The Best Smoked Pulled Pork

Spring is here and with it comes some lovely warm weather that is perfect for backyard barbecues. This is the prime season for having people over on a lazy Sunday afternoon, before the blazing heat of summer drives everyone back indoors.

Pulled Pork Sandwhich |

I don’t know about you, but summer’s 90+ degree heat (humid heat, at that) does not make me feel like hanging out in the backyard (unless there’s a pool involved, in which case, hang away!).

Anyway, spring and fall are my favorite seasons, and the weather is perfect for spending time outside, enjoying a cookout.

One of my all-time favorite barbecue foods is pulled pork (just ahead of BBQ ribs), especially slathered in a spicy-sweet barbecue sauce as part of a pulled pork sandwich with a side of pickles. Use our guide for making bread at home to bake up your own rolls, and create the most ultimate sandwich experience! Yum!

I love smoked pulled pork the best, and I have a great recipe for you to try yourself. Make sure you test out the dry rub and barbecue sauce recipes as well – they combine to form a fantastic flavor party in your mouth!

You’ll need a backyard smoker, a supply of hickory or fruit wood, and a meat thermometer for this recipe. Also, disposable aluminum pans are helpful but not essential.

If you don’t have the equipment necessary to make this outdoor favorite, try our slow cooker version of Cuban Mojo Pulled Pork.

Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe |
The Best Smoked Pulled Pork
Votes: 3
Rating: 3.33
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe |
The Best Smoked Pulled Pork
Votes: 3
Rating: 3.33
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Pork Butt Dry Rub
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Spicy-Sweet Barbeque Sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons dry rub mix
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 chipotle peppers finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Smoked Pork Butt
  • 1 5-6 pound pork butt
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Apple or hickory wood chips or any fruit wood*
  • 1 cup apple cider optional
Pork Butt Dry Rub
  1. Add all ingredients into a jar, cap, and shake vigorously.
Spicy-Sweet Barbeque Sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir well to combine. Slowly bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat.
  2. After it reaches a full boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
Smoked Pork Butt
  1. The night before you plan to smoke your meat, take the salt and rub liberally all over the pork. Let the salt-covered meat sit in the fridge overnight so the salt can start to penetrate inside and get the flavoring process started.
  2. The following day, prepare your dry rub and cover the meat with it, and rub it in really well, reserving 2 tablespoons for your barbeque sauce.
  3. Let the meat set at room temperature while you prepare your smoker. You will want the smoker to be between 225 and 250 degrees. I like to place mine in disposable aluminum pans in preparation of basting.
    Place the pork in the smoker|
  4. Once the smoker is ready, place the pork inside and cover, letting the meat smoke undisturbed for 2 hours.
  5. At this point, you can baste the meat all over with some of your barbeque sauce and continue to baste at one-hour increments. You don’t necessarily need to baste the meat; I’ve had it both with and without the sauce and either way is delicious. If you choose to baste the pork, you will probably want to double the barbeque recipe so you have plenty of sauce left over for your pulled pork sandwiches. You can also mix the barbeque sauce with apple cider (NOT vinegar) in about a 50:50 ratio as shown in the accompanying photo.
    Basting smoked pulled pork |
  6. Optionally, you can cover with aluminum foil to keep from having to baste as often. However, you won't get quite as much smoke flavor (which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your flavor preferences).
    Wrapping smoked pulled pork with aluminum foil.
  7. After you’ve basted a few times, or at the five-hour mark, insert your meat probe to start keeping an eye on the internal temperature of the meat. It will be ready once it reaches 195 degrees. Also, keep an eye on the temperature of the smoker to make sure it doesn’t go below 225 degrees.
  8. Once your pork is at the right temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest at least 15 minutes before you start slicing or pulling it apart. I like to pull it all apart and throw it in with my barbeque sauce, but you can serve it any way you please. However you eat it, it’s delicious.
    Chunking up smoked pulled pork |
Recipe Notes

* Check out our guide to different types of wood for smoking for more information on selecting your variety.

Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe |


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About Ashley Martell

Ashley has enjoyed creative writing since she was six years old, when she wrote her first short story. She majored in English literature at the University of Montevallo. After years of professional work, she is now a stay-at-home mom of three, who uses her craft to write about her life and adventures in and out of the kitchen.

34 thoughts on “The Best Smoked Pulled Pork”

  1. I’m with you! Pork is my favorite. Beef and chicken are good, but not nearly as good. Now, around here BBQ is a very big deal. It’s going to be really hard to beat what you can buy around town, it this one looks like its definitely worth a shot! Thank you! I’ll let you know how it thrns out!

  2. Pulled pork has become very popular in the Uk over the last couple of years and I lay the blame soley with Adam Richman and his “Man vs. Food” show!

    My word, it is delicious though! It’s one of those dishes you can just sling in the oven and forget for a few hours, whilst you get on with something else.

    • As a fellow british man, I agree. I don’t condemn Adam for promoting it, I actually thank him! The pulled pork is very tasty and I enjoy it! I made a mess while trying to make it, but in the end it was worth it! Glad I didn’t screw up, haha!

  3. Oh man…that pulled pork looks AMAZING. I know everyone has their own process for smoking/barbecueing/dry rub etc but it’s the one thing where I’ve never had a bad dish of. I’ve also heard of making it in the pressure cooker/crockpot. Maybe you could give us a recipe for that as well? 😀

  4. This one looks amazing! I don’t think pulled pork recipes is common where I come from. I just had a meatball sub for dinner, and made me think that this one here could replace the meatballs in my sub!

    Sadly, I don’t think I have the patience for this kind of cooking. I’ve all the patience to EAT this type of dishes, though. LOL!

  5. I make a lot of pulled meats: Beef, chicken, lamb, etc. I usually make mine in a slow cooker. I’ve been planning on smoking them this summer so thanks for the interesting recipe. It’s very simplistic & I can easily get my hands on some fruity woods.

  6. That recipe looks absolutely incredible. Pulled pork is definitely one of my favorite food items, and nothing beats a pulled pork sandwich on a bed of coleslaw. Also, you can’t put the slaw on the side, for the record, because that’s blasphemy. I’m not a huge BBQ fan, but this is one BBQ food that I will eat whenever I get the chance. Even bad pulled pork can be better than tons of other food options.

    • Okay, I’ve never actually had pulled pork on a bed of coleslaw! That sounds amazing!!! I need to cook this, I’m used to just using the kind that comes pre-pulled and seasoned…like pre-made. I’m lazy. But this looks great, I’m gonna try it! And add the coleslaw 🙂

  7. So that’s how smoked pulled pork looks like?! Something i never got to learn within the confines of a classroom, thanks Foodal, for letting me learn something new each day 😉 …am definitely trying this out, one of these fine days hence page bookmarked.

  8. This site always seems to have a way of making me hungry, but THIS.. oh my. I have been having such a craving for good barbequed pork! Ever since it rained all weekend last week and cancelled our plans, my mouth has been watering for something like this.

    This looks like perfect pulled pork. Add a side of coleslaw and call it a day!

    I’m copying this barbeque sauce recipe right now.

    • That sauce is to die for. It makes a great condiment on a grilled chicken sandwich with a little melted cheddar, and you can even throw it in the slow cooker with a few salted pork chops for a few hours, and then shred the meat for a much simpler version.

      • I still haven’t had a chance to try the smoked version, but I really want to. Hopefully, now that things are slowing down I can. I have tried the easier version, and it really is quite good, so thanks for that tip. I just know I’ll like the rich, smoky, version better though, and I’m intent on making it soon.

        There is just something about barbequed pork that says summer, isn’t there? I guess it’s just what I’m used to, although honestly, I could have this year round, lol.

        I’m so glad I found this page!

  9. Thank you so much for this recipe and this one seems REALLY good and it made me drool because of the picture that’s actually in there. I think it would taste AMAZING especially with hot pepper sauce and some ketchup, that seems really yummy. Thank you for sharing this!

  10. Oh my word…… that sound scrumptious. Here in South Africa, Pulled Pork is not very common at all. So when I decide to have some friends around, I WILL be adding this dish to the menu. I always like my friends to leave with a good memory of the night. And let me just add, we South Africans LOVE our pork. It’s also a healthy alternative (with the fat removed) meat.

  11. This pulled pork looks absolutely amazing! Whenever I go over to a friend’s home, they always prepare some great Southern pulled pork with plenty of flavorful ingredients, and it was never the same flavor. It always held its variety every year at their cookouts and family gatherings. Just the smell of it coming off the smoker would immediately make me head to the kitchen to eat!

  12. Oh my goodness! This is a must to make this summer. Whatever I have to do, I got to find some time to make this recipe that is making me drool way too much just looking at the burger chalked full of smoked pulled pork. I have a younger sibling who is a 100% pork addict. This would just about make her day, but most definitely mine as well.

  13. Your pictures look so tasty. I like pulled pork but unfortunately I have not had it as much as I should. I like dry rub the most and I do not need a lot of sauce. as long as it is seasoned right and tender I will be satisfied.

  14. Ahh this is another one that I can’t take advantage of due to living in an apartment. I might steal the sauce recipe though. I have had pretty good success with making pulled pork in the oven. It’s a four hour process, but surprisingly flavorful for not being cooked in a smoker.

  15. I’m usually not a fan of pig based protein myself, but pulled pork is absolutely amazing. It’s just something about how soft it feels in your mouth, while still having that chewyness of meat that really get’s my mouth watering. Can something like this be done (as effectively) with other meats as well?

  16. Aha, a great BBQ classic has made its way into my view. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe out to see if it beats or matches Mom’s classic version. From the looks of it, it has pretty good odds going for it. Now to update that shopping list! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Wow, I’m a meat guy and never able to turn down meat. This is a wonderful recipe and I’m getting mouth watery just by looking at the pictures! I’m definitely going to try this at one of my barbecues as I’m very eagered to put this in my mouth! I mean just look at that juice dripping down. It’s definitely going to be a “fantastic flavor party” in my mouth!

  18. Pilled pork is one of the few things that I have not yet attempted. It isn’t as complicated as I thought. I can’t wait to try it!

  19. Yum! I have cooked pork butt roasts, but in the oven, not in a smoker, since I don’t have one. I do love a good plate of barbecue, though, and this sounds like a great recipe. I particularly like the idea that it can be made outside, so it won’t heat up the whole house, and this would provide a nice amount of leftovers for weekday and weeknight sandwiches.

  20. Oh no, why does this look so good? The ingredients and that barbecue sauce makes you just want to take a bite. If I don’t eat enough during the day this is the kind of things I want to eat. Much better than eating Arby’s. There is nothing like homemade food. I have not made anything like this before.

  21. Yes, that looks so good, does make you want to take a bite! I would love to have a slow cooker, but don’t at the moment. We cook our pork overnight in a crockpot in 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water. This was recommended by our local meat market owners. I will definitely want to try this recipe, thank you!

  22. pulled pork is my favorite to. I love the fact that you added a recipe for BBQ sauce I did not realize how easy it was to make. I have all of those ingredients right now.

    Akurtz, this may be a dumb question but what is the difference between a slow cooker and a crock pot? I thought they were both the same.

  23. I’ve always used a slow cooker..don’t own a smoker. Would you recommend browning the meat before hand?

    Making your own rubs and BBQ sauce is always recommended. A lot of times the store bought sauces will have too much sugar and they can burn or alter the flavor in a gross way.

    I love reading the comments from the folks in the UK picking up on this tried & true American classic. We got some gooood pulled pork in the Washington DC metropolitan area.

  24. I really shouldn’t be reading this before dinner! My mouth is watering!! Pulled pork is our families favorite and I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. This doesn’t look very hard either, thanks for sharing.

  25. This is a great recipe and the end result looks absolutely delicious. I’ve never been a huge fan of pulled pork, but seeing that you can grill it makes it look so much better than the way we make it at home in the slow cooker. My husband loves pulled pork so I’ll have to make it on the grill for him sometime. I’m sure he’d love this.

  26. This looks amazing, a true classic! Thanks for the recipe. It looks so easy. Can’t wait to give it a try. Pork is definitely my favorite of all meats, and for BBQ’s it’s the best. I really enjoy cookouts, they just have the quality of bringing good food, friends, and family together.

  27. Pulled pork is one of those sandwiches I rarely have. Not because I don’t like it but because we rarely make it ourselves. The meat is so tender and if seasoned right, I won’t have a need for condiments. This is something I would like to enjoy no matter what season it is.

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