Easy Oven-Baked Pulled Pork Sandwiches

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: I like my pork vinegary and mildly sweet. If preferred, you can season your pulled pork with your favorite barbecue sauce. Check out our taste test of bottled sauces here or 12 of our favorite recipes here.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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Easy Oven-Baked Pulled Pork Sandwiches

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 8 to 12
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:6 hours
This recipe appears in: Easy Oven-Baked Pulled Pork Sandwiches With Pickled Peppers


  • 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder, preferably skin-on, 6 to 8 pounds
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural liquid smoke (such as Wright's, optional)
  • Soft toasted buns for serving
  • Condiments as desired, such as chopped pickled cherry peppers, raw onions, pickles, or cole slaw


  1. 1

    Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Combine brown sugar, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix with fingers until homogenous. Rub generously over all surfaces of pork.

  2. 2

    Place pork on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet skin-side-up and transfer to oven. Roast until a fork inserted in thickest part of pork can be twisted easily and meat shreds off with little resistance, about 3 1/2 hours. Remove pork from oven. Increase temperature to 500°F.

  3. 3

    Carefully lift skin off of pork. Scrape any clinging meat or fat into a large bowl using a fork or a large spoon. Transfer pork shoulder to bowl and return skin to baking sheet. Roast skin until crisp and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

  4. 4

    When pork is cool enough to handle, pul meat from bone and shred with your fingers. Discard bone. Finely chop skin and mix it in with the meat. Season meat with salt and pepper to taste, then season with vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and liquid smoke (if using), starting with half of each and increasing until desired level of seasoning is reached. (See note above.)

  5. 5

    Serve pulled pork hot in toasted buns with condiments as desired.

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