Spicy Shredded Pork

Okay folks – you must try this one.  Truly, it is fantastic.  First of all, it takes just minutes to prep which is always a good thing.  It certainly does take a long time to cook, but the active prep time is very minimal.  After roasting for just 45 minutes, my house was smelling so good that I was practically drooling (okay, so I was drooling – let’s be real).  It was very obvious to me when this was finished cooking, as I went to turn the pork and it completely fell apart.  Now that’s tender!  I prepped this early in the day and then reheated when Ben got home for dinner.  And OH, did he love it!  I think his exact words were, “Oh my God….oh my God….oh my God,” etc. etc. for a few minutes.  Then he announced that this dinner had shot right up the ranks into his top five favorite dinners.  Impressive!  I loved it as well, far more than I expected.  We served it up on flour tortillas, topped it with some homemade salsa and sour cream, and it was heavenly.  I had originally planned on freezing the leftovers but instead we ate it for lunches until it was all gone.  We will be having this again and again!  (For what it’s worth, I would not really call this spicy at all, but it is so tasty I don’t care what you call it!)

Spicy Shredded Pork


4-7 lb. pork shoulder

1 onion, quartered

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. ground cumin

¼ cup brown sugar

3-4 garlic cloves

1-2 tbsp. salt


1-2 tbsp. olive oil

2-3 tbsp. white wine vinegar

2 cups water



Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder.


Combine the onion, spices, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the olive oil and white wine vinegar.  Blend mixture until totally combined.  Pour over the pork shoulder.  Rub over the whole surface of the pork, being sure to cover any folds or crevices. 


Place the pork in a Dutch oven or roasting pan and add water to the pan.  Cover tightly and roast at 300° for several hours, turning once every hour.  When it is fork tender turn the heat up to 425°, remove the lid, and roast skin-side up for 15-20 more minutes until crispy.  Let rest 15 minutes.

Shred the pork shoulder using two forks.  Pour some of the juice from cooking over the shredded meat to keep it moist.  Serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges, sour cream and pico de gallo.

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman

40 Responses

  1. I made this yesterday! It was so good. I did a trial run for a dinner party I am having on Saturday. I can’t wait to make it again. Yum!

  2. Shredded pork has been on my must-make list for awhile but I couldn’t decide which recipe to try. I think this just might be the one!

  3. …running to the printer… 🙂

  4. That looks absolutely delicious. I can just about imagine the smell that filled you house and just thinking about it makes me drool.

  5. I have used the pork shoulder for bbq pull apart sandwiches but never for tacos – I will switch gears for sure – WOW this one looks amazing.

  6. Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Can’t wait to make this!

  7. I agree. This was a fab recipe.

  8. This looks great! Do you think I could decrease the water and put it in the crockpot all day?

  9. Thanks again for another great recipe. Because of you my PILE of recipes is getting larger and neglected b/c I’m making a ton from your blog. Love it… keep posting 🙂

  10. Hi Cara,
    I have no experience cooking in the crockpot so I have no advice for you on that matter. Sorry! Wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.

  11. Annie, this looks so wonderful. I’ve been searching for the perfect shredded pork recipe for a while now. I can’t wait to try this. If you say it’s fantastic, I know it is!

  12. Looks delicious!

  13. Oh yeah, that stuff’s awesome. I blogged about it myself 🙂
    Like the hamburger buns too. Interesting idea.

  14. This looks and sounds amazing! I really want to try it sometime soon.

  15. omgosh omgosh I just got a pork shoulder out of the freezer so I can try this, tomorrow and sunday are supposed to be really chilly here in Utah and perfect weather to have something roasting in the oven Yum Yum. I LOVE all your pictures you must have a very artistic eye 😀 After I make the pork I will post about it on my blog and mention your blog too thanks so much, You have great taste in food.Those burger buns look fantastic, Carm

  16. shredded pork is on my list of things to make! i love bbq shredded pork but the spicy tex mex version looks wonderful too

  17. Cara, I did this int the crockpot and it was wonderful!

  18. Oh wow. Just made this for my husband and we are both in love. He’s asked to have one made at least once a week! Thanks!

  19. Hi! I just stumbled upon this recipe…I don’t have a dutch oven though…will it work with one of those disposable aluminum roasting pans?

    • Hi Lorie!
      Unfortunately, I don’t think a disposable foil pan would work well for this recipe. Whatever you use, it needs to be something with a tight fitting lid so that it keeps the moisture in while it is cooking. If you have a roasting pan that would work well. I hope this helps!
      🙂 Annie

  20. One more question…sorry for all the questions! I went to the supermarked but there were several types of pork shoulder..either pork shoulder bone-in (and something else) or port shoulder california cut, etc. Which one should I buy or does it matter?
    Thanks so much for your help!

    • Hi Lorie!
      No problem, I’m happy to help! Your question is a good one. I have only ever bought pork shoulder from my butcher shop, where I always just ask for “pork shoulder”, so I didn’t know there were different types! I would guess that bone-in is what you want though. The one I buy always has a bone, and actually the way I determine that it is done is that when I go to turn it, the meat simply falls off the bone. I hope that is helpful!
      🙂 Annie

  21. yikes for all my typos!
    OK, I will go back and buy that one…thanks!

  22. I could be wrong, but didn’t you have another pulled pork post up? I made it and it was delicious, and went back to share with a friend, and now I can’t find it. I apologize if I’m mistaken.

    • Hi K,
      No, sorry, this is the only pulled pork recipe I’ve ever posted. I don’t delete recipes from my site once they are up.
      🙂 Annie

  23. So I somehow missed this the first time you posted it – I’m loving the side bar with older things. This actually looks like something I can eat – I think I might make it this weekend!

  24. This looks so good! Can’t wait to try it!

  25. Discovered your website a few days ago. My family and the neighborhood kids are enjoying life a little more!!!!!! Thanks!!!!

  26. Hi Annie! The looks fab! Could this recipe be made in a crockpot? Thanks!

  27. Hi Annie –
    Love, love your site! It is my absolute favorite blog and I eagerly check my computer each morning for updates. I’ve told several friends about it as well and they also love it!

    I am making this tomorrow night and purchased the pork shoulder today. My butcher recommended that I brine it overnight. Would you recommend doing this? I didn’t see it in the instructions so I am tempted to skip this step as I like to follow a recipe exactly the first time I make it.

    Thank you!!

    • Lisa,
      That’s definitely not necessary. It is perfect as is. You’ll love it!

      • Thanks so much Annie! What a quick response….seriously, you should start a blog on time management too because you are incredibly efficient!!

  28. The recipe says to “roast at 300 for several hours.” From someone who has to know exactly how to do each thing in each recipe (or I freak out, haha), can you tell me exactly how many hours “several” would be? I don’t want to undercook or dry out the meat. Thanks! LOVE your recipes, your commentary on them, and your photos! 🙂

    • The time depends on the size of pork shoulder you get so there really is no exact time. I know it’s done when I go to turn it and the meat starts to fall off the bone. Believe me, it won’t dry out.

  29. The one I bought yesterday is about 6 pounds. Any ballpark estimate on how long I should leave it in? I’m trying to figure out a timeframe so that I can put it in just long enough to have it ready for supper.

    • As I said, there is no way to know exactly how long it will take. I’d bet on 4-5 hours-ish, minimum. Dinner will be done when the pork is done!

  30. Made this today…turned out wonderful!!! Enough food for tonight’s supper, some for tomorrow’s lunches, and some to go into the freezer for later! Yum!! 🙂

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