This oven roasted pulled pork tastes like it was smoked for hours, but really was cooked in your oven! It’s perfect with vinaigrette dressed coleslaw.
I have made pulled pork in a lot of different ways over the years. My old fallback method used to be in the slow cooker, which I thought was good at the time. In hindsight, it always came out pretty watery and not very flavorful. Eventually I switched over to the method I currently use – Oven Roasted Pulled Pork Sliders.
Between the overnight brining and the slow roasting, this method certainly isn’t any faster than using the slow cooker. In fact, it’s basically an all day process. But the result is almost indescribably better. The pork ends up super juicy with a slightly spicy, smoky crust. And if you can’t take all day to cook this pork when you know you’ve having people for a mid-day meal, just cook it in advance, shred it, and reheat later.
I serve the pork with the same coleslaw I’ve been serving for at least a decade. It’s light and vinaigrette based – no gloopy mayo based dressing here. I always prefer to serve mine on my Homemade Hamburger Buns, which I form a little smaller, so they’re slider sized.
Oven Roasted Pulled Pork Sliders with Vinaigrette Coleslaw
For the Pork
- 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 5 pounds boneless pork butt roast cut in half horizontally
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 2 Tablespoons ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
For the BBQ Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups ketchup
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoons hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
For the coleslaw
- 1/2 small head green cabbage shredded
- 1/2 small head purple cabbage shredded
- 2 medium carrots peeled and shredded
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Pork
- Dissolve 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar sugar and 3 Tbsp liquid smoke in 1 gallon (4 L) cold water in a large bowl. Place pork into brine, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
- While pork is brining, stir together mustard and remaining 2 teaspoons liquid smoke in a small bowl. Mix pepper, paprika, cayenne and the remaining 2 Tablespoons brown sugar and 2 teaspoons salt together in a small bowl.
- Adjust oven rack to lower middle position, heat oven to 325°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil and set a wire rack over top.
- Remove pork from brine, dry with paper towels. Brush mustard mixture over pork to cover. Sprinkle paprika mixture over pork and pat down to stick. Place pork on the wire rack over foil-covered baking sheet. Place a sheet of parchment paper over pork, then cover with foil, sealing the edges completely. Place baking sheet in oven and roast for 3 hours.
- Remove pork from oven. Remove and discard the foil and parchment that are covering the pork. Carefully remove wire rack with the pork on top and set aside. Carefully pour pork drippings from foil-lined pan into a bowl or measuring cup and place in fridge to cool. Replace wire rack and pork and return to oven to cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours, or until the center of the pork reads 200°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Transfer pork to a platter or cutting board and loosely cover with foil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
For the BBQ Sauce
- Spoon the fat from the top of the pork drippings and discard. In a medium bowl, whisk together ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of the pork drippings. Set aside.
- Shred the pork with your fingers or 2 forks. Toss with 1 cup of sauce. Reserve the rest of the sauce for serving.
For the Coleslaw
- Toss cabbage and carrots together in a large bowl.
- Stir vinegar, sugar, canola oil, Dijon, celery seeds, salt and pepper together in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Oven Roasted Pulled Pork Sliders Nutrition Notes:
The above nutrition information is an estimate, as it is difficult to accurately calculate how much of the salt and sugar is absorbed during brining. Also, a significant amount of fat is rendered from the pork and discarded. Don’t forget to account for the nutrition info of the bun you choose!
*Note: This post was originally published on April 24, 2014