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+ servings
smoked pork butt that is pulled on a sheet tray

Smoked Pulled Pork Shoulder Recipe (Pork Butt)

Fire up those smokers & get ready to learn how to cook a perfect smoked pulled pork shoulder recipe that has perfect bark and BBQ rub.
Course lunch, Main
Cuisine American, southern
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 12 hours
Resting time 45 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 184kcal


  • Smoker


For the Rub:

  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon garlic granules
  • 2 tablespoon onion granules
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cumin

For the Spritzer and Sauce:

  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water

For the Pork:

  • 6-9 pound pork shoulder or pork butt fat trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons of yellow or Dijon mustard


  • Preheat, the smoker to 250°. Place a drip pan filled with water under the grill grates.
  • Rub: Combine all of the ingredients and set them aside.
  • Spritzer: Add the apple juice, cider, and water to a spray bottle and shake. Set aside.
  • Rub the mustard on every side of the pork shoulder, creating a thin layer.
  • Next, generously season the pork shoulder on all sides with the rub.
  • Add the pork shoulder to the smoker over the drip pan filled with water and smoke for 3 hours.
  • Next, spray the pork shoulder with 15-20 sprays of the spritzer. Repeat this process for the next 3 hours every hour with the same amount of spritzes.
  • Once the pork reaches an internal temperature of between 165° and 170° or the top part of the fat on the bark has split, about 6-7 hours, remove the pork from the smoker.
  • Place the pork shoulder on a large sheet of double foil, generously spritz it, and wrap it extremely tight by folding over and covering up the pork shoulder.
  • Place the pork shoulder back on the smoker, bone side up, and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 200° to 205°, about 2-4 hours.
  • Remove the pork shoulder from the smoker and rest in the foil for 30-60 minutes before removing the bone, large chunks of fat, and pulling it using forks, cloves, or tongs.
  • Serve pork shoulder with BBQ sauce on the side or a sandwich.



  • How To Reheat: Add the desired amount to a large pot with a little bit of beef or chicken stock, cover with foil and cook at 325° for 30 minutes.
  • Storing and Freezing: Store it in a plastic container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  It also freezes well in a plastic container and can be reheated at low temperatures in the oven with a small amount of liquid and covered in foil.
  • I am using a pellet smoker for this recipe, however, please feel free to use a regular charcoal grill or even a digital smoker to create this recipe.
  • Both pork shoulder and pork butt are on the tougher side and require long cooking times to tenderize, such as smoking or braising.  In addition, by the looks of it, my cut of meat in this recipe video looks like a cross between the butt and the shoulder.
  • It’s important to look for signs when it's done.  Make sure the top of the pork skin has split before wrapping it in foil.  Remember to let it rest at room temp for 30-45 minutes before pulling.
  • The vinegar in the spritzer will also help to tenderize the meat since you know fat, acid, salt heat makes for the best tasting food. 
  • Be sure to double wrap it in foil or peach paper because a lot of juices will be trying to come out of it while smoking.
  • You can also include seasonings such as sugar, brown sugar, chili powder, oregano into the rub.
  • You can also brine the meat or inject it with vinegar, juices, and seasonings.
  • You use mustard to help the dry rub stick to the pork as well as assisting in creating good bark.  Also, I used Dijon mustard in this recipe.


Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 1168mg | Potassium: 450mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2.1mg