How To Smoke Pulled Pork (5 Easy Steps)

Are you looking for a simple way to smoke pulled pork? 

Then you’re in the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • What cut of meat is best for pulled pork
  • Simple pulled pork recipe
  • How to smoke pulled pork (5 Easy Steps)
  • And more!

One of the top BBQ essentials is having a good smoked pulled pork recipe at the ready.

This simple yet beautifully seasoned pork is smoked on a blend of hickory wood. This results in a classic BBQ variant of pulled pork with a Texan influence.

What’s even better? This recipe is a great starting point if you want to familiarize yourself with smoking in your backyard.

We think that the best cut of meat for this pulled pork recipe is either a pork shoulder or a pork butt.

Read More >> Best Wood For Smoking Pulled Pork

What Cut of Meat is Smoked Pulled Pork?

Pulled pork is typically made of pork shoulder. In some shops and butchers this is also called the pork butt. Both of these cuts come from the same part of the pig, a pork butt is just slightly more fatty, making it a bit easier to turn into pulled pork. 

We recommend grabbing bone-in meat whenever possible.

Read More >> How Long Does Pulled Pork Last in the Fridge?

What You Need To Know About Smoking Pulled Pork?

Before getting started, you should know that you’ll have about 1/2 the weight of smoked pulled pork as you had raw pork shoulder (or butt). You can calculate how much pulled pork per person using our calculator.

You can start smoking your pulled pork for up to 3 days before you decide to serve it.

Shredding the meat and then storing it in a covered container is your best bet to keep it fresh.

Once you’re ready to eat, you can transfer the meat to a baking dish and then cover it with foil.

To reheat your pulled pork without drying it out, start baking the meat at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 to 25 minutes (or until the pork becomes warm enough).

Read More >> Best Lump Charcoal For Smoking 

Smoked Pulled Pork Ingredients

Here are the primary ingredients you need to smoke pulled pork:

  • 1 8-to-10-pound bone-in pork shoulder or butt roast
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup of BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of BBQ sauce (for later use)
  • BBQ rub (of your choice)

Read Also >> How Long Does Bacon Last in the Fridge?

How To Smoke Pulled Pork (5 Easy Steps)

  1. Preheat your smoker
  2. Season your pork
  3. Smoke your pork
  4. Let it rest
  5. Pull it and eat

Step 1: Preheat Your Smoker

Start by preheating your smoker to 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit for indirect smoking.

Take out your roast from its packaging and then wipe all of its sides with paper towels, removing any remaining liquid or bone fragments on its exterior.

Step 2: Season Your Pork

Slather the whole pork shoulder with the yellow mustard. This is for the seasoning to stick; you won’t taste the mustard later.

Begin seasoning the pork roast from top to bottom using your favorite BBQ rub. Or try one of our favorites!

Step 3: Smoke Your Pork

Place the seasoned roast on your smoker with the fat side up, preferably located in the middle of the grate.

Close the lid and begin smoking the pork until it reaches a temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit internally.

This process can take between 15 to 20 hours, depending on the heat consistency of the smoker. We’ve got an entire guide on how long to smoke pork shoulder.

If you want to learn more about the internal temp of pulled pork, read our complete guide.

Step 4: Let It Rest

Once done, remove the pork shoulder from the smoker and then tightly wrap it with foil.

Allow the roast to rest for an hour before you start shredding.

Step 5: Pull It And Eat

Pull apart the pork, removing any gristle or fat. Sprinkle it with an extra tablespoon of the BBQ sauce, and you’re ready to eat!

Read Also >> How Long Do Ribs Last in the Fridge?

How To Smoke Pulled Pork Facts

Smoked Pork Butt vs. Smoked Pork Shoulder?

When it comes to pork butt vs pork shoulder, pork shoulder appears to win in terms of popularity in grocery stores.

Although pork butts are readily available, it appears that pork shoulders are far more common.

Despite coming from the same part of the pig, they do have a few differences to take note of.

Related >> Understanding the Differences Between Shoulder and Chuck Roast

A pork butt has more marbling and is meatier compared to the pork shoulder.

Pork butts are located a little higher at the back area, while the shoulder is located further down on the same slice of meat towards the top of the leg.

Combined, these two cuts are often known as the “butt shoulder.”

Read More >> Best Smokers For Beginners

What is the Best Wood for Smoked Pulled Pork?

Pulled pork is best smoked over a mild or medium flavored wood. We recommend apple and cherry, but hickory, maple, and oak are also options! 

Should You Wrap Smoked Pulled Pork?

Whether or not you want to wrap your pulled pork really comes down to preference. Personally, in our home, we toss it on the grill unwrapped to maximize the smoky flavor. But if you want a faster cook, then wrapping your pulled pork in aluminum foil might be a good idea. 

What to Serve With Smoked Pulled Pork?

We love serving pulled pork with some warm buns, BBQ sauce, and a bit of coleslaw on the side. But you can also serve yours with potato chips, potato salad, mac n cheese, or just about any BBQ side you can think of! 

How Long Does it Take to Smoke Pulled Pork?

The length of time it takes to smoke pulled pork will depend on the size of your pork shoulder or pork butt. But we’ve found it typically takes 15 hours, but can take up to 20. Cook your pulled pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 185°F.

How to Store Smoked Pulled Pork

Pulled pork takes so long to make you won’t be making it often! Any leftovers you have should be placed in an airtight container within 2 hours of coming off the smoker. Then, place it in the back of the fridge and consume within 4 days

Related >> How to Keep Pulled Pork Warm and Moist Before Serving

How to Reheat Smoked Pulled Pork

The best way to reheat pulled pork is sous vide! You can do this by bringing a pot of water to boil then placing sealed bags of pork in the hot water. Allow them to cook this way for 1 hour. Just make sure the bags are fully sealed so your pork doesn’t get wet! Smother with BBQ sauce and serve!

perfect pulled pork

Smoked Pulled Pork

Shawn Hill
How to make delicious smoked pulled pork in just 5 easy steps!


  • 1 8- to-10-pound bone-in pork shoulder or butt roast
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of yellow mustard
  • BBQ Pork Rub of your choice
  • ¼ cup of BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of BBQ sauce for later use


  • Preheat your smoker to 225°F.
  • Pat your pork shoulder dry with a paper towel.
  • Slather the pork shoulder in mustard, then shake on the BBQ rub.
  • Place the pork shoulder fat side up on the smoker and allow it to smoke until it reaches an internal temperature of 185°F
  • Remove the pork shoulder from the smoker and wrap it in foil. Allow it to rest for an hour.
  • Shred the pork, sprinkle with BBQ sauce, and serve!

Photo of author

Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I love this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

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