Indoor Pulled Pork

Shredded and ready for sandwiches.

So here it is, the dead of winter. Your grill is buried under eleventy-seven feet of snow. And more than anything in life, you’re fantasizing about grilled foods. Burgers. Beer can chicken. Pulled pork.

Guess what: I can help you with that last one.

It turns out that you can make pulled pork in your oven. Decent pulled pork. Ok, maybe it doesn’t taste quite the same when you’re not sitting in the backyard with a beer in your hand and the ballgame on the radio, but it’s a start. And it just might give you a glimmer of hope that summer will come.

Marinade time aside, this recipe takes about 3.5 hours from the first moment it hits the oven.

Note: Some people have suggested that true pulled pork should be slathered in BBQ sauce. While I’m all for a saucy, messy sandwich, I cook the pork without. Why? BBQ sauce has a lot of sugar in it, and that sugar can burn when it comes in contact with high heat from a grill or oven. Wait until after the pork is cooked, and toss the meat with the sauce before serving.


  • Boston butt or pork shoulder, about 5 lbs total, trimmed of hard fat
  • Coffee BBQ dry rub, or meat rub of your choosing
  • Liquid smoke
  • Yellow mustard
  • Water

Covered in seasoning and painted with smoky mustard mix.


I like to maximize the surface area of the pork for the most spice-coated flavor, so I cut mine into four chunks, each about the size of a large orange. Coat liberally with spice rub. Allow meat to soak in the spices for at least an hour, but it can rest as long as overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Spray a cookie rack with nonstick spray, or grease with oil. Set the rack inside the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix equal parts of liquid smoke, water and mustard. Arrange the pork on the rack and paint the smoky mustard mix over the pork.

Cover the pork with parchment, then cover the parchment with foil. Seal well. This will keep the heat and moisture trapped inside.

Roast for 1.5 hours. Remove foil and return to oven until the meat is well-browned and reaches an internal temperature of at least 190 degrees, about 30-60 more minutes, depending on your oven and the size of the meat chunks; larger pieces take longer.

Remove the meat from the oven, tent loosely with foil, and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes. Shred the pork into bite-sized pieces and toss with the sauce of your choice.

Serve on buns topped with your favorite cole slaw. Baked beans make a great side dish.

Yeah, it was a hit.


It’s always a good day when the Tiny Kitchen Assistant walks into the house and asks what smells so good.

Time-consuming for an ordinary weeknight, but the leftovers will carry you for days.

He not only wants to eat this the first night, but he asks for it in leftover form for several nights afterward, long after the last shreds are gone. “Are you sure that we don’t have any more of that yummy pork in the fridge? Can you check, please?”

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3 Responses

  1. nancy says:

    crockpot option:
    pork butt + jar of barbecue sauce + 10-12 hours on low = yum!

  2. Jim P says:

    Agree with Nancy on the slow cooker. And they can go directly from freezer to slow cooler , no need to thaw. Really. I beak down the shoulders to 3 lb before freezing just so we don’t have too many leftovers.

    BBQ sauce need not have too much sugar if you mix up your own right before dinner. Tomato-based sauces have a special place on the tables in Hell, at least that’s how we eastern southerners see it. A tradititonal eastern Carolina sauce can be made with a cup of cider vinegar, a big pinch (to taste) of crushed red pepper, cracked black pepper to taste, and a pinch (to taste) of sugar of your choice. If you’re determined to add tomatoes, add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Shake it all in a tightly capped Mason jar.

  3. Alisa says:

    Based loosely on your recipe, Jim, tonight I whipped up a sauce for the pulled pork that The Husband prepared sous vide style.

    I used 1/2 cup cider vinegar, a big pinch of both crushed red and cracked black pepper, and lacking sugar (I could have sworn that I had a fresh bag on the shelf), I modified the sugar/tomato paste instruction and used a big squirt of ketchup instead. Don’t roll your eyes; it worked pretty well. 🙂

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