Tender, slow-cooked pulled pork infused with aromatic Italian herbs is the perfect dish for any occasion.
You’ll love this pulled pork for its irresistible flavor, with a combination of vibrant Italian herbs and no sauce required! With its easy preparation using a slow cooker or Dutch oven and a handful of ingredients, this recipe allows you to create a gourmet-worthy dish without spending hours in the kitchen. Plus, it’s perfect for feeding a crowd, making it perfect for gatherings, parties, or meal prepping for the week.
What is the Best Cut of Meat for Pulled Pork?
I’ve found that boneless pork butt, also known as pork shoulder or Boston Butt, is the best combination of flavor, texture, moisture, and “shredability”. Ask your butcher or find it in your local grocery store.
How to Make Pulled Pork
The full instructions and step-by-step video are in the recipe card below!
In a bowl, combine your Italian dry rub of rosemary, thyme, and fennel seeds.
Add flavor to your meat by slicing inch deep incisions with a small knife and stuff deep with garlic cloves!
Brown your pork butt for 4-5 minutes a side until light golden.
I prefer the Dutch oven method in the oven for about 7 hours, flipping at 4 hours and basting with juices. If using a slow-cooker, place on slow and follow the same process!
At 6 hours and 40 minutes, give your pork a temperature check. Internal temp should reach between 195-210℉. If not there yet, keep roasting and check every 10-15 min until temperature is reached!
Use a ladle to take out 90% of juice from a Dutch oven or slow cooker and use two forks to pull apart into desired amounts of shred.
- Boneless Pork Butt: Pork butt is a flavorful and tender cut of pork, perfect for slow cooking and shredding into succulent pulled pork.
- Garlic: Because you can never have enough garlic!
- Rosemary: Rosemary is a fragrant herb that infuses the pork with earthy and pine-like notes, adding depth and complexity.
- Thyme: Thyme has a classic herbaceous flavor profile of the Italian pulled pork.
- Fennel Seed: Fennel Seeds provide a hint of sweetness and a subtle licorice-like flavor, enhancing the Italian-inspired taste of the dish.
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions for Pulled Pork
To Store: Leftover pulled pork can last in the fridge for 4-5 days. Be sure to cover entirely or store in an air-tight container.
To Freeze: Place pulled pork in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
To Reheat: I’ve found that reheating in the oven is the best method. Preheat your oven to 250°F. Add your pork to an oven safe dish. If pork looks too dry feel free to add a liquid of choice like water or broth. Cover with aluminum foil and heat for 20-30 minutes or until warmed.
What to Serve with Pulled Pork
- 10-Minute Sautéed Spinach (With Garlic)
- Dijon Cider Coleslaw
- Easy Roasted Garlic and Chive Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Zucchini With Lemon & Garlic
- German Potato Salad
- Simple Tomato, Cucumber Salad
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I have not tested this recipe using a different cut of meat. Pork butt or pork shoulder is the classic cut for pulled pork!
Yes, however I have only tested this recipe with a Dutch oven. Cooking times may vary slightly.
Yes, Italian Pulled Pork is an excellent make-ahead dish. After cooking and shredding the pork, let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Pulled pork is typically cooked to an internal temperature of around 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C). It is important to use a meat thermometer to accurately measure the internal temperature to ensure that the pork is cooked to the desired level of doneness and avoid undercooking or overcooking.
Yes, it is possible to overcook pulled pork. When pork is cooked for too long, it can become dry, tough, and stringy. Using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature can help prevent overcooking, as the ideal temperature for pulled pork is around 195°F to 205°F
Remove it from the heat and let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and makes it easier to handle. Take two forks or meat claws and pull in the direction of the grain of the meat to create shreds.
Other Pork Recipes You’ll Love
- Air Fryer Pork Chops (Juicy & Caramelized)
- Juicy Grilled Pork Tenderloin (Easy)
- Crispy Pork Milanese With Warm Arugula Salad
- Pulled Pork Biscuit Sliders with Mustard Slaw
- 1 Dutch Oven or you can use a slowcooker/crockpot but Dutch oven is recommended
- 4 pound boneless pork butt or pork shoulder
- 6-8 peeled garlic cloves any large cloves cut in half
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 200℉
- For Italian dry rub: combine rosemary, thyme and fennel seeds in a bowl. Set aside.
- To prepare meat: Turn your pork butt onto a working surface so that the fattiest side is facing up. Use a sharp knife to make small, inch-deep incisions throughout the fatty layer of the pork butt, pushing a garlic clove into each slit. Make sure garlic cloves are as buried as possible in the fat. See my step-by-step video below for help!
- Sprinkle and press down dry rub onto pork butt so as much sticks to the meat as possible.
- To brown meat: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in dutch oven to medium heat (or a separate skillet if you’re using a slow cooker). Place pork butt, fatty-side up, in the dutch oven or skillet, sprinkling other side with salt and pepper. Brown pork butt on side #1 for 4-5 minutes until light golden. Flip pork butt so that the fatty side is face down and brown this side for 4-5 minutes until light golden, sprinkling the other side with salt and pepper.
- Dutch oven method (recommended): Place cover on dutch oven, and place in oven for about 7 hours. At 4 hours, flip pork and baste with juices. At 6 hours and 40 minutes, check temperature of thickest part of the pork. Internal temperature should reach 195-210℉. Keep roasting pork, checking every 10-15 minutes, until pork has reached that temperature! Pork should reach this temperature anywhere from 6 hours 40 minutes to 7 hours and 15 minutes.
- Slow cooker method: If you’re using a slow cooker (crock pot), remove pork from searing skillet and place in slow cooker on LOW (which is approximately 200 degrees!), fat-side down. Roast for about 7 hours. At 4 hours, flip pork and baste with juices. At 6 hours and 40 minutes, check temperature of thickest part of the pork. Internal temperature should reach 195-210℉. Keep roasting pork, checking every 10-15 minutes, until pork has reached that temperature! Pork should reach this temperature anywhere from 6 hours 40 minutes to 7 hours and 15 minutes.
- To serve: use a ladle to remove 90% of the juice from the bottom of your dutch oven or slow cooker. Use two forks to pull apart pork into desired chunks and shreds.