This smoked pulled pork is pork shoulder coated in a homemade spice rub, then smoked until tender. Serve your pulled pork butt as-is, or pile it into a roll to make pulled pork sandwiches!

I use my smoker to enjoy my favorite barbecue restaurant style food at home. I regularly make smoked chicken, smoked pork chops and this fabulous smoked pulled pork.

Smoked pulled pork in a metal tray with BBQ sauce.

There’s nothing better than a super tender pulled pork sandwich, and in my opinion, the best way to accomplish this is to smoke your pork at low temperature. This smoked pulled pork is actually quite easy to make, and it’s perfect for feeding a large crowd.

Smoked Pulled Pork Ingredients

Pork shoulder and bowls of BBQ rub, sauce, mustard and apple juice.

The ingredients in this recipe are simple and easy to find. You’ll need pork shoulder, mustard, BBQ rub, apple juice and BBQ sauce.

How Do You Make Smoked Pulled Pork?

This recipe starts with a BBQ spice rub, which gets spread all over your pork roast. I like to use my homemade BBQ rub, but you can use your favorite store bought rub if you prefer. The homemade rub contains brown sugar, salt, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and many other spices. The pork goes into the smoker and cooks for 4-5 hours until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Baste or spritz the meat occasionally with apple juice. At that point, the pork is wrapped and left to cook for another 3-4 hours or until tender. Shred your meat, stir in some BBQ sauce, then enjoy!

Process shots showing how to coat meat in rub and smoke it.

Tips For the Perfect Dish

  • You can wrap your pork in either foil or butcher paper. Foil will work just fine, but the best pork is smoked with peach butcher paper. Wrapping the pork in peach butcher paper allows the meat to hold in its juices while allowing the smoke to permeate. You’ll also get nicer, more flavorful bark with the butcher paper.
  • This recipe calls for a 4 pound pork roast. You can double or triple the recipe to feed a larger crowd, just be aware that the smoking time may increase by up to 2 hours for each additional pound of pork used.
  • I prefer to smoke my pork in a disposable aluminum pan as it makes for easy clean up!
  • For best results, choose wood chips with a lot of flavor such as apple, cherry or hickory.

Quick Tip

If you’re using a store bought BBQ rub, check the ingredient list to make sure it contains salt. If it does not have salt, you’ll want to season the meat with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.

Step by step shots showing how to smoke pulled pork.

Recipe FAQs

What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?

The best cut of meat for pulled pork is a pork shoulder roast, which is also sometimes referred to as pork butt or Boston butt. The shoulder is well marbled, and all of that fat will melt down during the smoking process and make your pulled pork extra juicy and tender.

Can you make pulled pork ahead of time?

You can smoke your pulled pork up to 3 days before you plan to serve it. Shred the meat, then store it in a covered container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to eat, transfer your meat to a baking dish and cover the dish with foil. Bake the meat at 300 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes or until pork is warmed through.

When is smoked pulled pork done?

Pulled pork should reach a minimum internal temperature with a probe thermometer of 195 degrees F before you take it off the smoker. If you prefer softer pulled pork, you can cook your pork until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees F. It’s a matter of personal preference; the pork cooked at the lower temperature will have more texture to it. I like to use a probe thermometer with a remote so that I can continually monitor the progress of the meat from inside the house.

FOLLOW ME

A smoked pulled pork sandwich served with french fries.

Ways To Use Smoked Pork Shoulder

There are so many different ways to enjoy pulled pork! You can eat it plain, make sandwiches, and use the leftovers in a variety of dishes.

  • Pizza
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Chili
  • Nachos
  • Salads
  • Tacos
  • Mac and Cheese

This is the best pulled pork I’ve ever had; that rich, smoky flavor just cannot be beat!

More Great Smoker Recipes

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Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

5 from 24 votes

Smoked Pulled Pork

AuthorSara Welch
Smoked pulled pork in a metal tray with BBQ sauce.
This smoked pulled pork is pork shoulder coated in a homemade spice rub, then smoked until tender. Serve your pulled pork butt as-is, or pile it into a roll to make pulled pork sandwiches!
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 20 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 8

Ingredients 

  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup BBQ spice rub
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce

Instructions 

  • Preheat an electric smoker to 235 degrees F. Load the smoker with apple wood, cherry wood or hickory chips.
  • Evenly apply a thin layer of yellow mustard to the pork.   Then sprinkle the rub all over the meat.
  • Place the roast in a disposable foil pan or directly on the smoker rack.
  • Cook for 2 hours.  After 2 hours, brush the apple juice over the pork once per hour.
  • At the 4 hour mark, check the temperature of the meat. When the internal temperature is at 160 degrees F, brush with remaining apple juice or any drippings that have accumulated if you’re cooking your meat in a pan. It can take around 5 hours to reach this temperature.
  • Wrap the meat in peach butcher paper or foil. Increase the smoker temperature to 250 degrees F.
  • Smoke the meat for another 3-4 hours or until the internal temperature registers at least 195 degrees F. Cook the meat to 205 degrees F if you prefer softer pulled pork.
  • Remove the meat from the smoker and let stand wrapped for 10 minutes and unwrapped for 5 minutes.  
  • Shred the meat. Toss with BBQ sauce, then serve.

Notes

  1. You can wrap your pork in either foil or butcher paper. Foil will work just fine, but the best pork is smoked with peach butcher paper. Wrapping the pork in peach butcher paper allows the meat to hold in its juices while allowing the smoke to permeate. You’ll also get nicer, more flavorful bark.
  2. This recipe calls for a 4 pound pork roast. You can double or triple the recipe to feed a larger crowd, just be aware that the smoking time may increase by up to 2 hours for each additional pound of meat used.

Nutrition

Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 716mg | Potassium: 1010mg | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2.4mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Comments

  1. Your recipe sounds amazing, and I will be trying this tomorrow! I’m new to smoking meat, and have to ask a newbie question, if you can bear with me!
    In your recipe, steps 4 and 5, you say to COOK for 4 -5 hours. In step 7, you’ve wrapped the meat, and you say to SMOKE for an additional 3-4 hours. Do you have the smoke going for the whole time (7 – 9 hours), or do you start with no smoke, just heat, then start smoking the meat for the last 3-4 hours? Like I said, I’m a novice, just wondering if that’s too much smoke!
    Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    Simple and delicious. I used my own rub (because I already had it on hand) and your sauce and it was great!

  3. 5 stars
    I just made this for the first time on my new Weber Smokey Mountain today and it came out tremendous. I followed your instructions exactly and was so ecstatic at the final results and that your cooking times were spot on which is wonderful. Eight hours almost exactly. The whole family loved it and my wife who doesn’t usually eat pulled pork went back for seconds. Amazing! Thank you

  4. Instead of basting with apple juice, do you think basting with orange juice would be good? I will be putting the pork in tacos.

    1. 5 stars
      Anything wet works…whatever you’re drinking! Vodka and ginger ale is going on mine😉 Best pulled pork recipe out there!

  5. 5 stars
    This was exactly what I was looking for when searching for a pulled pork recipe! Such an awesome flavor and perfect for sandwiches!

  6. Pulled pork definitely takes patience. At first I never started it early enough but then I learned you can’t rush it. The shoulder is my favorite part also to smoke. I love your recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe is the best for grill outs and weekend get togethers! I tried it last weekend and it was a crowd pleaser to say the least! Thank you

  8. 5 stars
    This looks delicious, the possibility with this dish is endless, in a roll, with rice or Salad, I’m trying them all!

  9. 5 stars
    This was the BEST recipe for our Friday night cookout last night! Definitely going to make this easy recipe again for the 4th, for sure!

  10. 5 stars
    Wow! Not only was this easy, but it was so flavorful and juicy, too! My whole family fell in love with this dish; excited to make it again!