A pan of shredded pulled pork.

Pulled Pork

The best pulled pork recipe made right in the oven (no smoker required!) after an overnight brine and being covered in a simple dry rub. Sauce recipe included!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep 8 hours
Cook 4 hours 30 minutes
Total 12 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 to 8 servings
Calories 475 kcal
Author Michelle


For the Pork

  • 5-6 lb boneless pork butt or boneless pork shoulder

For the Brine

  • 2 quarts cold water
  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 2 bay leaves

For the Dry Rub

  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Barbecue Sauce

  • cups ketchup
  • ½ cup reserved cooking liquid
  • ¼ cup mild molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
US Customary - Metric


  1. Brine the Pork: Add salt to the cold water and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Add the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved, then stir in the liquid smoke.
  2. Place the pork butt in a jumbo-size ziploc bag (or another large container that can hold the pork and the brine solution), then slowly pour in the brine solution to cover the pork. Seal the bag or cover the container and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, up to 36 hours.
  3. Make the Dry Rub: In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne. (This can be made ahead of time and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.)
  4. When ready to cook the pork, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 325 degrees F.
  5. Prepare the Pork: Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack inside. Remove the pork from the brine (discard the brine solution) and pat dry with paper towels. Slice the pork in half horizontally, then coat all sides of both pieces of pork with the dry rub mixture. Place the pork on the wire rack.
  6. Cook the Pork: Cover the pork with aluminum foil, sealing the edges of the pan to prevent moisture from escaping. Cook for 3 hours.
  7. Take the pork from the oven, remove and discard the aluminum foil. Carefully pour off liquid in bottom of baking sheet into fat separator and reserve for sauce. Return pork to oven and cook, uncovered, until well browned, tender, and internal temperature registers 200 degrees F on instant-read thermometer, about 1½ hours. Transfer pork to serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Make the Barbecue Sauce: While the pork rests, pour ½ cup of defatted cooking liquid from fat separator into a medium bowl; whisk in the ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  9. Serve: Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 cup sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing the remaining sauce separately. The pulled pork should be stored, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It also freezes very well; freeze in a freezer-safe container (all in one, or broken up into smaller portions) for up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional values are based on one of 8 servings

Nutrition Facts
Pulled Pork
Amount Per Serving
Calories 475 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 170mg57%
Sodium 803mg35%
Potassium 1379mg39%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 54g108%
Vitamin A 1070IU21%
Vitamin C 2.8mg3%
Calcium 92mg9%
Iron 5.3mg29%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.