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Pulled Pork Recipe
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3.86 from 7 votes

Pulled Pork Recipe

If you love to order pulled pork in restaurants, but have never tried your hand at making your own, now is the best time to start. Fortunately for home chefs, this prospect is nowhere near as daunting as it may seem from the outside. 

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pulled Pork
Servings: 4
Calories: 168kcal


  • A medium-sized nonreactive bowl
  • A smoker


  • 1/3 cup kosher salt

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons onion powder

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons celery salt

  • 2 teaspoons celery salt

  • About 5 pounds pork butt (bone-in if you can find it)

  • 1 cup apple juice

  • 4 cups prepared hickory wood chips


  • Measure all the spices into a medium-sized nonreactive bowl, and mix well.

  • Rub the spice mixture onto the entire surface of the pork butt, massaging it into all the crevices. 

  • Let the seasoned meat sit at room temperature for no longer than one hour while you prepare the grill or smoker.

  • If you’re using a smoker, heat it to 210 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Add about half the wood chips, and pour about half the apple juice into the water pan.

  • Add the pork to the center of the smoker and close the grill to begin cooking.

  • If you’re using a charcoal grill, wait until the charcoal is coated with a fine film of light gray ash, then arrange the coals so that they’re heaped on one side of the grill.

  • Make sure the pork fits on the area with no coals directly underneath, or the overall cooking time will be affected.

  • Once the temperature inside the grill area has reached 200 degrees Fahrenheit, add 1/4 of the wood chips to the coals, close the grate, then add the pork to the “bare” side of the grill and close the lid.

  • Cook the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (you can refer to a pulled pork temperature chart if you have trouble remembering this number).

  • During this time, you can check the grill or smoker every hour or two to add more wood chips and apple juice as needed (you may also need to add more coals if you’re working with a grill).

  • Grillers should use a spray bottle to “baste” the pork with apple juice during this time.

  • Make sure the cooking temperature stays between 200 and 225 degrees.

  • After about 5 hours, the pork should reach 165-175 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer.

  • At this time, wrap the meat in a double layer of aluminum foil to preserve the juices, then return it to the cooking surface.

  • Start checking the meat after another hour.

  • You’ll know that it’s done when it’s achieved that classic “pull-apart” consistency, but the internal temperature should read at least 190 degrees at this time.

  •  If it doesn’t, continue to cook (without removing the foil) for up to one hour longer.

  • Let the pork rest for 1 hour.

  • Carefully unwrap the pork. Remove and discard the bone.

  • When the pork is cool enough to handle, shred it into bite-sized pieces using the tips of your fingers.

  • If any large chunks of fat or gristle remain, pull them out and discard them.

  • Serve the pulled pork warm, with toasted buns and a few of the suggested side dishes listed below.

  • If you like, you can offer your favorite barbecue sauce as an accompaniment, but the pork will have a succulent smoky flavor all its own.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 168kcal