Pulled pork is one of those meals that when someone else makes it and says how easy it is to make, but you still never make it. Well, here is your chance. Making a simple and delicious pork butt is almost a set it and forget it type of deal. We also don’t go crazy with the spices for our rub on this recipe. The reasoning behind that is so that you can repurpose the leftovers in a variety of ways without having overpowering seasonings.
Pulled Pork Pro Tips
Pork butt and pork shoulder are very similar, and you could use either cut or for this recipe. They are both in the neck area of the hog. Just a tip from my experience, getting 2 smaller pork butts, about 5 pounds each, is easier and faster to cook than 1 large 10 pound. If you can only find 1 large you can cut it in half before cooking or just leave it whole but remember to time figure out the approximate time of cooking you’re going to need based off the weight. It is typically 60-90 minutes per pound.
Using whatever size pork butt you chose, removing it from the wrapping. Using a paper towel, pat the pork butt dry. To make your rub which is simple but delicious you only need a couple of ingredients. Using a small bowl mix together 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon pepper, 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder. Stir until fully combined. Rub the mixed so that the pork butt is fully covered. The reason we use smoked paprika instead of just paprika is so that if you are cooking this in the oven you still get the essence of smokey flavor.
If you are using an oven, preheat to 275ºF. Place the pork butt in an oven safe container. For the first few hours keep it uncovered so that a crispy bark can form on the outside. Depending on the size of the pork but you want the temperature to be around 160ºF when you cover it with foil. Cook until the internal thickest part of the meat reads 190-200ºF. Remove and allow to rest and reabsorb the juices for 30 minutes and then you can shred using forks.
If you are using a Traeger, set to smoke then to 275ºF. Place the pork butt right on the grill. I add a small grill safe container with water to add moisture. The cooking time will depend on the size of the meat which typically is around 60-90 minutes per pound. Once the internal temperature reads 190ºF. I remove and allow to rest for half an hour. The pork should be nice and tender and pull apart easily using forks.
If you enjoy BBQ sauce on your pulled pork, grab a bottle of your favorite stuff or even better make your own homemade BBQ sauce. You can control the level of sweet you like and you can even have fun making it more spicy, more tangy, more mustardy, etc. We love making homemade BBQ sauce over here. Check out this in depth tutorial for how to make it yourself at home.
Here are a few ideas on how to use this protein prep:
- On the day we make it, we usually do a BBQ dinner and the pulled pork as the main, grilled veggies, coleslaw, and our Elote corn recipe would be great with this.
- Second day, we chop some pork butt up and use in a salad. Use our Big F*ckin’ Salad (BFS) formula for ideas
- Third day, we make breakfast burittos with the pulled pork. We love our easy recipe and use the pulled pork butt is the perfect compliment
- On the fourth day we either freeze the rest or will make pulled pork nachos or grain-free quesadillas.
There is no right or wrong way to use this protein prep. It’s meant to make your life easier. You cook once and have food for multiple days. We love that the seasonings are not overpowering on the pork butt so that the days after we can use in a variety of ways which gives you the feeling of eating something new every time you repurpose it. Don’t be intimidated by the size of pork butt or shoulder or the cook time. Once you have the rub on and it’s on the smoker or in the oven all you need to do is wait.
Pulled Pork - Protein Prep - Oven or Traeger
- 1 5-10lb pork butt or pork shoulder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoons ground pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 275 or if using Traeger, set to 275.
- Remove pork butt from packaging and pat dry.
- Prepare your rub. Mix the rub ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined.
- Spread the mixture over the pork butt. If using a larger pork butt, you may need to double the rub.
- Oven-place pork butt fat site up in an oven safe container uncovered for about 5 hours. Once you see the bark nice and crispy, cover the container with a lid and cook until the internal temperature reaches 190-200 degrees.
- Smoker-place pork butt fat side up. Put a small grill safe container fill with water inside next to the pork. Cooking until the internal temperature reaches 190-200 degrees.