Main dish

Texas pulled pork with coffee-chipotle barbecue sauce

Texas pulled pork DSC1720

We don’t often eat pulled pork in Texas. This isn’t to say that pulled pork isn’t delicious, but when you go to a Texas barbecue joint you order beef—be it brisket, shoulder, sausage or ribs. And if you do see pulled pork at a Texas barbecue joint you might inquire about the provenance of the pit master as pulled pork is just not found in our usual repertoire of smoked meat.

Yep, Texas is cow country and that’s why our barbecue is based on beef. But we certainly do eat pork—tender pork ribs are always on a barbecue menu; crisp, succulent carnitas fill countless tacos and a bowl of slow-simmered fiery red posole is a fine way to welcome in the New Year.

So why is pulled pork less available?

Texas pulled pork | Homesick Texan

I don’t know the answer to this question. And while my first barbecue love will always be moist brisket piled high with pickles and onions, having traveled to other barbecue regions in the South that showcase the pig, I have come to appreciate a pulled pork sandwich. How could you not enjoy tender strands of lightly sauced meat that’s been topped with cole slaw and stuffed into a bun? It’s a fine sandwich indeed.

So, if Texas barbecue joints did have a pulled-pork tradition, how would it taste? I decided to do some experiments. Now, please keep in mind that I’m working with an oven and no smoke so this isn’t true barbecue. But I have discovered that when you cook meat in a coffee rub with plenty of chipotle powder and smoked paprika for heat and smoke, if you close your eyes you just might swear you’re in Texas. I decided to apply this rub to a bone-in pork shoulder in an attempt to make a pile of Texas pulled pork.

Much consultation led me to the conclusion that the best way to cook pulled pork in an oven was to cook it dry at a low temperature for a long time. I was dubious at first, but there’s so much fat in a pork shoulder that it keeps the meat moist. And the lack of extra liquid insures that that you’ll get a nice bark, which is fun to chop up and mix in with the juicy soft strands of meat.

I usually eschew sauce with my barbecue, but I thought a smoky chipotle sauce brightened with a bit of lime would enhance the flavor of the meat. (Note that many barbecue places in the South—namely Eastern North Carolina—simply toss their pulled pork with apple cider vinegar and chili flakes—this is tasty as well.) Tangy cole slaw and homemade buns completed the meal.

Texas pulled pork | Homesick Texan

Will Texas barbecue joints ever embrace pulled pork? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I reckon probably not—we are beefeaters after all. But if you do get a hankering for pulled pork with the flavors of Texas, this is a good place to start.
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Texas pulled pork DSC1720
4.75 from 4 votes

Texas pulled pork with coffee-chipotle barbecue sauce

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


For the coffee-chipotle rub:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely ground dark coffee
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons allspice

For the pulled pork:

  • 1 (4-pound) bone-in pork shoulder

For the chipotle-coffee barbecue sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/2 half a medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 canned chipotles chiles, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • Salt
  • Black pepper


  1. To make the coffee-chipotle rub, combine the brown sugar, black pepper, finely ground dark coffee, smoked paprika, salt, chipotle powder, granulated garlic, cinnamon, cumin, and allspice.
  2. Take the pork and coat on all sides with the coffee-chipotle rub. Wrap pork in plastic, place on sheet or large plate and refrigerate for 8 hours.
  3. Take the pork out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, about half an hour. Preheat the oven to 250° F.
  4. Place pork in a lightly oiled (either a few squirts of spray oil or about 1 teaspoon of canola oil) roasting pan or dutch oven and cook uncovered, fat side up 8 hours or about two hours a pound.
  5. To make the chipotle-coffee barbecue sauce, heat the oil in a saucepot on medium and cook the onions for 10 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ketchup, mustard, molasses, cilantro, coffee, chipotle chiles, Worcestershire sauce, and lime juice. Turn down the heat to low and cook for half an hour, stirring occasionally. Transfer the sauce and puree until smooth. Taste and add salt and black pepper. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
  6. After the pork has cooked, remove the meat from oven and let it sit for an hour. Do not be alarmed by how black it is–it’s not burnt that’s bark that’s been formed by the coffee rub. Pull meat into strands and toss with as much or as little sauce as you prefer. (I like to do it with 1 cup and then serve the extra on the side.) And be sure and chop some of the bark and mix it with the tender interior meat.

Recipe Notes

Goes well with cole slaw, jalapeño pickles and soft buns, though you could certainly eat it on its own as well.

  1. DessertForTwo

    I love this post. I just made pulled pork for dinner a few nights ago and I felt guilty because we Texans don't really eat the stuff. But it's so good! And you are SO right–if there is something on the menu besides beef at a BBQ restaurant, you can be sure the owner is NOT a Texan.

  2. I really want to make this recipe, it can cook all day while hubby and I are at the shop.

    But can you add the rest of the measurements into your ingredient list?

    LOVE your recipes, every time.

  3. Lisa Fain

    Dessert for Two–It is good, isnt' it?

    Kristen–Thank you! And I wrote the recipe this way because I was afraid that if anyone saw such a long list of ingredients the recipe would appear a lot more complicated than it is!

  4. Anonymous

    Great recipe! I've been doing pork this slow-cooked way for a long time… after 8 hours it practically falls apart and is still so moist and juicy. I never do traditional carnitas tacos anymore, just use a great Mexican/Southwest spice rub, and pork done in this method turns out great and is much easier, too. Just add green sauce… yummm!

    Cypress, TX

  5. Gabe's Girl

    Definitely gonna try this! I am a Texan who first tried pulled pork in Maryland. It was at a Memphis BBQ joint that I have seen pop up in the DFW area lately. I have not seen any in H-Town.

  6. The GFGS Guy

    Man, my mouth is watering. I'm making pulled pork sandwiches this weekend for a big party we're having. Thanks for the inspiration, Lisa! I think I might have to deviate from my rub and try yours this time.

    Conroe, TX

  7. Latter-Day Flapper

    Great, it's only 9:30 in the morning and I'm hungry for lunch. Pbbt.

    I guess we didn't feel like we needed pulled pork since we had chopped beef? I don't know. I'll definitely have to try this, though.

    (spring, texas)

  8. I've become more open-minded about BBQ since moving to Fort Worth – I now wholeheartedly embrace all forms of beef 'cue and enjoy brisket with gusto (and might shove you out of the way to get to a plate of Angelo's ribs). Still, as a Georgia girl, pulled pork will always have a place in my heart (and on my plate). Back home, we like our pork drenched in a peppery vinegar sauce. This recipe, however, looks fantastic, and I'll be trying it for my next gathering of friends, who hail from east and west. I might even attempt the homemade buns. 🙂

  9. Misplaced Texan Marsha

    Worth the trip for pulled pork…Stubby's in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I start tearing up in the parking lot from the delicious smells, and have been known to actually weep when standing in line gazing on all the meat options. My family calls it "The Show". Yep..the Ex-Tex here has a great appreciation for great barbecue, even if it's not beef.

  10. Anonymous

    Looks great! Is that supposed to be 1/4 CUP for the mustard and molasses?

    Sorry, I don't understand all the ways to post. I don't have a blog, Url and I have no idea what open ID is. Nan

  11. Heather (Heather's Dish)

    it's funny you mention this…we're from Texas and living in Colorado, and we still always go the beef route! this weekend we finally smoked some pork and i fell in love!

  12. Lisa, this looks delicious! I agree with you that beef will always be king in Texas, but pork can certainly be the prince.

    I often make pulled pork in the crock pot instead of the oven. I don't have to baby-sit it, and it always tender and moist. But I'll definitely be following your recipe for barbecue sauce with it!

  13. Kelly @ EvilShenanigans

    We make pulled pork at home, and I adore it! I use my brisket rub on it and I serve it with a very spicy chipotle bbq sauce. When we have left-overs I will cook them in a skillet with some onions, peppers, potatoes, and eggs. Wrap that up in a tortilla, with a little jack cheese, and it is a fab new way to enjoy pork for breakfast!

  14. This sounds awesome! I love love love BBQ, and definitely pulled pork, but don't have a smoker (or even a big grill) since I live in an apartement. Will definitely try this, close my eyes and imagine..!

  15. I suppose I am a Texas anomaly. Take me to a BBQ joint and I'll order smoked turkey…I'll eat brisket once in a blue moon though.

    My youngest sister is graduating high school this weekend and of course, celebrating is under way. The big feature and her request-Pulled Pork! Another Texas anomaly!

  16. Sharon Ferguson

    Am totally off topic on this post, but I was looking through your salsa recipes and saw your 2008 post on Papalo. Ive just recently been introduced to this herb myself, and am growing some in my garden. The plant gets VERY tall, but it loves the heat, apparently. It has really taken off. I found the seeds for papalo with an online company called Richters. Also, I have found seed for quillquina aka "killi" at Seeds of Change, but I am not sure if it is just another name for papalo. Anyway, thought I'd share. It DOES have a distinctive taste and I find I have to use it sparingly (papalo is not the only herb Ive been accused of overdoing in my cooking – rosemary very nearly got banned from the house because of one overly enthusiastic episode.)

    Also, was wondering, is it common to use cooked/canned tomatoes in a salsa recipe? I have simply been taking fresh tomato and blending it with all the other fav ingredients, with no cooking at all. What are your thoughts?

    Ive never really been attracted to pulled pork, largely because as a native Texan Ive seen pork cooked other ways, and it was all just as good. But your recipe makes me want to try it now!

  17. Lisa Fain

    madcook–I agree, green sauce with pork is the best!

    Gabe's Girl-None of my usual BBQ joints have it. I didn't even try it until I was an adult!

    The GFGS Guy–It's a good rub!

    Latter-Day Flapper-If you're hungry then I'm doing my job!

    Debra–If you grew up in Georgia then you definitely love your pulled pork! And I'm a fan of both types of sauces–they both enhance the meat.

    Misplaced Texan Marsha–I've never been to Hot Springs, but when I visit I'll eat at Stubby's!

    The Country Cook–Nope, you don't notice it until you go to other states and see that's the main attraction.

    Nan–Yes! Thank you and all corrected now.

    Heather–It's fun to try something new.

    Kelly–Oh! I'll have to do that with my leftovers!

    Amber–I like that–"Pork can certainly be the prince!"

    Valerie–Yep, this is great for those of us w/o outdoor space.

    Melissa–I love smoked turkey but we only eat at Thanksgiving, which is kind of silly.

    Sharon–Sparingly is the key with papalo! I use canned tomatoes when fresh ones are out of season. And for some recipes I cook the tomatoes and some I don't, it just depends. Usually I go uncooked, though.

  18. Lisa Fain

    Steve–Your NJ friends are fortunate to know you!

  19. I grew up in Dallas and like smoked pork shoulder way more than brisket. I have my own Cookshack brand smoker and cook the shoulder to an internal temp of 195 to 200 degrees. Shoulders are cheap at Sams. I am slowly converting people in The Woodlands to like pork. I especially like pork baby back ribs….Now I am really hungry.

  20. This is so very true. I'm originally from Fort Worth, but now live in Birmingham, AL. I don't think I had legitimate pulled pork until I got here. I made the mistake of getting a pulled pork sandwich and a side of chopped brisket. The pork was phenomenal, but the brisket was terrible and dry. I will never get brisket outside of Texas now. And don't even get me started on Carolina barbecue. Vinegar-based sauces? Please remove it from my sight.

  21. Forgot to ask…Do you remove the chipotle seeds for the sauce? I know these things are hot even without seeds.

  22. Class factotum

    I think it was Lewis Grizzard who said that Texans eat beef because it's too hard to steal a pig while you're on a horse.

  23. Denise | Chez Danisse

    Tempting, very tempting.

  24. The rub and sauce are right up my alley. I might try this over charcoal or gas, cooking it indirectly and slowly. I think that gas might be the way to go since I can control the heat better. Although the charcoal flavor…hmm.

  25. I live in Spring (Texas) and there is a GREAT BBQ place on Sawdust (exit before The Woodlands) called Pit Master. They have pulled pork & it is out of this world! So maybe next time you make it to Houston you can try it. Honestly that has been the first & only place ive had it around here but MAN is it good. I even took home a bottle of their sauce.

  26. Thanks so much for planning my Memorial Day menu! The pulled pork will be delicious, can't wait. I have shared and shared your Puffy Taco recipes, so good! Facebook sure makes sharing easy. Have a great week!

  27. Good to know! I spend a fair portion of my life dreaming about pulled pork and collecting new bbq sauce recipes. Thanks for sharing this!

  28. the country cook

    I've never thought about it, but it's true – Texans don't really eat pulled pork! I never saw the stuff until I moved to California! It is good, though, and your recipe sounds great. Those pictures were making me hungry! –

  29. Memória

    Great post. I'm not crazy about pork (I wonder if that is b/c I'm a Texan), but I could definitely use this rub and sauce with beef. YUM! I was wondering if you could put some information on how to store the bbq sauce and for how long. Thanks!

  30. I embrace all forms of barbecue. If it's good barbecue, it doesn't matter what the meat is. (If you haven't been to western Kentucky, the choice of meat in some parts is mutton.)

  31. Elizabeth

    Oh wow! Looks delicious. Can't wait to try this out (tonight?). One thing is for sure, Texans know how to cook their meat! 🙂

  32. Lisa,
    This looks great, and I love pulled pork. But I'm with you on the beef. Posting, today, a brisket on the gas grill since most people in these here NY parts don't have a smoker. I do, so if you're hankerin', hop across the Hudson to NJ and I'll smoke you some beef that makes me cry for Houston.

  33. I was born and raised in Texas, but I prefer barbecue pork to beef almost exclusively. I also like to use a lot of sweet barbecue sauce. I know, it's blasphemy, but I can't help it.

  34. What a lovely post — not only did you make me hungry for pulled pork, but you also gave me a craving for brisket!

    Gotta love pork that's been cooked long and slow with a bit of caffeine and chile…sounds fantastic.

  35. I always say, if it wasn't for pork, I'd be a vegetarian! I love the flavors in your recipe – bold, spicy and very Texas!

  36. Anonymous

    So from the comments I have read – there seems to be no love for Carolina BBQ! Growing up in Virginia and the Carolinas this fat little Asian kid cut his BBQ teeth on vinegary/peppery chopped smoked cochon. Soft white roll. Cole slaw. Hot sauce. As summery as a tomato sandwich.

    Lisa – this recipe looks totally fab, like all of your other ones! I love that it is one-pot, leave it in the oven and forget it. As a little Asian twist, perhaps experimenting with Sriracha-based sauce on the pork would be in order? The meat also looks amenable to a vinegar or even a mustard based sauce. For those of us living an urban existence, the lack of the word "smoker" from the recipe is a huge bonus.

  37. Next time you are in Austin, try the pulled pork at Franklin Barbecue. I like mine piled on a bun with coleslaw and pickles. Franklin's is a staff fave here at the magazine.

  38. Lisa Fain

    Edward–You're on a pork mission! And you can remove the seeds or not. I don't because I like the heat but others may like it more mild.

    Phoebe–I agree, never get brisket outside of Texas.

    Class Factotum–I love it!

    Denise–Give in to temptation!

    Marco–I think this would be great cooked outdoors!

    Tina–I will definitely check that out next time I'm in town.

    Joycee–Happy to help! And the leftover pulled pork makes for some delicious tacos.

    Joanee–You're welcome!

    Memoria–I've used it with beef and it's equally as good. And I added that info to the recipe–thank you so much for pointing out to me it wasn't there.

    Janus–I've always wanted to try western Kentucky's mutton with black sauce.

    Elizabeth–We sure do!

    Stacey–I've never even heard of Franklin Barbecue! Will definitely try it next time I'm in town.

    Anna–Not blasphemy–it's just what you like!

    Lo–Thank you–it's good stuff!

    Dragana–I know a lot of vegetarians that consider bacon a vegetable!

    Anon–I love your Sriracha twist and a vinegar or mustard sauce would also be fab!

  39. Tasty Eats At Home

    Even if pulled pork isn't a Texas tradition, I could really go for some of this! Excellent rub recipe. Yum.

  40. Great post. I will definitely have to try this.
    But, I have to disagree about Texas not being big on pulled pork. Maybe it's just Austin, but you can find amazing pulled pork at every BBQ restaurant worth its salt.

  41. Hi Lisa,

    This is a family favorite, my rub is somewhat different and I always do the first 1/2 hour in the oven at 450º then for the remainder of my 12 hours at 250º.

    That reminds me, I have some leftovers in the freezer…Taco time.

    Thanks again,


  42. Nice recipe, especially the coffee rub, which I will try.

    I've often thought habanero won't go with beef but goes nicely with pork and chicken. A thought. Definitely not a Carolina concept.

    Especially curious what the pig rules are in New Braunfels.

  43. russell @ Chasing Delicious

    This sounds scrumptious! Being a Texas native (still here… though only 24 so I'm a Texas expert) I have often wondered where our pulled pork was? I have started to notice it in more places though now. Maybe its worth adopting? I think you have inspired me to go out and try my own pulled pork!

  44. Just for your reference, west Kentucky barbecue mutton is centered in the Owensboro area.

    If you ever make it to Louisville, be sure to askk about Vince Staten's joint. He has written a couple of books about different types of barbecue, then decided to open a place that showcases a wide variety of barbecue styles.

  45. Tatersmama

    LOL! While we were in Memphis last month, we ate at a tiny little cafe that had pulled pork sandwiches, and man… I thought I had died and gone to heaven!! It was sooo good, and exactly like my mom used to make! The 2 Aussies with me, opted for HAMBURGERS! Can you imagine? A long awaited trip to a 'foreign' country, and they ordered something they could get in Australia! Dimwits!lol…
    That's like going to China and looking for a McDonalds!!

  46. Bookmarked the page! I'm going to make this just as soon as possible. And I'll be buying that cookbook of yours the second it hits the shelves. Try to squeeze Kansas City into the book tour will ya? If you draw a straight line it's gotta be in there between NYC and Texas. 🙂

  47. Yummers. DPaul's from Kentucky, and their pulled pork (invariably called barbecue) involves a thick, sweet-tangy sauce more like Memphis style. This sounds like a great variation, and I'm all about the chipotle.

  48. Jennifer

    I disagree with folloder about keeping pulled pork for the South! What I love about Texas cooking is that it encompasses everything from the Gulf to Mexico to German to ranch cooking. I am Texan through and through, and I love pulled pork served taco-style with a sprinkling of queso fresco, then topped with cilantro. A totally different direction than the South, but pulled pork tacos can stand proud and please crowds! I serve mine with the Charro Beans from The Border Cookbook (thanks for the heads-up on that, Lisa!), and everyone is happy-happy.

  49. Lisa Fain

    Tasty Eats at Home–It's a good sandwich!

    Crystal–Where do you see it in Austin?

    Duncan–What does the initial blast of high heat do?

    Jumper–I agree, habanero is better with lighter meats.

    Russell–You should!

    Janus–I do hope to make it to Kentucky some day. Will check out Vince's place!

    Tatersmama–Your friends sure did miss out!

    Chi–My cousin Tex lives in Kansas City so I think it's a strong contender for the book tour!

    Sean–Chipotle makes everything better!

    Jennifer–It's wonderful on a tortilla with salsa!

  50. Miss Meat and Potatoes

    Lisa I am SOOOOO excited for your upcoming book. I predict a best seller. And I have some exciting news – we are returning to Austin!!! Finally!!! I know you're busy but I'd love to get together in NYC before we go. Anytime you have would be awesome. And not that you need it, but now you'll have another place to crash in A town!!

    So glad you included pulled pork even though it's not classically 'Texan.' I am a huge fan and this recipe looks divine. It may even be what I make for my first 4th of July bbq 'back home.'

  51. The recipe calls for "1/4 black pepper." What's the right measure, please? Thanks!

  52. Hi Lisa,

    I used to 'brown' the pork butt in a skillet before the rub and placing it in the oven. I then read that the 450º oven for 1/2 hour accomplished the same 'sealing' of the surface of the roast, it seems to do the job.

    However, after doing many of these shoulders I really do prefer a 12 hour roast.

    My next one will be with your rub.

    Thanks again,


  53. being from memphis i only know pulled pork bbq!!! and i like it 'muddy like the mississippi' which is to say smoked w/ the dry rub then a little sauce added last minute! yum!!! now living in tx, i miss good old fashioned southern barbeque, but do admit the beef is outstanding.
    i'm surprised you put coleslaw on the bun as well–i've gotten some mighty funny looks here in tx for doing the same thing!

  54. I'm a life-long Dallasite and one of the better BBQ places here is Sonny Bryan's. They've been in Dallas since 1910, serve pulled pork, and have a delicious sauce to go with it. Give it a try when you can. I don't work for them but I've gone there since I was a kid.

    Once, I stood in line at a taco shack in Austin. The cashier told a customer that she's from Dallas and wouldn't know if a fish taco on the menu is good. She said people from Dallas don't eat fish. I held my tongue.

    A couple years ago, I visited my grandmother in Florida and we were talking about BBQ. She was surprised that I like BBQ beef ribs. I was surprised that she had never heard of them.

  55. Lauren @ Delicateflavors

    That coffee rub looks delectable. I wanted to make a pulled pork pizza and this recipe is just perfect. I sure will put it on a bun too! 🙂

  56. Danielle

    My daughter graduated high school yesterday and we hosted a luncheon. I took a shortcut and had a local restaurant smoke my pork shoulders for me but I did make your BBQ sauce. Fabulous stuff! Many folks raved and gave positive reviews and several asked for the recipe. Thanks for helping make my daughter's day a success!

  57. Anonymous

    Being that we now live on the Georgia-Carolina Border. We have definitely had our share of Pulled Pork. And as usual, anytime I make mention of a Brisket I get odd looks in my direction. I think Ill try this out, and see if this is a compromise I can live with. In the meantime, Ill make the trek back to TX and enjoy some Brisket with no weird looks.

  58. As a homesick Texan, brisket is my favorite but I was introduced to pulled pork when I lived in Chapel Hill, NC. I never quite figured out where the dividing line in the state was for eastern v. western style. It was also the first time I saw coleslaw on a sandwich. Now living in Billings, MT people think BBQ is grilled hamburgers and hotdogs.

  59. Jennifer Erwin

    This looks so delicious! Makes me homesick for Arkansas.

  60. I MADE IT FOR MEMORIAL DAY, the only change I made was to cook it outside on the bbq. It was amazing! My friends loved it. They were eating it by hand as I was shredding it – not able to wait for the bun. Fantastic!

  61. bananacakes

    Made this, but in the slow cooker and it was fantastic. Took it to a barbecue with taco fixings yesterday and I tried to get out the door with a bit of the leftovers, but no one would let me leave until they robbed me of all my little bits of tender pulled pork. I also made the barbecue sauce and made your version Ninfa's green sauce to accompany. Thank you for sharing your perfect recipes!!

  62. bananacakes

    Oh, and by the end of the day, my friends had dubbed your green sauce the "magic sauce". They were slathering it on everything- roasted potatoes, tacos, chips… hehe 🙂

  63. The Empress of Everything

    I, too, made this (and strawberry sheet cake) this weekend. It was amazing! I have never had pulled pork but my husband has and he said flatly it was the best he'd ever eaten.

    I was wondering if there were any adjustments needed to cook it outside on the bbq. Looks like Trisha answered that question.

    The strawberry sheet cake was perfect, too. My 7 year old son said it was the best cake he'd ever eaten. I have to agree.

    I'm glad your book is coming out in the fall of 2011. Christmas shopping will be easy that year!

  64. Lisa Fain

    Miss Meat and Potatoes–Hurrah! So happy to hear y'all are returning to Austin. I'll shoot you an email about getting together.

    Bryan–Thanks for pointing that out to me–1/4 of a cup.

    Duncan–Ah, good to know! I might apply that trick to brisket as well.

    Misty–Our barbecue style is different than other parts of the South, but just as good. And I'm a big fan of coleslaw on the bun–the crunch and tang is a perfect contrast to the rich meat.

    Paul-I can't believe she'd never heard of them either–wow!

    Lauren–I love the pizza idea!

    Danielle–Glad you liked the sauce!

    Anon–I've never understood why others think barbecue brisket is strange. Though I am biased!

    Ellen–Yep, until recently that's what people here thought barbecue was, too.

    Jennifer–Thank you!

    Trisha–Hurrah! So happy y'all enjoyed it!

    Bananacakes–You're very welcome, so happy it was a hit! And I agree, green sauce is definitely magic!

    The Empress of Everything–Sadly, I have zero experience cooking on the grill because I don't have any outdoor space in my NYC apartment. I need to learn, though. And happy to hear y'all liked the sheet cake, too!

  65. Hi Lisa,

    I'm a homesick texan living in Switzerland, and I just love your blog! It's terrible, but the only things I miss more than my family are tacos and brisket :).

    Many thanks,

  66. austinguy83

    I think that the reasons Texans don't eat pulled pork is the sauce… Beef has a naturally salty/briny flavor, which I think is the main reason EVERY really GOOD BBQ joint in Texas seasons with a dry rub and completely goes without any sauce. Pulled pork is best when its almost stewed in a thin, very briny, very vinegary sauce. The exact kind of sauce you will never find in any self respecting BBQ joint. The Pork ribs that you find at such joints have relatively little meat on them. I find the meat on pork ribs to be little more than a vehicle for the thick salty crust that forms when you dry rub them and then stick them in a smoker for 12 hours. If you walk into a BBQ joint anywhere in Texas and see anything more than a token bottle of BBQ sauce, you are not getting authentic Texas 'Cue. Though that isn't an indictment on pulled pork. I grew up in Austin, eating fantastic authentic BBQ all over the state, but I LOVE ME SOME PULLED BBQ PORK. The lack of good pulled pork in Texas is a cultural thing for sure. You can get it in the cities close to the state border though… Some GREAT pulled pork in Houston in particular at some of more northen and eastern style BBQ joints.

  67. I am definately going to try this! I love the rub ingredients – it sounds great. I just found an amazing cheese called Barely Buzzed that has a rind of ground, roasted espresso and lavendar – WOW! But I digress… Having lived in California for a while, I have grown to love pulled pork sandwiches and have even made some pretty tasty ones myself. I have never, however, made brisket. In my family, that was "Man Cooking" and I never learned the art of 'queing brisket. So, just the other day, I was excited to go to the fairly new "Texas" Roadhouse restaurant and get me a slab of brisket. Much to my dismay, NO BRISKET on the menu! How can the proport to sell TEXAS barbeque when they don't serve brisket!!


    I ordered the pulled pork sandwich. Bet this will be just as good or better. Thanks, Lisa

  68. I think I'm going to make this on the bbq with the exact same rub. It is entirely too warm to justify turning on the oven.

  69. Crystal

    All the good places have it…Lambert's, Stubb's, Uncle Billy's, Franklin…

  70. Anonymous

    Pulled pork is a staple out of my dads smoker here in fort worth, and in the restaraunts around town. I have heard the same thing about texas bbq from others but i havent ever had much less seen a bbq beef rib. In my mind i have always seen texas bbq as dry and with out sauce.

  71. For serious, you are my culinary soul mate. I'm a yankee from Massachusetts, but everything you put up drives me wild and goes into regular rotation in my house. I just got a smoker, and tried this on my first go with a pork butt and the magic rub, but i messed it up and it only came out ok. Now that i understand how to use the smoker a little better, i got some st. louis ribs [the first time i've ever tried to cook these puppies] and gave it a good rub down with your coffee-chipotle rub, let it hang out in smokey land for about 3 hours, and it has changed my life. We did things to those ribs that no decent folks would ever do. Honestly, it's lucky we didn't eat the bones. Holy moly. Keep those recipes coming! Between Bacon Jam, carnitas and recently learning that you can make your own butter out of heavy cream & a jar, i'm pretty sure i'm 10 lbs heavier than i should be…but what a way to go!

  72. I just became a big fan of pulled pork about a year ago. Now I love collecting pulled pork recipes. Thanks for posting this!

  73. Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe. I left the coffee out of the rub, because for some reason it terrified me. And I could only find boneless pork shoulders, so I used two of those. Baked in my oven overnight for eight hours, and the smell was heavenly. The pork basically fell apart, and was so delicious neither my husband nor I could stop eating it even though it was only 8AM when we were pulling it. We served it with a variation on your sauce: no coffee (again, the fear), no cilantro, no lime, a bunch more vinegar and a few different spices. It went over smashingly at my family gathering… so tender and flavorful. One other note: I was a bit of a chicken about putting too much of the bark in with the finished pulled pork, but I wish I hadn't been. Next time I won't throw any of that gorgeous stuff away. Thanks for making this Mainer's weekend with your Texas Pulled Pork!

  74. I have a question. If I were to make this a day ahead, how would I go about reheating this to serve at a party? Should I just take it out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature? Just wondering if you have any thoughts on that. Thanks!

  75. Lisa Fain

    Beth–You could bring it to room temperature, or you could splash a little bit of water on it to keep it moist, cover it with foil, and then cook in an oven set at 350 for 15 minutes or until warm.

  76. I did this a day ahead for a party… Saved some of the cooking juices (mixed with some brown sugar) and set them aside in the fridge too.
    Skimmed the fat off the top of the au jus the next day, plopped the whole thing in a slow cooker on "warm" and poured about 1 cup of the juices over the top… As it heated up to " warm" I stirred it to mix the juices in for moisture and to make sure it was evenly heating. After 12 lbs of meat disappeared in less than an hour, and everyone raved about it, I can safely tell you this recipe is AMAZING!! 🙂 thanks for sharing!!

  77. Hi – Question: If I make this in a slow cooker, do I put anything else in the slow cooker besides the pork? And how long would you suggest to cook for?
    Thank you!!!!

  78. Lisa Fain

    Nicole–That's a good question. Read the comment above from Kevin as that's how he made it.

  79. I like slow cook idea with rub to create the bark. I cheat and use a slow cooker. It produces a very juicy sandwich immersed in a carolina mustard sauce. The only thing missing is the bark produced in the low and slow method. Nice recipe Tex!

  80. I just made this today and it was UNBELIEVABLE. I've never braved pulled pork before, and I don't have a smoker, so this was a wonderful first experience. I had to stop my husband so we could have leftovers for lunch and pulled pork pizza in a couple days, otherwise he would have eaten the WHOLE THING. Wonderful recipe! This is quickly becoming on of my new favorite blogs! Thank you.

  81. Candice

    Dangerous recipe. We made it last Sunday. It was gone by Tuesday. Had leftover rub, so figured, what the heck? Round two is in the oven now. best pulled pork I've ever had.

  82. Melissa MacGregor

    I'm from Texas, at least I spent my first 42 years there and I'm not sure what part you're from but we definitely eat pulled pork in Houston and all the surrounding suburbs! All the time. And you can get it at just about every barbeque place I've ever been to. Which is good because I don't eat beef.
    Here is an easy recipe for sweet Texas pulled pork that is delicious and has 4 ingredients.
    Use for the crock-pot: One pork loin in the crockpot, cover with small jar of apricot jam, sliced rings of two red onions and two fresh jalapenos. Cover and go to work or whatever you do. Come home to slow cooked sweet & spicy pork with onions. Pull into shreds with two forks and eat on warm flour tortillas with cilantro, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime. Can't be beat!

  83. I think you should know that I am making your rub and giving it away as Christmas gifts… that's how much we love it!

  84. Lisa Fain

    AJ–That's a great idea!

  85. I just tried this recipe and it was amazing top to bottom. I've done pulled pork in both a slow-cooker and on a small home-made smoker, but this was one of the best. Great rub and great BBQ sauce. Pork was tender and moist but still retained a nice texture.

  86. kimboxin

    I'm so happy I found this post! I found it after reading a "50 best foods" list on CNN and getting ticked off that they have "Texas PORK bbq" listed as 36! What the what? I haven't lived in TX for a while but I don't remember ever seeing pulled pork in a TX barbecue joint! I googled TX bbq pork and found your yummy looking recipe as well as some validation that CNN got it wrong! 🙂

  87. Susan Salas

    I'm so glad I found your website. 2 of our local grocery stores put pork on sale twice a year for $.99/lb. We usually buy about 10 butts & put them in our garage freezer. Used to do a boracho marinade but
    made your coffee chipotle rub & everyone raved over it. Our back patio overlooks a youth Pony League baseball field & we are quite popular during Pony season. My 15 year old daughter loves the chipotle BBQ sauce. She puts it on everything. I did tweak your recipe & added 1/4 cup of ground up Abuelita's hot chocolate discs. Although now they sell instant Abuelita's. It was good!

  88. I just made this, just the pork with the rub, not the sauce though. It was fantastic, thank you so much! Everybody LOVED it. Will definitely make it again!

  89. Ack! ? I forgot to notice which was the “fat side up” side and just took it out of the fridge to cook. Any trick to this when it’s already covered with rub?

    • Lisa Fain

      Johanna–If you can’t tell then I would probably scrape away a bit at the rub to see which side was which.

  90. Morris Neufeld

    Not trying to be a jerk but your comment “And if you do see pulled pork at a Texas barbecue joint you might inquire about the provenance of the pit master as pulled pork is just not found in our usual repertoire of smoked meat” just isn’t correct.
    Lots of Texas BBQ places now do Pulled Pork. Franklin BBQ who is renowned for his BBQ and you won’t find any one that does it better, yes he is famous for his brisket – you won”t find anything second rate coming from that kitchen. And he offers Pulled Pork

    • Lisa Fain

      Morris–You are correct! It’s funny–this post was published just when Franklin first opened his trailer, and a couple of readers pointed out to me that he was serving pulled pork. This was before he hit it big, but people in Austin were commenting even then about how good his food was–even the uncommon (at the time) pulled pork! He wasn’t the first to serve pulled pork in Texas, but he was definitely a trailblazer. I should probably edit that sentence.

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