This Traeger Pulled Pork is so easy and delicious it'll have your friends wondering if you got carryout. We rub a pork butt with homemade dry rub and smoke it to tender perfection in about 10 hours.
Why We Love This Recipe
- It's easy: Sure it takes ten hours, but most of the time is completely hands-off in the Traeger (or other pellet grill). Season the pork, throw it on the smoker, and forget about it for a few hours.
- It's so tender: This pork literally falls off the bone.
- It's inexpensive: You can get a 7-9 pound pork butt for less than $20 and it serves about 12 people.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Bone-in Pork Butt: Pork butt comes from the shoulder of the pig (not the butt, as the name would imply), and is a fatty, flavorful, and inexpensive piece of meat. Your grocery store might call it a Boston butt. If you can't find pork butt (or Boston butt), you can opt for pork shoulder. It also comes from the pig's shoulder, but it's a slightly less fatty cut.
Apple cider: If you can't find apple cider or don't have any on hand, apple juice will work in a pinch. Just look for the most natural option, and don't go for anything with added sugar.
Brown sugar: We use brown sugar to make our BBQ rub sweet (it also caramelizes super well). If you want to use something more natural (or make this recipe Paleo-compliant), you can use coconut sugar instead.
Smoked paprika: Smoked paprika adds a smokey flavor to our BBQ rub, but if you don't have it, you can use regular paprika.
Ground cayenne: If you don't like spicy food, you can omit this or decrease the amount. If you just want a little bit of spice (but not the punch that cayenne provides), substitute chili powder.
See amounts and full recipe list in the recipe card below.
📋 Step-by-Step Instructions
Step 1: Combine brown sugar, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, ground cayenne, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Trim your pork butt. Use a sharp knife to trim any sections of fat that are thicker than a quarter inch. Be careful not to trim too much fat off, and don't trim any of the interior fat.
Step 3: Set your Traeger or pellet grill to 250°F. While it's heating, generously season the pork butt on all sides with the BBQ rub. Let it sit until your smoker comes to temperature.
Step 4: Once your smoker has come to temperature, place the pork butt directly on the grill grate, fat side up. Smoke it for about 5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
Step 5: Line an aluminum foil pan with two cross-wise pieces of aluminum foil (the two pieces of aluminum foil should form a cross in the center of the pan). The pieces of foil need to be long enough to wrap around your pork butt (probably 2-3 feet long each). Remove the pork from your smoker and place it in the center of the pan.
Step 6: Fold the pieces of aluminum foil up and around the pork butt (but don't close it up), then pour the apple cider on top. Close the aluminum foil tightly around the pork.
Step 7: Place the aluminum foil pan into the smoker and cook for another 4-5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 204°F.
Step 8: Remove the pork from the smoker and allow it to rest, untouched, for 45 minutes. Then open the aluminum foil pouch and shred the pork with meat claws or two forks, removing bones and large chunks of fat as you go. Transfer the pulled pork to an air-tight container (with all of the cooking juices!) or serving plate and enjoy!
Looking for ways to serve this pulled pork? Here are some ideas:
- Sandwiches: Serve this pork on a Hawaiian roll with BBQ sauce and cole slaw.
- Tacos: This pork would be great in a flour or corn tortilla with some avocado and our mango peach salsa.
- Rice bowls: Serve this over rice with salsa, black beans, guacamole, lettuce, cheese, and sour cream.
- By itself: Serve this by itself with traditional BBQ foods like mac and cheese, baked beans, cole slaw, and french fries.
Frequently asked questions
Store leftover pulled pork (and the cooking juices!) in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in a ziplock baggie in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat on the stove with a little bit of chicken or beef broth until warm.
It takes about 9-10 hours to smoke really good, tender pulled pork.
We smoke our pulled pork at 250°F until it reaches a final temperature of 204°F. That's the temperature that allows the fat to render and melt properly.
Looking for something to serve with your pork? Try these great sides: