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One of the easiest barbecue recipes ever is smoked pulled pork. And now, it just got even easier with the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill.
All you have to do is season the pork shoulder and push a button on the grill. In less than 8 hours, you’ll have pull-apart smoked pork that the neighbors will be knocking down your door for.
What is pulled pork?
Pulled pork is a popular American barbecue dish of slow-smoked pork shoulder that is tender and flavorful. It’s often served at barbecue restaurants by the pound or piled high on white bread or a soft hamburger bun.
There are several ways to flavor pulled pork. This recipe has a traditional sweet and savory flavor. You can also try my Smoked Carolina Pulled Pork recipe.
Once you get the technique down, which is super easy, you can try other flavor profiles by using Asian or Latin seasonings and sauces or glazes.
- Pork Shoulder: Sometimes this cut is packaged as pork shoulder and sometimes it’s packaged as pork butt. They’re both the same cut, which is from the upper front arm of the pig
- Mustard: Yellow mustard is a great binder that helps the seasoning adhere to the pork to create a beautiful bark.
- Pork Rub: My award-winning Pork Rub from Spiceology was created especially for pulled pork. It’s a bit sweet with salt, pepper, garlic, onions and mild chiles. Or try my recipe for All-Purpose BBQ Rub.
- Barbecue Sauce: Once the pork is pulled, eat it plain or cover it with your favorite barbecue sauce.
Substitutions: You can use any type of barbecue seasoning or a combination of salt and pepper.
How to smoke pulled pork on the Ninja Woodfire Grill
- STEP ONE: Remove the pork shoulder from the packaging and pat it dry. Brush yellow mustard all over the pork shoulder.
- STEP TWO: Sprinkle Pork Rub liberally on all sides, covering the mustard.
- STEP THREE: Add wood pellets to the smoke box. Set the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill to smoker and set the temperature to 250F degrees and the time for 7 hours. Add the seasoned pork butt to the smoker and close the lid.
- STEP FOUR: Smoke the pork until it is fork tender and the internal temperature reads around 200-203F degrees. For an 8-pound pork shoulder, this will take around 6 hours.
NINJA PRO TIP: For more smoke flavor, refill the smoke box with pellets every hour.
- STEP FIVE: Once the pork butt has reached the desired temperature, wrap it in plastic wrap, foil or butcher paper and let it rest for an hour. You can place it in a cooler without ice or leave it on the counter.
How to serve smoked pulled pork
I prefer using my hands, because then I can remove larger pieces of fat.
Toss the pulled pork in a large pan with a little more seasoning and your favorite barbecue sauce. Serve on a platter with smoked mac and cheese and homemade bread and butter pickles or piled high on buns.
Save any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or freeze leftovers for up to 6 months.
To reheat leftover pulled pork, microwave it at a reduced heat or cook it up in a skillet or on the Ninja Woodfire Griddle Plate.
The leftovers are also great on nachos or piled on a loaded baked potato.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pulled pork is traditionally made with pork shoulder, which is also referred to as pork butt. It comes from the upper arm or shoulder of the hog. It’s the best choice because it contains a lot of intramuscular fat, making the pulled pork tender, juicy and flavorful.
Absolutely. You can smoke a whole pork shoulder ahead of time and then pull the meat and toss it with sauce. Place it in an air-tight container and refrigerate it for up to 5 days. When it’s time to serve the pulled pork, heat it slowly either in the oven, reduced-heat microwave or sous vide. You can also place it in a Ninja Foodi Slow Cooker on low.
It’s pretty hard to overcook pulled pork, but technically yes. If you continue cooking it after it reaches 210F degrees internally, it will eventually start to dry out. But pork shoulder is very forgiving, so you have to pretty much completely forget that it’s on the grill to mess it up.
Pulled pork is healthy in moderation. It is a protein rich in thiamin, vitamin B, zinc and iron, but it does contain a higher concentration of fat compared to a more tender cut like a pork tenderloin.
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Smoked Pulled Pork on a Ninja Woodfire Grill
- 8 lb pork shoulder
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup Christie Vanover's Pork Rub
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- Season: Remove the pork shoulder from the packaging and pat it dry. Rub the pork shoulder all over with mustard. Then, sprinkle liberally with pork rub.
- Heat Grill: Add pellets to the smoke box. Set the Ninja Woodfire Grill to smoker. Set the temperature to 250F degrees and the time to 7 hours.
- Smoke: Place the seasoned pork shoulder on the grill and cook it until the meat is fork tender and the internal temperature registers around 200F degrees.
- Rest: Remove it from the grill. Wrap it in plastic wrap or foil and let it rest for about an hour.
- Serve: Shred the meat with your hands or two forks (see notes above). Sprinkle with more rub and barbecue sauce and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.