Oven barbecued pork

By • March 29, 2010 • 20 Comments

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Author Notes: This is the canonical recipe for Memphis-centric barbecue, which is the best in the world. Every cook has his/her own dry rub; this is mine. It's best cooked on a pit over hardwood coals for 18 hours (for a whole shoulder; 12 for Boston butts), started at 180 degrees and gradually working up to 250. I adapted it for the oven several years ago when it was below freezing and I wanted barbecue and did NOT want to fire up the pit. It lacks the smoky flavor, but it still puts most barbecue to shame.Kayb

Food52 Review: This recipe yields some of the best barbecued pork we've ever tasted. After a few low and slow hours in the oven, the roast comes out super moist, sweet-spicy, peppery and crispy. The rub is balanced and really penetrates the meat, leaving a nice, pink ring around the outside edge. The sauce has just the right amount of tomato-y tartness for balance. We found this to be an embarrassingly easy way to get barbecue flavor without having to go outside, or do much work at all. - EmilyThe Editors

Serves 8

  • 3 tablespoons each of kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, and coriander
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons each of ground ginger, dry mustard, and celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons each ground thyme and dried oregano, crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 5-6 pounds Boston butt roast or half pork shoulder
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • hot sauce to taste
  1. Mix the spices, herbs and sugar in a small bowl until thoroughly blended. Set aside 6 tablespoons of the mixture, and use as much as needed to heavily coat the pork roast. You may have rub left over; it keeps well in an airtight container and does wonders for any kind of pork or chicken. Wrap the roast tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, remove roast from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Place in a rack in roasting pan in 200 degree oven for an hour.
  3. In a small saucepan, blend reserved 6 tbsp. dry rub mix, vinegar, water, tomato paste or ketchup, and worcestershire sauce. Add hot sauce to taste (a dash or two is good).
  4. Once pork has cooked for an hour, baste with sauce every 30 minutes for 1 1/2 hours. After a total of 2 1/2 hours, increase heat to 250, and continue to baste every 30 minutes for another 1 1/2 hours. Raise heat to 300 and continue to baste every 30 minutes for another hour to hour and a half, or until the bone in the pork wiggles freely.
  5. When bone wiggles freely and meat is pull-apart tender, remove from oven and tent with foil; allow to sit for at least 20 minutes. Serve by pulling chunks of meat from bone. Should, to be authentic, be served with vinegar cole slaw and baked beans; bread is optional, but roasted corn on the cob is nice. And gallons of iced tea and lots of cold beer.
  6. If you want a sauce to serve on the side, take remaining basting sauce (or make more), add another 4 tbsp tomato paste, and simmer until it reaches the desired thickness.
Jump to Comments (20)

Comments (20) Questions (4)

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about 1 month ago Jan

I made this 7 days ago and my house still smells like cumin! Wayyyy too much in this spice rub! I bought a huge package (15lbs) of pork shoulder from Costco. I did the rub as instructed, but only have one large roasting pan. I put half the pork in the roasting pan on rack, and the other half in 7 qt. dutch oven. I basted as instructed, except after 2 applications of the basting sauce, the meat in the Dutch oven was very moist and did not need anymore. I followed the rest of the instructions for the meat in the rack. We preferred the meat in the Dutch oven, as it was fall-apart tender and moist. The meat on the rack gained a thick crust and was quite dry. We did not like the taste or textrue of the crust. I'm not sure if it wold have been better if I had cooked longer, or shorter, but I think it was in for 6-8 hours, at specified temps and with the basting as instructed. I am not the "meat cooker" in our home, so I was pleased with the dutch oven method and would do again. I will use another rub with fewer ingredients and no cumin. I made double the quantities of the rub mixture and had lots left over, even though I used 3x the meat. A single recipe of the rub is sufficient for a large quantity of meat. I did need the double recipe for the basting sauce, and 90% of that was used on the roasting-rack meat. I would have needed more if both meats were in roasting pans.

Kay_at_lake

4 months ago Kayb

email notifications while I'm at my desk are a Good Thing....

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4 months ago twinjadojo

Hey there, Kayb! I'm blending my rub now and dreaming of BBQ tomorrow. Quick question, where does the 1/2c. oil belong? I'm assuming it's part of the basting sauce, but I'd love confirmation. And please forgive me if it's right up there in black and white and it keeps falling in my blind spot.

Kay_at_lake

4 months ago Kayb

Sorry! yes, it's in the basting sauce. It'll keep separating on you, so just stir with the brush before you baste with it.

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4 months ago twinjadojo

Superhero-speed answer! Thank you so much.

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about 1 year ago BadCat

Blizzard fare!! Can't wait to eat this puppy tomorrow evening!

Kay_at_lake

about 1 year ago Kayb

It'll warm you from the inside out! Enjoy!

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almost 2 years ago Bates Estabrooks

This sounds great! I'm going to try it. ONE QUESTION, THOUGH. Why do we need kosher salt when we're cooking pork? ;-)

Kay_at_lake

almost 2 years ago Kayb

H'mmm. Reform barbecue, maybe?

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over 2 years ago cincoymaya

I just made this and it was delicious. Also super easy though you have to plan on being around the whole time the roast is cooking in order to baste it.

Kay_at_lake

over 2 years ago Kayb

So glad you enjoyed it! always happy to make another convert to Memphis-style barbecue!

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about 4 years ago Pat in SoCal

I just pulled a 15 pound monster roast out of the oven to tent and set for 20 minutes....but I couldn't resist a taste. OMG! Yes....there may be a little left for super bowl tomorrow but I know what I'm having for dinner tonight! BTW...the coleslaw is cooling on the counter as well. Mmmmmmmm.

Kay_at_lake

about 4 years ago Kayb

You will be the hostess they'll be talking about for a long time! That stuff is just so good as to not be believed. Glad you made it and glad the taste-test was positive!

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about 4 years ago Pat in SoCal

It was incredible delicious! A huge hit. Thanks again.

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over 4 years ago lapadia

A lot of tasty possibilities with this recipe; very similar to the one we do that uses a bit of beer too. I was just now thinking that perhaps when done in the oven a little bit of liquid smoke could be added with the wet ingredients, thinking that it might pick up a little of the smoke (?). If I ever do it in th oven I will have to try it. OH....late congrats on the EP!!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 5 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

This sounds terrific. Can it be it that easy?? I can't wait to try it.

Kay_at_lake

almost 5 years ago Kayb

Yes. It is that easy. Now, it's better, and more work, if you do it over coals, but it is in fact that easy in the oven.

Kay_at_lake

almost 5 years ago Kayb

Excited to be chosen an editor's pick, and so glad the editors enjoyed the barbecue! Thanks, all!

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almost 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Love this recipe! Any barbeque recipe that calls for a tablespoon of allspice is a winner in my book, hands down. This reminds me a lot of the ingredient combination in my mother's (excellent, family favorite) "19th hole" pulled pork. Your suggestion for a vinegar cole slaw is excellent, too! Congrat"s, Kayb, on this Editors' Pick!

Stringio

almost 5 years ago testkitchenette

Makes me want to run to the 24 hour market and cook pork all night! I want to make it a one bowl meal by shredding it into the cole slaw, roasted corn to the slaw, and stir the beans in. I'll still take the beer on the side though. Great recipe and method!