In this post, I am going to show you how to prepare the most amazing smoky and spicy pulled pork. Super tasty, tender, melt in your mouth, you know the deal. We’ll go over how to prepare this pork in the oven and in a slow cooker, and we’ll go over which cuts of meat are best to use for pulled pork.
The fantastic thing about pulled pork, is that not only is it delicious, but it’s almost impossible to screw up. You flavour the pork, you cook it slowly with aromatics, you pull it apart with 2 forks, mix the pork back in with it’s juices, and then serve it.
How to make this pulled pork?
So first, we make the rub my mixing brown sugar, mustard, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Feel free to personalise the rub as much as you like.
From there, rub the spices over the pork.
Get a heat proof pot and and whatever aromatics and condiments you like. I added onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar and cornstarch. Then add the pork on top.
Cover the pot and then cook the pork for 3-4 hours until tender in an oven pre-heated to 140 degrees Celsius (285 degrees F)
Once the pork is lovely and tender, transfer it onto a board. Then strain the remaining liquid into a bowl.
Put that liquid back in the pot, bring it to a simmer and reduce it until it has thickened into a sauce.
And finally, shred the pork with a couple of forks, and return it to the pot with the sauce.
What cut should I use?
It is widely known that the shoulder of the animal is the best cut for making pulled pork. So the 2 best choices are either the pork shoulder or the pork butt.
Yes that’s right, the pork butt is the not actual butt of the animal. Both the pork shoulder and pork butt actually come from the shoulder of the animal, the difference is that the pork shoulder comes from the lower half of the shoulder, and the pork butt comes from the upper part of the shoulder.
Now, when it comes to making pulled pork, the pork butt is a slight upgrade to pork shoulder, because there is a bit more marbling fat in the pork butt. However, both cuts work beautifully for pulled pork so don’t fret.
Using a slow cooker?
I want to show you how to make pulled pork in a slow cooker because there are a couple of benefits when doing so.
Apart from the fact that using a slow cooker is more energy efficient, you can, for example, prepare the pork early in the morning, start cooking it in the slow cooker before you go to work, then when you come home from work you’ll have have delicious, tender pulled pork. And there are a number of other situations like that where a slow cooker could make you life a lot easier.
Exactly the same rules apply when using a slow cooker. You flavour the pork with the spices, you cook it with the aromatics. The only 2 differences are that you’ll need to cook the pork for a longer period of time. I recommend cooking the pork on low for at least 8 hours, or even longer if you can.
And when you strain the left over liquid to make the sauce, you’ll just have to transfer it into a pot rather than putting it back in the slow cooker.
How long will the pork keep?
If you want to make pulled pork in advance, or if you want to store it away for leftovers. It should last in the fridge for about 3-4 days.
Or you could also store it in the freezer, then defrost and re-heat it on a later day.
Different ways to serve this recipe
- You can use this pulled pork to make burgers or sliders, I have a wonderful Pulled Pork Slider with Lemon and Yoghurt Coleslaw recipe. If you would like to have a look at then feel free.
- You can put them in tacos, quesadillas, burritos and enchiladas.
- Try putting it in toasted sandwiches.
- Mix it through your pasta dishes.
And those are just a few of many ways to serve pulled pork.
You may also like my Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Bolognese recipe.
And if you would like to subscribe to get recipe post updates and to receive a free recipe ebook, please subscribe to this blog. Thank you so much for checking out this recipe and have an amazing day!
Easy Smoky and Spicy Pulled Pork Recipe
A delicious smoky and spicy stress free pulled pork recipe that will blow your mind!
The dry rub:
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
- 1.5 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper
- 1.5 kg of pork shoulder 1.75kg if the cut has the bone
- 1 onion quartered
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 a cup of chicken stock
- 1/4 a cup of balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of cornflour/cornstarch
Pre-heat your oven to 140 degrees Celsius (285 degrees F)
Mix all of the ingredients for the dry rub together in a bowl, then rub as much of it over the pork as you can.
Put the onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar and cornflour in an oven-proof pot.
Next, gently place the pork in the pot with those ingredients, and make sure you add any excess dry rub as well so that none of it gets wasted.
Cover the pot, place it in the oven and gently cook for 3-4 hours.
Once the pork is cooked, use a pair of tongs to transfer it onto a plate but keep the excess liquid in the pot. (don't forget that the pot is hot, have a tea-towl or mittens on hand). Then cover the pork with aluminium foil.
Strain the liquid from the pot through a sieve into a bowl, and use the back of a spoon to make sure that you have pushed as much of the liquid as you can through that sieve.
Return the liquid back to the pot, then pre-heat the pot on high heat and bring the it to a boil, then turn the heat down low and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Take the foil off of the pork, then use 2 forks or your clean hands to pull all of that pork into shreds. Put the pulled pork into the pot with the sauce, then mix through until all of it is coated.
Re-heat when you are ready to serve.
- Use whatever spices you want when making the spice blend.
Coat the pork as much as you can with the spice blend.
Cook the pork for at least 3 hours in the oven, and at least 8 hours in the slow cooker.
If you use a slow cooker, use the low temp option instead of the high temp option. And when you strain the liquid, transfer it into a pot, don't put it back in the slow cooker.
Pork shoulder is the best cut of meat to use for pulled pork, especially the pork butt.
Pulled pork will keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days, but you can also freeze it.
Pulled pork can be used to make so many different kinds of dishes. Tacos, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, sandwiches, pasta dishes etc.
I have a Pulled Pork Slider with Lemon and Yoghurt Coleslaw if you would like to check that out.
Wonderful flavours in the dry rub and the braising liquid. I’ve got a boneless pork butt in the freezer for the day I get motivated to make a pot. Thank you for the lovely pictures.
You definitely should use it! no worries and thank you for your comment (:
Thank you so much Faith! hope you like it if you do (:
umm ummm buono! I love using spices and herbs. you did a great job with the pulled pork. I have got a lot to learn from you. And your photos…..you are really processional.
Quick question how much did it cost you to prepare this dish? Thanks.
Thank you so much Hirut! Hmmm well the pork shoulder with the bone cost me about $7.50 a kilo (which is very cheap) and I got 1.75kg. That with the all the other ingredients would have costed around $30 all up. which I think would be around 20 Euros. But it depends how much the meat costs you. hope the helped (:
Mouth watering photos here Nick!! looks super! And I can think of another reason puller pork is terrific– easy to make a whole lot when you have a crowd coming in. Make it ahead and it’s ready for lots of eaters! Great post!!
Absolutely! thank you Rhonda (:
It did, thanks
the runaway palate
Looks great! Love your photography too.
Thanks so much (:
Deee-licious!!! Made this today and if you’re a pork fan you need to make this. Great work, Nick
Thank you so much for your support Marie!! So happy you like it and can’t wait to see your post.
Tomorrow arvo, Nick
Super excited to see what you have done!! (:
Can I add liquid smoke to this recipe for the slow cooker, and if so, how much please?
Hey! thank you so much for the comment. I am sure you could add liquid smoke to add flavour and aroma but unfortunately it is not something I have worked with. So my advice would be to start with a bit, see how it effects the dish, and gradually add if you feel that it could use more. Hope this helped. Stay safe (: