BBQ pulled pork doesn’t have to be complicated or need a fancy smoker when all you want to do is get a great dinner on the table. This version gives you the easy steps to transform an affordable pork roast into your favorite barbecue on the stovetop or in the oven.
BBQ pulled pork is a great dinner. I love that it’s a foundation recipe for bulk cooking too–make a ton with a huge (5 pound) roast then save it for nights when you can’t remember your name and need a meal that takes zero brain power.
I realize that barbecue is a bit of a competitive recipe–people take their dry rubs, wet rubs, brines, smoke, bakes and roasts really seriously.
But we’ll just keep this simple, down home and delicious.
What cut of pork should I use?
Because of the long slow cook, you need a cut with a decent amount of fat. Pork loin is too lean here and will dry out. That’s why I recommend a Boston butt roast. Most will be in the 4 to 5 pound range.
Prep your roast for the stovetop or oven
Use a heavy bottomed pot with a good lid for your bbq. I love cast iron dutch ovens of course, but just make sure yours is solid and holds heat evenly.
If you need to cut your roast in half to make it fit, do that. Then add bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover with water if you can or at least add water until it’s close to the top of the roast.
Simmer on the stove top partially covered or bake fully covered at 350.
How do you know when the pork roast is ready?
I gauge readiness by how easily I can put fork in the meat and twist. If it twists easily and you see the meat shred away, it’s probably ready.
Remember that boston butt roasts have one end that’s tougher than the other so test your meat in several places before taking it out of the pot.
There’s no need to worry about internal temperatures here because the long slow cook will take your meat to the point it needs to be at and then beyond but won’t dry it out.
How can I make pulled pork in the oven?
Follow the same steps for preparing your roast and then make sure it’s in an oven safe heavy pot with a lid. I love cast iron for this–and bake it 3 to 4 hours until tender.
Make sure to check the water level at least once, maybe twice and add water to keep it at the top of the roast or just covered if your pot is large enough.
Do I have to make my own sauce?
No of course not but I have included an easy recipe. If you have a favorite sauce, feel free to use that.
Tips for easy meat shredding
When I discovered the joy of using a stand mixer or hand mixer for shredding pulled pork and I never went back. Use yours if you have one and ditch the forks. You can always use two forks or your hands if you don’t have a mixer.
Can BBQ pulled pork be frozen?
Yes! This is the best part! This recipe easily feeds 8 to 10 people so if you need to set some of it to the side, just cool it and place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.
To use, reheat from frozen in a pot with a dash of water or thaw overnight in the fridge.
What to serve with pulled pork barbecue
You need the classics. You can also just pile your BBQ on a plate and eat it with a fork. No judgment.
BBQ Pulled Pork (Stovetop or Oven Method)
For the roast
For the bbq sauce–See Note 1
- 12 ounces tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup A1 steak sauce
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon avocado or vegetable oil
- ½ cup smoky bbq sauce (optional)
- In a 7 quart or larger cast iron dutch oven with a lid, add the pork roast. If you need to cut it in half to make it fit, do so. Add the bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper and add enough water to cover or almost cover the roast.
- Partially cover with the lid and bring to a low simmer over medium high heat. Reduce heat to maintain the simmer and cook until the roast is falling apart–3 to 4 hours. Once tender, remove the meat to a cutting board and allow to cool until you can handle it.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Cover the roast with water as instructed above, cover fully with the lid and bake until fork tender–3 to 4 hours. Check the water level in your pot halfway through cooking and add water to keep it mostly covered.
- Once tender, remove the meat to a cutting board and allow to cool until you can handle it.
- Pull the meat away from the bones and separate any fat. Remember one half of your roast will be much more tender than the other half. Just get as much meat off as you can.
- If you want to make your meat more finely textured, use your stand mixer or hand mixer to break the meat down to smaller pieces
- Make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the sugar and vinegar as needed before adding to the meat.
- Add the sauce and stir gently to combine. Serve warm on toasted buns or freeze for dinners later.