Oven Pulled Pork to easily feed a crowd

This easy oven pulled pork recipe is made right in the oven — no smoker or grill required! This recipe is especially great in the winter when grilling and outdoor smokers may not be feasible. This recipe has the same great taste of pulled pork right from the oven.

an image of an oven roasted pork but that has started to be pulled into pieces.

Can I make pulled pork in the oven?

Absolutely! As the name suggests, this Oven Pulled Pork is slowly roasted right in your oven! It’s so easy, too! 

Obviously, not everyone has the luxury of owning a gas grill or smoker, some apartment communities even ban them from the home cook. Maybe your BBQ grill is stored away for winter or are burried under a foot of snow, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious pulled pork!

You can also repare one in your crockpot, but I prefer the flavor of the pork butt (shoulder) when it’s slow roasted in the oven when I can’t use my electric smoker.

Just look at that bark (crust)! Yum.

an image of a roasted whole pork butt fresh from the oven - look at that bark! perfectly succulent pork shoulder.

What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?

A pulled pork can be made from any fatty pork roast. For me, the best roast is the shoulder since it’s high in fat and connective tissue making it the most flavorful part of the pig. The pork shoulder is typically cut into two parts, the Boston butt, and the picnic roast.

You will often find it labeled as pork shoulder, pork butt, or pork picnic shoulder roast.


A roasting pan with a trimmed pork butt on a roasting rack ready to head into the oven.

How do I get the Smoky flavor when I cook pulled pork in the oven?

Since this pulled pork is prepared the oven, wood chips just are not feasible, instead, we incorporate some smoky spices to give a smoky flavor.

a blue plate filled with spices for the BBQ rub for our oven roasted pulled pork

What ingredients are needed for oven pulled pork?

  • BONE-IN Pork Butt, Boston butt, or pork shoulder, or Picnic Shoulder — any size

For the Dry Rub:

  • Chili powder – regular or hot may be used.
  • Smoked paprika – regular or sweet paprika may be substituted.
  • Black pepper – freshly cracked tastes best but ground black mustard may be substituted.
  • Dry mustard – omit if you do not have dry mustard. Alternatively, you could rub the roast with 2 tbsp prepared mustard before sprinkling on the dry rub over it.
  • Kosher salt – I use Kosher salt but table salt may be substituted
  • Ground cumin – optional.
  • Brown sugar – this adds a touch of sweetness to the rub
  • Roasted garlic powder – regular garlic powder may be substituted
  • Onion powder – this may be omitted if you don’t have any on hand. I’d double up on the garlic in this case.
  • Ancho chile pepper powder – I enjoy the smoky flavor

How Do I cook a Smoked Pork Butt in the Oven?

After blending the spices together and massaging them into the meat, place the pork butt with the fat cap side up. Placing the fat cap on keeps the meat juicy and creates an outer bark (crust). The finished meat will not have a pink smoke ring just under the bark like a traditionally smoked pork butt. However, the flavors are comparable.

I like to use a roasting pan [paid link] with a roasting rack. The rack keeps the meat up out of the pan and allows the heat to circulate around the entire pork butt just like in a regular smoker or BBQ grill.

About halfway through the process, I start lightly basting the pork butt with a vinegar-based sauce popular in the Eastern Carolina’s – Carolina Mopping Sauce. I received many compliments on how juicy our pulled pork came out; everyone was very happy with it, and I was certainly proud.

an image of an oven roasted pork shouler picnic being shredded for pulled pork

Expert Cooking Tips:

  • In order to be tender, a pork shoulder/butt must be cooked to an internal temperature of 190-195°F to break down the collagen in the meat.
  • The low and slow method of cooking at 225-250°F in the oven is ideal for this, providing gentle heat over many hours, allowing the collagen to make its transition.
  • While some moisture is lost as the meat reaches these high internal temps, the melting collagen keeps the meat moist and juicy.
  • For best results, I always use a remote digital thermometer [paid link] inserted into the thickest part of the meat away from the bone to keep track of the temperature as it roasts.
    • For sliced pork, cook to 180-185°F.
    • For pulled pork, cook to 190-195°F.

How long does it take to cook a pork butt to 180-195 degrees F?

  • As an estimate, figure about 1.5 – 2 hours per pound based on the trimmed weight of an individual roast. For example, when cooking two individual roasts weighing 8 pounds each after trimming, the total cooking time for both roasts should be 12 – 16 hours.
  • Remember, this is only an estimate—it may take more or even less time, depending on the thickness of the pork butt, the amount of connective tissue that needs to be converted to gelatin, the temperature of the oven, and the several times you open the oven for checking and basting.
Slow roasted pulled pork in the middle of winter? You betcha! As the name suggests, this Oven Pulled Pork is slow roasted right in your oven! It's so easy

Oven Pulled Pork

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
This easy pulled pork recipe is made right in the oven — no smoker or grill required! This recipe is especially great in the winter when the warmth of the oven doesn’t overheat the house.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Course Dinner
Cuisine BBQ
Servings 10 servings
Calories 90 kcal


  • 1 fresh BONE-IN pork butt , Boston butt or pork shoulder, about 5 pounds in size [See Note 1]

For the Dry Rub:


  • For the Dry Rub: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. After blending the spices together, massage them into the meat, shake off any excess. Place the pork butt on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan [paid link] with the fat cap side up.
  • To Cook the Meat: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Insert a remote digital thermometer [paid link] into the fattest part of the roast but away from the bone. Roast uncovered so the outer crust will form a bark. Covering the roast causes the spices to become caked. 
  • After about half of your cooking time is complete, start basting the meat. I use a vinegar based sauce and I do that about once an hour until the meat is fully cooked.
  • Some Guidelines: In order to be pulled, a pork butt must be cooked to an internal temperature of 195-205°F to break down the collagen in the meat.
    FOR PULLED PORK: cook to 195-205°F
    If you prefer sliced pork sandwiches as in some restaurants, you may cook the pork butt to a lower internal temperature. This endpoint can be used if you are running short on time or prefer sliced pork.
    FOR SLICED PORK: cook to 180-185°F
  • How long will it take to cook a pork butt? As a rough estimate, figure 1-1/2 to 2 hours per pound based on the trimmed weight of an individual roast. For example, when cooking a roast weighing 8 pounds after trimming, the total cooking will be around 12-16 hours.
  • Remember, this is only an estimate—it may take more or less time, depending on the temperature of the butt at the start (fresh from the refrigerator or brought to room temperature), thickness of the pork butt, the amount of connective tissue that needs to be converted to gelatin, the temperature of the oven, and the number of times you open the oven for checking and basting (which lets the heat out.
  • When the meat finishes cooking, remove it from the oven and tent with foil for 15-20 minutes to allow it to rest and the juices redistribute before slicing or pulling the pork butt.


  1. Substitute a Beef Brisket or Chuck Roast in place of the pork
  2. If you cannot find roasted garlic powder, regular garlic powder may be substituted.
  3. Ancho chile powder has a subtle heat and smoky flavor. Ancho chiles are smoked dried poblano peppers.
  4. Nutrition is calculated based on the recipe as written. The addition or omission of ingredients will alter the nutritional information.


Serving: 6ozCalories: 90kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 9gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 1454mgPotassium: 271mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1180IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 1.8mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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45 thoughts on “Oven Pulled Pork to easily feed a crowd”

  1. HI! I’m trying your method after searching ideas..I liked yours the best.. I’ll be back to share my results. thanks for sharing your recipe!

  2. Forgot to add ~ I didn’t make the mop sauce so if you are on the fence if you should make it, it is absolute delicious without that added step. But I will try that next time!

  3. This was a hit with my family and out of town guests the other day. I found your site and subscribed when I was looking to make the pork in the oven since it wouldn’t fit in my crockpot. I looked at so many recipes but liked yours since it didn’t have a lot of sugar in the rub and you seemed to know what you are doing! I was a little nervous the 8 lb pork butt would take a long time to cook but it was done in 9 hours. Using the meat thermometer takes the guess work out of it. It served 7 people with only about 1 cup remaining! I made it the day before and then warmed it for 20 min in a 250 degree oven and it was so easy! I only had chipotle powder and used that instead of the Ancho. My guests raved and they are from St Louis so know BBQ. :) Will definitely be making this again ~ probably next week!! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Our memorial day BBQ got rained out so we moved the party inside with this delicious pulled prok in the oven. It was good even without the smoke.

  5. Super delicious oven pulled pork recipe. Thanks for sharing. It was a huge success at our first get-together in over a year!

  6. I’m using a pork shoulder/picnic; should I trim the skin off the top layer of fat? I’ll leave the fat obviously but didn’t know if I needed to remove the skin like I do when I use my slow cooker.

    • Hi Lisa,
      This is a great question. I’ve not yet used a shoulder w skin, but for this application, I would trim it away so the seasonings can penetrate the fat layer and get into the meat.

      If you get a chance, come back by and let us know how this turned out for you.

      Have a great day!

  7. This is the 3rd time I’ve used your recipe and I thought I was long overdue for a thank you. It’s come out excellent each and every time. I use the mopping sauce and it’s absolutely delish! Thank you for posting such a tried and true recipe.

  8. Did I miss the recipe for the basting sauce?
    Need all the help available – I’m the guy who burned a pot of water last night.
    Thank You!

    • Hi Brandi,

      Yes, as long as there is space between them it should be fine. If they are touching end to end it would take much longer to reach the center. With appropriate spacing there’s more surface area exposed for the heat and smoke to get to the meat.
      Hope this helps! Happy 4th of July.

    • Yes, it will be similar. Be sure to tie up the boneless pork butt so it is similar in shape from end to end so that it has even cooking. The time will be similar though possibly slightly less so the best way to know will be by testing it with a thermometer. Temperatures would be exactly the same.

    • Hi Colleen,
      No need to cover it. Just cook it uncovered like a roast. You’re basically using your oven just like a smoker – low and slow. Covering the roast causes the spice rub to become wet from condensation and caked instead of forming a nice bark like is traditional with smoked pork.

  9. I’ve only smoked a pork butt once and now this is the first time in the oven. When I did it on the grill, I had to wrap it afterwards and let it rest for some amount of time…no need to do that now?

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Yes, you can tent it with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes before you shred it. Large pieces of meat need about 15-20 minutes to redistribute the juices. I will add this to the notes. Thank you for taking the time to ask.

  10. Now I am a tad confused, because while the recipe states 1 1/2 to 2 hours per pound, in your earlier notes, you mention 1 hour per lb. The latter sounds more reasonable to me, but could you confirm?

    • Hi Carlies,
      You’re absolutely right. The text should have read 1.5 hours not 1. I have updated the text and the example calculation. This information was correct as written on the recipe card. Thank you for taking the time to inquire about that discrepancy. I appreciate it!

  11. Making pulled pork for a crowd this weekend….I’m confused on the cooking time.You mentioned 1 hour per pound, but you said total cooking time on 2 8 lb roasts would be 8 hrs…..if I have approx 12 lbs(6 lbs each) of roasts cooking in same oven, how long would I cook ?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Susie – if it was 1 whole 12-16 pound roast the time would be 12-16 hours depending on the actual total weight. Because we are cooking two smaller similar sized roasts the time is based off the individual roast. So 8 hours total for two separate roast. If you have two 6 pound roasts, cooking in the same oven (not touching so air can circulate between them) it should still be about 6 hours total. Of course, this is just a rule of thumb and the easiest way to tell is the internal temperature.

  12. Labor Day weekend was wet and rainy with a storm sitting off the coast. Cooking outdoors wasn’t an option so I was delighted to find your recipe which turned out delicious.


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