Classic Pulled Pork Recipe

Recipe Date: December 31, 2023




Prep Time

15 mins

Cook Time

8-10 hrs


1 Whole Bone-in Pork Shoulder/Butt

Traeger Pork Dry Rub

Apple Cider


Brown Sugar



Extra-wide Aluminum Foil

Bear Claws (nice to have)


24 hours before you want to start the smoke, remove your pork shoulder from its package, wash with cold water then pat dry with paper towels.

Keep it clean by using a pan.

Trim obvious surface fat from the pork shoulder. MoreThe amount you decide to keep is really up to you—have fun with it and test various methods for yourself. I opted to remove the obvious surface fat on the top and a decent amount of the fat cap (the thick layer of fat on the bottom). I did this for two reasons: 1) my wife hates fat so it was best to remove what I could now vs later and 2) I want the rub and apple cider we're about to put use to penetrate the meat more during the smoke. However, some leave it alone not doing anything with the fat as it adds flavor and helps keep the meat moist.

Inject with apple cider every 1-2 inches and season with dry rub—I used Traeger Pork Rub.

Wrap pork shoulder in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Smoking instructions

Turn your pellet grill on and set the temperature to 250 degrees F.

Put your pork on your grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F, around 4 hours.

Grilling Tip: Keep the lid closed

Keep the heat and smoke in the grill by keeping the lid closed as much as possible with a Bluetooth temperature probe. We recommend the Meater Smart Thermometer.

Time to add some more flavor! Pull the pork butt/shoulder and place into a pan. Lather all sides with honey topped with some brown sugar.

Now wrap the pork it in a double layer of extra-wide aluminum foil and pour some apple cider in the pack. Place the wrapped pork and pan back on the grill.

Cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 204 degrees, around 4 more hours. Once done, let the pork rest for 45 minutes in the foil packet.

Ready for the fun part? Unwrap the pork and place into the pan. Remove any unwanted fat, remove the bone and start pulling the pork apart.

It sure is nice to have a set of Bear Claws during this process, I highly recommend getting a pair.

(Optional) Remove some of that liquid (to taste), add some BBQ sauce (to taste) or even add some more rub.

Honestly, I just removed some of the liquid because the meat was so good it didn’t need much else!


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