Ultimate Sous Vide BBQ Pulled Pork: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Perfection

Easy Sous Vide BBQ Pulled Pork Shoulder Recipe: Cook Like a Pro at Home

Discover the secret to incredibly tender, flavorful pulled pork using the sous vide method. This recipe combines modern cooking techniques with classic BBQ flavors for a foolproof, mouthwatering result every time. Perfect for busy weeknights or impressing guests at your next gathering!

Why Sous Vide is the Game-Changer for Pulled Pork

Sous vide cooking revolutionizes the way we approach tough cuts like pork shoulder. This method allows for:

  • Unparalleled convenience – set it and forget it!
  • Precise temperature control for optimal tenderness
  • Moisture retention for incredibly juicy meat
  • Flexibility to finish in the oven or on the grill

With sous vide, you’ll achieve restaurant-quality pulled pork with minimal effort. The low, slow cooking process breaks down tough connective tissues into luscious gelatin, resulting in pork that practically melts in your mouth.

Choosing Your Perfect Texture: Temperature Guide

The beauty of sous vide lies in its precision. Here’s how to customize your pulled pork texture:

Temp and Time Result
145°F for 18 to 24 hours Sliceable and extra moist
165°F for 18 to 24 hours Shreddable and moist

Our go-to is 165°F for 18 to 24 hours, yielding that classic pull-apart texture while retaining more moisture than traditional methods.

Mastering the Smoke Flavor: 3 Foolproof Techniques

1. Liquid Smoke Magic

A touch of liquid smoke in the sous vide bag imparts a subtle smokiness, perfect for oven finishing. Pro tip: Use smoked salt in your rub for an extra flavor boost!

2. Grill Finishing for Authentic Flavor

Got a kettle grill? Finish your sous vide pork with real wood smoke for that authentic BBQ taste. This method combines the best of both worlds – precise sous vide cooking with genuine smoke flavor.

3. The Smoke Ring Hack

Crave that telltale pink smoke ring? A pinch of pink curing salt (sodium nitrite) in your rub creates a similar effect, no smoke needed. It’s purely cosmetic, but perfect for BBQ authenticity!


For the Spice Rub:

  • 1/4 cup (50g) paprika
  • 1/4 cup (50g) dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (35g) kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) Prague Powder #1 (optional; for smoke ring effect)
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) whole yellow mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (20g) granulated garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) whole coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) red pepper flakes

For the Pork:

  • 1 whole boneless or bone-in pork butt (shoulder), 5 to 7 pounds total (2.25 to 3.25kg)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3ml) liquid smoke (optional)
  • Kosher salt

Let’s Get Cooking!

  1. Spice Things Up: Combine all spice rub ingredients in a grinder, pulsing until you have a fine, aromatic powder. This blend will be the flavor foundation of your pork.
  2. Prep the Pork: Massage half the spice mix all over your pork shoulder. Place it in a sous vide bag with liquid smoke (if using) and seal it up tight.
  3. Sous Vide Magic: Set your precision cooker to 165°F (74°C) for classic pulled pork texture. Cook for 18 to 24 hours, letting the low heat work its tenderizing magic.
  4. Oven Finish Option: Preheat to 300°F. Pat the pork dry and coat with remaining spice mix. Roast on a wire rack for about 1.5 hours until a beautiful bark forms.
  5. Grill Finish Option: Fire up your grill for indirect heat. Pat pork dry, apply remaining spice rub, and smoke with hardwood chunks for about 1.5 hours until perfectly barked.
  6. Shred and Serve: Use forks to pull the pork into succulent strands. Season to taste and serve with your favorite BBQ sauce on the side.

Pro Tips for Sous Vide BBQ Success

  • Save the flavorful bag juices to enhance your BBQ sauce
  • For a smoke ring effect without smoking, use Prague Powder #1 in your rub
  • Experiment with different wood chunks when finishing on the grill for unique flavor profiles

Nutritional Information

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 615
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 56%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 183mg 61%
Sodium 749mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 48g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 67mg 5%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 748mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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