This Dutch oven pulled pork is incredibly tender, juicy, and flavorful! The meat is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. This is a great family dinner for weekends, holidays, and Sundays. Prepare the meat for the week ahead. Use the pork in sandwiches, tacos, burritos, stews, soups, salads, and more. This family-favorite recipe is always a popular choice. Make this Instant Pot Pork Roast too!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This Dutch oven pulled pork comes out so tender and juicy.
- The meat is fall apart tasty.
- It easily shreds with two forks.
- Let the Dutch oven do all the hard work. No need to worry about a slow cooker going all day long. This Dutch Oven Chili is another easy dinner recipe.
- This oven roasted pulled pork is versatile.
- Use the meat in so many ways! Add it to sandwiches, salads, tacos, burritos, and more. Make it into BBQ pulled pork nachos!
- Both kids and adults love this recipe.
- It is picky eater approved!
- Make this for family dinners, holidays, birthdays, meal prep, leftovers, and more.
- Pork butt is an affordable cut of meat.
- These ingredients are all easy to find at the grocery store.
- This recipe is Whole30 compliant, real food friendly, Paleo, sugar-free, low carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and egg-free.
- It is suitable for many lifestyles and diets.
- Check out this favorite Crock Pot Pulled Pork or this Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork for another favorite family dinner recipe!
What is Pulled Pork?
Pulled pork is a popular dish made from slow-cooked pork shoulder or pork butt. The meat is cooked over a long period of time at a low temperature until it becomes tender enough to be easily shredded. The term “pulled” refers to the action of separating the meat into thin shreds using forks or tongs.
In terms of taste, pulled pork is so flavorful. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to develop and infuse into the meat. The pork absorbs the smoky and savory flavors from any seasonings or rubs used during cooking. It has a rich, slightly sweet, and often tangy taste, depending on the sauce or seasoning used. The meat itself is succulent and juicy, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is both tender and satisfying.
The beauty of pulled pork lies in its versatility. It can be enjoyed on its own, allowing the flavors to shine. Or, it can be paired with various sauces and accompaniments to create a diverse range of dishes. Whether you prefer a tangy barbecue sauce, a zesty coleslaw, or a spicy salsa, pulled pork provides a fantastic canvas for customization.
Ingredients & Substitutes
Scroll down to the recipe card for the full Dutch oven pulled pork recipe.
Olive oil helps sear the pork butt. Feel free to use avocado oil or refined coconut oil instead.
For the most tender meat, use boneless pork shoulder or pork butt. Choose a piece that has some marbling and fat. After all, fat adds flavor! Bone-in pork can be used as well. Remove bones before serving.
Paprika adds a little bit of spice and smoky flavor. For an even more smoky flavor, use smoked paprika.
Garlic powder adds a classic garlicky flavor. Overall, the garlic flavor is not strong.
Dried thyme adds an earthy tone.
Cumin is typically used in taco sauces. In this case, it adds a hearty flavor.
Onion powder adds a great onion flavor.
Sea salt and pepper help season the meat even more.
Slice a yellow onion thinly. This gives the meat a more significant depth of flavor.
Apple cider vinegar helps break down the meat and allows for a more crispy exterior.
Beef broth is the cooking liquid. This helps the meat stay tender and moist. Feel free to replace it with chicken broth.
Lastly, stir in BBQ sauce once the meat is shredded. For real food ingredients, use sugar-free BBQ sauce.
Taste & Texture
When it comes to taste, Dutch Oven Pulled Pork hits all the right notes.
The meat is infused with a smoky and savory flavor. This is thanks to a blend of spices and a slow cooking process that allows the flavors to marinate together.
As for the texture, it is a blend of tender and juicy, with just the right amount of bite. Whether you choose to serve it as a sandwich filling or on its own, each bite will be delicious.
How to Make
First, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat on the stovetop.
Slice the pork shoulder into 5 smaller pieces. Combine all of the spices in a small bowl. Rub each piece of pork all over with the spice mix.
Once the oil is hot, place pieces of pork into the Dutch oven. Sear on each side for 2 minutes. Then, remove to a plate.
Turn the heat down to low. Add in the sliced onions. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until softened and fragrant.
Then, add the seared pork, apple cider vinegar, and broth to the Dutch oven. Place lid on top.
Place in the preheated oven. Bake, covered, for 3 to 3 ½ hours.
Once the pork is very tender, remove the Dutch oven from the oven.
Remove all but ¼ cup of the liquid in the pot. Use two forks to shred the meat.
Lastly, stir in BBQ sauce. Serve this Dutch oven pulled pork!
Expert Tips for Success
For optimal tenderness, choose a pork shoulder or butt with a good amount of marbling. Fat adds so much flavor and can be easily removed after cooking.
Allow the pork to marinate in the spice rub overnight for even more flavor infusion. If you do not have time, no worries! Simply make this recipe as is.
Keep the lid on the Dutch oven the entire time. This creates steam and traps in the heat.
Experiment with different spice rubs and sauces to personalize your pulled pork experience.
The Dutch oven pulled pork is done when it can be easily shredded. If it is tough, continue roasting.
Flavor Variations & Seasonings
When it comes to flavor variations and seasonings for Dutch oven pulled pork, there are countless options to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few popular choices.
- Classic Barbecue: A traditional choice, a classic barbecue flavor can be achieved with a mix of paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. You can also add a smoky element with the addition of smoked paprika or a touch of liquid smoke.
- Sweet and Tangy: For a sweeter and tangier profile, consider incorporating ingredients like honey, molasses, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and a hint of mustard. This combination adds a balance of sweet and tangy flavors.
- Spicy Kick: If you enjoy some heat, amp up the spice level by including ingredients like chili powder, cayenne pepper, chipotle powder, or even a dash of hot sauce. Adjust the amount of spice to your liking, keeping in mind that the flavors will mellow during the slow-cooking process.
- Asian-inspired: Give your pulled pork an Asian twist by incorporating flavors like soy sauce, ginger, garlic, hoisin sauce, and a touch of sesame oil. This combination adds a savory and aromatic element that pairs well with rice.
- Herbs and Citrus: For a refreshing and herbaceous flavor, consider using fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano, along with citrus zest or juice. These ingredients add a bright and fragrant dimension to the pulled pork.
How to Serve & Store
Serve this Dutch oven pulled pork once shredded. Stir in your favorite BBQ sauce.
Serve by itself, in sandwiches, tacos, burritos, salads, and more.
This pork is versatile! Serve on top of some crispy potato pancakes.
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This Dutch oven pulled pork meat freezes really well. Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do not cook past about 4 hours. At this point, the meat should be very tender.
The secret to moist pulled pork is cooking it low and slow. This allows the meat to become tender over time. In addition, use enough cooking liquid to keep the meat moist.
For pulled pork, use Boston pork butt or pork shoulder.
Sure! Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker. Slow cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours.
Broth, beer, and soda are commonly used to cook pulled pork in.
Use a lid on the Dutch oven. This traps the heat, resulting in more tender pork.
Cast Iron Dutch Oven: This Dutch oven works really well for making pulled pork.
You May Also Enjoy
- Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin
- Rosemary Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic
- Pork Carnitas Tacos
- Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin
- Breaded Pork Chops
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Enjoy this Dutch oven pulled pork recipe!