Patricks BBQ Pork Recipes

Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe

Cooking BBQ pulled pork the easy way, smoker to oven.

How to cook smoked pork the easy way.

What's unique about my smoked pulled pork recipe?

I smoke the pork first, then let the oven finish cooking overnight at a low temperature. Why? Because pork stops absorbing smoke at around 140°F. The smoke ring stops forming at around 170°F. So using this cooking method makes sense... the pork is smoky and tender, you don't waste a lot of wood chips or propane, and the "pull" temperature is perfect!

Some helpful hints before you get started with your pulled pork cooking session:

  1. Don't trim all the fat, it adds flavor and juiciness to the pork. Cook fat side-down!
  2. Use a thin coating of yellow mustard to help the dry rub bind to the pork.
  3. Deep foil steam table pans work great for direct transfers from the smoker to the oven. They can be reused too!
  4. Use heavy duty aluminum foil to wrap your pork before adding to the oven. You want to lock-in the moisture.
  5. Smokers get extremely hot, so use pot holders or oven mitts to handle your BBQ equipment (especially the smoker box and drip tray).
  6. Be sure to have gallon size storage bags on-hand to freeze your leftover pork. Record the date and time and save for a future meal.

Smoked pull pork in tray

A simple recipe to smoke pulled pork.

I have made this pulled pork recipe dozens and dozens of times, and it never fails! Keeping it simple, I like to use an off-the-shelf rub called "Barbecue Magic" from Chef Paul Prudhomme.  It's great on almost anything you can cook in a smoker. If you are ambitious, you can make the NC style rub according to my recipe.

This recipe makes perfect smoked pulled pork using my simple smoker-to-oven process.

Basic Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 250
  • Fat Content: 18g
  • Carbohydrate Content: 0g
  • Protein Content: 20g

All the Ingredients

  • 4-5 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt
  • Dry rub (NC style)
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup salt
    • 1/4 cup paprika
    • 1/4 cup black pepper
    • 1/4 cup white pepper
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
    • 2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 cup soda (optional)
  • Rolls or buns (optional)
  • Coleslaw (optional)
  • Mac & cheese (optional)
  • Dill pickles (optional)

Cooking Instructions

How to smoke pulled pork:

  • Step 1 - Rub the pork shoulder generously with the dry rub, covering all sides. Let it rest in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Step 2 - Preheat the smoker to 225°F and add hickory wood chips or chunks for flavor.
  • Step 3 - Place the pork shoulder on the smoker grate and smoke for about 4 hours.
  • Step 4 - Remove from smoker, and set in a deep roasting pan, fill bottom of pan with soda*, and wrap tightly in aluminum foil.
  • Step 5 - Transfer to the oven, preheated to 212°F. Slow cook for 8 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 205-215°F.
  • Step 6 - Once done, remove the pork shoulder from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Step 7 - Shred the pork using two forks or meat claws and mix it with any remaining juices.
  • Step 8 - Serve on a bun or roll for a delicious pulled pork sandwich. Recommended sides are coleslaw, baked beans, and a few dill pickles!

* The soda will convert to steam when it reaches a temperature of 212°F.

How to store and freeze

Put leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Pulled pork can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

How to reheat smoked pulled pork:

Oven reheating (recommended):

  1. Preheat your oven to 250°F.
  2. Place the pulled pork and any leftover juices in an ovenproof dish.
  3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the pulled pork reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Microwave reheating:

  1. Place the pulled pork and any leftover juices in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel to trap moisture.
  3. Warm the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  4. Be sure to check and stir periodically to ensure even reheating.

What's the best wood for smoking pulled pork?

I like to smoke pork with hickory, mesquite, apple or cherry wood. I usually try to "pair" the smoke wood with the rub, as well as the steaming liquid. So for example, apply a cherry rub, smoke with cherry wood chips, and finish in oven with a cherry soda steam. This will give you a smokey flavor with a hint of cherry. When you cook pork this way, a BBQ sauce really is not needed (in my humble opinion). Another benefit is the juices from the pork (cherry in my example) can be used to flavor other side dishes, like beans, rice or potatoes.

Photos of one of my many pulled pork cooks

Pork butt with rub wrapped overnight
Step 1 - Apply rub to pork and refrigerate overnight.
Master Forge propane smoker
Step 2 - Preheat the smoker.
Pork butt in smoker
Step 3 - Place the pork in the smoker.
Pork butt wrapped in foil with soda
Step 6 - Remove pork from oven and let rest.
Smoked pull pork in tray
Step 7 - Shred or pull the pork.
Patrick's perfect pulled pork
Step 8 - Serve pulled pork directly from foil steam table pan.

Know Your Pork Cuts:

Pork Butt vs. Pork Shoulder
Pork butt (a.k.a. Boston butt) is the upper portion on the front shoulder, while pork shoulder (a.k.a. picnic roast) is from the lower section of the leg.

Both are tough, fatty cuts and benefit from slow cooking methods such as roasting, or smoking.

Patrick's Pork Recipes

My Favorite BBQ Rub

Barbecue Magic rubChef Paul Prudhomme's
Barbecue Magic®

Here are some regional styles of pork barbecue, including Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas BBQ.

Patrick's Pork recipes feature a simple "smoker to oven" BBQ cooking method.

 Pulled Pork •  Pork Ribs •  Pork Loin •  Hot Dogs •  BBQ Dry Rub •  Deep Fried Pork Tenderloin

 Mac and Cheese