Have you ever had that one meal or recipe that you are constantly on the search for “the perfect one”?  I did and it was a quest for the perfect pulled pork recipe.  There are complicated recipes for pulled pork where you have to use a smoker.  There are recipes where you add smoke flavor.  There are recipes where you use the slow cooker.  There are recipes that call for Carolina bbq sauce that is vinegar based.  There are recipes that call for Texas bbq sauce that are  tomato based.  Let me tell you….I have tried them all.  All the recipes I have tried have just been ok, but they have not been that “keeper” recipe that you can make again and again.  A few months back I found THE ONE!  I actually found it on another blog called Kevin & Amanda.  They said it was the perfect pulled pork and they did not lie…it is the perfect pulled pork.  You first brine the pork roast for at least 8 hours.  Then you completely cover the brined pork roast with the best dry rub mix.  Next, you slow cook the roast at 225 degrees for about 8-12 hours until it shreds like butter!!  I paired this perfect pulled pork with a super simple bbq sauce recipe by Emeril.  You don’t even have to cook the BBQ sauce.  The only thing I added to the bbq sauce was a bit of hot sauce or Franks’ Red Hot to spice it up a bit.  I have made this recipe for the past several catered parties and it is always a huge hit!  You can use any type of bun or roll that you want….but I drive about 1/2 hour to a deli in Naperville to get the best Challah rolls ever.  They really do make the sandwich!


  • 1 (4-7 lb.) Pork Shoulder Roast – either bone in or out does not matter
Dry Rub

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix well and store in an air tight container.

Brine Solution

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    1/2 cup salt

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 qts cold water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp dry rub mix

Add salt to cold water and stir very well until all the salt is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar, dry rub, and bay leaves and stir well to combine.

Pork shoulder preparation:

Rinse the pork shoulder and place in a large container, pour in the brine solution until the shoulder is completely covered. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Then remove pork shoulder from brine solution, pat dry with paper towels, place in baking pan that is bigger than the shoulder by at least a inch in length and width and at least 3 inches deep. Sprinkle dry rub onto the surface of the shoulder and massage in such that it adheres to the surface. Coat all sides. Make sure the fat layer on the shoulder is facing up before cooking! Place baking pan uncovered in a 225 degree oven on the middle rack. Insert a probe thermometer into the center or thickest part of the shoulder, but not touching the bone. Monitor the temperature throughout cooking (a digital thermometer with an alarm function is the easiest way to do this). Do not remove from the oven until the center of the shoulder reaches 200 degrees. When the shoulder has reached 200 degrees, shut off the oven and let the roast cool for a couple of hours before removing from the oven. If the bottom of the pan is dry (or crusted with dried spices) then cover the pan with foil to retain internal moisture of the meat during the cooling period. When the temperature drops to 170 degrees or slightly lower, remove from oven. Place on a large, clean work surface such as a cutting board, and remove the large sheet of crusted fat on the top. Pull apart with two forks, it will pull apart very easily. I add a little of the dry rub to the pulled pork.  Then I  add some BBQ sauce to taste, but I don’t drown it.  I let everyone add as much BBQ sauce as they want then w/ a squirt bottle. Serve for friends and family!
Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

·         1 TB. Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk well to dissolve the sugar. Place in a squeeze bottle and dress the pulled pork sandwiches to taste.

Yield: about 2 cups

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