City Style Pulled Pork

  • January 31, 2015


10 people

Active Time

1 hour

Total Time

8 hours

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  • City Style Pulled Pork
  • City Style Pulled Pork
  • City Style Pulled Pork
  • City Style Pulled Pork
City Style Pulled Pork

Where I come from, pork shoulders are slow cooked in a smoker in the backyard for hours and hours to yield delicious pulled pork. Whenever I get home sick for good ol fashioned delicious porkiness, I turn to this recipe for comfort. While you won’t get the same smokey complexity, the full-flavored and tender meat this recipe produces is a very close second! Skip the smoker and crank up the oven for this city style pulled pork.


For the Pulled Pork
  • 8 – 10 lb bone-in pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
Recommended Pairings
  • Eastern NC BBQ Sauce: Recipe
  • Zesty Coleslaw: Recipe
  • Norf Cackalacky Corn Cakes: Recipe
  • Plenty of buns!


1. Using a paring knife, score the skin of the pork shoulder all over. This will allow the dry rub to work its way into the meat faster and also allow the fat to render down more in the oven.

2. Combine all of the herbs and spices into a small bowl and generously coat the shoulder with the mixture. Press, or “rub,” the spices all over the meat and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator for best results and most flavorful meat.

3. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Allow the shoulder to come up to room temperature for about an hour before putting it in the oven. I like to use a dutch oven, but any casserole or baking dish will work. Bake uncovered for about four hours. Your home will be smelling painfully delicious at this point, but be patient.

4. You are about halfway done at this point. Pull the meat out of the oven and baste it with the fat in the bottom of the pan or you can start applying NC style barbecue sauce. The rub has pretty much the same ingredients as the sauce so the fat will be flavorful, but the sauce packs a nice vinegary punch so I usually use the sauce. It is ultimately up to you. Baste the meat every hour and return it to the oven.

5. Continue baking and basting until a meat thermometer registers 185 to 190 degrees in the middle. It will be about an hour per pound when all is said and done at this low temperature. The final temperature may seem a little high on first glance, but some of the tougher parts of the shoulder do not breakdown fully until they reach that temperature and since we got there slowly, the meat will be juicy and tender and not dried out. When the meat is done, let rest on the stove top for about 15 minutes.

6. Carefully cut away the skin. You can either discard this, crisp it up in a very hot oven (450 – 500 degrees) for 10 minutes or pat dry and fry in some oil until crispy. The skin can be very delicious, but will not be ready for consumption right out of the oven. If you decide to crisp it up, cut and serve as pork rinds or chop it up and mix it in with the pork.

7. When the pork is cool enough to handle, start pulling the pork apart and off the bone. You can use two large forks to do this, but ultimately I think wearing food safe gloves and using your hands to pull the pork is the fastest and easiest way of doing it. Discard the bone when done. Slather the meat with your favorite barbecue sauce and serve with coleslaw and a bun.

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