Does pulled pork count as comfort food? I think so. Every chance I have to bring a dish to a potluck or a barbecue, I choose to bring this dish. But I wasn’t always a master at making pulled pork in homemade barbecue sauce; my first shot at making this dish was an absolute disaster.

It was the Fourth of July in 2013, my engagement party, and I wanted to wow the crowd with pulled pork. I had no idea what I was doing, and so many mistakes were made. We put the pork butts in the oven while they were still frozen, and they weren’t even seasoned. I used store-bought barbecue sauce, and the pork was so tough I honestly can’t believe anyone ever ate my food again. But I guess everyone has to start somewhere, right?

Fast forward to now, and I have done all of the recipe testing for you. I’ve gotten out all of the kinks, and this recipe is foolproof and absolutely delicious — sweet, spicy, full of flavor and extremely versatile. 

It all starts the night before. We make a dry rub full of spices and marinate the meat overnight. This allows the flavors to reach well below the surface, and ALL of the pork tastes good. I also like to use bone-in pork shoulder because the bones have so much flavor. The pork will then slow roast in a dark beer, intensifying the flavor even further. At the end, we use the drippings and the roasting liquid to make a homemade barbecue sauce that is out of this world. You could serve this on top of a salad, as sliders, or as a grain bowl (as pictured).

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Chipotle Barbecue Pulled Pork

Preparation Time: 4 hours, 1 hour of active time

Servings: 3 to 4 pounds of pulled pork

INGREDIENTS:

Pork Rub

  • 6 pounds pork shoulder, bone-in
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon avocado oil
  • 12 ounces dark beer

Barbecue Sauce

  • 12 ounces ketchup
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
STEPS:

The night before …

  • Cut the pork around the bone into large chunks, about 3 inches. We will utilize the piece with the bone as well so don’t throw that away.
  • Mix spices together in a small bowl, and rub the spice mixture onto all of the pieces of pork, including the bone piece.
  • Place seasoned pork in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight.

The day of …

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Heat Dutch oven or heavy bottom pan over medium heat, add avocado oil.
  • Sear all sides of the cut pork in batches, placing seared meat on a plate to make room for the rest.
  • Add the beer to the pot to deglaze the pan.
  • Add the pork back to the pot, cover and bake at 300 degrees for 2½ to 3 hours.
  • The meat should be so tender that the bone has completely separated from the rest of the meat. If it isn’t, continue cooking the meat and check it in 30-minute intervals.
  • Spoon meat out of the pot and place in a large bowl.
  • Shred pork and set aside.
  • Place the pot on the stove over medium heat.
  • Add ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and brown sugar to the pot with the drippings.
  • Whisk until fully incorporated.
  • Place chipotle peppers into a blender, along with about ½ a cup of the sauce mixture. Blend until smooth.
  • Pour blended chipotle peppers back into the pot on the stove and bring to a boil.
  • Add Worcestershire sauce, stir and reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Add barbecue sauce to shredded pork until desired sauciness is reached.
  • Save the remaining barbecue sauce to use for ANY OCCASION because it is just that good.
  • Serve the pork in whatever way your heart desires.