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posted July 28, 2021

Easy Smoky BBQ Pulled Pork

BBQ Pulled Pork is a classic backyard dinner dish and for good reason! Smoky, juicy, shredded pork is incredibly tasty piled high on potato rolls, topped with coleslaw, and drizzled with sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. Traditionally, smoked pulled pork can take 18-20 hours, but I’ll teach you how to do it in just 8 hours with the help of our sponsor, Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil. It’s the perfect sturdy foil for this smoker recipe. They’ve even added an easy open and close tab to the box to make storage even easier.

BBQ pulled pork sandwich on a plate next to sliced watermelon and mac and cheese.

 

Best Cut for Pulled Pork

Seasoned whole pork shoulder on a wooden cutting board.

Bone-in pork shoulder, also known as a pork butt, or Boston butt, is the best cut of meat for pulled pork. This muscle is heavily used and loaded with tight connective tissue. It is also generally well-marbled and laced with tasty fat that is going to keep the meat moist. The tight connective tissues and fat marbling break down during the BBQ process to make pulled pork that is melt-in-your-mouth tender and delicious.

I would stay away from cuts like pork loins or tenderloins because they are simply too lean to use for delicious pulled pork. You can use a pork picnic roast for making pulled pork, you just want to make sure the skin is removed before seasoning and smoking using the following recipe.

How to Make Easy BBQ Pulled Pork

Seasoned pulled pork butt on the smoker.

Smoked pork shoulder on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Partially shredded pork shoulder on aluminum foil.

There are many different ways to slow cook pulled pork until it is fall-apart tender, but my absolute favorite way is on the smoker. This recipe is designed to use with any smoker you’ve got in your backyard that you can set and run at 275 degrees F. If you only have a gas grill in your backyard, you can still follow along and get authentic BBQ using my tutorial for Smoking on a Gas Grill.

No matter what you’re cooking on, here are the basic steps with LOADS of added tips for making tasty BBQ pulled pork at home (full recipe and ingredient quantities are available in the printable recipe card below):

  1. Preheat your smoker. You want your smoker running at 275 degrees for this recipe. You can use your favorite hardwood for flavor, but I recommend apple, cherry, or maple.
  2. Trim your pork shoulder. Use a sharp knife to remove some of the fat cap on top of the pork shoulder. You want about 1/8th inch of fat left on top of the shoulder. I don’t generally remove the fat cap, but with this higher heat cooking process and using Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil(read on for that step), I wanted to remove excess fat now.
  3. Season your pork shoulder. Use your favorite BBQ seasoning and shake on all sides of the pork shoulder. I am using my Signature Sweet Rub (you can find the recipe HERE or purchase your own bottle HERE).
  4. Smoke the pork. Place your seasoned pork shoulder on the grates of your smoker, close the lid, and smoke at 275 degrees F until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. This process typically takes about 4.5-5 hours for an 8-pound shoulder.
  5. Wrap your pork shoulder. Using Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil, wrap your pork shoulder tightly with a healthy drizzle of 3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ Sauce. The thick layer of Heavy Duty Foil will keep all of the moisture and the heat in the pork shoulder during the last phase of the cooking process.
  6. Finish cooking the pork. Place the tightly wrapped pork shoulder back on the smoker at 275 degrees F and cook until an internal thermometer reads at least 200 degrees F in the thickest part of the shoulder. You want the thermometer to slide into the meat easily with very little resistance. Every pork shoulder is different and yours might not be super tender until 203 or even 205 degrees F. This wrapped cooking phase typically takes 90 minutes, to 2 hours.
  7. Rest the finished pork. When your pork shoulder is nice and tender, turn off the smoker and transfer the foil-wrapped pork shoulder to a baking pan or dish. Allow the roast to rest at room temperature in the foil for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
  8. Shred your BBQ Pulled Pork.  Unwrap the pork shoulder and allow all of the extra moisture in the foil to drip into the baking dish. Use forks or meat shredder claws to shred apart the pork and discard any gristle or chunks of remaining fat. Toss the pulled pork with the juices in the pan.

Time and Temperature

As I mentioned earlier, this is a hot and fast cooking method. Traditional pulled pork is smoked at a lower temperature (around 225 degrees F) overnight and far into the next day. This BBQ pulled pork will give you all of that classic smoky BBQ flavor in well under half the time.

Smoking at 275 degrees F, an 8-pound bone-in pork shoulder will take about 7 hours to smoke. Add in about 15 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of resting time, this BBQ pulled pork recipe is done in just under 8 hours total. Perfect for a day when you’re working from home or a weekend where you’ve got a day to relax and smoke a big piece of meat. And, by using the foil wrapping in the cooking process, you don’t have to worry about a huge cleanup on the smoker or grill.

Easy BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe

BBQ pulled pork sandwich on a plate next to sliced watermelon and mac and cheese.

BBQ pulled pork sandwich on a plate.

 

Easy Smoky BBQ Pulled Pork

Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey.com)
BBQ Pulled Pork is a classic backyard dinner dish and for good reason! Smoky, juicy, shredded pork is incredibly tasty piled high on potato rolls, topped with coleslaw, and drizzled with sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. Traditionally, smoked pulled pork can take 18-20 hours, but I’ll teach you how to do it in just 8 hours with the help of our sponsor, Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil. It’s the perfect sturdy foil for this smoker recipe. They’ve even added an easy open and close tab to the box to make storage even easier.
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 7 hrs
Resting Time : 30 mins
Total Time : 7 hrs 45 mins
Servings : 12 people
Calories : 46kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 8-pound bone-in pork shoulder (aka pork butt)
  • ¼ cup Sweet Rub
  • ¾ cup BBQ sauce
  • Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker. You want your smoker running at 275 degrees for this recipe. You can use your favorite hardwood for flavor, but I recommend apple, cherry, or maple.
  • Trim your pork shoulder. Use a sharp knife to remove some of the fat cap on top of the pork shoulder. You want about 1/8th inch of fat left on top of the shoulder. I don’t generally remove the fat cap, but with this higher heat cooking process and the foil wrap (read on for that step), I wanted to remove excess fat now.
  • Season your pork shoulder. Use your favorite BBQ seasoning and shake on all sides of the pork shoulder. I am using my Signature Sweet Rub (you can find the recipe HERE or purchase your own bottle HERE).
  • Smoke the pork. Place your seasoned pork shoulder on the grates of your smoker, close the lid, and smoke at 275 degrees F until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. This process typically takes about 4.5-5 hours for an 8-pound shoulder.
  • Wrap your pork shoulder. Using Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil, wrap your pork shoulder tightly with a healthy drizzle of 3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ Sauce. The thick layer of Heavy Duty Foil will keep all of the moisture and the heat in the pork shoulder during the last phase of the cooking process.
  • Finish cooking the pork. Place the tightly wrapped pork shoulder back on the smoker at 275 degrees F and cook until an internal thermometer reads at least 200 degrees F in the thickest part of the shoulder. You want the thermometer to slide into the meat easily with very little resistance. Every pork shoulder is different and yours might not be super tender until 203 or even 205 degrees F. This wrapped cooking phase typically takes 90 minutes, to 2 hours.
  • Rest the finished pork. When your pork shoulder is nice and tender, turn off the smoker and transfer the foil-wrapped pork shoulder to a baking pan or dish. Allow the roast to rest at room temperature in the foil for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
  • Shred your BBQ Pulled Pork. Unwrap the pork shoulder and allow all of the extra moisture in the foil to drip into the baking dish. Use forks or meat shredder claws to shred apart the pork and discard any gristle or chunks of remaining fat. Toss the pulled pork with the juices in the pan.

Nutrition

Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 185mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
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