How to Pull Pork Butt

by Amrita Chuasiriporn ; Updated September 28, 2017

Pulled pork is a favorite at barbecues and parties. Whether you like it slathered with barbecue sauce or simply smoked, it’s delightful when piled high on your favorite sandwich roll. Unfortunately, ordering a tray of pre-pulled pork can be prohibitively expensive. Luckily, pulling it yourself is incredibly easy, and much less expensive than ordering catering for your next family gathering.

Heat pork butt (also called pork shoulder) to between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a meat thermometer at the thickest point of the butt to determine its true temperature.

Allow meat to cool to a touchable temperature. You can begin pulling it as soon as you can stand to touch it, which will depend on your sensitivity to heat. Latex, nitrile, or nyplex gloves may enable you to pull the pork when it’s hotter than you’d be able to stand with bare hands.

Pull the pork, working with the grain of the meat. Separate any large chunks of fat or cartilage and discard them in the garbage can.

Place pulled pork in the roasting pan as you pull it. That way, when you’re done, you can easily cover it with aluminum foil for reheating or storage.

Pour chicken broth or apple juice over the pan of pork once you’ve finished pulling it. This will keep it from drying out when you reheat it.

Heat pork through before serving, whether you serve immediately after pulling or store it for a few days before serving.


  • Nitrile and nyplex gloves are good alternatives if you have a latex allergy. Check your local hardware store to find these types of gloves.

    If you will not be serving the pork immediately after you’ve pulled it, store it in the refrigerator as soon as it has reached room temperature. For optimum food safety consideration, reheat to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill any and all possible bacterial contaminants.

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  • The Meat Buyers Guide : Meat, Lamb, Veal, Pork and Poultry; North American Meat Processors Association, 2006

About the Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker and writer who has written for several online publications, including Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.