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Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
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Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

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This Dutch Oven Pulled Pork is the easiest, most tender pulled pork you’ll ever make! It’s so flavorful and perfect for piling high on a toasted roll for the best pulled pork sandwich.

If you want an easy and delicious pulled pork recipe that’s made in the oven and requires no special equipment, this is it! This recipe is perfect for game days, Father’s day, or any time you need to feed a crowd.

The Best Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

Being in Texas, I have access to a TON of great BBQ places and my favorite thing to order is always pulled pork. It’s juicy, smoky, and so, so good on a sandwich.

But, if you don’t have access to a smoker you can still make incredible pulled pork at home. This dutch oven pulled pork is braised in a mixture of root beer or beer and the base ingredients for a simple, homemade BBQ sauce.

The pulled pork is so meltingly tender and full of flavor. It’s perfect piled high on a toasty bun with slaw for an epic pulled pork sandwich, served as a taco, or piled onto your favorite nachos. This is truly such an easy weeknight dinner that’s mostly hands-off that everyone will love.

Looking for more one-pot, oven-braised recipes? Check out all my best braising recipes.

Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

What is Braising?

While this may sound like an intimidating cooking term, it’s actually so straight forward and mostly hands-off! It’s a technique that I encourage everyone to learn because it produces truly the most delicious meals.

Braising is a combination cooking technique that features both wet and dry heat. First, you sear the pork butt in your dutch oven for flavor and color and then you add liquid and transfer the covered pot to the oven. In the oven, the pork cooks slowly at a lower temperature.

The resulting meat is exceedingly tender. Braising is particularly effective for tough cuts of meat (brisket, chuck, pork shoulder, short ribs, etc). Cooking tough meats low and slow in liquid allows the muscle tissue and collagen to slowly break down.

Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

How to Make Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

Dutch oven pulled pork is not complicated to make at all! I do recommend investing in a large dutch oven, like the one linked below. All my braises happen in large braisers or dutch ovens!

Tools Needed

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Pork butt. This my favorite cut to use for dutch oven pulled pork.
  • Spices. I season the pork with a simple spice rub made with salt, brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and mustard powder. Alternately, you could use your favorite spice rub.
  • BBQ sauce. We’re building our own bbq sauce with ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and liquid smoke. You could skip this and add in your favorite bbq sauce.
  • Bourbon. A bit of bourbon adds great flavor to the braise and all the alcohol cooks off in the oven.
  • Chicken stock. Homemade is best, but store bought also works.
  • Root beer or Beer. The sweetness in the soda gives the bbq sauce great flavor and sweetness. You could also use an amber or brown ale that is not hoppy in flavor.
  • Onion. A yellow onion adds sweetness, but any onion will work.

Ingredients for Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

The Process

  1. Prep the pork. Pat the pork dry and cut it into 4 inch chunks. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground mustard until combined. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the pork pieces and rub it into the pork. Let them sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Sear the pork. In a 5-6 quart dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the pork pieces to the dutch oven and sear them until golden brown on each side. Take care not to let the sugar in the spice rub burn.
  3. Mix the braising liquid. While the pork is searing, whisk together the root beer, ketchup, molasses, cider vinegar, Worcestershire, dijon, brown sugar, hot sauce, and liquid smoke in a bowl or large measuring cup.
  4. Deglaze the pan. Once the pork is browned on all sides, transfer the pork pieces to a plate and add the onions to the dutch oven. Saute them for 3-4 minutes, until they’re starting to brown. Add the chicken broth and use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Turn off the heat and add the bourbon to the pot and stir well. Stir in ? of the ketchup mixture and then add the pork back to the pot. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.
  5. Braise the pork. Braise the pork for 2.5-3 hours, until the pork is just shy of tender. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the pork is very tender and easily shredded with a fork. Shred the pork and pour in the rest of the ketchup mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has reduced slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Best Cuts of Pork for Pulled Pork

Pork Butt, sometimes referred to as Boston Butt or Picnic Pork Roast, is by far the best cut for making dutch oven pulled pork. It’s got a good amount of fat marbling which melts and makes the pork super tender as it cooks low and slow.

I typically use boneless pork butt, but you can use bone-in for more flavor. If you use bone-in, don’t cut the pork into pieces and use the spice rub all over the outside. Then, plan to braise the pork for a bit longer.

You can also use pork shoulder to make this recipe, but it tends to have less marbling throughout and a larger fat cap, so you’ll want to trim the fat cap to 1/4″.

There are unfortunately some cuts of pork that are not made for braising. I do not recommend using pork chops, pork tenderloin, or pork loin for this recipe.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

Don’t skip the sear. Really taking time to brown the pork butt is the first step in building layers of flavor in your braise. Don’t rush this step, and take care to not crowd the pot. You’re looking for the pork to be a nice, deep brown before moving on to the next step.

Caramelize the onions. When you saute the onions after browning the pork, you really want to let them caramelize! This also adds tons of flavor to the braising liquid. You don’t want them to just get soft, you really want to let them brown for a bit.

It takes as long as it takes. All cooking times that I provide are estimates. Everyone’s oven is different and meat behaves differently in different cooking settings. On average, dutch oven pulled pork takes anywhere between 3 to 4 hours to braise, but it’s done when it’s tender and easily shredded.

Let the pork rest in the juices. Just like you’d rest a steak before slicing, make sure to let the pork rest in the juices before shredding. The meat re-absorbs some liquid and becomes even more tender as it sits for a bit.

Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

Stovetop, Slow Cooker, and Instant Pot Instructions

I often get requests for slow cooker and pressure cooker instructions for my braising recipes. Can you do it? Yes, but you absolutely lose some flavor. Cooking meat in the oven concentrates the flavor and you lose some of that with other cooking methods. That being said, here are my alternative cooking instructions:

Slow Cooker:  Use another pan or pot to sear the pork butt before adding it to the slow cooker. Seriously, don’t skip this step because it adds SO much flavor! Saute the onion in the same pot and then add them to the slow cooker with the pork. Pour in all the braising liquid. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the pork is tender and easily shredded.

Pressure cooker: Sear the pork in a separate pan or in your pressure cooker, using the saute function. Once the pork is browned, saute the onions. Add everything in and pressure cook on high for 50 minutes with a natural release. Remove the short ribs and simmer the braising liquid to thicken it a bit before serving.

Stovetop: Instead of transferring the pork to the oven to braise, simply simmer it covered on low heat for 90 minutes with all the liquid. Then, crack the lid and continue to simmer until the pulled pork is tender and easily shredded.

What to Serve with Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

To me, dutch oven pulled pork always gives backyard BBQ vibes! I typically serve the pulled pork piled high on a toasted brioche bun with a simple coleslaw recipe.

If I’m serving a crowd, you can build nachos with the pulled pork, tortilla chips, and my easy white queso sauce plus all your favorite toppings!

If I’m hosting a backyard BBQ with this pulled pork as the star, here are some of my favorite side dishes to serve with it!

Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

Storage Instructions

In the event that you have leftovers, dutch oven pulled pork is easy to store and freeze!

To store: Let the pork and braising liquid cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for 4-6 days in the fridge.

Freezing pulled pork: You can very easily freeze dutch oven pulled pork! Let the pork and liquid cool to room temperature and then store in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Try to press most of the air out of the bag while sealing, this helps prevent freezer burn. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.

Reheating: Pulled pork is best reheated in a skillet or dutch oven. Add the pork to a dutch oven or skillet, adding a little extra broth or water as needed. Cover and simmer on low until the pork is tender and warmed through.


Dutch Oven Pulled Pork is the ultimate method for making simple and flavorful pork at home! The pork is meltingly tender and so perfect for building pulled pork sandwiches. If you do give this recipe a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter and never miss a new recipe! You can also snap a photo & tag @JENNYGOYCOCHEA on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your SMF creations!

More Backyard BBQ Recipes to Try

Beer Can Chicken
Grilled Beer Brats
Southwest Turkey Burgers
Banh Mi Hot Dogs
Texas Style Nachos

This post contains affiliate links from which I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Affiliate links allow me to keep providing great recipes for free and I never recommend products that I don’t love and personally own.

Dutch Oven Pulled Pork
Main Dishes

Dutch Oven Pulled Pork

This Dutch Oven Pulled Pork is the easiest, most tender pulled pork you'll ever make! It's so flavorful and perfect for piling high on a toasted roll for the best pulled pork sandwich.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 55 minutes
Makes: 6 – 8 servings

Ingredients

Spice Rub

  • 3 1/2 lbs boneless pork butt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Braising Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 12 oz root beer soda*
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hickory or applewood liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock

Instructions

  • Prep the pork. Pat the pork dry and cut it into 4 inch chunks. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground mustard until combined. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the pork pieces and rub it into the pork. Let them sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Preheat an oven to 325 F.
  • Sear the pork. In a 5-6 quart dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the pork pieces to the dutch oven and sear them until golden brown on each side. Take care not to let the sugar in the spice rub burn.
  • Mix the braising liquid. While the pork is searing, whisk together the root beer, ketchup, molasses, cider vinegar, Worcestershire, dijon, brown sugar, hot sauce, and liquid smoke in a bowl or large measuring cup.
  • Deglaze the pan. Once the pork is browned on all sides, transfer the pork pieces to a plate and add the onions to the dutch oven. Saute them for 3-4 minutes, until they’re starting to brown. Add the chicken broth and use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and add the bourbon to the pot and stir well. Stir in ? of the ketchup mixture and then add the pork back to the pot. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.
  • Braise the pork. Braise the pork for 2.5-3 hours, until the pork is just shy of tender. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the pork is very tender and easily shredded with a fork. Shred the pork and pour in the rest of the ketchup mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has reduced slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes

If you don’t want to use root beer, you can also use beer. Opt for an amber or brown ale that is not hoppy in flavor. If you don’t want to use either, you can just use more chicken stock but you will lose some flavor. 

Nutrition

Calories: 471kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 38gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 1526mgPotassium: 1052mgFiber: 1gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 594IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 83mgIron: 4mg

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