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Smoked Pork Shoulder Pulled Pork with Carolina Style BBQ Sauce
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5 from 2 votes

Smoked Pork Shoulder Pulled Pork with Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

This is real deal Carolina style BBQ! No shortcuts, just the best smoked pork shoulder and pulled pork sandwiches you've ever doused in a tangy vinegar based BBQ sauce!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 15 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Servings: 8
Calories: 206kcal


  • 1 any sized Pork Shoulder
  • Yellow Mustard (as needed to cover)
  • 1 recipe BBQ Dry Rub
  • 3 chunks Hickory Wood (for smoking)
  • 12 Hamburger Buns (or as needed)

Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar based hot sauce (such as Texas Pete's)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


Smoked Pork Shoulder

  • Score the fat cap on the pork shoulder with a grid pattern to allow for expansion during cooking.
  • Apply a layer of mustard to the exterior of the pork shoulder and liberally dust with BBQ dry rub.
  • Optional: Wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Heat smoker to 225 degrees and add 3 hickory chunks for smoke.
  • Place pork shoulder in smoker, fat cap up, and cook until the meat reaches 195-205 degrees and threatens to fall apart when jostling the bone. Approximately 1-2 hours per pound. You will know the meat is sufficiently tender when it is pierced with a fork or knife and there is little resistance.
  • Pork is easily shredded when done. If it is still tough, cook longer.

Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

  • Place all ingredients into a sauce pan and heat until sugar has dissolved.
  • Cool and pour the thin sauce into bottles, or a mason jar for serving.
  • Store in the refrigerator until serving.


  • Place shredded pork shoulder on hamburger bun and drizzle BBQ sauce over the meat and enjoy.


My pork shoulder weighed about 4 lbs, however, you can smoke larger ones using the same recipe.
Applying mustard to the pork should helps the dry rub stick.
Don't worry is the smoker temperature fluctuates, any temperature between 225 - 250 is sufficient.
Tip: If you need it to cook faster, wrap the pork in foil. However, this will soften the bark.
Carolina style BBQ sauce recipe adapted from here: http://www.meatwave.com/blog/barbecue-sauce-recipe-north-carolina-vinegar-sauce
The BBQ sauce can be made well in advance to allow flavors to meld.
IF YOU HAVE LEFTOVERS whip up a batch of my BBQ Spaghetti with Pulled Pork. You will thank me later.


Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 638mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 2.4mg