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Slow-Roasted Pork BBQ: Step-by-Step Instructions

May 15, 2017
5 min. read

pulled pork sandwich - 3

We all love a good pulled pork sandwich, but not everyone has the equipment necessary to produce “authentic” barbecue. The good news is…if you’re willing to put in a bit of time and prep work, you can make a pretty successful alternative using this roasting method in your oven. With some quality pork shoulder, your favorite spice rub, a bit of braising liquid, and some liquid smoke (for that “authentic” BBQ taste), you can enjoy your favorite barbecue dishes right at home.

The great thing about this recipe is that it can easily be customized to work with any of your favorite pork dishes, just by altering the seasonings and cooking liquid. You can also prepare a plain version with salt and pepper and a universal cooking liquid, then use the pork in a variety of different ways by adding the spices just before serving. See the recipe notes below for some alternate spice and cooking liquid ideas.

Our recipe here uses a BBQ Spice Rub, perfect for National Barbecue Month (May)! This pulled pork is great for serving with any of your favorite barbecue sauces. Read more about the 6 regional BBQ Sauces and various types of barbecue on our blog:, or get the recipes below.


Slow Roasted Pulled Pork Recipe

Serves 8-10

pulled pork sandwich - 4


  • 4-6 Pounds Bone-In Pork Shoulder
  • BBQ Spice Rub (see notes for alternatives)
    • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
    • 1/2 Cup Paprika
    • 1/2 Tablespoon Salt
    • 1/2 Tablespoon Pepper
    • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
    • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
    • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
    • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
    • 1 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, sliced (optional)
  • 1 Medium Carrot, chopped (optional)
  • 3 Stalks Celery, chopped (optional)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, smashed (optional)
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock (or other liquid)
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup Barbecue Sauce, for serving (optional; see notes for sauce options)
  • Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls or Butter Bread, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place an oven rack in the lower-middle of the oven.
  2. Trim large pieces of fat from the outside of the pork shoulder.
    bbq pulled pork - step 2a
  3. Mix together the salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and dry mustard. See notes below for other seasoning ideas.
    bbq pulled pork - step 4
  4. Rub the seasoning into the pork until the meat is evenly coated on all sides. You may have seasoning left over.
    bbq pulled pork - step 5bbq pulled pork - step 6
  5. Warm the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until fairly hot. Then add the pork to the pot.
    bbq pulled pork - step 7
  6. Sear the pork on all sides, working in batches as necessary. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside on a tray or plate.
    bbq pulled pork - step 8
  7. Add the chicken stock and apple cider vinegar (or other desired braising liquid) to the Dutch oven.
    bbq pulled pork - step 9
  8. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to mix in all the spices and browned bits.
    bbq pulled pork - step 10
  9. Roughly chop vegetables (if using), such as onions, garlic, celery, and carrots, and add to the pot.
    bbq pulled pork - step 11bbq pulled pork - step 12
  10. Add liquid smoke (if using).
    bbq pulled pork - step 13
  11. Add the pork back to the Dutch oven, in pieces if necessary. Nestle it in around the vegetables. The pork will only be partially submerged in the liquid.
    bbq pulled pork - step 14
  12. Set the Dutch oven over medium-high heat and bring the liquid to a simmer.
    bbq pulled pork - step 15
  13. Once simmering, cover the Dutch oven and transfer the whole pot to the oven.
    bbq pulled pork - step 16
  14. Let the pork cook for 2-4 hours, or until fork-tender. If using bone-in pork, the meat should fall off the bone when pulled with a fork. Starting at 2 hours, check the meat for tenderness and continue cooking in half-hour increments until tender.
    bbq pulled pork - step 17
  15. When finished cooking, transfer the pork to a large bowl. Allow to cool slightly.
    bbq pulled pork - step 18
  16. Strain the cooking liquid into a measuring cup. Skim the fat off the top. You can reserve the vegetables for serving later, if desired.
    bbq pulled pork - step 20
  17. Using forks or your hands, shred the roasted pork into chunks. Remove any bones or large pieces of fat.
    bbq pulled pork - step 21
  18. Two serving options:
    1. You can add some of the cooking liquid back to the pulled pork to make it moist. Depending on the seasonings you used and how you are serving it, this may be the preferred option.
      pulled pork bbq - with liquid
    2. Alternatively, you can mix in your choice of barbecue sauce if serving BBQ pulled pork. See BBQ sauce options below.
      pulled pork bbq - with sauce
  19. Serving options:
    1. Serve open-faced on Martin’s Butter Bread: Add some of the cooking liquid back into the pork, then top with a drizzle of BBQ Sauce.
      Open Faced Pulled Pork Sandwich - 4
    2. Coat the pulled pork with your favorite BBQ Sauce and serve on Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls.
      pulled pork sandwich - 1


Recipe Notes

Alternate Cooking Methods:

  • Slow-cooker variation: In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine the meat (with rub), vegetables, and liquid. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  • Roast the pork in a roasting pan in a 300°F oven for about 6 hours.

Alternate Spice Rubs:

For a universal pulled pork recipe that can be used with any type of cuisine, simply cook the pork without the spice rub (just use salt and pepper). Then add your desired spices at the end of cooking, just enough for serving, and use the remaining pork for a later meal with different seasoning.

  • BBQ Spice Rub: 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup paprika, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/2 tablespoon pepper, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Italian Spice Rub: 2 tablespoons dried rosemary, 2 tablespoons oregano, 2 tablespoons thyme, 2 tablespoons marjoram, 1 tablespoon fennel seed, 1 ½ tablespoon garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • Mexican Spice Rub: 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, ½ teaspoon Ancho Chile Powder, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • Asian Spice Rub: 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon cloves, 1 tablespoon star anise, 1 tablespoon fennel, 1 tablespoon coriander (or Chinese 5-spice powder); ½ tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons garlic, 1 teaspoon ginger

Alternate Cooking Liquid:

  • Water
  • Broth or Stock – chicken, beef, or vegetable
  • Beer (light or amber)
  • Cider with a splash of cider vinegar
  • Dry Wine (red or white)
  • Cola

BBQ Sauce Options:


More BBQ Recipes:


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