Juicy and fall-apart tender Dutch Oven Pulled Pork is cooked low and slow in your oven - in a fraction of the time it takes to cook in a smoker or slow cooker. Made with BBQ dry rub and BBQ sauce, this mouthwatering pulled pork recipe is the perfect blend of sweet and smokey flavors!
Pulled pork is an American classic - served at most BBQs and backyard cookouts all summer long. While I love a juicy pulled pork sandwich in July, it's also an essential menu item on Football Sunday!
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches can be devoured by game time if you make your pulled pork in a cast iron Dutch oven!
For the ultimate game-day feast, serve Dutch Oven Pulled Pork with Hawaiian Roll Cheeseburger Sliders, Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs, Dutch Oven Mac and Cheese, and made into Leftover Pulled Pork Pizzas.
- Why you'll love this recipe
- Why use a Dutch oven?
- Equipment needed
- How to make this Dutch Oven Pulled Pork recipe
- Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker vs. Dutch Oven
- Ways to use your pulled pork
- How to pull pork
- Expert tips
- How to store, freeze, and reheat
- What to serve with pulled pork
- Frequently asked questions
- Pork recipes you'll also like
- 📖 Recipe
- Hungry for more?
- 💬 Comments
Why you'll love this recipe
- Quick: You can achieve moist, juicy, and mouthwatering pulled pork in only 3 hours of cooking time with Dutch Oven Pulled Pork!
- Flavorful: Melt-in-your-mouth shredded pork with perfectly crispy ends is an irresistible flavor combination!
- Feeds a crowd: A large pot of Dutch Oven Shredded Pork will easily feed a party, and most likely leave you with leftovers, too!
- Versatile: Turn pulled pork into sliders, pizza, wraps, or mix it into mac and cheese!
Why use a Dutch oven?
Dutch ovens are ideal for slow-cooking meats because of their ability to retain and evenly distribute heat. They're versatile cooking tools, allowing you to sear and slow-cook your meat all in one pot! Dutch ovens will lock in moisture, and produce tender meat with caramelized edges.
- Pork: Bone-in or boneless Pork Shoulder (also known as Boston Butt), Pork Picnic Shoulder, and Pork Butt are the best pork cuts to make pulled pork. They have the ideal balance of meat and fat and will provide the best combination of savory flavor and tender texture.
- BBQ Seasoning: While you can make your own homemade BBQ seasoning blend, with this recipe, my preference was to use a store-bought blend.
- Sliced Onion: Thickly sliced white or yellow onion is added for flavor and texture. Thick slices are essential, as they will significantly cook down during the slow cooking process.
- Beef Broth: Beef Broth is the main ingredient in the braising liquid. The broth will add salty flavor and keep the meat juicy and tender.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Added for a tangy and slightly sweet taste, it balances the braising liquid's flavor profile and helps tenderize the meat.
- BBQ Sauce: BBQ sauce can be made from scratch or store-bought. I love a few store-bought brands and prefer to save time and buy the sauce! I recommend Rib Rack BBQ Sauce and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce. Make sure you choose a sweet sauce because I don’t add sugar to the dry rub.
- Mustard: Mustard adds tang and depth of flavor. I prefer to use Dijon Mustard, yellow mustard, or grainy brown mustard.
- Olive Oil: Extra Virgin Olive Oil is used to oil the pan when searing the meat. You may need slightly more than the recipe calls for.
- You’ll need an enameled cast iron Dutch Oven with a lid, like the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven.
- A cutting board, chopping knife, measuring cups, measuring spoons, a large mixing bowl, and a small mixing bowl will also be helpful to have on hand.
How to make this Dutch Oven Pulled Pork recipe
- Rub a liberal amount of BBQ seasoning blend onto all sides of the pork.
- Brown the pork in the Dutch oven.
- Saute the onion slices.
- Return the pork to the Dutch oven, cover with braising liquid, and cook for 3 hours.
- Serve and enjoy!
Before you begin, let the pork shoulder sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes and preheat your oven to 300°F.
Step 1: Cut the pork shoulder into 3-4 large chunks, just small enough to pick up with large tongs.
Step 2: Liberally season all sides of the pork pieces with the dry BBQ seasoning blend.
Step 3: Whisk the braising liquid ingredients together. Combine the beef broth, apple cider vinegar, BBQ sauce, and mustard in a small bowl.
Step 4: Heat 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of your cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Working in batches, brown all sides of pork for about 2 minutes per side. Searing (browning) creates a flavorful crust and helps lock in the juices!
Step 5: Set the browned pork shoulder aside and add the sliced onion to the pot. Saute the onions for about 3 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
Step 6: Add the pork back to the Dutch Oven, cover with braising liquid, and bring the liquid to a simmer.
Step 7: Once simmering, cover the Dutch oven and transfer it to your preheated oven. Slowly cook the pulled pork for 3 hours at 300°F.
Step 8: After 3 hours, remove the pork from the oven. Use tongs or a large slotted spoon to transfer the cooked pork to a large mixing bowl. Shred the pork using two forks or meat claws.
Step 9: Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked onions from the Dutch oven, then mix the onions into the shredded pork.
Step 10: Add as much braising liquid and pan juices to the shredded pork as you’d like. Extra juices will keep the meat juicy and tender. Mix in BBQ Sauce to taste, or drizzle BBQ sauce onto your pork when you’re ready to serve it. Enjoy!
Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker vs. Dutch Oven
Pulled pork in slow cooker: Slow Cooker pulled pork is for those days when you want to throw dinner together in the morning and not look back until it's ready 10 hours later. Pulled pork in the slow cooker is easy, hands-off, and a great way to cook dinner while you're at work for the day.
Pulled pork in Dutch oven: Dutch Oven Pulled Pork recipes are great when you want fork-tender pork in only a few hours. Pulled pork in the Dutch oven can be more flavorful because of the Dutch oven's ability to create a greater depth of flavor.
Ways to use your pulled pork
Leftover pulled pork is great to have on hand because you can repurpose it into several different meals! While I love it freshly made for dinner, nothing beats a leftover BBQ pulled pork sandwich.
- Pulled pork sandwiches, sliders, or wraps
- Burger with pulled pork
- Pulled pork pizza
- Pulled pork nachos, tacos, or quesadillas
- Pulled pork hash or eggs benedict
How to pull pork
Fork method: Holding one fork in each hand, gently pull apart the meat in opposite directions. Continue pulling the meat until all of the pork is shredded.
Meat claw method: Meat Claws (or Bear Claws) are special kitchen tools designed for pulling meat. You can tear the meat apart using the claws. They'd be great at pulling apart my Dutch Oven Pulled Chicken!
Hand method: If you have washable, heat-resistant kitchen gloves on hand, put them on and get to work pulling apart your cooked pork!
- Thickly slice the onions. The onions will cook down quite a bit, so you do not want thinly sliced onions.
- Choose a well-marbled cut of pork, such as pork shoulder, pork butt, Boston Butt, or Pork Picnic shoulder. While you can make pulled pork with pork loin, it isn’t recommended due to having a lower fat and connective tissue content.
- You’ll need a 4-5 pound pork roast, either boneless or bone-in. If bone-in, make sure you remove the bone when you’re shredding the meat.
- Choose a BBQ seasoning and sauce that contains both salt and sugar. I do not add extra salt or brown sugar to the recipe, so you’ll need that sweet and salty flavor!
- Let the Dutch oven preheat for a few minutes before adding the oil. This ensures even cooking and prevents the meat from sticking to the bottom.
How to store, freeze, and reheat
How to store: Store leftover Dutch Oven Pulled Pork in a glass, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
How to freeze: Let the pork cool completely, then transfer it to a ziplock plastic freezer bag. Squeeze all the air out and freeze flat for up to 3 months.
How to reheat: Let the pork thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. Preheat your oven to 225°F, transfer the leftover pulled pork to an oven-safe dish, add about ½ cup of water or broth, then cover tightly with foil. Heat in the oven for about 30 minutes, until heated through.
What to serve with pulled pork
Pulled Pork can be served with various side dishes. Classic pulled pork sides include coleslaw, cornbread, onion rings, baked beans, and corn on the cob.
Frequently asked questions
As a general guideline, plan on ½ pound of pulled pork per person. Consider whether you'll be serving kids or adults, the normal appetite of your guests, and how you'll be serving the pork.
Pulled pork should be cooked to 195°F - 205°F, measured using a digital meat thermometer.
Juicy, tender pulled pork is only achieved when your pork is cooked at a low temperature over a long period of time. This can be done using a Dutch oven, slow cooker, or smoker.
BBQ sauce is the most popular topping for pulled pork. However, Alabama white sauce, apple butter BBQ sauce, Hawaiian BBQ sauce, gochujang sauce, and cilantro lime crema are also popular choices!
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