It helps to penetrate the meat and distribute the other spices evenly throughout.
  • Black Pepper: Black pepper adds a bold, spicy kick, balancing out the sweetness of the brown sugar and adding depth of flavor to the pork shoulder.
  • Granulated Garlic: Garlic powder brings savory notes, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the pork shoulder.

Feel free to use our basic Soul Dust soul food seasoning recipe or customize your own signature dry rub recipe to suit your taste preferences.

Pulled Pork Mop Sauce

A combination of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, hot sauce, salt, and pepper is perfect as a mop sauce for pulled pork. Add the mop sauce to the pork butt within the first hour of smoking. By this point, the pork will start to have some color to it and pick up some bark as well.

We keep our mop sauce in a small or medium sauce pan and carry it out to the smoker along with our barbecue mop brush. You will want to dip your mop brush into the sauce and then douse the brush on the meat, letting the sauce drip. Do not brush the mop sauce on, because you may accidentally brush the rub off the meat. Repeat every 45 minutes.

How to Make Smoked BBQ Pulled Pork

  1. Begin by selecting a high-quality pork shoulder from your trusted butcher or grocery store. Aim for a pork shoulder weighing between 8 to 10 pounds for optimal results. Before cooking, place the pork butt in a foil pan and allow it to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  2. Next, apply yellow mustard as a binder, then season the pork shoulder generously with our Soul Dust soul food seasoning or your favorite dry rub or seasoning blend. Whether you prefer a classic barbecue rub or a more adventurous flavor profile, be sure to coat the entire surface of the meat.
  3. Properly setting up your smoker is crucial for maintaining a consistent cooking temperature and infusing the pork shoulder with a delicious smoky flavor. Start by preheating your smoker to 275°F. If you want to cook your pork shoulder at a lower temperature, check out this guide for how long to smoke pork shoulder at 225°F.
  4. Once the smoker is preheated, add your preferred wood to the firebox or smoker box. We used cherry wood, but other popular wood choices for smoking pork shoulder include hickory, apple, and oak.
  5. With the smoker preheated and the pork shoulder seasoned, it’s time to begin the smoking process. Place the pork shoulder on the smoker grate, fat cap side up, to allow the rendered fat to baste the meat as it cooks. Baste with mop sauce every 30 to 45 minutes (recommended).
  6. After the pork shoulder reaches an internal temperature of about 160° to 165° F, you will remove it from the smoker and wrap tightly in multiple sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil. Then, insert your thermometer probe into the meat and put it back on the smoker. You will want to monitor the meat periodically, until it reaches 200° to 205° F.
  7. Once it reaches 200° to 205° F, remove the pork butt from the smoker and place inside a cooler or oven to let it rest. We typically rest it in a cooler for at least one hour. After the pork butt has rested, carefully remove the foil.
  8. Now it’s time to pull the pork! We like to wear gloves with cotton liners underneath and use our hands, but you can also use two forks to shred the pork. The meat will still be piping hot, so tender that it easily pulls (falls) apart. You can chop it or leave it in shreds.

There are a million different ways to eat pulled pork, but we usually like to put it on sandwich buns. With the leftovers, we usually make pulled pork nachos or tacos. The ways to serve it are endless!

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Baste with Mop Sauce: Consider basting the pork shoulder with a mop sauce every 30 to 45 minutes during smoking to keep it moist and add flavor.
  • Wrap in Foil at 160-165°F: Once the pork shoulder reaches an internal temperature of 160° to 165°F, tightly wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil and continue cooking until it reaches 200° to 205°F.
  • Rest Before Pulling: After cooking, let the wrapped pork shoulder rest in a cooler or oven for at least one hour before pulling. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in juicier meat.

What to Serve with Smoked BBQ Pulled Pork

Smoked BBQ pulled pork pairs well with a variety of delicious side dishes. Here are some options to consider. You can also pull all the ingredients together and make a Pulled Pork Parfait aka BBQ in a Jar (pictured above).

  • BBQ Coleslaw: Our creamy and crunchy BBQ Coleslaw is a Southern-inspired side dish that brings the perfect blend of textures and flavor. This isn’t just any coleslaw recipe; it’s the best coleslaw for pulled pork, ribs, and other barbecue recipes!
  • Baked Beans: Flavorful baked beans with ground beef is a classic barbecue side dish that’s as convenient as it is delicious. Made with canned beans, seasoned beef, bell pepper, onion, and seasonings, these beans are perfect with burgers, ribs, pulled pork, and more.
  • Cornbread: Our soul food cornbread recipe is easy to follow and yields a moist, tender crumb. It combines the rich tang of buttermilk with classic ingredients like butter and sugar for a delightful side dish that complements any Southern meal.
  • Macaroni and Cheese: Indulge in this Southern baked macaroni and cheese recipe featuring cheddar, Monterey jack, and mozzarella. This recipe uses no roux! It’s decadent and comforting, and an absolute must-try for anyone looking to savor a taste of the South.
  • Potato Salad: Our Southern potato salad has the best creamy texture and tangy flavor, with ingredients like mayo, mustard, hard-boiled eggs, pickle relish, and seasonings. It’s one of those recipes that always brings people together at barbecues, picnics, family reunions, and holiday gatherings!

How to Reheat Pulled Pork and Keep it Moist

Reheating pulled pork is simple and can be done using several methods. However, to keep it moist we recommend reheating it in the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C).
  2. Place the pulled pork in an oven-safe dish or baking pan. Cover the dish with aluminum foil to prevent the pork from drying out.
  3. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the pork is heated through.

What to Do With Leftover Pulled Pork

Leftover pulled pork is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of delicious dishes. Here are some ideas for what to do with leftover pulled pork:

  • Pulled Pork Spaghetti: Toss reheated pulled pork with cooked pasta and your favorite BBQ sauce for a quick and easy Memphis-style meal.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Make classic pulled pork sandwiches by reheating the pork and serving it on buns with your favorite barbecue sauce, coleslaw, pickles, or other toppings.
  • Pulled Pork Tacos or Burritos: Use the pulled pork as a filling for tacos, burritos, or quesadillas. Simply warm up the pork and serve it with your choice of tortillas, along with toppings like salsa, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream.
  • Pulled Pork Nachos: Make loaded nachos by topping tortilla chips with reheated pulled pork, cheese, black beans, jalapenos, and sour cream. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, then garnish with fresh cilantro and diced tomatoes.
  • Pulled Pork Pizza: Use leftover pulled pork as a topping for homemade pizza. Spread barbecue sauce on a pizza crust, top with pulled pork, red onions, and cheese, then bake until bubbly and golden brown.

FAQ

How long is pulled pork good for?

When properly stored in the refrigerator, pulled pork can typically last for 3 to 4 days. If you have a large amount leftover that you won’t be able to eat within 4 days, consider freezing it for longer storage. Pulled pork can be frozen for up to 2 to 3 months.

How long to smoke pork shoulder at 275 F?

At a smoking temperature of 275°F, a pork shoulder typically takes about 0.75 to 1 hour per pound to cook. So, for a 10-pound pork shoulder, it could take approximately 7.5 to 10 hours to smoke at 275°F.

Summary

Ready to elevate your barbecue game? Try this easy smoked BBQ pulled pork recipe! It uses simple ingredients for the dry rub and a mop sauce to help keep the meat from drying out. Whether you’re hosting a backyard cookout or craving some comfort food, this mouthwatering dish is sure to be a hit with friends and family alike.

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Smoked BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: 1216 servings 1x
  • Category: main course
  • Method: smoker
  • Cuisine: barbecue, southern

Description

This Smoked BBQ Pulled Pork recipe features tender pork shoulder cooked with cherry wood and doused in flavorful mop sauce.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 to 10-pound bone-in pork butt 
  • yellow mustard
  • Soul Dust soul food seasoning (alternatively, use your favorite BBQ dry rub)
  • cherry wood, for smoking (preferred)

Mop Sauce

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce


Instructions

  1. Place the pork butt in a foil pan and allow it to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  2. Next, apply yellow mustard, then season the pork shoulder generously with our Soul Dust soul food seasoning or your favorite dry rub or seasoning blend. 
  3. Preheat your smoker to 275°F. Once the smoker is preheated, add your preferred wood to the firebox or smoker box. 
  4. Place the pork shoulder on the smoker grate, fat cap side up, to allow the rendered fat to baste the meat as it cooks. Baste with mop sauce every 30 to 45 minutes (recommended).
  5. After the pork shoulder reaches an internal temperature of about 160° to 165° F, remove it from the smoker and wrap tightly in multiple sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil. Then, insert your thermometer probe into the meat and put it back on the smoker. 
  6. Once it reaches 200° to 205° F, remove the pork butt from the smoker and place inside a cooler or oven to let it rest for 30 minutes to one hour. After the pork butt has rested, carefully remove the foil.
  7. Wear gloves with cotton liners underneath and use your hands to shred the pork. The meat will still be piping hot, so tender that it easily pulls (falls) apart. You can chop it or leave it in shreds.

Keywords: pulled pork, pork shoulder, pork butt, boston butt, smoked bbq pulled pork

One Comment

  1. Pingback: BBQ in a Jar - Cooks With Soul

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