How To Make Pulled Pork: A Recipe Just In Time For Football Season

Ah, the temperature has finally dropped, there’s a chill in the air, and all your favorite shows are back — including football. Now, I’m not necessarily the first one to know what’s going on on the football field but, what I do know is that it’s fall and I love all the food associated with the season. The soups, the chicken wings, everything apple-flavored – I am HERE FOR IT ALL. But, the one dish that really gives me all the fall feels? Pulled Pork.

For starters, the smell of pork slowly cooking in the oven makes your entire home smell phenomenal. No matter how big or small of a place you live in, the intoxicating smell travels to every nook and cranny of your home. Basically, if Yankee candle made a pulled pork scented candle, I’d have it lit in every room of my apartment, at all times.

pulled pork recipe

What kind of meat do I use?

Pulled pork is made from the cut of pork called the ‘butt.’ It’s easy to assume that this particular cut of meat is from — well, the butt since it’s in the name, butt it’s actually from the hogs upper shoulder. However, you can ask your butcher for the shoulder or butt. And, to make things even more confusing , you could also ask for a cut of Boston Shoulder and would get the same thing. All three are interchangeable.

Regardless which name you use to order the meat, it can have a large amount of fat on it. So, before searing it, cut any large chunks off. But, you definitely want to leave some of the fat on because fat = flavor.

how to make pulled pork

How to make pulled pork

I do have to confess the first time I made pulled pork, I was a little nervous. It’s a big chunk of meat and I was feeding a large group of very hungry people, so the pressure was on! As I carefully cut, seasoned, and seared the meat, I thought to myself, ‘that’s it? This is so easy!‘ I tucked all my generously seasoned meat back in my dutch oven, added beer and stock, and placed it into my oven. It pretty much just cooks itself after that. The hardest part of it all? Waiting for it to cook.

What you’ll need to cook the pork is one large dutch oven (one of my favorite kitchen items). Not only are their beautiful enameled exteriors the perfect accessory to add to your kitchen, but they are absolute beasts in kitchen. They’re key to making this recipe but also great for  soups, roasting whole chickens(!), and impressing your friends with homemade breads. I’ve included a bunch below at every price point!

Sear your meat 3-4 pieces at a time to prevent overcrowding the pot.

Pro tip: Before seasoning and searing the meat, make sure the meat is cut up into about 3-4 inch cubes. This part is crucial because what you’re doing is creating more surface area to season and sear. Sear your meat 3-4 pieces at a time to prevent overcrowding the pot.

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pulled pork

How to make pulled pork

Yield: 5-6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 lb pork shoulder
  • olive oil / canola oil
  • 6 tbsp dried thyme
  • 6 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 large carrots, diced into small pieces or shredded in a food processor 
  • 1 large onion 
  • 2 cans of beer
  • 3 cups of chicken, beef, or vegetable stock

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a few gulps of oil in a large dutch oven on top of your stove. Don't add heat yet.
  2. Prepare your pork: Make sure your pork is fully defrosted. Cut the meat into 3-4 inch cubes and cut any excess fat. Discard fat.
  3. Make dry rub mix: Mix together all ingredients from thyme to black pepper in a small-medium bowl. Turn on medium heat under the dutch oven. Let it heat up.
  4. Season pork: Working in batches, generously cover all sides of each piece of pork with your dry rub mixture. Carefully place each piece of seasoned pork in your heated dutch oven and brown all sides. Each side should take about 2-3 minutes to brown. Brown 3-4 pieces of meat at a time so you don't overcrowd the pan. Rest seared pork on a cutting board and repeat with all pork.
  5. Make your cooking liquid: Add your carrots and onions to your dutch oven and saute for 3-4 minutes. Adjust heat if needed. Pour in your beer and stock. Place your pork pack into your dutch oven. It's okay if they are touching one another, it will be tight but that's okay. Place lid on dutch oven and place inside for 3 hours.
  6. Once the 3 hours are up, carefully take out your dutch oven and place it on top of your stove. Remove the lid and shred pork with two forks. Discard any fat. Turn up your oven to 400 degrees and place dutch oven back into your oven with the lid uncovered for 15 minutes to crisp the edges.
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