Suppose you´re facing the task of feeding a lot of people, but you´re short on time and low on cash. With this recipe you´ll have no worries, and everyone´ll love the moist, melt-in-your-mouth meat, with bits of tangy, crispy skin to please the palate!

(adapted from Gretchen´s and Mean Chef’s recipes)

1 whole pork butt, bone-in

for the dry rub
1/8 cup black pepper
1/4 cup paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all the ingredients (except the meat)  in a bowl to prepare the dry rub (it´s a good idea to wear gloves).

Rub the pork all over with half of the dry rub, then place it in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. In the morning remove the pork from the bag and cover it with the rest of the spice mixture. If possible, let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, if not just place it in a 275F oven, uncovered on a rack in a roasting pan.

Roast until tender, almost falling apart. Depending on the size, it will take 7 – 9 hours. Longer will not hurt it; the desired internal temperature is 200F.

Pull the pork into pieces with forks, allowing some bits to fall on the floor to the delight of your dogs.

Serve the meat over sandwich buns with the sauce of your choice, or follow my “Brazilian variation”:  transfer the pulled meat to a clean baking dish.  Add 1 cup of water to the roasting pan and place it over the stove-top burner on medium heat to dissolve the bits of pork goodness that stuck to it during the long, slow roasting.  Strain it over a pyrex cup and allow the fat to rise to the top, then discard it.  Use the liquid to moisten the pulled meat, squeeze fresh lemon juice all over, cover with aluminum foil and place in a 350F oven for 20 minutes before serving over rice and beans.  (You can leave it in the oven for longer, it only gets better).


This recipe fits quite well in the ¨Perfect Sunday Dinner¨ category…

Comments: If you google “Gretchen’s pulled pork”, you´ll notice  that this recipe has been around the internet for many many years.  When I first printed it and tried it, I had no idea that one day I would meet the famous Gretchen in person – and in Paris of all places, in 2002!  My favorite variation on Gretchen’s recipe  comes from the amazing former caterer “Mean Chef“.  Oddly enough, I also had the pleasure of meeting him and his lovely wife during their recent visit to our neck of the woods.  Mean, he´s not, but his dry rub mixture sure makes a mean pulled pork… give it a try!

The ideal piece of meat for pulled pork is a bone-in pork butt, which, contrary to popular belief, does NOT come from the rear end of the pig, but from the shoulder.  Isn’t English an interesting language?  😉  You can also use a picnic roast, which comes from the same region, but has a different shape.   You can read about pork meat nomenclature by clicking here.

Start by making the spice mixture…

Then get your nice piece of meat, and dry it well…

Now rub it all over with the spice mix…

Place it in a 275 F oven….

And simply forget about it for 8 hours.  I usually place it in the oven before going to sleep, and awaken to the sounds of whimpering dogs. But, if I’m preparing it during the weekend, I’ll start it early in the morning…

Once the meat is ready it just falls apart…

In my Brazilian variation, I like to serve it without any sauce, alongside white rice and beans. Some people, though – might still find ways to showcase a little pulled pork sandwich with their dinner… 😉

Pulled pork is normally served with either a tomato-based barbecue sauce, or a vinegar sauce, depending on the region. In Brazil they tend to favor preparations in which the flavor of the meat is not masked by sauces or too many spices.

If you want to serve sauce with your pulled pork, this is a nice option.  It comes from the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine:

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
3 T dark brown sugar
2 t smoked paprika
1 t chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Boil for 5 minutes.


  1. Sally I love pulled pork. Yours looks terrific. Are you on Twitter? You are in my reader but I only get to check it every few days. I tend to use Twitter to check when someone posts. Let me know if you are so I can follow you.


  2. Hello, Barbara

    I am not on Twitter, I think I already have too many things on my plate these days, not sure I can handle Twitter on top of it all… 🙂

    lots of people seem to love it, though…. I will keep you posted if I fall for it


  3. Okay – I am wondering, if you are to leave it in the oven for 8 hours — and forget it– shouldn’t the oven be “ON” ? If so – what temp?


    • Yes, the oven should be at 275 F (it is stated in the recipe, but when I posted the step by step pictures I did not repeat it)

      I will go back and include the temperature in that part too, I think it’s important to make it clear.

      this is a very forgiving recipe, actually – and I’ve left the meat in the oven for 10 hours or a little more, doesn’t hurt a bit.


  4. Pingback: Cooking for Halloween | Bird and Berries

  5. This is my go to recipe from the first time I made this.(I’ve made it 3 times so far) The one thing I added was garlic powder to the dry rub. Garlic is a must for me! I was also out of mustard powder one time I made it so I just rubbed some yellow mustard on the pork before I added the dry rub. I think it helped the rub stick and it tasted wonderful. Thank you for the recipe!


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