Pulled pork is a delicious barbecue dish that requires minimal effort and time. However, if you’ve never made pulled pork before, you might know the correct internal temperature for pulled pork.
In this article, I will explore the perfect internal temperature for pulled pork, alongside some tips to consider when making it.
Let’s get into it.
What Is The Perfect Internal Temperature For Cooking Pulled Pork?
Pork is safe to consume when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, just because the pork can be safely eaten at 145 degrees, doesn’t mean you should stop there when it comes to making pulled pork.
You should cook it until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 195 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that it is tender to shred.
However, to achieve the perfect internal temperature for pulled pork, you will want to wait until it’s 202 degrees Fahrenheit, as this will make the shredding process much easier.
In addition to this, if your pulled pork doesn’t reach this temperature, then it won’t be as tender or flavorful as it could have been.
As a result, it’s important to follow the cooking instructions carefully.
While you might feel tempted to remove the pork from the heat as soon as it’s safe to eat, it’s much better to wait until the pork fat has had the opportunity to render out.
If you don’t, you’ll end up with pork that is a challenge to pull apart, and the flavor won’t be nearly as good.
Make sure that you have patience when making the best pulled pork!
It’s also important to note that your pork will continue to rise in temperature as it is allowed to rest. As a result, it’s best to pull it off the grill when it’s around 195 degrees.
This way, when it comes to you shredding it, it will be around 200 to 205 degrees, which is the optimum temperature to start pulling that pork!
What Is The Best Joint Of Meat For Making Pulled Pork?
The best joint of meat for pulled pork is pork butt, which is a part of the pork shoulder.
However, when cooked incorrectly, pork butt can end up being tough and chewy. As a result, it’s essential to cook the pork butt to perfect for an irresistible pulled pork.
So, how does pork butt make the best pulled pork? The magic ingredient in short is time.
The key to making pork butt tender is to cook it low and slow, at a temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit or lower when cooking it on a grill.
Although waiting the extra time can feel like torture during the cooking process, if time is the difference between mouthwatering pulled pork or pulled pork that you’ll soon forget about, it’s a sacrifice worth making.
How To Cook Pork Butt For Pulled Pork
Step One – To begin, you will need to prepare the pork butt by trimming off any excess fat.
That being said, you’ll want to be mindful to leave a little fat behind as this will help to baste the meat and is great for adding flavor to your pulled pork.
Step Two – Next, you will need to season it with a barbecue rub of your choice.
Step Three – Next, you will want to allow the pork to either sit in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for around an hour before you start the cooking process.
Step Four – Once you are ready to start cooking, you will need to preheat the grill or smoker.
Step Five – Set your gas grill to a medium to low heat. Alternatively, set your pellet grill to 225 degrees F.
Step Six – Place the pork butt on the grill, making sure that you position it fat side up.
Step Seven – Allow the meat to cook for around 2 hours per pound. Make sure that you have a meat thermometer on hand to check the internal temperature of the meat when the time comes.
Step Eight – Once the pork reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees, the temperature will plateau for multiple hours. This is known as the stall.
This is a natural part of the process. However, if you’d like to speed it up, you can reduce the cooking time by wrapping the pork butt in a layer of aluminum foil.
That being said, if you want delicious and crispy bark on the outside of your pork butt, then it is highly recommended that you wait out the stall.
Step Nine – Remove the pork from the grill when it is done and the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees. If you haven’t already, be sure to wrap it in foil and allow it to rest.
During the rest period of a minimum of 30 minutes, the pork will rise in temperature to around 205 degrees. Check the temperature of your pork, and unwrap it.
Step Ten – Following this, you can shred your pork. While the meat should be tender enough for you to pull it apart with your fingers, it’s more hygienic to pull the pork with two forks.
The forks make the process super easy as the prongs do all the hard work for you! It couldn’t be simpler.
Make sure that you remove any big bits of gristle that have survived the hot temperatures and discard them.
Serve and enjoy!
Can You Cook Pulled Pork In A Slow-Cooker?
Yes! In fact, slow-cookers are great tools for making pulled pork because low and slow is the best method for cooking tender pulled pork.
That being said, you will need to bear in mind that different cooking methods can slightly alter the texture of the pulled pork.
Many people report that the slow cooker can result in wetter pulled pork, as slow-cookers help to keep the pork moist throughout the entire cooking process.
As a result, you will want to bear this in mind when picking the ideal cooking method for making pulled pork at home.
Tips For Making Pulled Pork
There are a variety of tips to consider when making the perfect pulled pork. These tips include but are not limited to:
Don’t Take The Pork Butt Off The Heat Too Early
While it can be tempting to pull the pork off the heat as soon as its internal temperature reaches a safe zone, this isn’t the right choice for pulled pork.
Make sure that you hold out until it reaches 195 degrees, and then allow it to rest.
Never Skip The Rest Period
Speaking of resting your pork, you should never skip the rest period.
You want your pulled pork to be juicy and succulent, and don’t want all those flavorful juices ending up on your chopping board.
As a result, it is crucial to allow your pulled pork to rest for a minimum of half an hour, but you can leave it for as long as 2 hours.
Low And Slow Wins The Race
The secret to beautifully tender pulled pork is to cook it low and slow.
When you’ve got a group of hungry mouths waiting, the temptation might be to whack the heat up. Never do this!
Increasing the temperature will cause too much of the liquid to evaporate, and all of your hard work will be ruined if your pork turns out dry and chewy.
Have patience, it will be worth the wait!
You should cook pulled pork until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees.
At this stage, you need to allow your pork to rest for a minimum of half an hour in aluminum foil, which will increase its temperature to 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
I hope this article has given you a better understanding of how to cook pulled pork to perfection.
Have fun and good luck making the perfect pulled pork!