Pulled Pork
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Pulled Pork

OK, don’t laugh…but pulled pork doesn’t always look appetizing, so I thought a garnish would make it more presentable…and I grabbed a thyme blossom from my garden. I know, it’s silly. But forget about that now because you have got to try this recipe. O…M…G it’s fantastic! I let the meat sit in the rub for a day and a half – I just threw it into a Ziploc freezer bag – I didn’t bother double wrapping it. I also couldn’t find pork shoulder, so I used a boneless pork loin roast. This is the most flavorful pulled pork I’ve ever made – possibly the best one I’ve ever had! The best tip was to get rid of the cooking liquid and then shred the pork, put it back in the slow cooker with the BBQ sauce and cook a little longer – it was perfect! We made this into sandwiches and threw some of the cole slaw right on top. WOW.

Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork
Cooks Illustrated

serves 6

Spice Rub:
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 (6-8 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
2 cups barbecue sauce

Mix all spice rub ingredients in small bowl.

Massage spice rub into meat. Wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours. For stronger flavor, the roast can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Unwrap roast and place it in slow cooker liner. Add liquid smoke, if using, and 1/4 cup water. Turn slow cooker to low and cook for 8-10 hours, until meat is fork-tender.

Transfer roast to cutting board; discard liquid in liner. Pull by tearing meat into thin shreds with two forks or your fingers. Discard fat.

Place shredded meat back in slow cooker liner; toss with 1 cup barbecue sauce, and heat on low for 30-60 minutes, until hot. Serve with additional barbecue sauce.

MacGourmet Rating: 5 Stars

Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


  • Lunch Buckets

    Nothing looks better to me than a big ol’ pile of pork – guess it’s true what they say – Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder!

  • Katy ~

    Sounds and looks super good. We like pulled pork sandwiches here as well. I haven’t made it in a while, but next time I do, I’m using your recipe. YUM

  • Desmone007

    Looks interesting. The rub sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing! I’d love to direct Foodista readers to your blog. If that’s ok with you, just add your choice of widget to this post and you’re all set!

  • finsmom

    My husband has been wanting me to make this for some time now – your looks amazing! I will have to save this recipe!

    Thanks for sharinG!

  • Elyse

    Oh how I love pulled pork. I went to UNC and, of course, it was all about Eastern North Carolina BBQ. So good. Your post has brought back all of those wonderful flavor memories. I can’t wait to make some pulled pork! (Oh, and your garnish looks absolutely precious 🙂 )

  • Brandon W

    What do you mean you couldn’t find pork shoulder? Was it hiding?

    Looks good, pulled pork is one of my favorites. I wish I had more Saturdays I could dedicate to learning how to properly smoke a pork shoulder, but it takes so long.

  • Ashley

    The grocery store by my house is weird – they don’t always have “normal” cuts of meat. But I figure it’s the price I pay for being within walking distance of groceries, right? 🙂

    This is by far the best pulled pork we’ve ever had – next time I’ll marinate it even longer to see if that makes it even better!

  • Chef Chip

    The first thing I noticed on your pork were the little blossoms and immediately wanted to know what that was. They look BEAUTIFUL!

    Your presentation is great. My favorite image of pulled pork is an upright fork stabbed throuth the shreds…but then your beautiful blossoms would have looked very weird then!

    Love your blog. Found you from one of your comments at Blue Kitchen–my all time favorite!

  • Ashley

    ChefChip – thanks so much! It’s funny because my husband totally made fun of me for throwing flowers on a big pile-o-pork. The visual I got from you describing it on a fork made me drool! I love shots like that!

    Thanks so much for stopping by – I love Blue Kitchen too 🙂

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