How to Make Pulled Pork
Succulent pulled pork, an iconic southern dish, is both delicious and easy to prepare. Cooked low and slow, whether grilled, roasted or prepared in a slow cooker, seasoned, shredded pork smothered with a tasty sauce is finger-licking good any way it’s prepared.
1. The Cut – The pork butt is the cut of choice for pulled pork, which is actually from the shoulder area. The ideal size is about 7 to 8 pounds. The layer of fat along the topside of a pork butt is called the fat cap, which should be left intact. As the pork cooks, the fat cap melts and naturally bastes the pork.
2. Dry Rub – Rubbing the outside of the pork with a dry rub (a combination of dried spices) adds a base flavor profile to the pork. The seasoning will get distributed throughout the pork when it’s shredded.
3. Flavor and Roast – Place the seasoned pork fat side up in a Dutch oven. The pork can then be flavored to your liking with fruit preserves or chutney, maple syrup, molasses, mustard, chopped fresh herbs, sliced chile peppers or garlic. Next, pour in a liquid, such as your favorite beer or cider – the possibilities are endless. Roast the pork, tightly covered, at 325°F for about 4½ to 5 hours. The internal temperature of the pork should reach 190°F – the magic number at which point the connective tissues in the pork break down, resulting in moist, fall-apart-tender pork.
4. Shredding – Transfer the pork to a baking dish large enough to shred the pork. The pork will shred much easier when it’s hot. Carefully remove the bone when it’s just cool enough to handle. While you can use 2 forks or your hands to shred the pork, you can also use the bone to shred the pork to your desired consistency. Once the pork is shredded, stir in some of the sauce remaining in the Dutch oven, reserving any remaining sauce to serve with leftovers.