5 Ingredients or Fewer

Crispy Pulled Pork Shoulder

July 15, 2014
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 10
Author Notes

A simple slow-roasted pork shoulder, perfect for pulled pork sandwiches —Cara Nicoletti

What You'll Need
  • 6 pounds bone-in, skin on pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
  • BBQ Sauce (optional)
  1. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin on your pork shoulder into a crosshatch pattern, leaving about an inch of space between the cuts. Be sure to slice through the layer of fat below the skin, but not into the meat.
  2. Whisk sugar and salt together and rub all over pork shoulder. Allow the shoulder to sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 24 hours and up to 72.
  3. Before cooking, rub black pepper all over the pork shoulder and allow it to sit out at room temperature for 1 hour to come up to temperature.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 275°F. Place shoulder in a roasting pan and cook until the internal temperature reaches 180° F to 190° F -- about 6 hours. Once it reaches this temperature, remove it from the oven and crank the oven up to 500° F.
  5. Cook, rotating every 5 minutes, until skin is blistered, crispy, and deeply golden brown -- about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the shoulder from the oven and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the layer of crispy skin and chop it roughly.
  7. Pull meat away from the bones and shred it using a fork. Toss cracklings in with meat, season to taste, and pile onto a bun.
  8. Mixing with barbecue sauce is optional, but delicious. Get a recipe for homemade barbecue sauce here https://food52.com/blog/10485-how-to-make-all-natural-barbecue-sauce-from-scratch
  9. If you want to cook this shoulder on your grill, just place it over indirect heat (on a gas grill this means turning on the burners on one side and off on the other, and on a charcoal grill it means piling the coals on one side). Place a disposable aluminum drip pan under the shoulder to avoid flare-ups. Make sure your grill doesn't exceed 300° F or go below 150° F. Cook until internal temp is 180° F to 190° F, roughly 6 hours.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kakij
  • Olivia Lee
    Olivia Lee
  • Jacquelyn Russell Tunstall
    Jacquelyn Russell Tunstall
  • loubaby
  • Cara Nicoletti
    Cara Nicoletti
Cara Nicoletti is a butcher and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Cara started working in restaurants when she moved to New York in 2004, and was a baker and pastry chef for several years before following in her grandfather and great-grandfathers' footsteps and becoming a butcher. She is the writer behind the literary recipe blog, Yummy-Books.com, and author of Voracious, which will be published by Little, Brown in 2015. She is currently a whole-animal butcher and sausage-making teacher at The Meat Hook in Williamsburg.

14 Reviews

Erin May 30, 2020
This was such a simple and great recipe. I even messed it up in 2 big ways and it was still pretty tasty! I used a 3 lb piece of pork without skin and it was boneless instead of bone in- still cooked it for the full 6 hours aka overcooked it. But! Tossed with bbq sauce and made into sandwiches with slaw and really enjoyed it. Will make again following the recipe for real. :) Thanks Cara!
Kakij May 29, 2020
I made this recipe a few weeks ago and am making it again this weekend !
It is easy and the taste is amazing with North Carolina BBQ sauce. The crispy skin puts it over the top!
Olivia L. February 26, 2015
I have been looking forward to making this for a long time. Finally made it about a week ago. It was simply divine. I can't wait to make this again and again.
Lisa G. November 28, 2014
The directions indicate to remove from oven before turning up the heat; why would you do that and at one point would you put it back in...error?
pvanhagenlcsw October 10, 2014
This dish is outstanding. I placed a special order from my butcher and I ended up with the whole shoulder so now I have another roast in my freezer to the delight of my family and friends. My butcher did remind me that everyone at the butcher shop loves pulled pork! This was as tasty and succulent as one would have hoped. Thanks for sharing this.
Jacquelyn R. August 23, 2014
I can only find a whole picnic at my grocery store. Its about 12lbs. Can this be used instead?
Cara N. August 23, 2014
Yes absolutely, Jacquelyn! Just double the recipe for the rub. The general rule is an hour per pound, so get it started in the early am!
barry S. August 20, 2014
Made this at work... stunning....
Cara N. August 23, 2014
So glad to hear that, Barry!
loubaby August 11, 2014
I have made the Oven Barbecued Pork from this site with a 7 lb pork bone in shoulder and used 2 Tablespoons black pepper and it was fine...this sounds really good buying the skin on shoulder--I have to go to a Spanish Market usually for that and I will use the 2 Tablespoons Pepper cause I do like pepper...but I know not everyone does...thanks for sharing the recipe...
pamelaf July 28, 2014
Two tablespoons of coarse ground pepper is way too much for a 6 # roast, and the pepper became way too prominent in the finished pork. Maybe this is an error in the recipe. I did use 2 T., but I would not do so again. Also, if you use a dry brine such as this, you will need to adjust the salt in your barbeque sauce. I used the minimum amount in my recipe, but the end result was still too salty.
Reengh July 23, 2014
Oh I just finished the crispin' part-- this looks so good! Could never be a vegetarian:)
Reengh July 22, 2014
Cook uncovered, yes?
Cara N. July 23, 2014
either way will work fine! If you do want to cover it with foil, just make sure you take it off when you blast it under the heat at the end so that the skin gets crispy