Ultimate Pulled Pork

pulled pork and cole slaw on a bun

Recently a local grocery store had pork shoulders on sale for 99 cents per pound…which is a crazy price! It was a sale that I just couldn’t pass up. I know and understand that buying a nine pound pork shoulder can be very intimidating but just know pork shoulders make the very best pulled pork. And I’ll share my foul proof way to cook it perfectly!
Purchasing in a large quantity allowed me to save both money and time. Now I have pulled pork in my freezer ready to go for a night we need a quick, delicious meal.

The pork shoulder I purchased was slightly over nine pounds it cost $9.36 and made 12 cups of pulled pork. That is roughly $0.52 worth of pork per sandwich plus the cost of BBQ sauce, buns, and three ingredients to make a little slaw…cabbage, and a little oil and vinegar.

I have seen recipes for making pulled pork in a slow cooker but a nine pound pork should is big, maybe too big for a slow cooker. Here is a great way to cook it in the oven.

Oven Baked Pulled Pork


  • pork shoulder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • paprika
  • thyme
  • black ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

You will also need

  • your favourite BBQ sauce
  • hamburger buns


  • Place the pork shoulder fat side up in roasting pan and add the half cup of water.
whole pork shoulder with fat scored
  • Using a sharp knife, carefully score the fat. You want to cut into the fat but be careful not to cut into the meat underneath the fat.
whole pork shoulder with seasoning on top
  • Generously sprinkle paprika, thyme and black ground pepper to cover the top of the pork shoulder.  I didn’t include amounts here because I honestly don’t know how much I put on and I really don’t think you could put too much on.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 a teaspoon of salt on top.
  • Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Then cover with a lid or foil. Turn down the oven to 300 F and continue baking for 5-6 hours.
  • Baste the meat every hour. The pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 71 C (160 F) and the bone moves easily.
cooked pork shoulder
  • Let the pork rest for 15 minutes and then carefully transfer it to a large baking sheet with a lip or a 9×13 pan.
  • Remove visible fat from the top and the bone.
Shredded pork shoulder
  • Using two forks shred the meat. This is easy to do when the meat is warm and becomes harder as it cools down, so try to work as quickly as possible. I also remove chunks of fat as I shred.

To make pulled pork sandwiches

  • Heat the amount of meat you want to use in a sauce pan with your favourite BBQ sauce on medium heat. This will only take a couple minutes.
  • Serve on a bun topped with some tangy coleslaw (recipe below).

I usually freeze the shredded meat in 2 cup amounts in a freezer bag (just be sure to label it). I find this is enough to make 3 pulled pork sandwiches. When I want to make pulled pork I will defrost the meat in the fridge for 24 hours and then heat with BBQ on medium heat in a sauce pan.

We like to make a simple coleslaw as a sandwich topping. This coleslaw adds a nice tang and crunch to your pulled pork sandwich.

Tangy Coleslaw


  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ground black pepper and salt to taste


  • Mix cabbage, vinegar and oil together.
  • Season to taste with ground black pepper and a little salt.
  • Let coleslaw sit for 5 minutes and then use as a topping on your pulled pork sandwich.
pulled pork and cole slaw on a bun

Shannon RD
Registered Dietitian

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