Spicy Pulled Pork

Mexican Pulled Pork

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Are you ready for another pulled pork recipe? Before you answer, let me assure you that this one is very different from the chipotle shredded pork I did a few weeks ago. This pork shoulder isn’t braised, instead I put together a chili and paprika spice rub and then slow-roasted the meat in the oven. Halfway through the process I collected the juicy, flavorful drippings and built a sauce from them afterward.

It’s important that you follow this recipe closely so let me explain what I did and why: I lined a baking sheet with aluminum foil, put a wire rack on it and then set the meat on the rack. Then I covered the meat with aluminum foil. It’s super important that the cover foil seals really tightly all around the edges of the baking sheet to keep the steam in, otherwise the meat will dry out.

The other important thing is that you take the meat out after two and a half hours and collect the fat, juices and fond that have collected on the foil that lines the baking sheet. (In case you are wondering, the fond is the browned bits and caramelized drippings that accumulate at the bottom of a pan whenever you roast or fry anything). I found that you have to do that halfway through because by the end of the cooking time anything that landed on the foil has been burned. Some of it may already be burned after two and a half hours so be careful not to collect the black parts, only what slides easily off the foil. Sounds complicated but it actually isn’t, it’s quite easy and very delicious!


Spicy Pulled Pork Recipe

serves 4


  • 1 1/2-pound pork butt (I usually buy a large one, cut it in half and freeze one half)

For the dry rub:

  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried organo

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons canned crushed tomato
  • 3 tablespoons water


  • avocado
  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • bread or tortillas



For the meat:

  1. Mix all dry rub ingredients together in a bowl and rub onto the pork. Put the pork in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on it. Put the meat on the wire rack and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Make sure to seal the foil well around the edges of the baking sheet.
  3. Put the meat in a 325-degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Take the meat out and carefully remove the foil (there will be a lot of steam coming out).
  5. Remove the meat and the wire rack and set aside. Pour any fat, juices and fond** that have accumulated on the foil covering the baking sheet into a bowl. Be careful only to collect the brown fond that easily slides off the foil, exclude any burned parts that stick to the aluminum foil. Cover and set aside.
  6. Put the wire rack and the meat back on the baking sheet, put the aluminum foil back on, seal around the edges again and put the meat back into the oven for another 2 1/2 hours.
  7. Remove the meat and pull apart with two forks. Set aside.

For the sauce:

  1. Heat the oil, juices and fond that you collected earlier in a pan (should be about 1 tablespoon).
  2. When hot, add the onion and cook until soft.
  3. Add the garlic and heat until fragrant.
  4. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomato and water.
  5. Season with salt, if needed.
  6. Add additional water if the sauce tastes too intense.
  7. Pour the sauce over the meat and mix.
  8. Serve with fresh avocado, sour cream and tortillas or bread.



*I used Penzey’s Hungarian-style half-sharp paprika.

**The fond is the browned bits and caramelized drippings that accumulate at the bottom of a pan during roasting or frying.



  1. Michelle @ Bakng Pretty says:

    That look really good. It’s getting colder here and this would make great comfort food. :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Thanks, Michelle. I think this dish is good for hot weather because of the spice and good for cold weather cause of the comfort factor. :-)

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