Between 2012 and 2014, pulled pork exploded in popularity. All of a sudden, pulled pork was everywhere!
You may have noticed this yourself when restaurants all started offering pulled pork burgers and other pulled pork dishes. You can even see pulled pork’s huge increase in popularity in Google searches around that time using the Google Trends tool.
Though the craze has died down a bit, pulled pork is still hugely popular, which makes it a great dish to prepare for guests. You can pretty much guarantee that meat-lovers will love pulled pork!
And the good news is that it is possible to make fantastic pulled pork at home.
But how do you do it? Let’s find out…
Choosing a meat cut to make pulled pork
Choosing the right cut of meat is the first step in making great pulled pork.
The cut you’re looking for is the pork butt.
Pork butt is found on the top half of the pig’s front shoulder and contains fewer bones and more connecting tissues than other cuts.
When these tissues break down during the slow cooking process, it leads to a tender and juicy pork butt. Perfect for pulling!
And the good news is that pork butts are also quite affordable, which makes pulled pork an accessible dish for everyone to make, whatever your budget may be.
Next, I’ll explain the steps you need to follow in order to pull pork. However, before reading on, you may also want to check out my guide to prepping pork shoulder.
Grilling pork ready for pulling
There are four main steps to grilling pork ready for pulling:
- Clean the pork butt well and remove the pieces of skin or fat bits that are attached to the meat.
- Apply generous amounts of dry rub on the pork shoulder and massage well so that all the areas are infused with flavor.
- Set your smoker to 250 degrees F and slow-cook the pork butt for 5 to 6 hours.
- Remove the pork from the grill when the meat reaches an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
The Best Way to Pull Pork
Once you have cooked pork butt ready, you can proceed with pulling the meat.
You’ll need a pair of gloves, a tray, cooked pork butt, a quality knife, and a cutting board.
Then follow these steps:
- Take the meat along with the tray and place it in the cutting area of your kitchen.
- Seal the cooked pork butt in an aluminum foil and leave it to settle for half an hour. This is the time when the meat becomes tender.
- After 30 minutes, you can unwrap the cooked meat. Wearing gloves, start breaking off the meat with your hands. If you have already cooked it properly for 5 to 6 hours, you should be able to break it easily.
- You may find some fat bits on the top portion of the cooked pork shoulder. Remove these bits and discard them.
- You may find some pieces that are hard to break with your hands; however, this should be only in a few places. You can use a knife to cut these pieces apart.
- Mix the pulled pork, add a few vegetables of your choice and make a tasty sandwich or burger within minutes!
Extra Pulled Pork Tips
Here are some pulled pork tips that you should follow to ensure that your final dish is soft, juicy and flavorful.
- Always ensure that you choose pork butt, also known as Boston butt, to make the perfect pulled pork recipe. Some people use picnic ham, which is the bottom portion of the pig’s shoulder, but pulled pork doesn’t taste authentic this way.
- While trimming the pork butt, you can leave a little bit of skin instead of trimming it all This will give a slightly crunchy texture to the final dish.
- After the pulled pork is ready, allow the flavors and juices to settle in the meat for at least 15 minutes – preferably 30 minutes or longer – before serving.
- Before slow-cooking the pork butt, you can add a few spices (pepper powder, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.) to the dry rub. Just be careful not to add too many, as you could overwhelm the flavor of the pork.
Pulled pork is a hugely popular topping for burgers and sandwiches. And for good reason!
To ensure that the pork melts in your mouth when you bite into the meat, you must slow cook pulled pork for 5 to 6 hours. The exact time will depend on the size of the cut.