Oven Braised BBQ Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is all about whipping up a big, delicious batch of meat that’s perfect for feeding a crowd, stashing away in the freezer for those no-cook kinds of days, or saving time by turning it into other meals throughout the week. Plus, using an inexpensive cut means you get a lot of bang for your buck. While the slow cooker has been a tried-and-true method for many (and don’t get us wrong, we obviously love it too), oven braising brings a little something special to the table. It gives the pork a better texture that’s just different enough to be worth your while, and guess what? It’s just as easy.

We’ve kept our BBQ sauce super simple here—just whisk it up, mix it in, and you’re good to go. We’re all about letting that pork shine, adding just enough sauce to complement the flavor. Want to save some meat without sauce for later? Go right ahead. It’s perfect for tucking away for another day’s meal or even freezing for later.

Why Our Recipe

  • Low and slow oven braise for the ideal texture for shredded pork.
  • One bowl, no-cook barbecue sauce to keep things simple.
  • Sauce is added at serving so you can easily separate out any extra meat you want to use in other recipes.
BBQ pulled pork held in tongs.

Why Oven Braise?

When it comes to cooking BBQ pulled pork, the method you choose can make a world of difference in texture. Slow cookers are fantastic for convenience and tenderness, turning the pork into delicious meat that is uniformly soft. On the flip side, oven braising introduces a slightly different game. The oven’s steady, dry heat creates a bit of a crust on the outside of the pork, offering a contrast in texture to the succulent, juicy interior. While still incredibly tender, the meat gets a chance to develop these subtle variations in textures, making each bite a little more interesting and never mushy.

Pork Roast Cuts

Pork Butt: also known as Boston Butt. This fat marbling is what gives the pork butt its rich flavor and succulence, making it ideal for slow cooking methods like oven braising or slow cooking, where it can render down and infuse the meat with juiciness.

Pork Shoulder: also known as picnic shoulder or picnic roast. This cut is leaner than the pork butt, but still offers a good amount of fat, making it a suitable alternative for pulled pork. The pork shoulder might need a tad more attention to ensure it doesn’t dry out during cooking.

Boneless vs. Bone-In: Bone-in can deepen flavor but takes longer to cook. Boneless is more convenient and offers more meat per pound.

Money Saving Tip: When you purchase a bone-in roast you are paying for the weight of the bone as well as the meat. The bone in a pork shoulder or butt weighs between 8 and 12 ounces. Bone-in is often cheaper and the more economical choice, especially on the larger roasts, but sometimes it’s not! It’s not always what you’d expect so be sure to check.

BBQ pulled pork in a dutch oven.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Refrigerate leftover pork in an airtight container. The USDA recommends that leftover pork be eaten within 3 to 4 days.

Freeze leftover pork in an airtight container or resealable plastic freezer bag. Freeze in portions and lay bags flat for easier storage and thawing. Frozen pork technically stays good indefinitely, but it does tend to get a little freezer burn after 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or use an approved cold water or microwave thawing method.

Microwave on high in 30-second increments to reheat, stirring in between to heat evenly. Alternatively, you can also reheat pork in a skillet on the stove over medium heat. This will take a little longer, but the pork will have a better flavor.

Meal Prep: with refrigerated pork needing to be consumed within 4 days, you can stretch this recipe and use it in multiple meals. We have given four different ideas below. For meal prep beyond 4 days, simply freeze the pork in the portions you need for future recipes.

Use your pulled pork in…

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