Juicy BBQ pulled pork served with home-made, creamy coleslaw on fresh, toasted rolls. The ultimate fuss-free recipe to serve to a crowd.
Pork shoulder, slowly cooked until fall-apart-tender then pulled and drenched in a sweet, tangy BBQ sauce has got to be one of life’s most delicious pleasures. I like making my own barbecue sauce but feel free to use your favorite store-bought sauce (Sweet Baby Ray is a firm favorite). This pulled pork recipe is the recipe I turn to time and time again when feeding a crowd. Not only is it relatively cost effective but it’s the kind of recipe that can be fully made a day ahead and just re-heated before serving. Now add creamy coleslaw and toasted fresh bread buns and you have the kind of dish people will be drooling over.
- Pork shoulder / Pork butt. I used a bone-in Boston butt/shoulder for optimal flavor but you can use boneless too.
- Olive oil.
- Salt + black pepper.
- Smoked paprika. For extra smokey flavor liquid smoke can be used.
- Garlic powder.
- Onion powder.
- Cayenne pepper.
- Fresh garlic cloves.
- Tomato ketchup.
- Dark brown sugar.
- Red wine vinegar.
- Soy sauce.
- Garlic powder.
How to make pulled pork (summary)
- Prepare the pork: Drizzle the pork shoulder with the olive oil. Combine the seasoning in a small bowl and sprinkle the spice blend over the pork. Rub into the meat then place in a large roasting dish or Dutch Oven along with the onions and garlic then cover with foil or a lid. Place into a preheated oven and allow to slowly cook for 3 hours or until it shreds easily. You can cook the pork in a slow cooker too on the low setting for 8-10 hours until tender.
- How to pull pork: Transfer the meat to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Reserve any of the liquid from the pork, adding a half cup of this to the barbecue sauce will add incredible flavor. Switch it on to its lowest setting and let the machine pull the pork for you. Alternatively, use two fork or your hands and pull the pork into shreds.
- Make the barbecue sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the pulled pork and mix well.
What is the best cut of pork for pulled pork?
Any fatty cut that requires low, slow cooking will be perfect for pulled pork. I prefer using pork shoulder and you should be able to easily find it in most supermarkets and all butchers will have it.
How much pulled pork per person?
I would work on 150-250g/one third – half pound (1-1½ cups) of pulled pork per person, depending on the side dishes and how you plan on serving it.
What to serve with pulled pork
- Coleslaw (recipe in recipe card below).
- Easy spicy garlic baked potato wedges
- Easy creamy potato salad
- Creamy curried macaroni salad
BBQ pulled pork
- 2 kg (4lbs) pork shoulder
- 8 whole garlic cloves peeled
- 2 onions quartered
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 3 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp dried oregano
For the BBQ sauce
- 1½ cups tomato ketchup
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 6 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt to taste
For the coleslaw
- 6 cups shredded cabbage (approximately 1 medium cabbage)
- 2 cups shredded carrots (approximately 2 large carrots)
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2-3 tsp honey (optional)
- salt to taste
- fresh bread rolls halved and toasted
- pickles (optional)
- fresh rocket/arugula (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°c/320°F.
- Drizzle the pork shoulder with the olive oil. Combine the seasoning in a small bowl and sprinkle the spice blend over the pork.
- Rub into the meat then place in a large roasting dish or Dutch Oven along with the onions and garlic then cover with foil or a lid.
- Place in the oven and allow to roast for 3 hours until the pork pulls apart easily.
- You can cook the pork in a slow cooker too on the low setting for 8-10 hours until tender.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before pulling the meat with two forks or use your stand mixer with the paddle attachment to pull a lot of pork or chicken quickly. Reserve any of the liquid from the pork, adding a half cup of this to the barbecue sauce will add incredible flavor
- To make the barbecue sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
- Combine the pulled pork with the barbecue sauce and set aside.
- To make the coleslaw, combine the grated carrot, cabbage and parsley in a bowl. Mix together the mayo, yoghurt, lemon juice and salt. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss. If you want it sweeter, add honey.
- To serve, place a few spoonfuls of pulled pork into a buttered bread roll, top with coleslaw and rocket/arugula (if using) and eat immediately.
I really want to try this recipe. It mentions onions and garlic in the method but they are not listed in the ingredients. Can you please share how much of each I need to use and are they whole gloves or chopped? Also with the pork do you put any liquid in whilst it is cooking, beer or stock? Please help, thank you so much
I’ve updated the recipe, thanks for pointing out the omission. I don’t usually add any liquid, I don’t find it necessary.
Colleen du Plessis
can i cook pulled pork and refrigerate or freeze 2 days before i need to use it?
So juicy, so delicious. Best pulled pork recipe!
I’ve been making your pulled pork since you posted it all those years ago. Love the new photos! Looks delicious.
Oh wow, that must be like 8 years ago?! That’s awesome, thanks so much Angie!