Get your taste buds ready for some of the most Spectacular Pulled Pork you can imagine. This recipe is made in the oven, not the slow cooker, and you have my word that it is melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
Why oh why is there yet another pulled pork recipe on the internet, you ask? Well that is simply because this was way too good not to share! Once you read how we made this pulled pork, you may never make it any different again.
Slow cooker vs. Oven
Both the slow cooker and the oven cook the pork low and slow, however, there are some definite differences:
SLOW COOKER – I’ve made my share of pulled pork in the slow cooker for sure. It’s not that I am totally against it, but there are some drawbacks to it.
- too much liquid – there is so much liquid that accumulates in the slow cooker (even with no liquid added) that I’ve found my pork almost swimming by the time it was done. This results in a grainy, spongy type of pulled pork.
- 2nd heat – what slow cooker pork lacks is those crispy edges and flavorful char that comes from a smoker or oven, which means is almost always ends up under the broiler. Never quite the same.
- flavor – any spices that were added to the pork prior to entering the slow cooker will dilute as it cooks down, resulting in a rather flavorless pork.
OVEN – Once I made pulled pork in the Dutch oven I never looked back. The results were night and day. This is the most authentic method way of preparing pulled pork other than using a barbecue or smoker.
- flavor – first off the dry rub stays on, the entire time it’s cooking. Enough liquid accumulates as the pork cooks down to keep it from drying out and while adding substantial rendered flavor.
- texture – the texture was outstanding! Fall apart tender meat that isn’t too spongy or dried out.
- Dry rub – The first step (in my opinion) to any great pulled pork recipe is the dry rub. Mix the ingredients listed below in the recipe card together until they are well combined.
- Marinate overnight– For easy cleanup, line a 9×13 glass baking dish with plastic wrap. Put on some disposable gloves if you have some lying around and place the pork shoulder on top of the plastic wrap and rub the spices all over the pork. Then simply take the plastic wrap and wrap the pork in it. Place the baking dish in the fridge and refrigerate at least overnight.
- Tip – Most spice rubs contain salt and ours does too. This draws moisture out of the meat so you might notice some liquid on the bottom of the pork the next day. This is why I advise leaving the pork in the baking dish and not just the plastic wrap on your refrigerator shelf.
How long Does it Take to Cook Pork in the Oven?
That depends. Don’t you just love those answers? It depends on:
- Bone-in pork shoulder or boneless (do not use pork tenderloin)
- Temp of the oven
- The vessel it’s cooked in
A good rule of thumb for cook time is 40-45 min per bone for boneless and 1 hour for bone in. For this recipe I used a BONELESS Pork Shoulder that weighed in at 3 lbs. This was a great size and produced a good chunk of meat. It was pull apart tender in under 3 hrs. and can easily serve 8.
How to Make the Best Pulled Pork in the Oven:
- Bring the pork to room temperature (about 30 minutes on the counter) before cooking.
- Cut a large red onion into large ringlets and place them in the bottom of a large Dutch oven.
- Remove the pork from the plastic wrap and place it (and the liquid) on top of the onions.
- Cover and place the pork in a preheated oven at 325°F on the bottom rack.
- Allow the pork to cook for between 40 minutes and 1 hour per lb. until the meat is cooked to 190° F or can be shredded easily.
TIP! I have found it’s important to allow meat to rest after cooking. For best results, shred the pork in the Dutch oven along with the onion bits and allow to rest for about 30 minutes. I suggest covering the pork loosely so it doesn’t dry out during this time.
What to Serve with Pulled Pork Sandwiches:
Whether you are following a low carb diet and just eat the shredded pork itself or indulge and put it on a toasted butter bun with barbecue sauce, here are some favorites to go along with it:
- Coleslaw – it’s just a must with pulled pork sandwiches
- Potato Salad – there’s something about the hot and cold together that is a great mix
- Baked Beans – a classic BBQ combination
Make Ahead, Storage and Freezer
- Make ahead – the beautiful thing about pulled pork is that it CAN be made ahead of time. Simply place it in a tray covered with foil at 165° for up to 3-4 hours. If it seems to be drying out, add a little beef or chicken broth to help moisten it.
- Store and Freeze – store the pork in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen and reheated in the microwave at a low temperature until heated through.
SPECTACULAR PULLED PORK RECIPE
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- 1 (3 lb) Boneless Pork Shoulder
- 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Sweet Paprika
- ½ Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Large Red Onion, sliced in very thick rings
Keto BBQ Sauce
- Mix all the spices together in a small bowl until combined.
- Place the pork in a large glass baking dish (or something similar) and rub the mixture all over the pork (using gloves makes this a breeze). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- The next morning, remove the pork from the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Place the sliced onion rings on the bottom of a Dutch oven and place the pork (fat cap up) and any accumulated juices on top. Cover and place in the center of the oven for approximately 1 hour per lb. or until the pork reaches 190°F and is fall apart tender.
- Using 2 forks, shred the pork and onions together, discarding any fat.
- Serve over toasted buns alongside some coleslaw and sweet potato fries.
This recipe does not call for any additional liquid, however, ¼ cup of water may be added to the pan to ensure the onions do not burn.