BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe

BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe

When the warm summer breeze starts to fill the air, there's one dish that reigns supreme at backyard gatherings and picnics: BBQ pulled pork. Its smoky, tender, and succulent taste embodies the essence of American barbecue culture. In this article, we'll explore the art of creating the perfect BBQ pulled pork, highlighting the health benefits of using pasture-raised pork, offering cooking tips, and providing a comprehensive recipe guide.

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The Health Benefits of Pasture-Raised Pork

Before we dive into the culinary aspects of BBQ pulled pork, let's talk about the benefits of using pasture-raised pork. Pasture-raised pork comes from pigs that are raised in open fields where they have access to fresh air, natural sunlight, and a diet that includes foraged plants. This rearing method offers several health advantages:

  1. Leaner Meat: Pasture-raised pigs tend to have a leaner meat profile compared to conventionally raised counterparts. The pigs' exercise and varied diet result in meat with lower fat content, making it a healthier option.
  2. Higher Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Pasture-raised pork contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their heart-healthy benefits. These fatty acids can help reduce the risk of heart disease and promote overall well-being.
  3. Reduced Antibiotics and Hormones: Pasture-raised pigs are typically raised without the routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones. This ensures that the meat is free from these substances, which can have negative effects on human health.
  4. Improved Animal Welfare: Choosing pasture-raised pork supports ethical animal husbandry practices. These pigs have more space to roam and engage in natural behaviors, leading to a higher quality of life for the animals.

Now that we've covered the health benefits, let's explore the art of cooking pasture-raised pork to perfection.

Cooking Tips for Perfect BBQ Pulled Pork

Achieving that mouthwatering tenderness and smoky flavor in BBQ pulled pork requires careful preparation and cooking techniques. Here are some essential tips:

Low and Slow Cooking

One of the key principles in BBQ cooking is "low and slow." This means cooking the meat at a low temperature over an extended period. For pulled pork, maintaining a consistent temperature of around 275 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. This slow cooking process breaks down the tough connective tissues in the meat, resulting in fork-tender pork.

Pork Cooking Temperature Table

To ensure your pulled pork is safe to eat while retaining its juiciness, here's a temperature guide:

  • 160-165°F: Pork is safe to eat but may be slightly firm.
  • 170-175°F: Pork is tender and easily pulled.
  • 180-190°F: Pork is very tender and perfect for shredding.
  • 200-205°F: Pork is extremely tender, falling apart effortlessly.

Other Tips

  • Use a flavorful dry rub to season the pork. The spices in the rub will infuse the meat with depth and complexity.
  • Wrapping the pork in foil or placing it in a roasting pan with liquid (such as beer, as suggested in our recipe) helps keep it moist during the cooking process.
  • Resting the cooked pork before pulling it apart allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and delicious end result.

Ingredients: Elevating the Dish with Flavor

Each ingredient in this BBQ pulled pork recipe serves a specific purpose in enhancing the flavor and texture of the dish:

  • Pork Shoulder: The star of the show, pork shoulder, is rich in flavor and contains enough fat to keep the meat moist during the long cooking process.
  • Beer (or Stock): The beer or stock adds moisture and flavor to the pork while helping to create a delicious braising liquid. Choose a beer with notes that complement the smokiness of the BBQ.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar provides a tangy and slightly sweet acidity that balances the richness of the pork and the sweetness of the brown sugar and BBQ sauce.
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar caramelizes during cooking, forming a delectable crust on the pork and infusing it with a subtle sweetness.
  • BBQ Sauce: BBQ sauce adds that classic smoky and tangy flavor we associate with pulled pork. You can choose your favorite BBQ sauce to customize the taste.
  • Dry Rub: The dry rub, consisting of chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, imparts a complex blend of spices and a hint of heat to the pork.

List of Tools

Before we dive into the step-by-step instructions, here's a list of essential tools you'll need to make perfect BBQ pulled pork:

  • Grill or smoker
  • Charcoal or wood chips (if using a grill)
  • Meat thermometer
  • Aluminum foil
  • Roasting pan
  • Tongs or forks for pulling the pork
  • BBQ sauce brush

Now, let's get into the nitty-gritty of creating this mouthwatering dish.

How to Make BBQ Pulled Pork: 10 Beginner-Friendly Steps

  1. Thaw out your 3.5 lbs of FFF Pork Shoulder. Cover the pork shoulder with the dry rub mixture, ensuring an even coating. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
  2. Fire up your grill or smoker to maintain a temperature of around 275 degrees Fahrenheit. For added flavor, consider using charcoal or wood chips for that authentic smokiness.
  3. Place the seasoned pork shoulder on the grill, away from direct heat, with the fatty side facing down. This positioning allows the fat to baste the meat as it cooks.
  4. Keep a close eye on the grill's temperature, ensuring it remains steady at around 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the pork.
  5. In a roasting pan, combine the brown sugar, BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, and beer (or stock). Mix them well to create a flavorful braising liquid.
  6. After approximately 2 hours of smoking, transfer the pork shoulder to the roasting pan with the prepared braising liquid. Ensure the pork is well-coated.
  7. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and return it to the grill or smoker. Let the pork cook for an additional 3-4 hours. Maintain the grill temperature at 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. To determine if the pork is ready, use an instant-read thermometer. It should register 170 degrees Fahrenheit, but the true test is its tenderness. The meat should easily pull apart when prodded.
  9. Remove the pork from the heat and allow it to rest in the roasting pan for about 15-20 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a juicy and tender
  10. Using tongs, forks, or your hands, shred the pork into bite-sized pieces. Serve it with your favorite BBQ sauce, and enjoy the mouthwatering flavors of BBQ pulled pork.

How to Store BBQ Pulled Pork

If you have leftovers (though it's hard to resist eating it all at once), store the pulled pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can stay fresh for up to 4-5 days. Reheat it gently in the microwave or on the stove, adding a bit of BBQ sauce to retain moisture.

Variations on the Recipe

Get creative with your BBQ pulled pork by trying these variations:

  • Spicy Kick: Add extra cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the dry rub for a spicy twist.
  • Pineapple Infusion: Incorporate pineapple juice into the braising liquid for a tropical flavor.
  • Smoked Wood Flavor: Experiment with different types of wood chips (hickory, applewood, mesquite) to impart unique smoky notes.
  • Carolina-Style BBQ: Create a Carolina-style pulled pork by serving it with a vinegar-based BBQ sauce for a tangy kick.

Questions and Answers

Q: Can I use a slow cooker for this recipe?
A: Yes, you can use a slow cooker instead of a grill or smoker. Follow the same seasoning and braising steps, then cook on low for 8-10 hours until the pork is tender.

Q: Can I use pork loin instead of pork shoulder?
A: Pork loin is leaner and tends to dry out during slow cooking. It's best to stick with pork shoulder for the juiciest and most flavorful results.

Q: What sides go well with BBQ pulled pork?
A: Classic sides include coleslaw, baked beans, cornbread, and pickles. These pair perfectly with the smoky and savory flavors of pulled pork.



  • 3.5 lbs of FFF Pork Shoulder
  • 12 ounces of beer of your choice (Alternatively, you can use chicken or beef stock)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • BBQ sauce of your choice

Dry Rub

  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Optional: Pinch – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Thaw out your Pork shoulder and cover it in your dry rub.
  2. Fire up the grill on medium or until it reaches about 275 degrees F. Place the roast in the BBQ away from direct heat with the fatty side down. Let it BBQ there for about 2 hours.
  3. Put the pork in a roasting pan, cover your roast in the brown sugar and BBQ sauce, then add the apple cider vinegar and beer and cover with foil. Alternatively, put about half of the apple cider vinegar in the roasting pan and spritz the roast with the remaining mixture every 30-45 minutes. BBQ it for about another 3-4 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register 170 degrees F, but you should cook it until it feels soft and you are able to pull it apart.
  4. Remove from the heat and let it rest.
  5. Leave it in the roasting pan with all the juices and pull the roast apart with tongs, forks, or your hands!
  6. Top with more BBQ sauce and Enjoy!

Here's to happy, healthy living from all of us to all of you!

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