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Smoked pulled pork recipe

Smoked pulled pork recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Pork
  • Cuts of pork
  • Pork shoulder

This is a sweet pulled pork that uses apple juice and brown sugar for an addictive BBQ flavour. If you don't have a smoker I have included instructions to make it in the oven instead.

Washington, United States

7 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • pork rub, as required
  • For the wrapping liquid
  • 125ml apple juice
  • 4 tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 50g butter
  • For the glaze
  • 250ml BBQ sauce
  • 125ml apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon pork rub

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:7hr ›Extra time:2hr › Ready in:9hr20min

  1. Trim the pork to remove excess fat, as well as any tags or residual bone shards.
  2. Rub the pork with mustard, then sprinkle evenly with pork rub on all sides. Let sit while setting up the smoker and waiting for it to come to temperature, about 1 hour.
  3. Place the pork on the smoker set to 120 degrees C, that has 3 large chunks of hickory or similar wood for smoke. Smoke for 3 hours.
  4. Combine 125ml apple juice, brown sugar and honey, stirring well. Cut the butter into thin slices.
  5. Prepare two large layers of foil that can wrap the pork. Place the pork on the top sheet of foil, then add the apple juice mixture and butter. Wrap tightly. Then wrap a second time with the second piece of foil.
  6. Return to the smoker and continue to cook for an additional 3 hours. After 3 hours, using a temperature probe, check the temperature and resistance of the pork. The meat starts to reach its finished time at about 90 degrees C, however use the feeling of the pork to guide you; the softer it is, the easier it will pull. The longer the pork cooks, the softer it gets.
  7. Combine the BBQ sauce, apple juice and 1 tablespoon pork rub. Unwrap the pork, and using a basting brush, coat the pork with the BBQ sauce mixture then return to the smoker for 15 minutes to let the glaze set.
  8. Rest the pork for 30 to 90 minutes before pulling. The remaining glaze and pork juices can be stirred through the pulled pork to taste.

Cooking in an oven

Follow the method as above, except in an oven at a temperature of 120 C / Gas 1/2. Omit the wood pieces from the recipe. When creating the wrapping liquid add a teaspoon of liquid smoke to give it some smokey flavour.

See it on my blog


Smoked pulled pork

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Smoked Pulled Pork Shoulder Recipe (Pork Butt)

Fire up those smokers and get ready to enjoy a perfect smoked pulled pork shoulder recipe that has the ultimate bark with a fantastic BBQ rub. Learn how else I use this same BBQ sauce is my Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf and Smoked BBQ Chicken Recipe!

Similar to my obsession with Corned Beef Hash, I pretty much only eat pulled pork whenever I go to a BBQ restaurant. I don’t even know what it is about it, but golly is it delicious. Pork shoulder has plenty of fat on it to make this recipe loaded with flavor. Just like I always say, fat equals flavor.

Smoking obviously requires you to have a smoker and plenty of time to smoke it. I would suggest setting aside at least 10 hours of your day to properly prepare and smoke this pork shoulder.

Low and slow for pulled pork

I cooked my pork butt at around 235(ish) for about 4-5 hours on my Traeger Pro Series 34 smoker. You’ll want to spritz every hour after the 2 hour mark.

Once the internal temperature was at around 155-160, wrap in foil so that it doesn’t take on anymore smoke. If you choose to go bare for the entire cook be sure to continue spritzing your pork shoulder along the way

At this point, you can even raise your temperature a little higher to expedite the process. I continued cooking at 275 and had everything done at the 8-9 hour mark for a 7 pound pork butt.

Ultimately you’re cooking your pork but for as long as it needs for it to be done. You’ll looking for an internal temperately ranging anywhere from 195-210.

You want the blade bone to easily pull out from the pork butt, which I’ve found so far 203-205 is the sweet spot!

If you’re going with my rub, you’ll have a nice dark bark, similar to a texas style smoked brisket. This rub has a good pepper flavor, with a hint of sweetness and all sorts of juice from the pork.

How to Make the Juiciest Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe Ever

First, get yourself a good cut of pork shoulder (aka Pork Butt). Bone in or boneless. This works either way. Bone-in will result in more flavor and juiciness.

Rub the pork shoulder down with a bit of olive oil and your preferred seasoning blend.

Smoke the pork shoulder at 225 degrees F. for 4 hours, adding wood chips into your smoker at regular enough intervals to give it a nice smoke. I set mine onto a piece of aluminum foil to catch the drippings.

I&rsquove seen many recipes that will wrap the pork shoulder in aluminum foil to help the process along. Since we&rsquore moving it later to the slow cooker, there is no need to wrap it.

I often smoke for the first hour, then again at the 3 hour mark, but feel free to smoke it the entire 4 hours with enough wood.

The wood used is your choice.

Be sure to keep some moisture in your smoker pan. Beer is good, as is apple cider vinegar or apple juice, but even water will work.

After 4 hours of smoking, it&rsquos time for the braise. At the 4 hour mark, you&rsquoll easily have enough smoke penetration with the pork, so there is no benefit to continual smoking.

Of course you can leave the pork shoulder in the smoker on low heat and continue to cook until it done. Figure 2 hours of cook time per pound of pork, until you hit 195 degrees F internal temp. This is where the tough tissues breaks down.

However, I moving the meat to the slow cooker to braise gives you more control and you can add in more flavorings for a superior finish.

How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Pork Tenderloin?

Pork Tenderloin is a forgiving piece of meat. You can put one on your smoker on high heat (400+ degrees) and they’ll be done in 25 minutes. Or, you can smoke them at 300 degrees for a few hours and get one of the juiciest pork tenderloins you’ve ever seen.

For this recipe, I smoke the pork tenderloin for about 2 hours at 225 and then turn the smoker up to 450 at the end to get a nice crust on the outside.

It’s always nice to know the time component of a cook, but please note that the times I recommended above are just a guide for planning purposes. Tenderloin is not fully cooked until the internal temperature is at least 145 degrees. At 145 there will still be a little pink in the center, which is totally fine. For my family, I always cook pork tenderloins to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Figuring out what the internal temperature is can be a hassle. One of the best bbq tools I own is my Thermapen MK4. If you don’t have one, I’d buy one now, or put it on your wish list. It’s quick and accurate readouts are a gamechanger.

Smoked Pork Tenderloin Brine

Like I previously mentioned, this pork tenderloin recipe is really easy to follow. The first step involves brining in 2 cups of water plus 1/4 cup of kosher salt and 3 Tbsp of honey. You can add additional ingredients to the brine if you’d like to add more flavor, but I’ve found that this simple brine recipe is enough.

It’s best to let the tenderloins brine for about 8-10 hours, but you can let them brine for up to 24 hours. I wouldn’t push much beyond that though. If you do, you could end up with a cut of meat that is saltier than you’d like.

Smoked Pork Tenderloin Rub

The brine gives the meat that melt in your mouth texture that we all love. The rub adds a layer of flavor to the meat that will have your guests licking their lips for more.

Using a small knife remove the silverskin from the pork tenderloins and then generously apply the rub. Salt and pepper will do the trick, but if you’re looking for a tasty pork tenderloin rub, consider using this one.

Smoking Pork Tenderloins

If the tenderloins are not the same size, you can tie the ends back on the rest of the pork and tie them, or lay them next to one another. Use butcher string to secure them together and then throw them in the smoker.

Pork butt or shoulder needs to be cooked for about 90 minutes per pound of meat at 225°F, or until internal temperature reaches 203°F (95°C). We are using a 5lb pork shoulder, so we can expect about an 8-hour cooking time.

Variables like meat thickness, smoker heat retention, and fat content can all affect smoking time. I urge you to use a meat thermometer to gauge your meat’s doneness instead of going by time.

Technically, pork is safe to eat once it hits 145°F, but we need pork shoulder to be well done to reach a level where we can ‘pull’ it. At 203°F it’s at its most tender and the perfect texture we look for in pulled pork.

Apple or pecan wood chips are the best woods for smoking pulled pork. Both have a slightly sweet and fruity taste, as you would imagine. It’s also highly adaptable because no matter what cut of pork you choose with your pulled pork, it’ll go well with it. If you’re going to blend BBQ sauce with your finished food, I think apple is a decent idea.

However, since apple wood is so subtle, it can take a long time to make its way into pork. If you plan on cooking the meat for several hours at a low temperature, this is perfect, so if you want to shorten the cooking time, something else should be considered.

Basic Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe

This recipe will yield enough meat for at least 16 sandwiches. Preparation time is approximately 10 to 20 minutes but after that the roast will have to spend 8 hours in refrigerator. Cook time is approximately 8 to 10 hours.

Tools needed:

  • Electric smoker
  • Sharp knife
  • Kitchen twine
  • Disposable foil roasting pan large enough to hold the meat
  • Plastic wrap
  • Meat thermometer
  • Hickory or apple wood chips
  • Cutting board
  • 2 forks


  • 8 pound pork butt roast
  • 6 tbsps jarred mustard (yellow is fine)
  • 1/2 cup brown or raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 2 tbsps garlic powder
  • 2 tbsps onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • Unsweetened apple juice for drip pan
  • Soft rolls and barbeque sauce for assembling

Total time: 18 hourPrep time: 10 hour – Smoke time: 8 hour – Serves: 10 people
Author: Nick

1. If your roast has a fat cap, trim most of the fat off, leaving a 1/4 inch layer for extra flavor. Rinse the roast in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Roll the roast tightly and tie it with the twine to hold its shape and cook evenly. (If you don’t tie it you will get some crispy burnt ends, which can be a little treat). Here is a video from Taste of Home that shows how to trim and tie a roast.

2. Rub the entire roast with the mustard.

3. Combine the dry rub ingredients in a bowl. Completely coat the roast with the dry rub, pressing it into the mustard to hold it in place.

4. Place the roast in the pan, fat side up, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place this in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours, basically overnight.

5. An hour before you fire up the smoker, remove the roast from the refrigerator so that it can come to almost room temperature.

6. Add the wood chips to the smoker drawer. Fill the water pan half way with equal parts water and apple juice. Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F.

7. Remove the plastic wrap from the roasting pan. Drain any liquid that might have accumulated in the bottom of the pan. Place the roast, in the pan, on the middle rack of the smoker. If your smoker has a meat thermometer attached, insert it into the roast at one end.

8. Smoke for 8 hours.* Replenish the wood chips and liquid approximately every 60 minutes. If you don’t see any smoke from the vent, it is time to replenish. At 8 hours, check the internal temperature of the meat with a thermometer. It should read 190 degrees F or even a little higher.

9. Remove the fully cooked roast to a cutting board and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes.

10. Pull the pork using 2 forks to shred the meat into strands, as shown in this video by eHow. Enjoy on soft buns with barbeque sauce (recipe follows).

*If using a charcoal smoker, rotate the pan or the meat every hour for even cooking. Add charcoal every hour as well.

Important temperatures:

Pork tastes best when smoked with a mild to medium flavored smoke. The best options include:

You can use any of these on their own, or do a pairing. Using either Hickory or Oak and pairing with a sweeter fruity wood gives great options. Think Hickory & Cherry. Or Oak & Apple. Using Hickory or oak will provide a nice, rich, dark bark to the outside of the pork, while the sweeter wood gives a hint of sweetness to the smokey flavor the meat takes on.

Easy Barbeque Sauce for Pulled Pork Sandwiches


  • 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup good quality ketchup
  • 4 TBS yellow mustard
  • 4 TBS brown sugar
  • 2 tsps sea salt
  • 2 tsps cracked black pepper

1. In a 1 or 2 quart saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a low simmer. Cook and stir until the sugar has melted and the sauce has thickened but is still runny. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with your pulled pork. This will store well in the refrigerator if there is any left over.


It might not be the first recipe you come to think of when deciding what to do with your leftovers, but believe me, this works.

Sushi does take a bit of practice, but once you can get a bit of a conveyor belt and assembly line going you hit your stride.

This recipe takes the form of nori nori rolls, which are a type of sushi that have a coating of seaweed around the rice and filling.

Not sure how to cook your leftover pork? Here’s how to reheat pulled pork without drying it out.

Still hungry? Check out more BBQ posts

Smoked Pulled Pork Nachos - There aren't many party dishes better than nachos. Try something new by preparing them on the grill with this beautiful&hellip . Smoked Pulled Pork - Smoked pulled pork cooked low and slow over wood fire for the ultimate plate of barbecue meat. Learn how to&hellip . How to Shred Pork [4 Best Ways to Pull Meat] - Pulled pork is one of life's most delicious pleasures, but you need the right techniques and tools to shred meat&hellip . Smoked Pulled Pork Tacos - Pulled pork tacos served fresh off the smoker. These beautiful treats are the best way to enjoy barbecue shredded pork. .


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