Slow-cooked to perfection with a smoky spice rub and covered in your favorite BBQ sauce, this juicy and tender Dutch Oven BBQ Pulled Pork is the ultimate comfort food. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or just looking for a comforting weeknight meal, this recipe is great with any hearty side dish!
A Dutch oven is a heavy-duty pot with a tight-fitting lid, usually made of cast iron or enameled cast iron. It’s perfect for slow cooking, braising, and roasting and can be used both on the stove and in the oven. The cast iron material heats evenly and retains heat well, making it an ideal choice for cooking tough cuts of meat like pork shoulder.
When it comes to making pulled pork, a Dutch oven is the ultimate cooking option as it allows for precise temperature control and excellent heat retention. This means your pork shoulder will cook low and slow, breaking down the tough connective tissue and becoming melt-in-your-mouth tender. Plus, because the lid fits so tightly, you won’t lose any moisture during the cooking process, ensuring that your bbq pulled pork is juicy and flavorful.
The best part about making pulled pork in a Dutch oven is how easy it is! With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a delicious and satisfying protein that can be used in many different ways. The key is to start with a spice rub that will infuse the pork with flavor, and then let it cook low and slow for several hours until its fall apart tender.
Shred the meat and mix it with your favorite BBQ sauce for a classic pulled pork sandwich, or serve it over rice or in a taco for a fun twist. Whatever way you choose to enjoy it, this Dutch oven pulled pork is sure to become a family favorite!
🥩Best Dutch Ovens For Cooking Meat
- Lodge Dutch Oven With Lid (6 Quart)
- Mueller DuraCast Dutch Oven With Lid (6 Quart)
- Le Creuset Enamel Dutch Oven (7.25 Quart)
🧂Ingredients You’ll Need
- Boneless Pork Shoulder – The boneless pork shoulder is the star of the recipe, providing the rich, meaty flavor and texture that is essential for pulled pork.
- Avocado Oil – Used to help sear the meat in the dutch oven before cooking.
- BBQ Dry Rub – Made with smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, adds depth and complexity to the flavor profile, infusing the pork with smoky and savory notes.
- BBQ Sauce – This can be store-bought or homemade, gives the pulled pork its signature tangy sweetness, and provides a saucy base for serving.
- Water – Added to help create steam and moisture during cooking, ensuring the pork stays juicy and tender throughout the long cooking process.
📖How To Make BBQ Pulled Pork In A Dutch Oven
1️⃣Prepare for baking: Preheat your oven to 325°F. Get your dutch oven out and set aside.
2️⃣Season pork shoulder: In a small bowl, mix together smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork shoulder, making sure to coat it evenly.
3️⃣Sear seasoned pork: Add avocado oil to Dutch oven heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the pork shoulder on all sides until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the pork shoulder from the Dutch oven and set aside.
4️⃣Add cooking liquid: In the same Dutch oven, add 1 cup of premade BBQ sauce and 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine. Return the pork shoulder to the Dutch oven, spooning the BBQ sauce mixture over the top. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and place it in the preheated oven.
5️⃣Bake pork shoulder: Bake the pork shoulder for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, or until it is very tender and easily falls apart with a fork.
6️⃣Remove and shred: Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and let the pork shoulder cool for a few minutes. Using two forks, shred the pork shoulder into small pieces. Serve the pulled pork on a bun or over rice, spooning extra BBQ sauce over the top if desired.
- Don’t skip the step of searing the pork shoulder before adding it to the Dutch oven. This will create a nice crust on the outside of the meat and help lock in the juices, resulting in a more flavorful and tender final product.
- When applying the dry rub, make sure to massage it thoroughly into the pork shoulder, making sure it’s evenly coated on all sides.
- If you have the time, let the pork shoulder sit in the dry rub for a few hours, or even overnight, in the refrigerator. This will allow the flavors to penetrate the meat even more deeply, resulting in an even more delicious final product.
- If you find that your pork shoulder is starting to dry out during the cooking process, you can add a bit more water or BBQ sauce to the Dutch oven to keep it moist.
- Once the pork shoulder is finished cooking and has been shredded, be sure to let it sit in the cooking liquid for a few minutes before serving. This will allow it to absorb even more flavor and moisture.
- For a spicier version, add a tablespoon of chili powder or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the dry rub. You can also use a spicy BBQ sauce or add some hot sauce to the finished pulled pork.
- If you prefer a sweeter flavor profile, add a bit of brown sugar to the dry rub or use a sweet BBQ sauce. You can also add some pineapple juice or honey to the cooking liquid to add even more sweetness.
- For a smokier flavor, add a few drops of liquid smoke to the cooking liquid, or use a hickory or mesquite-flavored BBQ sauce.
- To make a healthier version, use a leaner cut of pork, like pork loin or tenderloin, and reduce the amount of BBQ sauce or use a low-sugar or sugar-free version. You can also serve the pulled pork over a salad or in lettuce wraps instead of on a bun.
- Add some chopped onions or garlic, a bay leaf, or some apple cider vinegar for a tangy kick.
- Experiment with different types of BBQ sauce, like a Carolina-style mustard-based sauce or a Kansas City-style molasses-based sauce.
❄Storing & Freezing
Storing: To store leftover pulled pork, allow it to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freezing: To freeze pulled pork, let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or a resealable plastic bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator or in cold water, then reheat on the stove or in the microwave until heated through. You can also reheat it straight from frozen in a saucepan on low heat, occasionally stirring, until heated through.
🍖More Easy Pork Recipes
- Slow Cooker Mississippi Pork Roast
- Thick Cut BBQ Pork Chops
- Reverse Sear Pork Tenderloin
- Sous Vide Pulled Pork
- Air Fryer Pork Meatballs
Dutch Oven BBQ Pulled Pork
- Dutch Oven
- 3 lbs pork shoulder boneless
- 2 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup premade BBQ sauce
- ½ cup water
- Preheat your oven to 325°F. Get your Dutch oven out and set it aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork shoulder, making sure to coat it evenly.
- Add avocado oil to Dutch oven heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the pork shoulder on all sides until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the pork shoulder from the Dutch oven and set aside.
- In the same Dutch oven, add 1 cup of premade BBQ sauce and 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine. Return the pork shoulder to the Dutch oven, spooning the BBQ sauce mixture over the top. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and place it in the preheated oven.
- Bake the pork shoulder for 2 1/2 – 3 hours or until it is very tender and easily falls apart with a fork.
- Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and let the pork shoulder cool for a few minutes. Using two forks, shred the pork shoulder into small pieces. Serve the pulled pork on a bun or over rice, spooning extra BBQ sauce over the top if desired. Enjoy!