The Secret to Pulled Pork


Pulled pork is one of my favorite no-fuss meals.  For years, I always considered pulled pork something to order at a barbeque restaurant, rather than something to make at home.  I envisioned gigantic cuts of pork being cooked for hours in a mammoth smoker, then being shredded by a team of cooks.  Since I have neither a smoker nor a kitchen staff, I just assumed truly good pulled pork could not be achieved at home.  I’m happy to say I was very wrong.

My inspiration for home-made pulled pork came from my next-door neighbor and my sister-in-law, who, unbeknownst to them, share an unlikely pulled-pork connection.  They both have different methods for cooking their pork, but both swear by a very special ingredient, which is what I think makes this dish spectacular.

My neighbor and his wife love to throw big, casual parties with tons of food.  Most of the time, JT fries a whole turkey, but lately, he’s been experimenting with pulled pork.  He favors the method where you take your cut of pork (the fattier varieties are best—butt, shoulder, or even the rib end of a roast), place it in a large pot, add water, throw in a few aromatics (onion, etc), and let it simmer VERY slowly for about 10-12 hours. 

My sister-in-law and brother had us over for dinner this summer and also served pulled pork.  I asked if theirs was cooked it in water like my neighbor, and she said she simply tosses the meat alone into a big crock-pot and lets it slowly cook for a few hours. Once it is cooked through, she trims the fat, shreds it, and returns it to the crock-pot for the final step.

This last step is where my neighbor’s and my sister-in-law’s recipes converge to create perfect pulled pork, and the secret is in the sauce!  It is a jarred sauce (gasp!), and the one they both use is from the very same upstate New York barbeque joint.  The family-owned Brooks’ House of Bar-BQ in Oneonta, New York is hands-down, one of the best barbeque restaurants into which you’ll ever set foot.  Even though Oneonta isn’t exactly on the beaten path, Brooks’ was featured on the Food Network a couple of years back…it is really that good.  The best part is that Brooks sells their sauces online (both the bbq sauce and a fantastic chicken marinade), so you can enjoy great pulled pork at home. 

The preparation for this dish is minimal—all you need is time.  I combined the methods for the most flavorful pork-which is also the easiest to prepare.  I also tend to favor the rib end of a pork roast, which although not as fatty, doesn’t smell up your house like the pork butt tends to do (I’m sure there is a joke in there somewhere).  So get some big, soft sandwich rolls, some tangy coleslaw (served on the side, or as they do in traditional barbeque restaurants, in the sandwich on top of the pork), and some beer, and have yourself a delicious but simple meal.

BBQ Pulled Pork

Serves  6

6 lbs boneless pork roast, rib end

1 onion, cut into quarters

1 ½ cups prepared barbeque sauce

Place the pork, onion and 1 cup of water into a crock-pot.  Turn to the “high” setting and allow to cook for approximately 3 hours.

Use a fork to break into the meat, and check to see that it is no longer pink in the center.   It should also be very tender and should break apart very easily.

Remove the pork, trim away any excess fat, and use two forks to shred apart the meat.  Remove the onion and water from the crock-pot, and return shredded meat to pot.  Add the sauce, change the setting to “low” and continue to cook for another 30 minutes, or until heated through.  Add more sauce if it seems too dry.

Serve warm on buns.


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3 Responses to “The Secret to Pulled Pork”

  1. PWick Says:

    Hey, that pulled pork recipe was fantastic!!
    How come I never knew about this simple and delicious
    meal! It is great for company, and then the leftovers
    are even better. Thanks!!

  2. Season To Taste » In Season: Apples Says:

    […] do with our huge harvest.  I wanted to make a big batch of applesauce to serve alongside pulled pork at an upcoming football party.  My four year old insisted that we make apple strudel (I […]

  3. A Taste of Home, at Home « Season To Taste Says:

    […] ordered online.   I’ve blogged before about their to-die-for barbeque sauce which I use for pulled pork and ribs, but I also love their classic chicken sauce, which I use as a marinade for bone-in chicken […]

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