pulled pork

pulled pork

This pulled pork recipe was inspired by a delicious meal that my husband’s aunt cooked for the family during a visit to Southern California. She lovingly prepared a savory roast, topped with a tangy apple cider vinaigrette that we gobbled up with buttery dinner rolls.

I was so excited to replicate the dish and began drafting the recipe right away. I cooked the pulled pork for a college football game viewing party, a new tradition we’ve started with some dear friends, and I’m happy to say that it was a real crowd pleaser. We turned the pulled pork into delicious sandwiches with homemade brioche buns and Ina’s coleslaw. You can serve this pulled pork as tacos, burritos, or sliders and it makes great leftovers.

pulled pork

To create the perfect balance of savory, salt, and acid I marinated the meat in a paste made with Dijon mustard and flavorful spices. Marinating overnight allows the flavors to seep into the meat making the sauce a nice accessory instead of a necessity. This is the perfect meal to feed a crowd and enjoy some football games with friends!

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pulled pork

pulled pork

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  • Author: Sepideh Esmaili Campos
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 pork roast (5-6 pounds) – also called butt or shoulder
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Trim the extra fat off of the pork.
  2. Combine the garlic, salt, paprika, chili powder, brown sugar, and dijon mustard. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork roast and place in a dutch oven.  
  3. Cover the roast with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or at least 1 hour).
  4. The next day or when you’re ready to cook the pork, remove from the fridge and bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes).
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Slice the yellow onion and place in the dutch oven with the roast. Add 2 cups of filtered water to the dutch oven (or enough to come halfway up the roast). Cover the dutch oven with its lid and bake for 5-6 hours, until the pork is falling apart when pierced with a fork (internal temperature should be at least 190-195 degrees fahrenheit). Turn the roast every 30-60 minutes so the dry side is submerged in the liquid.
  7. Use large tongs and a large fork to carefully remove the cooked pork from the dutch oven and place on a large plate.
  8. Place the pot with the onions and braising liquid on top of the stove, allow the liquid to settle for a few minutes and use a large spoon to skim extra fat from the top of the liquid.  
  9. With the stove still off and the liquid slightly cooled, use an immersion blender to blend the onions and create a smooth sauce. This can be done in a blender by carefully transferring small portions of the cooled liquid and onions into the blender then returning the smooth sauce to the pot.
  10. Add the ketchup, vinegar, and cayenne pepper to the pot and simmer the liquid over medium heat until thickened, 20-30 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt or vinegar as desired.
  11. Shred the cooled pork using two forks and place the pulled pork back in the pot with the sauce.
  12. Serve on brioche rolls with coleslaw.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours inactive cooking time + overnight marinating
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