Delight in the deep, smoky flavors of Smoked Pulled Pork! Cooked low and slow on a Traeger pellet grill or your preferred smoker, this succulent pork is infused with a homemade rub that's packed full of flavor. The result is incredibly tender meat that pulls apart easily and is perfect for sandwiches, tacos, nachos, and more.
Keep reading to find out how to make the best smoked pulled pork for an unforgettable BBQ experience!
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Why Smoked Pulled Pork Is the Perfect Addition to Your Next Game Day
Smoked pork offers simple decadence. It's rich, flavorful, and the perfect way to feed a crowd without stressing too much about cooking. All it takes is a few ingredients and plenty of mostly hands-off time.
After all those hours, you are rewarded with a fall-apart tender and perfectly seasoned piece of pork that you can use in many different delicious ways.
Why You Should Try This Recipe
It doesn't get easier than this smoked pulled pork recipe. There is no brining or liquid injection here, no gimmicks or shortcuts, just old-school smoking in its purest form.
Get the natural flavor of classic smoking without any of the hassles of other recipes. It is an ideal starter recipe for those new to smoking or who don't want to be bothered with anything too complicated.
Smoked Pulled Pork Traeger Style Ingredients
For the Smoked Pulled Pork Rub, you'll need:
- Light brown sugar
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Smoked paprika
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
To finish preparing the pork for smoking, you'll need:
- Yellow mustard
- Pork Boston butt or pork shoulder
- Yellow mustard
To make the apple cider vinegar spritz, you'll need:
- Apple cider vinegar
How to Make Smoked Pulled Pork
To prepare the pork for smoking:
- Combine all the ingredients for the Smoked Pulled Pork Rub in a small bowl. Stir well.
- Place the pork on a clean work surface and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Use a basting brush to lightly coat the pork with yellow mustard. Make sure to cover the entire piece of pork.
- Put on food-safe gloves and liberally apply the Smoked Pulled Pork Rub on all sides of the pork. Pat the rub into the pork to help it adhere.
To smoke the prepared pork:
- Preheat the smoker to 250°F.
- Mix the Apple Cider Vinegar Spritz by mixing equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and transferring it into a clean spray bottle.
- Add the wood chips or pellets to the smoker.
- Place the seasoned pork on the grill grate inside the smoker with the fat cap on the top. Insert a meat probe into the center of the pork and close the smoker.
- Smoke the pork at a steady temperature until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160°F. After about two hours, spray the pork with the Apple Cider Vinegar Spritz every 30 minutes.
- Once the pork reaches 160°F, remove it from the smoker and set it on aluminum foil.
- Turn up the heat on the smoker to 325°F.
- Spray the pork with the Apple Cider Vinegar Spritz, and wrap the meat tightly in aluminum foil. This step is when having a wireless meat probe is really helpful.
- Return the wrapped pork to the smoker and cook until the smoked pulled pork temp is 200°F.
- Remove the cooked pork, take out the meat probe, and place the meat in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a secure lid.
- Let the pork rest in the pot for at least an hour, then shred it with forks or meat claws.
What Type of Equipment Do You Need
For this recipe, you need a good meat smoker. You can use a traditional offset smoker with chunks of hardwood or a modern pellet smoker, but it needs to be a high-quality smoker that can maintain a steady temperature over an extended cooking time.
You'll also want a meat probe to check the internal smoked pulled pork temp before taking it out of the smoker. A corded probe thermometer is inexpensive and accurate, but a wireless meat thermometer is more convenient.
You'll need a clean spray bottle to spray the pork with the Apple Cider Vinegar Spritz that can produce a fine, even mist.
Wood Recommendations for Smoking
Hickory is perhaps the most traditional wood to use for this recipe. It lends a strong, distinct flavor to the meat that is good if you use it in a heavily sauced dish. It also creates a rich, dark bark.
However, there is the option of using fruit wood like applewood or cherrywood to bring a sweet component to the meat.
What to Serve Smoked Pulled Pork
There are so many ways to use pulled pork. Why not start with more traditional side dishes like coleslaw, baked beans, mac and cheese, and pickles? Here are some more ideas for smoked pork shoulder:
- Pork sandwich with BBQ sauce.
- Pulled pork nachos.
- Soft tacos with pickled red onions, cilantro, and queso cheese.
- Cemita sandwich with avocado, tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and cilantro.
Or you can get more creative by stirring it into a pasta sauce or using it as a topping for pizza!
How to Use Leftover Smoked Pulled Pork
If properly stored, pulled pork will work as well as fresh pork in most recipes, although it may have more of a soft texture. Pulled pork nachos are a great way to use leftover pulled pork.
How to Store Smoked Pulled Pork
It's critical to allow the pulled pork to come to room temperature before storing it. Transfer the cooled pulled pork to a food-safe bag and force as much air as possible out of it before sealing.
You can keep pulled pork in the fridge in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for up to two months.
How to Reheat Smoked Pulled Pork
One of the best ways to reheat thawed pulled pork is in a skillet. Add some cooking oil to the skillet and saute the pulled pork over medium heat until hot. Defrost the frozen pulled pork before reheating.
Popular Smoker Recipes
- Smoked Chex Mix
- Smoked Chicken Wings
- Smoked Jalapeno Poppers
- Smoked Pulled Pork Nachos
- Smoked Pulled Pork Tacos
Find more recipes for smoking on Game Day Eats!
Smoked Pulled Pork
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup yellow mustard
- 1 pork butt or pork shoulder 6 to 9 pounds
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- Preheat the smoker to 250°F.
- Combine all the ingredients for the seasoning blend in a small bowl and mix well.
- Spread a very thin layer of mustard over the pork, and then sprinkle with the seasoning blend. Be sure to coat the entire pork roast, using all of the seasoning blend.
- Place the seasoned pork fat-side up on the grill and place the meat probe into the meat. Cook for 1 to 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. After 2 hours you can spritz the meat every 30 minutes with apple cider vinegar diluted at a ratio of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part water.
- Turn up the heat to 325°F. Place the pork fat-side down on a piece of heavy aluminum foil large enough to wrap the pork. Spritz the meat heavily with the diluted apple cider vinegar. Then wrap the foil around the pork so that the meat is sealed within the foil. Insert the meat probe into the pork and cook until the internal temperature reaches 200°F. Remove from the smoker.
- Remove the pork from the smoker and transfer it to a Dutch oven. Place the lid on top and allow the pork to rest for about 1 hour before shredding. At this point, it will simply fall apart.