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Smoked Pulled Pork

Cooked low and slow, this Smoked Pulled Pork is a delicious tried-and-true recipe that is tender and juicy!

THE BEST SMOKED PORK

I absolutely love my smoker. Wood pellet smokers have made smoking so much easier and accessible to more people. This recipe was created using my Traeger pellet smoker. Smoked Pulled Pork has become one of my new favorite recipes. The intense flavors you get from smoking just can’t be beat. Although it is a long process, it is well worth it in the end! You get tender and juicy pork that is absolutely mouthwatering. If you want a guaranteed tried-and-true smoked pulled pork recipe, then you need to try my Smoked Pulled Pork!

Finished Smoked Pulled Pork being shredded with metal tongs.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What temperature should I set my smoker for pork shoulder?

I smoke pork at 250 degrees F. Cooking at a low temperature for a long amount of time is what creates the most tender pork.

What should the internal temperature be?

The finished internal temperature should be around 205F degrees.

Can I use my own dry rub?

Absolutely! If you have your favorite homemade rub or a store-bought rub that you like to use then by all means use it. I use this particular rub recipe for all of my Pulled Pork Recipes. Just make sure that all sides are covered well and rub it in really good. It’s called a rub for a reason!

What kind of pellets should I use?

For this recipe I went with Hickory but I find that applewood and cherrywood also produce great flavor with pork.

Can I cook pork shoulder on a higher temperature so it gets done a little faster?

Nope. Sorry. You won’t be able to shred it if you cook it too fast. Pork shoulder is a tough cut of meat so it needs a long time to break down the cartilage in the meat. You definitely need to start this very early in the morning if you want it done for dinner or start it at night for it to be ready the next day. If you want a more “hands-off” recipe, try my Instant Pot Pulled Pork recipe.

Will this work with a traditional smoker?

Absolutely! The main key is keeping a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process. I would also keep a tray of water or apple cider to keep it nice and moist in the smoker.

What is best to serve with pulled pork?

Traditionally it is served with cole slaw, cornbread and baked beans and perhaps some Mac and Cheese (depending on how much work you want to put into it!)

How do I store leftovers?

We like to store leftovers in a ziptop bag with as much air pushed out as possible. This will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also freeze pulled pork. To do this: store in freezer bags with air squeezed out and it should keep for up to 6 months. Let defrost in the refrigerator.

Close up of Smoke Pulled Pork sandwich Pinterest image.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • bone-in pork shoulder
  • garlic powder
  • red pepper flakes
  • paprika
  • black pepper
  • mustard powder
  • salt
  • brown sugar
  • apple juice
Ingredients needed: pork shoulder, cumin, black pepper, garlic powder, ancho chili powder, celery salt and apple juice.


HOW TO MAKE SMOKED PULLED PORK:

Fill the smoker auger with pellets. Set the Traeger to 250F degrees and preheat for 15 minutes with the lid closed. In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, black pepper, mustard powder, salt and brown sugar. Generously rub all sides of the pork shoulder with the rub. 

Dry rub rubbed over pork shoulder in metal baking pan.

Place pork onto the grill grates with the fat side up. This helps the rendered fat to seep back into the pork as it slowly smokes. Close the lid, and smoke for 3 hours.

Pork Shoulder on smoker.

Check the internal temp of the pork. If it has reached 160F degrees, move onto the next step. The time can vary so it is important to start checking after 3 hours. For an 8 pound pork shoulder, it came to 160F degrees after 4 hours. This particular step in the process step can take anywhere from 3-5 hours.

Pork shoulder on smoker after 4 hours.

Remove pork from the grill. Lay 3 large sheets of foil onto a flat surface and place pork onto the center. Wrap foil around the pork, but do not seal. Leave an opening in the top. Pour apple juice into this opening. Then tightly seal the foil and gently place back into the smoker. Smoke pork in the foil for an additional 6-8 hours or until the internal temp has reached 205F degrees. Again, keep in mind, depending on the size you use and how often you’ve opened your smoker, it can take less or longer. The temperature is the key to doneness. Remove pork from the grill and let sit in the foil for 30 minutes. 

Pork shoulder in foil with apple juice.

Place pork into a large bowl. Remove the bone and excess fat. The bone should slide right out. Shred the pork. 

Overhead of shredded Smoked Pulled Pork on tray.

Serve pulled pork with your favorite bbq sauce and coleslaw between a bun or enjoy on its own. 

Smoked Pulled Pork on pretzel bun with BBQ Sauce

WANT MORE DELICIOUS RECIPES?

Square close up image of Smoked Pulled Pork as a sandwich

Smoked Pulled Pork

Cooked low and slow, this Smoked Pulled Pork is a delicious tried-and-true recipe that is tender and juicy!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 hours
Total Time: 15 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic powder garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 8 pound bone-in pork shoulder
  • 3 cups apple juice

Instructions

  • Fill the smoker auger with pellets. Set the Traeger to 250F degrees and preheat for 15 minutes with the lid closed.
  • In a small bowl, combine 1 garlic powder garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon mustard powder, 2 teaspoons salt and 3 Tablespoons brown sugar. Generously rub all sides of the 8 pound bone-in pork shoulder with the rub.
  • Place pork onto the grill grates with the fat side up. This helps the rendered fat to seep back into the pork as it slowly smokes.
  • Close the lid, and smoke for 3 hours. After 3 hours, check the internal temperature. If it has reached 160F degrees then it's time to move onto the next step.
  • Note: For an 8 pound pork shoulder, it came to 160F degrees after about 4 hours in my smoker. This step can take anywhere from 3-5 hours. The time can vary so it is important to check after 3 hours.
  • Remove pork from the smoker. Lay 3 large sheets of foil onto a flat surface (like a large baking sheet) and place pork onto the center.
  • Wrap foil around the pork, but do not seal. Leave an opening in the top. Pour 3 cups apple juice into this opening. Tightly seal the foil and place back into the smoker.
  • Smoke pork in the foil for an additional 6-8 hours or until the internal temp has reached 205F degrees. Remove pork from the grill and let sit in the foil for 30 minutes.
  • Note: Again, keep in mind, depending on the size of your pork shoulder and how often you've opened your smoker, it can take less or longer. 
  • Place pork into a large bowl. Remove the bone and excess fat. The bone should slide right out. Shred the pork.
  • Serve pulled pork with bbq sauce and coleslaw between a bun or enjoy on its own.

Notes

  • Nutritional value does not include buns.
  • I used hickory pellets here but cherrywood or applewood also work nicely.
  • Make sure the internal temperature of the pork is 205F degrees. This can take anywhere from 10-15 hours so plan your time accordingly.
  • If your pork shoulder is larger, you may want to double the rub recipe.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 446mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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7 Comments

    1. Hi Anne! Do you have a slow cooker? I have a recipe for slow cooker for pulled pork (link above.) It is super flavorful and you’ll use much less electricity than using your oven. However you could do this in your oven at that temperature all day. Just keep the oven door closed the entire time. Hope that helps!

  1. If you don’t have a smoker(which I don’t) could I use this recipe and cook it In a slow cooker? And If so for how long?

  2. I don’t know a lot about the cuts of pork, would a pork sirloin (great price today) be okay to use instead of pork shoulder?