Lean, healthy, and tasty shredded pork loin makes excellent BBQ pulled pork by oven baking in a spicy braising fluid. Use it any place you use pulled pork butt.
The easy and economical to make pulled pork for a few or for a crowd of 50 or more.
Pork loin—boneless center cut
Broth—beef (suggested), vegetable or chicken
Liquid smoke—optional, good quality only
- 👨🍳How to make pulled pork loin in the oven
- ⏲️How long to cook pork loin in the oven for pulled pork
- ✔️Pro Tips
- 🍴How to serve BBQ pork loin
- 🔥How to reheat shredded pork loin
- ❄️How to store leftovers or cook ahead
- Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
- 📖 Recipe
- BBQ Shredded Pork Loin for Pulled Pork in the Oven
Featured comment from Jackie:
"This recipe worked great! Hubby ate it with just the braising liquid, but the kids and I added bbq sauce and ate on buns. It was so delicious, and I'll definitely keep this recipe for repeats! Thanks!!"
Moist and smoky BBQ pulled pork from loin makes great barbecue sandwiches. It uses healthier lean pork loin to create a healthier, low-fat version of pulled pork—you will live longer this way.
While this makes excellent BBQ pork loin, a simple change of spicing will make perfect Mexican shredded pork loin for tacos, nachos, or many other uses (instructions in the recipe card.)
Perfect for a game-watch party or tailgating—feeding a large group has never been so easy. It's easy and cheap to scale up to feed a hundred or scale down to a smaller amount for the family with simple step-by-step photo instructions. Plus, it can be made ahead and frozen.
A crock pot version of this recipe is Crock Pot Pulled Pork Loin. Other recipes that you can use to feed large groups: Chicken for a Hundred and Oven Pulled Pork Butt. This recipe is included in Pulled Pork Recipe Roundup.
👨🍳How to make pulled pork loin in the oven
- Trim a center-cut pork loin of extra fat and any silver skin. Cut into 1 ½ inch slices.
- Mix braising fluid of beef broth, seasoning, and liquid smoke. Add the pork slices and seal in the pan with foil.
- Bake at 300° for about 2 ½ hours until falling apart tender, and the internal temperature reaches 185°+ to melt any connective tissue.
- Let cool a bit and shred by hand while still warm.
- Add some of the braising liquid back in to add moisture and a LOT of taste.
- Cover tight and refrigerate overnight if you have time. Add more braising fluid if needed.
This is a summary of the steps and ingredients. See the recipe card or the step-by-step photo instructions below for complete instructions.
⏲️How long to cook pork loin in the oven for pulled pork
The cooking time in a 300° oven is 2 ½ to 3 hours. It will vary by the thickness of the pork loin slices, the pan, and the oven.
The pork loin is done and ready to shred when it is 185° or high and "fork tender," which means a fork can go in and out without moving the meat much.
- Whole pork loins are usually 5 to 6 pounds, but you don't need to use it all in this recipe. Pork chops are cut from pork loin, so cut off some 1-inch thick pork chops for freezing.
- There is a tough silver skin on the pork loin. Trim it off or discard it during shredding.
- Some pork loins seem "tough" and don't shred well. If you get one of these, cut it with the grain in small pieces and let it set in the braising fluid overnight. While we don't usually reheat in BBQ sauce, it can tenderize some.
- Don't discard the braising fluid; you will need 1 to 2 cups to hydrate the pork loin. If you discard it or need more, use beef broth. Start with adding 1 cup per 5 pounds of loin. You will probably need more.
- The pork loin is best after adding the fluid, then cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Add a bit more liquid the following day.
- "Good quality liquid smoke" means only two ingredients: smoke and water—no chemicals. I only use Wright's brand.
🍴How to serve BBQ pork loin
Usually served on hamburger buns with homemade barbecue sauce. Side dishes recommendations are the standard BBQ dishes, baked beans, potato salad, and coleslaw.
🔥How to reheat shredded pork loin
If frozen, thaw before reheating.
Reheat on a sheet pan and sprinkle with a bit of water with your hand (don't overdo it). Cover tightly with foil and into the oven at 250°-300° until hot.
The time varies by how you shredded it and the amount on the tray. Usually, I take about 45 minutes or so in the oven. I know that is not very exact, but you get the idea.
You can then turn the oven down (keep it covered) or transfer it to a crockpot on low or the "keep warm" setting to keep warm.
Microwave—will work on a medium setting but can change the texture.
❄️How to store leftovers or cook ahead
Storage—Leftovers should be stored in airtight containers and are good refrigerated for 3-4 days. It will also freeze well for four months. So, it is an excellent cook-ahead dish for a large group.
If you use this for a large group, calculate ¼ pound per sandwich. If it is the lone main dish, then 1 to 2 sandwiches per person.
No, never do that to any pork. The tomato acid will break down the texture of the meat the longer it sets.
Just let the people add their own sauce. I like to take a variety of choices, but my Memphis BBQ sauce is always the crowd favorite.
I do have an exception to this rule. If your shredded pork comes out "tough" and doesn't rehydrate well, BBQ will tenderize it some.
Follow this recipe, but remove the liquid smoke and add 2 teaspoons of cumin. Great for any Mexican cuisine.
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Trim a whole center-cut pork loin of extra fat and silver skin. Cut into about 1 ½ inch slices across the grain.
You could use a Dutch oven or any oven-safe pan that you can seal shut. A cake pan sealed with foil or a large roasting pan will work well.
Chop one large onion. Add to the pan along with the spices, broth, and liquid smoke. Add pork slices. It may not be entirely submerged. Add a little water, if needed, almost to cover the pork.
Seal with aluminum foil and place in a 300° oven (no need to preheat) for about 2 ½ hours, until 185°+, and fork tender.
Remove from over. Move pork to a plate to cool a bit before shredding.
Reserve the braising liquid.
After the pork is cooled enough to handle but still warm, hand shred, disregarding anything you don't want to eat.
Add back one cup of the braising liquid. Mix well and add more liquid if needed. Refrigerate overnight, tightly covered if possible. Save the rest of the braising liquid to add to future warmups.
BBQ Shredded Pork Loin for Pulled Pork in the Oven
- 5 pounds pork loin - Center cut
- 1 onion - large chopped
- 28 oz beef broth - two cans or one large box
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- Trim a whole center-cut pork loin of extra fat and silver skin. Cut into about 1 ½ inch slices across the grain.
- You could use a Dutch oven or any oven-safe pan that you can seal shut. A cake pan sealed with foil or a large roasting pan will work great.
- Chop one large onion. Add to the pan along with the spices, broth, and liquid smoke. Add pork slices. It may not be entirely submerged. Add a little water, if needed, almost to cover the pork.
- Seal with aluminum foil and place in a 300° oven (no need to preheat) for about 2 ½ hours, until 185°+ and fork tender.
- Remove from over. Move pork to a plate to cool a bit before shredding.
- Reserve the braising liquid.
- After the pork is cooled enough to handle but still warm, hand shred, disregarding anything you don't want to eat.
- Add back one cup of the braising liquid. Mix well and add more liquid if needed. Refrigerate overnight, tightly covered if possible. Save the rest of the braising liquid to add to future warmups.
Your Own Private Notes
- Easy to cut down or scale up as needed. If using less than a whole pork loin, cut the rest into 1-inch pork chops.
- This is a great cook ahead for a party recipe. It is actually better the day after cooking.
- You can change up the broth, but I find a good quality beef broth the best here.
- Add other seasonings, and you can make it hot with some cayenne pepper.
- Keep all the braising fluid.
- You can eat this the day of cooking but better the next day.
- For large groups, cook about ¼ pound per sandwich — good refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen for 4 months.
- Reheating instructions in the recipe post.
- Add braising fluid or broth if needed for reheating.
- Make it Mexican: Remove the liquid smoke and add 2 teaspoons of cumin. Great for any Mexican cuisine.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published August 18, 2011. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.