The Perfect Pulled Pork Recipe

Lauri Patterson - Getty
  • 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
(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.

T he 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 a 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 tbsp. smoked salt  (like Halen Môn)
  • 3 tbsp. soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. hot chili powder
  • 2 – 2.2 kg. shoulder of pork (with bone)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

Preheat the oven to 220 ° C/ 425° F/Gas 7

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

Take the pork shoulder and dry all over with a piece of kitchen paper. Score the fat using a sharp or Stanley knife, taking care not to cut right through. 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. Cover the remaining rub and put to one side.

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.  Place the pork into the tin and leave uncovered. Cook in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. 

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

Loosely wrap the foil over the pork folding all the edges to seal the foil packet. Return the pork to the oven and cook until the internal temperature of the pork is +89 ° C / 192° F / Gas. 1/4 This will take about 7 hours. Check every hour from 5 hours onwards. Once the temperature is reached, switch the oven off, and leave the pork in the oven for a further 30 minutes.

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

Pour the juices from the pork and keep to one side and place the pork onto a chopping board or carving plate. Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the skin of the pork but don’t worry about leaving the fat behind, this will me mixed into the pork and adds flavour and moisture. 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.

Place all the shredded pork into an oven proof dish, add the remaining rub seasoning, the meat juices and taste. Add salt and pepper to suit your taste, I would be surprised if you need any.

Cover the pork and once cooled keep in the refrigerator overnight (if you have the time, this will help the flavours to develop).  Before serving, gently reheat the pork in a warm oven.

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