This Is The Best Temperature For BBQ Pulled Pork

There's a reason that BBQ pulled pork is such a crowd-pleaser, whether you're whipping up a massive batch for a backyard BBQ or simply ordering it on the menu at your favorite joint — while it's relatively inexpensive, it's juicy and absolutely packed with flavor. Plus, according to Tomcat BBQ, pulled pork is a forgiving cut that has a wider margin for error. That means it's nowhere near as easy to overcook and ruin as something like a thin steak or even a burger.

However, there are still things to consider when crafting a juicy batch of pulled pork, the main factor being the temperature — the cooking temperature is important, as is the final internal temperature after the meat has been given some time to rest. Pulled pork is one of those meats that needs to be cooked low and slow. The exact temperature to cook your cut of meat at depends on the method you're using.

According to Grillmaster University, a smoker should be heated to about 210 degrees Fahrenheit, while Food Network suggests keeping a grill at a range of 200 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also use an oven or slow cooker to prepare your pulled pork, aiming for temperatures within that same general range. The point is, you want to add your desired seasonings, anything from brown sugar for a touch of sweetness to chili powder for a bit of a kick, and allow the meat to cook for several hours.

The internal temperature you need for tasty, tender pulled pork

While you should be keeping an eye on the cooking temperature to ensure you're staying in that desired 200 to 225 degree Fahrenheit range, there's another crucial number to be aware of — the internal temperature of your pork. While you don't want to constantly poke and prod your pork and lose all the juices, you should keep a general eye on it — after approximately five hours of low and slow cooking, the internal temperature of your pork should be around 165 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit (via Grillmaster University).

If you're cooking your pork in a slow cooker, you can just leave it as is, since all the juices are sealed in the device. However, if you've got your cut of pork on the grill, in a smoker, or in the oven, this is the point where you want to really lock in those juices with one extra step. All you need to do is wrap the cut of meat in a double layer of aluminum foil, then allow it to cook for a bit longer, roughly an hour or two. Great BBQ takes time!

For mouthwatering pulled pork, you're looking for a consistency that allows you to simply pull the juicy meat apart, as the name suggests. If you prefer to go by a temperature rather than by feel, know that an internal temperature of 190 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit is the magic number (via Food Network).