Southern Pulled Pork BBQ means everything to a southerner. Learn how to make tender pulled pork at home which is as southern as it gets.
What is Pulled Pork?
Pulled pork describes the way you pull the meat with two forks as opposed to chopping it into smaller pieces. This made-from-scratch recipe for Southern Pulled Pork BBQ is as delicious as any you'll find in a restaurant!
There are many ways to prepare barbecue. In these parts, you'll find opinions about the types of meat and the best sauce to use on every corner. Smoking it over a fire pit for 12 hours is the preferred method, but lots of folks don't have an expensive smoker. Baking it in an oven is a great alternative to smoking the meat and it has amazing flavor!
If you've been afraid to make barbecue before, don't fret. Baking a pork shoulder in a dutch oven couldn't be easier. All you need is some time, a nice pork butt, and a really good BBQ rub. If you've got those three things, you're ready to make some magic!
Buying the Pork
My favorite type of meat to use is a Boston Butt (or pork shoulder). For pulled pork, you'll need about a 5 pound roast. Since there's a lot of fat in this cut of meat, it yields about 3 pounds of finished product, which serves 6 to 8 people.
Making the Dry Rub
Before you can cook the meat, you'll need to slather it with a really good dry rub. My favorite recipe uses seasonings you probably have in your spice cabinet at home.
- steak seasoning (ad)
- burger seasoning (ad)
- jerk seasoning (ad)
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- brown sugar
The first three ingredients can be found in most supermarkets in smaller quantities, but I'm providing an affiliate link so you can see what I use. I like steak seasoning because it has a large amount of pepper, burger seasoning for its smoky flavor, and jerk seasoning since it packs a good kick.
Preparing the Meat
Remove any wrapping before rubbing the meat with seasoning.
Get in there and slather the dry rub on both sides of the roast with your hands. You should have enough rub to be very generous with your portions.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and place the roast in your handy dutch oven (ad). Add one cup of water and 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke (ad) to the bottom of the pot and cover. Bake for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 275 and cook an additional 2 hours.
Pulling the Pork
After the roast comes out of the oven, let it rest for about 30 minutes. Then, take two forks and pull the pork away from the fat. It's okay to leave a little fat in the mix, but it's best to remove as much as you can.
Place the meat on a cutting board and pile it high. Drizzle a little of the juice from the dutch oven onto the pork. At this point, you can serve it as is, or turn it into chopped pork by using a large butcher knife to cut it into smaller bites.
Choosing a Sauce
Some southerners wouldn't mess up this delicious meat with sauce, but most of them wouldn't eat a bite without it. In North Carolina, there's a great debate about which sauce to use. Eastern NC likes a vinegar based sauce, while Western NC prefers a sweet tomato based version.
I'm a sweet-tomato sauce kind of girl. I could make my own, but by the time I get the barbecue out of the oven, I'm ready to eat. Besides, there are so many great barbecue sauces out there, I'm good with using one straight out of the bottle.
My Favorite Sauces...
- Koss Sauce (made by sauce master Diana Koss)
- Sticky Fingers Carolina Sweet Sauce (ad)
- Sweet Baby Rays Hickory Smoke Sauce (ad)
Down south, there are two basic ways to serve pulled pork...
- As a sandwich topped with slaw and a side of pickles
- As a plate with a side of baked beans, slaw and cornbread.
Depending on my mood and the time of day, I can go either way. But lately, a BBQ sandwich has been hitting the spot.
How do you like your barbecue? Please leave a comment below the recipe card and tell me all about it!
Pork shoulder or pork butt is the best cut of meat for pulled pork. It has the right amount of fat content to make sure the meat is tender when cooked. Be sure to cook it low and slow to allow the pork to tenderize.
If you use dry rub, all you need is a little bit of water added to the dutch oven before baking. Some folks like to also rub the meat with mustard or bbq sauce before adding a rub, but it's totally optional.
I like to drizzle the juice from the pork after it's pulled to keep it moist. Others like to sprinkle extra dry rub on the meat. It's fun to experiment with your own special techniques!
More BBQ Recipes
Man, it doesn't get any better than this! If you're a BBQ lover like me, check out these other great recipes from Quiche My Grits...
- Cheesy BBQ Meatball Sliders (made with Koss Sauce)
- Fall Off The Bone BBQ Ribs
- Calico Baked Beans
- Easy Southern Cornbread
- Cheesy Skillet Cornbread
- Pimento Cheese Grits
- Red Skin Potato Salad
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