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Italian Pulled Pork

I really love pork and one of my favorite cuts is the pork shoulder.  Sliced into steaks, it's one of my family's favorites on the grill with lots of cracked pepper and lemon.  Cooked whole and braised for hours in the oven, it becomes pulled pork.  It's a really versatile and delicious cut of meat.  In my version, San Marzano tomatoes and peperoncini are put into a big pot with the pork and cooked for about 5 hours.  The result is a tender, fall-apart pork with tangy sauce.


You can also make this in a crockpot, if you like.  The cooking time will be more like 10 - 12 hours. 

Italian Pulled Pork

for a printable recipe, click here

serves a crowd


  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 6-pound pork shoulder (don't obsess on size)
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup sliced golden peperoncini (use the hotter variety for more heat)
  • 3 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered 



Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together the pepper, salt, onion powder and oregano.  Rub the pork shoulder completely with the rub.  Place the pork shoulder in a large dutch oven (I like using my Le Creuset Bouillabaisse Pot.)  Pour the tomatoes right over the pork, crushing them slightly with your hands.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cover the pot.  Cook at 300 for about 5 hours, turning the pork over once halfway through the cooking time.

Remove the pork from the pot and test to make sure the meat is very tender - it should just fall apart when you pull it with a fork.  (If not, return to oven and allow to cook for another half hour).  Place pork on a large cutting board. Shred the pork completely, removing the large bone.  

With a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the liquid in the pot. You can boil this liquid down a little bit over the stove for about 15 minutes if you want it slightly thickened.  If not, just return the shredded pork to the pot and mix well with the liquid.  Serve with crusty sliced Italian bread or just regular buns.


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (35)

Elaine! How did you know that I have a pork shoulder in the refrigerator! How curious and perfect.
What are you knitting these days?

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJody

I love your italian twist on the the traditional braised pork shoulder. But there doesn't seem to be enough liquid to go 5 hours. Do you add stock or water to the pot?

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjanine

I love this pork roast and it's very timely for New Year's meal! I refer to your blog so often and look forward to your explanations. I am from Louisiana and am a "seasoned" cook! My question to you is regarding this enameled cook pot you are using for this pork shoulder. Shoulder looks great, pot looks a mess! How do you get the pot back to white and clean looking again? Wish you would show the "After Clean Up" of this pot.... I don't know what to expect of my new pot. A Clean The Pot blog would be most helpful to home cooks. Thanks, Happy New Year.... From Deep in Louisiana.... CeCe

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCeCe

From The Italian Dish:

Jody: Check out my knitting blog to follow my projects, if you're interested. There is a link to that in my sidebar.

Janine: There is enough liquid in the San Marzano tomatoes in a 28-ounce can to provide plenty of liquid for the braise.

CeCe: Haha! My poor white Le Creuset pot has been through so many times of me cooking black bean chili it will never be white again. Once the pot is well used, it will never be the original white again. That's just a fact. They are still great pots and last practically forever.

December 31, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Elaine, this sounds fantastic! I was wondering what to make tomorrow...this is perfect! Thank You and Happy New Year to you and yours!! Cheers, Sylvia

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia McCollough

I can't wait to try this. My daughter won't be happy; she has wimpy taste buds, but c'est le vive!

About the pot -- you might try Barkeeper's Friend. It may not work for your enamel-lined pot, but my Calphon stainless steel (not non-stick) still looks like new after eons of use!

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFran

I've been wanting to make an Italian pulled pork ever since I moved to Nashville. Looks so delicious and fork tender and I know it tastes good. Happy New Year.

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

I am wondering...can you make this dish a day ahead? It looks mouthwatering but I don't have enough time on my party day. Thanks for your comments....

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenny B.A.

OMGoodness I must get my hands on a pork shoulder ASAP! Your photos are mouth watering!

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Thank you, this was great! I stumbled upon your site a few weeks ago and have been waiting for the right opportunity to try out a recipe, made this today and it was really delicious and incredibly low in cost. I'm going to have a good bit of pork left over too -- it'll be fun figuring out ways to use it... Maybe in a sauce for pasta?
Thanks again.

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I made this today- SUPER YUM! The only change I made was tossing all the veggies and liquid into a blender to make the sauce.Thank you so much for sharing. Happy New Year!

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Literally about to run to the store to buy the ingredients for tonight's dinner. This will be perfect for tomorrow as well since we are expecting to be snowed in. Quick question, I have a crock pot and just want to clarify the time. You mentioned it would take 10-12 hours. I'm assuming that would be on the low setting. Would you think 4-6 hours on the high setting? Happy New Year Elaine.

January 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKarin

GGGGGGGGreat! The flavors from the rub and the peppers really come through. I made this for our New Years Day dinner and it was wonderful. I will take the advice of someone before me to puree the veggies next time, good idea! I added back a lot of the liquid and it was a really nice flavor on the pork. The remainder I seperated and it is a delicious sauce. Thanks again for the lovely recipes!

January 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDebi

What a wonderful recipe! Thank you.

January 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNina

I made this today in the crockpot on low for 10 hours. Yum!!! The pork is so tender and has a great flavor. I don't like many crockpot recipes because they are usually too bland and soggy, so I'm so stoked to find this. Thank you!!

January 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

I made this yesterday just as written. It was delicious. Everyone loved it and I got lots of compliments. Served with kaiser rolls. Will definitely make again. Thank you for posting the recipe.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary

This looks absolutely amazing! I think this meal will please everybody. Happy New Year.

My mouth was watering while I was reading this recipe. I made it over the weekend and the kitchen smelled so good at about hour 3 that I could hardly wait for it to finish! It was the most tender, delicious, flavorful pulled pork I've ever had and it was a huge hit at my house. Loads left over (family of 3) so we had sandwiches and lunchbox tubs for the next couple of days. Thanks so much for this simple and wonderful recipe!

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

From The Italian Dish:

Judy: Thanks! Any leftovers freeze wonderfully, too.

January 14, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I made it over the weekend in the slow cooker. It was delicious! The recipe made a lot of pulled pork and now I have several quick meals packaged in the freezer for a cold Winter night.

I cooked the pork on low for 12 hours. I used an immersion blender (after removing the bay leaves)for the liquid left in the slow cooker and returned the pulled pork to the slow cooker. Served with fresh made Italian rolls. SO YUMMMY! Thanks again.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLauraCraft

This looks great- I love the italian twist instead of the BBQ sauce version. Will have to try!

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan

My family and I LOVE this bread. I have baked bread for many years and my husband says this is the best and to keep making it. I do have a couple of questions. Must the bread be shaped into a round or can it be changed and also can it be made larger without changing the consistincy? I used my pizza stone and it made a huge difference in the crust which is what we love.

Hope someone can answer my questions.


January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdie G

Wow! I am so excited to try this recipe. I need to buy additional ingredients tomorrow. I am sure my family will love this. Thank you so much for sharing this to us..

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaria Luisa

I made this last night and served it over polenta, and it was a big hit. It made quite a bit so even after generous servings for 4 and giving some to one of my guests to take home, we have enough left over for at least one more dinner. Delicious, easy and economical.

February 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCyndy

Can this be made with pork tenderloin? It sounds wonderful but I prefer tenderloins when cooking pork. I love your blog and your recipes :>)

March 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

Ann, I do hope someone will reply to your question about using pork tenderloin. I live alone and a couple of tenderloins together weighing at most 3 lbs would be the most I'd want to make at one time..

September 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterColleen Ruffini

Pork tenderloin does not have the streaks of fat that are in the pork shoulders. Your tenderloin would be dry and would not have the benefit of the slow rendering of the fat through the meat. Also, tenderloin only needs to be cooked for a short time. Too much cooking ruins the meat of a tenderloin. The fattier, stringier meat of the pork shoulder benefits from the long cooking times.

October 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanna


November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterROZ

I just made this pulled pork and it is, by far, the best I have ever had. And super easy. The last one I made added TWO CUPS of BBQ sauce at the end. Yuck. This one is healthier and absolutely delicious. I love your site and go her for all sorts of recipes; all have been more than amazing. Thanks so much!!!

January 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJudi

From The Italian Dish:

Judi: I'm so glad you like the recipe! It's one of our favorites. Thanks!

January 5, 2015 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Made this Friday.The house smelled amazing! Delicious on italian bread. My "go to" recipe for pulled pork!
Thank You!

August 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

OMG... this is fabulous. So easy and very delicious!

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

This Italian pulled pork recipe is amazing! thank you!

August 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGout

This fine swine is delicious! I have made it twice for guests with raving reviews. Add an extra can or two of tomatoes if you want more broth.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Do you have any idea how this would turn out in an Instant Pot? I make a Cuban pulled pork in instant pot but would like to try this. Do you think the time would be the same?

April 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMary

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