Indoor pulled pork with sweet and tangy barbecue sauce recipe

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Barbecued pulled pork is hard to beat: Tender shreds of smoky, juicy meat are enrobed in a tangy-sweet sauce and piled high on a soft bun. But when outdoor cooking is out of the question, is this dish off the table? We wanted an indoor recipe for pulled pork that would boast the same smoky, tender meat as our favorite grilled versions. We discovered that starting the roast in a covered Dutch oven was key the trapped steam and moisture allowed the large roast to cook through without drying out. Tasters approved of the meltingly tender meat but noted that it lacked the crisp crust of true barbecued pork. To fix this, we uncovered the pot for the last 30 minutes of cooking to create the coveted crust. Splitting the pork butt in half created more surface area, which translated into even more crust and a shorter overall cooking time. To infuse the pork with smoky flavor, we added a bit of liquid smoke to the brine and incorporated more into a wet rub. We also sprinkled the pork with a mixture of smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, and sugar. Pork butt roast is often labeled Boston butt in the supermarket. Lexington Vinegar Barbecue Sauce or South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce can be substituted for the Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce. Serve the pork on hamburger buns with pickle chips.

  • Yield: 8 to 10 Servings
  • Total Time: 5 Hours 30 Minutes


  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 (5-pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut in half
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce
  • 1½ cups ketchup
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
How to Make It
    For the pork
  1. Dissolve 1 cup salt, ½ cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons liquid smoke in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge pork in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 1½ to 2 hours.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine mustard and remaining 2 teaspoons liquid smoke in bowl. Combine paprika, cayenne, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in second bowl. Remove pork from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub with mustard mixture, then sprinkle with paprika mixture. Place pork in Dutch oven. Cover, transfer pot to oven, and cook for 2½ hours.
  3. Remove pot from oven and transfer pork to bowl. Pour liquid in pot into fat separator and set aside. Return pork to now-empty pot, return to oven, and cook, uncovered, until pork is well browned, tender, and registers 200 degrees, about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove pot from oven. Transfer pork to carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Using 2 forks, shred pork into bite-size pieces; discard fat.
  5. For the Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce
  6. Pour ½ cup defatted cooking liquid into medium bowl. Whisk in all of sauce ingredients until combined. Transfer pork to large bowl and toss with 1 cup sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

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