Smoky Pulled Pork Recipe

Pork is king, and this pulled pork recipe will prove it to you! A little secret to keeping the flavor of the pork rub seasoning is to coat the pork butt with sticky mustard beforehand. Plain yellow mustard loses its flavor as the pork butt cooks, but if you use a coarse ground, spicy brown mustard, you'll get a bit of that flavor in the finished meat.

Traditional pulled pork is shredded smoked pork butt meat or smoked pork shoulder meat. These cuts of pork are fatty and contain a fair amount of connective tissue, so low and slow cooking is the way to go. You'll get the best flavor when the pork is cooked this way, since it gives plenty of time for the toughness to cook out. And as it cooks out, it creates flavor from the softened tissues.

Pulled Pork Recipe - What You'll Need

Whole pork shoulders are more difficult to find than pork butts, so it's easiest to go with a couple of those. They might be called Boston butts or pork shoulder roast in your area. The following recipe will work with a pair of 6 to 8 pound butts.


  • 2 cups coarse, spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed celery seeds (use a mortar and pestle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

After trimming the excess fat from the surface of the pork, rub on a good coating of the brown mustard. Combine the remaining seasonings in a container, then coat the pork butts with a generous amount on all sides.

Cook the pork butts in a smoker or in a grill at 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit until falling apart tender. If cooked in a grill, use some hickory or apple wood wrapped in foil to add smoke flavor. To speed up the cooking process, wrap the butts in foil after the first few hours of smoking.

When done, pull the pork apart, removing any remaining fat you can find, and any other unappetizing pieces of whatnot. Then commence to shredding it up with either a couple of heavy forks, or your fingers if the meat is cool enough.

When the meat is shredded, I like to douse it with just a little bit of cider vinegar, then work it in. Serve with white bread or buns, bbq sauce, dill pickle slices and hot sauce. To make the pulled pork sandwiches shine, pile a mound of crispy cole slaw on top of the meat before covering it with the second piece of bread.

This pulled pork recipe takes most of the day to finish, but once you bite into that first pulled pork sandwich, you know it's worth every minute!