Indoor Pulled Pork


This is “faux” barbecue pulled pork at its finest. There’s no need to barbecue pork outside for hours, just do it right in your oven! Liquid smoke in brine and spice rub lend those smoky flavors in the meat. Serve it in a tortilla for carnitas, between two slices of baguette bánh mì-style, or with grains (it goes great with rice and scrambled eggs) and you’re good to go. For me, I like it Filipino-style, in soft, sweet pan de sal buns!

I love barbecue pork, pulled pork, bánh mì Vietnamese sandwiches, and the only sandwiches I truly, absolutely enjoy are those with warm meat in between toasted soft buns. I will eat cold cuts sandwiches, but I won’t crave for it. Now the pulled, barbecued kind? I dream of it.

Indoor Pulled Pork
Simply delicious. That's all I can say.

As soon as I saw this recipe on my Cook’s Illustrated magazine (one of the very few magazines with recipes I can rely on), I knew instantly that I have to make it. Dan made it first and said, “Oh god.” I didn’t need an explanation after that, because no sooner was I saying the same thing, perhaps with a little profanity peppered in. Holy ****.

Indoor Pulled Pork
If the looks alone won't hook you, the first bite will. It is just a piece of heaven in sweet pan de sal. We get ours from Aling Mary's.

This will be on the menu again in the near future and the recipe will be doubled, so I can freeze half to enjoy whenever I crave for it.

I just don’t have anything else to say other than: Make it. It’s good for you.

INDOOR PULLED PORKDownload the PDF recipe for Indoor Pulled Pork
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated magazine, January 2010 issue



  • 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 boneless pork butt (about 5 pounds), cut in half horizontally
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika (you can substitute with sweet paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper ** (see Note)

Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup light or mild molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. For the Pork: Brine pork in a solution of 1 cup salt, ½ cup sugar, 3 tablespoons liquid smoke and 4 quarts of cold water. Use a large container (cover with plastic wrap) or large ziplock bag/s. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Mix mustard and remaining liquid smoke in a small bowl. Mix pepper, paprika, and remaining sugar and salt, and cayenne in a separate small bowl.

3. Preheat oven to 325°F with the oven rack placed in the lower-middle position. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a baking wire rack on top of it (so the juices can drip on the baking sheet).

4. Remove pork from brine and pat the meat dry with paper towels. Rub the entire surface of each piece of meat with the mustard paste, and sprinkle with the dry spice mixture. Place pork flat on the wire rack and cover with parchment paper first, then aluminum foil tucked underneath the rim of the baking sheet to seal. Roast pork for 3 hours.

5. Remove pork from the oven and discard parchment in foil. Pour off liquid from the baking sheet into a fat separator. Continue to roast pork in the oven until well browned and tender, for about 1 ½ hours. Meat temperature should register 200°F on an instant-read thermometer.

6. Transfer pork to a serving dish and cover loosely with foil for 20 minutes.

7. For the Sauce: Whisk together ½ cup of defatted liquid and the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.

8. Shred pork using 2 forks, and mix with 1 cup of sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with remaining sauce with fries, grains, or bread.

Happy roasting!

Note – You can skip the cayenne if you don’t like it too spicy. The rub already lends enough heat into the meat.

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  1. JoeFat says

    It looks so attractive, would be nice with a little of tomato sauce. Normally, I don’t make barbecue indoor because of the smoke, and we always have many friends coming to enjoy the party. Anyway, it may be suitable for a small dinner with my wife and kids. Sometimes i use the indoor cooking grills set to do a small barbecue inside without making the kitchen smell badly.

  2. Ed says

    Made it for the first time for a potluck and it was fantastic. Used a bit bigger butt of pork and had leftovers that froze very well; still tasted great, if not better, two months later.

  3. Cathy Beard says

    I want to thank you for this recipe. I believe I got a similar BBQ pork recipe from a magazine and in a move I made last year have never come across the magazine. Usually I make a print on my computer but for some reason I didn’t. I know I saved the magazine as the recipe was so spectacular and the sides with it were incredible and the bbq sauce used some of the juice from the cooking process. Well this is the recipe and I think what may have taken place was that the lady at the magazine gave me the recipes for the sides, a fennel slaw that is awesome and a cornbread but did not give me your recipes for the pork and sauce. This makes the most elegant dinner for lots of people in the late summer or fall as the fennel slaw is wonderful with a fantastic cornbread and the BEST home done, indoor bbq pork and MOST delicious homemade BBQ sauce. Thank you so very much. I can’t tell you how great this set of recipes is for someone to produce a truly wonderful party dinner. C Beard

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