Crispy Pulled Pork Shoulder

By Cara Nicoletti
July 15, 2014

Author Notes: A simple slow-roasted pork shoulder, perfect for pulled pork sandwichesCara 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)
  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
  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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Reviews (12) Questions (2)


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?
Author Comment
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....
Author Comment
Cara N. August 23, 2014
So glad to hear that, Barry!