Simple Versatile Pulled Pork

1 May

I had a fun gathering at my house on Friday  night.  In lieu of the old hamburgers/hot dogs routine, I went with a couple pulled pork roasts.  I guess it was a success because a ton of people asked me for the recipe.  Truth be told, there isn’t one really.  That is the beauty of pork shoulder…I learned this technique from my mom, and while there are more complicated and gourmet ways to do it, this one is fool-proof.

1 Pork Shoulder, bone in, skin on.  You can also use boneless/skinless.  Whatever your grocer stocks will work!
2 parts Salt
1 part each Pepper and Garlic Powder

Place pork shoulder skin/fat side up in a large roasting pan.  Generously season the pork with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Don’t worry about over-seasoning the roast.  The seasonings should heavily coat the pork, but make sure you use twice as much salt as the pepper and garlic.  I never measure.  But, I probably use 1/8 c of salt and 1-2 tbsp each of pepper/garlic powder.  That’s just a guess.

Cover the roasting pan with foil tightly.  Place in preheated oven at 275 degrees for 6-8 hours depending on its size.  If you don’t have that much time, it will do just fine at 350 for 3-4 hours.  You know it is done when a fork pulls the meat right off….if it doesn’t come off easily or seems rubbery, it needs more time.

There will be a lot of drippings.  Allow the roast to cool, then separate the skin and fat from the succulent meat.   I usually pour about 1 cup of the reserved drippings back over the pulled meat, to keep it moist and flavorful.


You may have to go back and reseason it to taste after it is cooked.  I always serve the meat with my favorite barbecue sauce on the side.  It is also good with a few shakes of apple cider vinegar.  Next time I will probably use my chipotle cream sauce.

Be creative.  For Mexican flavored pork, or for tacos, season with lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro.  Rotel tomatoes tossed in is also delicious.  For an Indian flavored pulled pork, douse it with curry powder and coriander and a little cumin.  Do you have some random spice mixtures in your pantry that you don’t know what to do with: Ras el Hanout, Garam Masala, Rogan Josh?  This is a great way to use them up…just make sure you balance them with the right amount of salt!

P.S.  I have not had good success using a crock pot.  The meat does not come out nearly tender enough.  Maybe I just have a bad slow cooker?  Either way, using your oven is about the same amount of work/prep, and it allows you to make two at once, if necessary!



13 Responses to “Simple Versatile Pulled Pork”

  1. katzfood May 1, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Oh this sounds delicious!! I have to try it!! Thank you very much for posting this recipe, i cant wait to see what my family has to say about this one!! What honestly caught my eye was the plate!! If you check out my blog, http://www.lkatzfood.wordpress, we have the same plate lol!! It is bright and vibrant and catches the eye!! Cant wait to read more of your recipes! Thanks again! 🙂


    • katzfood May 1, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      http://www.katzfood.wordpress sorry about the misselling lol! Glad I caught it before it was too late!!


    • the PRIME pursuit May 1, 2012 at 10:07 am #

      awesome! I love the blue willow pattern! Let me know how your pork shoulder turns out! I love that you throw it in the oven and dinner’s done! I will enjoy looking at your blog today! Thanks for reading!


  2. Kimberly Kemmerer May 1, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    I have tried many times putting a pork roast in the crock pot. It never turns out tender enough to me either. I am getting a new stove tomorrow so I will have to try it this way this weekend! Thanks.


    • the PRIME pursuit May 1, 2012 at 11:53 am #

      Kimberly. Pork can be so tricky. Shoulder and Butt roasts are really easy to slow-cook. Pork loin has been hard for me–it tends to come out really tough. Pork tenderloin is always tender and cooks up fast. Pork chops have been hit or miss. Let me know how it turns out!!


  3. Heather May 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    This was excellent, Leigh! I bought a pork loin to try your technique out this week!

    I love making barbecue sauce from the SonofGrok. Unfortunately, I do not think he blogs anymore, but I found a link to his tried and true recipe here:



    • the PRIME pursuit May 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

      heather, pork loin will not come out exactly the same…it is a tough cut of meat…definitely has to be shoulder, or butt for the “pulled” pork texture… let me know how loin comes out…its not been easy for me.


      • Heather May 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

        Got the tenderloins and followed the recipe exactly….SO delicious! I’ve made pulled pork in the crock pot many times but this was by far the juiciest it has ever been! Thanks for the new technique, Leigh!



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