5 Ingredients or Fewer

Crispy Pulled Pork Shoulder

July 15, 2014
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

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

  • Serves 10
  • 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)
In This Recipe
  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.

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    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.