This truly is the best Smoked Pulled Pork ever! We make this pulled pork recipe on our Traeger and it turns out perfectly smoky and tender every time.
Easy Traeger Pulled Pork
Before getting a Traeger, we often made our favorite baked Carolina Pulled Pork recipe. Here comes the big but…the Traeger brings homemade pulled pork to a whole different level! After you’ve smoked pulled pork on a Traeger for the first time, you will know exactly what I mean.
Smoked pulled pork on a Traeger takes some time, make sure you plan ahead to make this beauty! A lot of people dread making a pulled pork because they see the amount of time that goes into it. The big surprise is that it only takes 5-10 minutes to prep, the brine and Traeger does the rest! You literally go about your day as normal. Everyone can do that!
Traeger has so many hardwood pellets that you must try with each of your recipes. For this particular recipe we have used hickory, apple and pecan. Each wood brings a unique and different flavor. Make sure you make this recipe multiple times to find what hardwood you like best for those little taste buds.
For our family, we’ve settled in with the above flavors and so we pretty much stick to those for pulled pork, but you can try any flavor you’d like.
What’s Needed for Smoked Pulled Pork?
This Traeger pork shoulder recipe has three main components: a brine, a dry rub, and a mustard barbecue sauce. Here’s what you’ll need to make this Traeger pulled pork recipe:
- Pork shoulder roast
- Apple cider
- Kosher salt
- Dark brown sugar
- Bay leaves
- Dried herbs and spices
- Yellow mustard
- Apple cider vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce
- Liquid smoke
How to Make Smoked Pulled Pork on a Traeger
Before diving into this smoked pork shoulder recipe, note that you should begin prepping this pulled pork 2 days ahead of time as the meat needs 24 hours in the fridge, 11-12 hours in the Traeger, and 30 minutes of resting.
Here are the basic steps to making this smoked pulled pork recipe:
- Whisk together the smoked pork shoulder rub.
- In a large pot, stir together the brine. Submerge the pork shoulder in the brine, then place in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.
- Once brined, pat the pork dry and season with the dry rub.
- Cook in your preheated Traeger for roughly 12 hours total, or until the smoked pulled pork temperature is 200ºF inside.
- Turn the Traeger off, then let the pork rest for an hour or two.
- Shred the Traeger pork shoulder and serve with our homemade barbecue sauce, if desired.
Can I Make Pulled Pork in the Oven?
Yes! If you’d rather make homemade pulled pork in an oven rather than in a Traeger, I recommend making our Carolina Pulled Pork recipe instead.
Can You Freeze Pulled Pork?
Yes, very easily. Simply seal the smoked pulled pork inside a freezer bag with some of its juices, then lay flat on a baking sheet until it’s frozen through (this makes storing things in your freezer easier). To thaw, place in your fridge overnight.
Tips for Making Traeger Pulled Pork
We prefer making our own smoked pork shoulder rub and barbecue sauce, but you’re welcome to use your favorite store-bought dry rub and sauce. Just be sure to read the ingredients list so you’re buying good quality rubs and sauces!
The key to making the best smoked pulled pork is to give it plenty of time to cook at a low temperature and then plenty of time to rest on the counter as well. The muscle fibers get all worked up with cooking so you really need to let them relax again on the counter in order for the juices to redistribute again, otherwise when you cut into the meat (or start to pull it apart, in this case) all of the juices will run out, which is a big mistake.
Lastly, you don’t have to eat this Traeger pulled pork with barbecue sauce. You can toss the smoked pulled pork with any number of sauces and seasonings and enjoy it in salads, sandwiches, wraps, burritos, tacos, and more!
More Easy Traeger Recipes:
- Smoked Tri Tip on a Traeger
- The Best Smoked Turkey Breast
- Traeger Smoked Chicken Breasts
- Flavorful Smoked Beef Brisket
- The Best Smoked Chicken Wings
- Glazed Smoked Chicken Wings
- Smoked Pork Ribs
- The Best Smoked Chicken Recipe (for a whole chicken!)
- ALL OF OUR TRAEGER RECIPES!
Smoked Pulled Pork on a Traeger
Smoked Pulled Pork on a Traeger
- 5 to 8 pound Pork Shoulder Roast
For the Brine:
- 4 Cups Water
- 4 Cups Apple Cider
- 1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Dry Rub, heaping , (recipe below)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
For the Rub
- 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika, heaping
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Pepper
- 2 Teaspoons Cayenne Powder
- 2 Teaspoons Dry Mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin
- 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
For the Mustard Base BBQ
- 3/4 Cup Yellow Mustard
- 1/2 Cup Honey
- 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce, (or Frank's if necessary), or to taste
- 2 Tablespoons Butter, , melted
- 1 Pinch Nutmeg
- 1 Dash Liquid Smoke
Prepare the Dry Rub:
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a jar.
- Set aside.
For the Brine:
- In a large stock pot, add the water, apple cider, salt, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the dry rub, pepper flakes and bay leaves.
- Rinse off the pork and add to the pot making sure it is completely covered in the brine and add the lid.
- Place in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.
To Smoke the Pork:
- When you are ready to start smoking your pork, turn your Traeger on to the smoke setting for 5 minutes, lid open.
- Once the fire kicks on in the fire box, close your lid and preheat your grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the grill is preheating, pull your pork out of the brine and pat it dry with a paper towel.
- That rub you just made, get ready to lather it on all sides of the pork.
- Make sure you save some of that rub, roughly 2-3 tablespoons worth, you'll want to add that to the pork after it is cooked.
- With the fat facing up, place the pork on the Traeger.
- Smoke for 2-3 hours, then transfer your pork onto a disposable pan, found here.
- Continue to cook for another 8-10 hours or until 200 degrees Fahrenheit registers on the thickest part of the pork with a meat thermometer, if you don't have one, you can get it here, invest, it's worth it!
- As soon as the pork reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit, go ahead and turn off the grill.
- Leave the pork in there to rest for one-two hours, depending how hungry you are! Don't forget to place aluminum foil over the pork, no need to press the foil down tightly.
- Once the meat has rested, remove the fat from the top and begin shredding by using two forks, or your hands covered with insulated bbq gloves, remove the bone.
- Drain half of the juices out and add the remaining dry rub to taste, toss to coat.
- Feel free to use any of your favorite bbq sauces, if you want it South Carolina style, give our mustard bbq sauce a try!
For the BBQ Sauce:
- Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Pour into a jar with a lid and refrigerate 1 day to 1 week prior to serving for best flavor!
I accidentally purchased apple cider vinegar instead of apple cider 🤦🏽♀️ Can I use a substitute for apple cider?
Apple cider vinegar will work. The flavor will just be a little less sweet and more tangy.
I followed the recipe steps. Just finished, smoked overnight. My husband kept getting up to check it. Lol! he didn’t have to, at 7 am ready to cover & rest a couple hours. Shredded easily, not a lot of juice added a vinegar based bbq sauce with rub w/juice placed all in a crock pot to keep warm. Delicious, best pulled pork I’ve made. Made up two bbq sauces one mustard based other vinegar based.
Yay!! Thank you so much for the feedback Lisa! Love to hear it!
Liquid Smoke? #facepalm
Don’t knock it ’til you try it! We love the hint of smokiness it adds to the mustard sauce!
I’m in the brine process right now. Do I need to put anything in the disposable pan when I transfer the meat to it? Or does the fat just melt down and that’s what’s used for juices?
Yes, nothing else needs to be added. Enjoy!!
I made this a week ago and the recipe was perfect. Gonna make it again for a birthday party. I used a 7.5 bone in pork butt.
Thank you for the feedback!! So glad you enjoyed it!
I made this for a retirement party this weekend and it was a huge success. Put on the Traeger at 7 pm on Friday smoked for 3 hrs and put in aluminum pan uncovered and was ready at 8 am. Turned off grill, Slightly Covered and rested on the grill until 11 am. It was juicy and pulled away without effort. It was perfect.
Oh and I was cooking for a crew of 30 so I was anxious about starting the night before with no room for error. Again Perfect!!!!
Hurray!! Thank for the feedback and way to go on feeding that big of a crowd! We sure love our Traeger!
We want to try this pulled pork recipe for Super Bowl. I’m trying to figure out the timing- due to the amount of time to cook/and rest, do you think it would be ok to cook the day before? And, if so, would you pull it also the day before, or leave it whole and pull after re-heating? Lastly, any suggestions on re-heating to prevent drying?? thanks so much! this recipe looks amazing!
Hi Julie! These are all great questions! It can definitely be made a day before. Pull it after it has resting and then store it in the refrigerator. To reheat it, make sure it cover and add a little oil into the pan you reheat it in. You will want to reheat at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes. There is more info in our Carolina Pulled Pork post that might be helpful: https://ohsweetbasil.com/worlds-best-carolina-pulled-pork-recipe/
Hi, I am literally making this right now as I type. Question… does this not require any mop sauce or spray throughout the day?
Nope, nothing extra is needed! Let us know how it goes!
great tips and instruction brine yesterday grill starting early great Friday dinner and week end snacks
Yesssss! Sounds like the perfect weekend!
This looks mouth watering! You can never go wrong with pulled pork on a traeger! Great recipe!
Traegers are amazing, aren’t they?! Thanks for leaving a comment!
I wish there weren’t ambiguities in your recipe. At the top, you mention to “let the meat rest on the counter,” but later in the recipe you note to “leave the pork in there [the grill] to rest for one-two hours.”
We are planning to Traeger 3 pork Butts for a total of 27 lbs of meat, very excited to attempt your recipe!
You suggest Apple Pecan and Hicory, would that be equal portions of each flavor?
Do you use a rack in the bottom of the pan?
Yes, we did equal and we didn’t use a rack. 🙂