Barbecued Pulled Pork

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Learn how to make oven-roasted Barbecued Pulled Pork perfectly with this easy recipe.  Made with lots of flavorful spices, this sweet and tangy pulled pork is great for sandwiches or to use in a Pulled Pork Poutine.

Tender and flavorful Barbecued Pulled Pork - the sauce is so good!

Today we’re talkin’ pork.

I know there are thousands of recipes out there for slow-cooked pork made in the crockpot and while I’m sure they’re all great, this recipe isn’t one of them.

I love my crockpot but I really love to make pulled pork in the oven.  It’s easy – just over three hours of roasting time and you’re done, plus the flavor can’t be beat.

For the past two Sundays, I’ve made this Barbecued Pulled Pork and my family couldn’t have been happier.  Usually they like me to change things up and not serve the same thing two weekends in a row, but not in this case.  All I had to say was, “I’m making pulled pork sandwiches for dinner, wanna come over?”, and my two kids who don’t live at home anymore came running – with their laundry I might add…it never ends…sigh…

Extremely tender and flavorful Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches from ZagLeft

Pork shoulder is one of my favorite cuts of meat to work with.  It’s relatively inexpensive, extremely versatile and fall-apart tender when it’s slow cooked.  Pork shoulder, also known as pork “butt” (even though it’s not the butt) is usually sold as a roast in the grocery store.  It’s a relatively tough cut of meat that becomes very tender when it’s slow roasted.  It’s the piece of meat you use for pulled pork.

Pork Shoulder for Barbecued Pulled Pork | ZagLeft

As I mentioned, this pork is incredibly easy to cook and even though I use lots of flavorful spices in the rub and in the barbecue sauce, this recipe is mild and very family friendly.  My youngest daughter loves it too!

Barbecued Pulled Pork - ZagLeft

I begin to prepare my pork by rubbing all sides of the pork shoulder with a mixture of spices.  I use smoked paprika, dry mustard, chili powder, salt and pepper.  It’s important to rub the spices all around the pork and make sure you get the spices into the folds of the meat.

What a great blend of spices rubbed into this pork shoulder - Barbacued Pork Shoulder Recipe from ZagLeft

After I put on the rub, I place the pork into a heated pot with a little bit of oil to sear all of the sides.  Searing will deepen the flavor of the pork and lock in the flavors of the rub.  Searing the pork may be just a bit time consuming, but so worth it.

There are a few rules I have for searing meat; First,  make sure your pot or pan is hot.  Second, add about 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the pot.  Third, once you put the pork into the pot,  leave it alone to sear – about 5 minutes per side – resist the urge to touch the meat or turn it over until it’s done on each side.

While the sides are searing, there’s time to put together a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce that I will use to pour over the pork right before I put it into the oven.  This sauce alone is delicious!  It’s got cumin, chili powder, ginger, smoked paprika, brown sugar, onions, and garlic all mixed together in my food processor.

Making the barbecue sauce for Barbecued Pulled Pork | ZagLeft

Once I’ve got the spices, onions and garlic mixed together, I add in 1 cup of already prepared barbecue sauce and a touch of ketchup and pulse it a few times more.

Once you taste the sauce, you’ve got to resist the urge to continue tasting.  Tasting the sauce is good because you’ve got to check the flavors, but this stuff is addicting and it’s hard to stop!

After the pork is seared on all sides, I take it out of the pot and place it on a plate to rest.  Keeping the pot on the heat, I add 1/2 of an onion that I’ve sliced as well as an additional chopped garlic clove.  I cook them down for about 2 minutes, then I put the pork back in the pot and pour the barbecue sauce over the top.  I place a lid on the pot and bake the pork in a 325 degree oven for about 3 1/2 hours.

After it’s cooked, spoon a hefty portion onto a toasted hamburger bun…

Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches - the best pulled pork recipe in the world! | ZagLeft

or make a Pulled Pork Poutine

Pulled Pork Poutine - ZagLeft

If you’d like to serve beer or wine with this Barbecued Pulled Pork, I would suggest an Amber beer or a Zinfandel.

Tender and flavorful Barbecued Pulled Pork - the sauce is so good!
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5 from 1 vote

Barbecued Pulled Pork

Learn how to make Barbecued Pulled Pork perfectly with this easy recipe. Made with lots of flavorful spices, this sweet and tangy pork is great for sandwiches or a Pulled Pork Poutine.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 4 servings plus leftovers


  • 1 3 - 4 pound pork shoulder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups water if necessary


  • Rinse the pork and pat dry with paper towels.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the smoked paprika, salt, dry mustard, chili powder and black pepper. Season all sides of the pork with the spice mixture.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, brown the meat on all sides until a golden crust forms, about 5 minutes per side.
  • While the pork is searing, make the barbecue sauce. (See instructions below)
  • After the pork is seared on all sides, transfer the pork to a plate.
  • Thinly slice one half of the onion. Add the onion slices to the heated pot. Cook for a minute, then chop 1 clove of the garlic and add it to the pot.
  • Cook the onions and garlic for about 30 seconds more, then remove the pot from the heat.
  • Return the pork to the Dutch Oven, then pour the barbecue sauce over the top of the pork. Add the water if liquid does not come up to the top of the pork. Do not cover the pork with liquid.
  • Cover the pot and place it in the oven to braise until the meat is fork tender, about 3 hours.
  • Transfer to a serving platter and serve.
  • Roughly chop one half of the onion and place in the food processor.
  • Add the brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika and ginger to the food processor and pulse until the onion is finely chopped.
  • Pour in the barbecue sauce and the ketchup and pulse a few times to mix.

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