Pulled pork is one of those things that seems to have an endless list of rules to go along with it – people everywhere swear they’ve got some magic secret to making awesome pulled pork. But you know what? The real secret is time, patience, and the proper temperature. 😀
So stop attempting to take short cuts, stop fiddling with pressure cookers and slow cookers – all you need is an oven and a probe thermometer for the most amazing and delicious pulled pork.
- pork butt/shoulder – at least 3/4 pounds
- 1-2 cups of dry rub
- baking rack
- baking sheet
- probe thermometer
First up, prep work! If your pork came with a fat cap, you’ll want to trim that off. I try to find the place where the fat cap is loosely attached to the muscle and start cutting it away there. I think it’s great to keep the fat on if you’re doing this on a grill, but in the oven the fat will never render down to where it’s yummy.
I started with 13 pounds of pork this time, and lost 2-3 pounds of fat once I was done trimming.
The second step is applying the dry rub and letting it sit overnight. You want it to be really well covered, all over. You’ll end up using cups of the stuff in this process, and that’s fine. 😀
Once the pork’s been properly massaged, put it on a baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let it hang out in the fridge overnight.
And now we’ll get ready for cooking. Pull the pork out of the fridge and set it on a baking rack on top of a baking sheet. Put a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the pork, away from the bone. Set the alarm to go off when the pork reaches 190 F.
You can also pour 1/2 cup water and a little bit of liquid smoke into the baking sheet if you’re feeling fancy!
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
If your pork is 6+ pounds, cook it at 400 F for an hour. If you pork is under 6 pounds, cook it at 400 F for a half hour.
Now for the long part. Turn your oven down to 250 F and cook the pork until the internal temp reaches 190 F and looks SO GODDAMN DELICIOUS like the photo on the right.
This will take forever. I started the pork photographed here at 8 in the morning, and it wasn’t ready until 6pm. Estimate about an hour per pound for cook time.
Do not open the oven! I REPEAT – DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN. Use your willpower! The more you open it, the longer it will take to cook. Have faith in your oven, your probe thermometer, and my really intense love of pulled pork.
You’ll be able to tell when it’s done because the bone with easily separate from the meat, and the outside will have formed a really nice back.
Pull the pork out of the oven and cover it with aluminum foil. You need to rest your pulled pork for at least a half hour. If you can go longer than that, I recommend it.
Now look at that! JUST LOOK AT IT.
Gorgeous. Pulled pork porn of the highest sort. Worth every minute of the hours it cooks. The fat is super and the bark is excellent. And you didn’t even have to use a grill! woooohoooo!
I think it’s so good that it doesn’t require sauce, but if you’re really into it, I highly recommend my recipes. I’ve got a mustard bbq sauce and a standard smoky-spicy-ketchup based one. Both are easy to make and customize, and do you really want to slather store bought stuff on the amazing pulled pork you just made?
For the more in-depth write up of this recipe, check out my instructables tutorial over it. I go into things like reheating it and why I did it the way I do. 😀