The Perfect Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork

Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

  • Total: 7 hrs 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 7 hrs
  • Yield: Serves 8 - 10 people
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1058 Calories
59g Fat
4g Carbs
119g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 8 - 10 people
Amount per serving
Calories 1058
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 59g 76%
Saturated Fat 21g 105%
Cholesterol 382mg 127%
Sodium 2401mg 104%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 119g
Calcium 97mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Think pulled pork and the connection is straight to the southern states of America. In Britain, we have had a love of this food for a very long time, for so long it is now considered one our mainstream foods. There is barely a food market, festival or barbecue where pulled pork does not appear.

The Shoulder is the cut of pork recommended for this dish. It is fatty and rich and stacked with flavor, making it perfect for the long slow cooking. If you can, choose outdoor-reared pork as it is even more flavorsome.

To create the lovely, slight smokiness of the pulled pork, I like to use smoked salt. If you can't find smoked salt then you can make your own, or use smoked paprika which also works well. Don't like the heat from chili? Then simply leave it out.


  • 3 tablespoons smoked salt (like Halen Môn)
  • 3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons hot chili powder
  • 2 to 2.2 kilograms shoulder of pork (with bone)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 425 F/220 C/Gas 7.

  3. In a large bowl mix together the smoked salt, the brown sugar, chili, coriander, and the paprika. Put to one side.

  4. Take the pork shoulder and dry all over with a piece of kitchen paper.

  5. Score the fat using a sharp or Stanley knife, taking care not to cut right through.

  6. Take half the dry rub, and rub into the pork skin and flash. If you can - rub it into the slits on the pork fat.

  7. Cover the remaining rub and put it to one side.

  8. Line a roasting tin large enough to take the pork shoulder with foil. The foil needs to fit the bottom of the tin completely and be large enough to loosely cover the pork. 

  9. Place the pork into the tin and leave uncovered.

  10. Cook in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. 

  11. Reduce the oven to 250 F/125 C/Gas 1/2.

  12. Loosely wrap the foil over the pork folding all the edges to seal the foil packet.

  13. Return the pork to the oven and cook until the internal temperature of the pork is +192 F/89 C/Gas 1/4. This will take about seven hours.

  14. Check every hour from five hours onwards.

  15. Once the temperature is reached, switch the oven off, and leave the pork in the oven for a further 30 minutes.

  16. Remove the pork from the oven and leave to rest for another 30 minutes still wrapped in the foil.

  17. Pour the juices from the pork and keep to one side and place the pork onto a chopping board or carving plate.

  18. Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the skin of the pork but don’t worry about leaving the fat behind; this will be mixed into the pork and adds flavor and moisture.

  19. Using a fork (and your fingers if the pork is cool enough) gently pull all the pork from the shoulder; it should come away in shreds and occasionally in larger pieces. Don’t worry about any large pieces of pork; these will also break down with gentle persuasion from a fork.

  20. Place all the shredded pork into an ovenproof dish, add the remaining rub seasoning and the meat juices and then taste. Add salt and pepper to suit your taste if you need any.

  21. Cover the pork and once cooled keep in the refrigerator overnight (if you have the time, this will help the flavors to develop). 

  22. Before serving, gently reheat the pork in a warm oven. Enjoy!


Serve the pork in soft bread rolls with a little coleslaw or use tortilla wraps, slaw, and a little crunchy salad. The pork tastes great tucked into pastry, a little like a Cornish Pasty.