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Sweet & Smoky Barbacoa Pulled Pork

Sweet & Smoky Barbacoa Pulled Pork

By Traeger Kitchen

This pulled pork recipe features some south-of-the-border spices and a secret bubbly ingredient for a sweet kick.

Prep Time

5 Min

Cook Time

8 Hr




This recipe serves:


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Units of Measurement:
2 Cup apple juice
1 L Dr. Pepper
1 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup kosher salt
1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 Teaspoon chipotle chile powder
Pork Shoulder
1 (5-7 lb) bone-in pork shoulder
apple juice, for spritzing
Barbacoa Sauce
12 Ounce Dr. Pepper
1 Can (4 oz) diced green chiles
1 28-oz can of red enchilada sauce
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
For Serving (Optional)
As Needed Black beans
As Needed Diced or sliced avocado
Sprig fresh cilantro
As Needed Cilantro lime rice


  • 1

    Make the brine: In a large bowl, combine the apple juice, Dr. Pepper, brown sugar, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and chipotle powder and stir until the brown sugar and salt have dissolved.

  • 2

    Place the pork shoulder the brine, ensuring it is fully submerged. Brine in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

  • 3

    When ready to cook, set the Traeger temperature to 180℉ and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes. For optimal flavor, use Super Smoke, if available.

    180 ˚F / 82 ˚C

    Super Smoke

  • 4

    Remove the pork shoulder from the brine and discard the brine.

  • 5

    Insert the probe into the center of the pork shoulder, avoiding the bone. Place the pork directly on the grill grates, fat-side up. Close the lid and smoke for 3 hours, spraying with apple juice every hour.

    180 ˚F / 82 ˚C


    Super Smoke

  • 6

    Meanwhile, make the barbacoa sauce: In a large bowl, whisk together the Dr. Pepper, green chiles, enchilada sauce, brown sugar, chipotle powder, cumin, and garlic powder.

  • 7

    After smoking the pork shoulder for 3 hours, increase the grill temperature to 250°F. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 195°F, about 5 hours more. The bone should be relatively easy to pull out of the pork shoulder.

    250 ˚F / 121 ˚C

    195 ˚F / 91 ˚C


    Super Smoke

  • 8

    Carefully remove the pork shoulder from the grill, then wrap in foil and a towel. Keep in a cooler or warm oven for 30-60 minutes.

  • 9

    Unwrap the pork and pull it into chunks, discarding the bone and any lumps of fat, including the cap. Shred the chunks and transfer it to a large bowl.

  • 10

    Add the barbacoa sauce to the pulled pork and mix until thoroughly combined.

  • 11

    Serve the barbacoa with your favorite sides, such as black beans, cilantro-lime rice, avocado, and cilantro. Enjoy!

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