BBQ Pulled Pork

Delicious BBQ Pulled Pork which is perfect for entertaining! Pulled pork recipe for oven, pressure cooker and Instant Pot.

bbq pulled pork in black dutch oven

BBQ Pulled Pork

We have a good friend who, every summer, invites everyone over for a pulled pork feast. The pork is attentively prepared over several days and served with a homemade spicy barbecue sauce with all the fixins, including homemade tortilla bread.

His pulled pork is so delicious that, until recently, I never attempted to make it myself – I simply waited for his invitation!

But with winter recently upon us, as well as the need for social distancing due to a certain virus terrorising us, I felt the need to make something comforting, and something which could see us through many meals. Enter pulled pork.

bbq pulled pork in pot

What is Pulled Pork?

Pulled pork is a dish where the pork has been slow-cooked until it is meltingly tender and falls apart easily. You should be able to use a fork to “pull” the pork apart easily.

Why This Pulled Pork Recipe Works

  • You need just 10 minutes of prep, and the oven or pressure cooker does the rest of the cooking.
  • This recipes takes about 3 hours in the oven, or 1 hour in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot.
  • Pulled Pork is the perfect dish to make when entertaining many people – this recipe feeds 8 to 10 people!

Pulled Pork Recipe

I played around with several pulled pork recipes and quickly realised that pulled pork is one dish on its own, whilst BBQ Pulled Pork is pulled pork mixed with barbecue sauce.

For my recipe for pulled pork below, I have used spices which go well with barbecue sauce. But the pulled pork on its own (without the barbecue sauce) is really delicious too!

For a BBQ Pulled Pork, it makes sense to use a barbecue sauce which you like. You could easily use a shop-bought barbecue sauce, but making your own is super easy.

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

I like to make my own barbecue sauce so that I can adjust the flavourings to my liking. With a homemade barbecue sauce, you can also reduce the sugar content a lot compared to the shop-bought variety.

Another advantage is that you can also add additional spices, such as chilli powder or chipotle chilli powder, for some extra kick.

bbq pulled pork in pot on wooden board

How to Make Pulled Pork

To make pulled pork, you need a cut of meat which is suitable for slow-cooking or braising. Pork shoulder is the cut which is often recommended in most recipes for pulled pork.

You should buy the pork shoulder in one piece, but it is also fine if you cut the meat into several large pieces.

Marinate the meat in a dry rub, preferably overnight so that the meat can take on some of the flavours. But if you are in a hurry and plan to make pulled pork using the pressure cooker or Instant Pot, you can skip the overnight marinating time.

Once you are ready to cook, use an oven-proof pan which will fit the meat snugly. You don’t want to use a pan which is too large, otherwise the meat can dry out during the cooking phase. I like to use a Le Creuset Dutch oven.

process shots for how to make pulled pork

Using the Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot

I like to make pulled pork by slow-cooking it in the oven, but I have also tried it using the pressure cooker, and the results are equally delicious.

So if you are pushed for time, you can make pulled pork in about 1 hour!

What to Serve with BBQ Pulled Pork

Some of my favourite ways of serving BBQ Pulled Pork include:

  • Cornbread – This Easy Cornbread makes for a quick and stress-free meal alongside the pulled pork.
  • Soft Tortillas – Warm some soft flour tortillas and make some wraps using the pulled pork, together with your favourite toppings.
  • Nachos – Layer some tortilla chips with the pulled pork, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese or similar. Warm in the oven until the cheese has melted. Serve with toppings suggested below.
  • Baked Potatoes – Served the pulled pork with some baked potatoes.
  • Mac & Cheese – BBQ Pulled Pork is delicious served with Macaroni and Cheese.
  • Jaffles or Toasted Sandwiches – Generously butter both sides of two white sandwich slices, place some pulled pork inside, and maybe a slice or two of pickled gherkins, and toast until golden and crisp.

Some of my favourite sides and toppings for BBQ Pulled Pork include:

  • guacamole or chopped avocados
  • chopped salad or cabbage
  • sliced cucumbers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • jalapeños
  • sour cream or crème fraîche
  • chopped coriander (cilantro)
pulled pork in pan with coriander garnish
Print

BBQ Pulled Pork

Delicious BBQ Pulled Pork which is perfect for entertaining! Recipe for oven, pressure cooker and Instant Pot.

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 to 10
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

For the Spice Rub

For the Pulled Pork

  • 1.5 to 1.8 kg (3.3 to 4 lb) pork shoulder (or pork butt)
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock

For the Barbecue Sauce

To Serve

  • Coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

Instructions

For the Pulled Pork – start this recipe the day before

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the spice rub.
  2. Place the pork into a large bowl.
  3. Rub the spice rub all over the pork.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  5. Leave the meat to marinate overnight in the fridge.
  6. Before cooking, let the meat come to room temperature first. This might take about an hour, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
  7. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F).
  8. Heat a large oven-proof pan with some olive oil. The pan should be large enough to snugly fit the piece of meat.
  9. Brown the meat on both sides, taking care not to burn the spice rub.
  10. Remove the meat to a large plate.
  11. Cook the onion until it has softened.
  12. Return the meat to the pan, sitting it on top of the onions.
  13. Pour over the chicken stock. The liquid should come to about halfway up the sides of the meat.
  14. Place a lid on the pan, and place the pan into the oven.
  15. Cook for about 3 to 3.5 hours, or until the meat is very tender and a metal spoon cuts through the meat easily. I recommend checking on the meat about 2-3 times, basting the meat each time. (See Kitchen Notes below for using a pressure cooker.)
  16. Once the meat is ready, shred the meat directly in the pan, into the pan juices. The liquid in the pan (which should be very flavourful by now) will help to keep the meat moist. But if you prefer a drier pulled pork, simply discard some of the liquid.
  17. The pulled pork is ready to use.

For the Barbecue Sauce

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Simmer gently on medium-high heat for a few minutes.
  3. Taste for seasoning.

To assemble

  1. Pour the Barbecue Sauce into the pan with the pulled pork.
  2. Mix well over medium-high heat. 
  3. Simmer for a few minutes for the flavours to mingle.
  4. Taste for seasoning.
  5. Garnish with coriander (cilantro) before serving.

Kitchen Notes

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PRESSURE COOKER OR INSTANT POT
Follow the instructions as above, and cook using the manufacturer’s instructions for 50 to 60 minutes. I would also recommend cutting the meat into large chunks before marinating. You could skip the overnight marinating – the dish will still be delicious.

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Did you make this recipe?

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