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Easy Pulled Pork (from The Make Ahead Cook)

The Make Ahead Cook from ATK

When I posted about The Make Ahead Cook yesterday, I promised to share one of the recipes I tried: Easy Pulled Pork.

I’d never made pulled pork before, but this seemed like a simple way to prepare a fairly inexpensive cut of meat.

Pulled Pork

Easy, cheap, and tasty…that works for me.

This version roasts in the oven for three hours, which works out super well for me because I’m home for at least three hours most days. If you work out of the home, though, I’m pretty sure this could also cook in a crockpot.

I used a Boston butt roast, which was only a few dollars a pound.   You cut it into chunks and then season it with salt and pepper.

salted pork

Then I switched things up a little bit.   I’ve been reading CI/ATK long enough to know that YOU BROWN ALL OF THE THINGS.

So even though this particular recipe didn’t call for it (why, I don’t know!), I browned all the pork pieces in my Dutch oven before proceeding.

I may have felt sort of satisfied with myself.


Remove the browned pork from the pan and set it aside on a plate.

Then in the same pot, you’ll make the sauce.

bbq sauce for pulled pork

It’s easy, though it does require a fair number of ingredients.

Just heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat, add a chopped onion and saute until soft.   Then stir in the spices and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, and stir in the water, ketchup, molasses, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.

Then place the (browned!) pork pieces into the sauce, and bring it to a simmer.

pulled pork ready to bake

Cover the pot and place it in a 300 °F oven for about 3 hours, or until the meat is very tender.
Then it’s just a matter of shredding the meat and you’re pretty much done.

The original recipe calls for reserving a cup of the sauce to serve alongside the meat, but I just left all the sauce in the pot.

I’m a rebel like that.

Once the meat is shredded, you can refrigerate or freeze it until you’re ready to serve dinner.   ATK recommends stirring a tablespoon of cider vinegar into the pork when reheating to brighten up the sauce, but I kind of forgot about that, and it was still fine.

pulled pork sandwich

So, apparently the vinegar is not a do or die kind of thing.

I served my pulled pork on fluffy homemade hamburger buns.   But you can certainly use store-bought buns.  

Or you can forgo the buns altogether.   😉

Pulled Pork

Easy Pulled Pork

Printable Easy Pulled Pork Recipe

3 pounds boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons paprika
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup water
1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

To finish and serve:
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
hamburger buns

Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown pork chunks in two batches; set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to Dutch oven (unless you have enough rendered fat) and saute onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in paprika, garlic, cumin, and cayenne, and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in water, ketchup, molasses, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Nestle pork into sauce and bring to simmer. Cover pot and place in a 300  ° F oven; bake for 3 hours, or until meat is fork tender.

Using a slotted spoon, remove pork from sauce. When cool enough to handle, shred meat and return to sauce. Transfer to storage container and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To reheat, transfer pork mixture to Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until heated through (about 10 minutes). Adjust consistency with water if necessary and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on hamburger buns.

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Jen L.

Tuesday 10th of November 2015

I made this tonight and it was delicious! A double thumbs up all around. This will be a regular in my meal planning. Thank you for sharing!


Monday 27th of April 2015

Hi! I think they developed a different crock-pot recipe, I thought I read that somewhere, but I might be wrong. Anyways, we loved this recipe too! Our favorite sauce by far was the Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce. I tried it again with the other two sauces (lexington vinegar and south carolina mustard) but this original one was definitely our favorite sauce. However they're probably all worth trying to pick your favorite. This is sooooooooooo yummy and will definitely be a repeat recipe in our house!!!

Stephanie L

Sunday 7th of September 2014

Here in the South pulled pork is a way of life! Last week I made some in the crock pot with just salt and pepper. I scooped some of the cooked pork into a bowl and tossed with homemade ban sauce, and we had sandwiches and salad for dinner.

A few nights later I seasoned some pulled pork with soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin, shredded carrot, and chopped bok choy. I made spring rolls and felt like a flippin' GENIUS for the versatility. :)

Stephanie L

Sunday 7th of September 2014

Stupid autocorrect. BBQ sauce, similar to the one you have here.

Liz @ Economies of Kale

Friday 5th of September 2014

Yum, I love pulled pork. It's one of the first meat dishes I learnt to cook after being a vegetarian. My recipe is a bit different to yours, though, so I'd love to give this one a go :)


Thursday 4th of September 2014

I started making pulled pork in the crock pot this summer. Frozen pork loin in the crock pot, add a can of soda (rootbeer, dr. pepper, cherry coke) and cook on high for 6 hours. When its done cooking I shred the meat with forks in the crock pot and add BBQ sauce (we love Sweet Baby Ray's). All the soda and sauce get sucked up into the meat and it tastes great! We also made it before camping, froze it and then heated it up on the camp stove. Best camping food.

PS - made your hamburger buns yesterday - awesome! Thanks for the recipe.

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