For this sous vide pork shoulder recipe, we finish it in the oven to get that classic dark spice bark on the exterior. While the inside is so tender you could use your hands to tear it open and expose all the perfectly juicy fall apart pulled pork. It’s the perfect meat for tacos, salads, sandwiches or just its own!Jump to Recipe
“My neck, my back, my shoulder and my ….”-Miss piggy
WTF is a Sous Vide Pork Shoulder?
Sous vide cooking is a French technique that cooks food at a precise temperature in water to achieve perfectly even cooked dishes. Pork Shoulder is no exception, it’s a great way to make fall apart pulled pork.
We love using the sous vide to cook pork shoulder because you can pretty much set it and forget it. We rub it in our favorite pork spice blend, seal it up, and drop it in. Then 18-20 hours later we have a hunk of meat that is falling apart and ready to be stuffed into faces.
You could be done after the initial sous vide, but we like to add another round of spices and bake it for an hour or so to get that classic pulled pork bark. It’s an extra step, but so freaking worth it. The texture contrast is killer.
SOUS VIDE PORK SHOULDER for PULLED PORK
Sous Vide Pork Shoulder Spice Blend
This is what you’ll need for the perfect spice blend for this sous vide pork shoulder. The exact recipe is listed below and works for a 15 pound hunk of meat, so adjust accordingly if you have a bigger or smaller cut.
- Brown Sugar
- Onion Powder
- Black Pepper
- Kosher Salt
- Garlic Powder
Mix all your spices evenly into a bowl. Pat your pork shoulder dry before generously applying the spice blend. Make sure to reserve about a third of the mixture. You’ll use it to reapply before finishing it in the oven.
Sous Vide Pork Shoulder Equitment
Here’s what you’ll need to make this sous vide pork shoulder recipe.
- Time: To cook this hunk of meat properly, it’s gonna take some time. Be patient and plan ahead, its worth it. The sous vide will take around 18-20 hours for super tender fall apart pulled pork. And another hour and a half to finish it in the oven
- Sous Vide: If you’re in the market, we use one made by Anova, and we love it! If you want some more details and options Wirecutter wrote a great article comparing sous vides.
- Vacuum Sealer: You’ll need to remove all the air from the bag you use. The easiest way to do this is using a vacuum sealer. Otherwise you could try using the displacement method. Here’s a link to a video showing you how. Displacement Method Video.
- Container: This is a big hunk of meat and you might not have a pot or container big enough to sous vide it in. No worries, just take out one of the storage bins in the bottom of your fridge, it’s a perfect container to sous vide pork shoulder.
How to Make Sous Vide Pork Shoulder
Step 1: Prep Sous Vide
Fill a large pot or container with water and place the sous vide machine inside. Set the temperature to 165°F and the timer for 20 hours.
Step 2: Rub Pork
While the water warms, make the spice blend. In a small mixing bowl combine the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and kosher salt.
Generously apply the rub to the pork shoulder, covering all sides. Reserve about a third of the rub for the finishing bake.
Step 3: Seal
Place the seasoned pork shoulder in a vacuum-seal bag or a plastic bag and use the displacement method to remove all the air from the bag.
Step 4: Sous Vide Pork Shoulder
Once the water reaches the desired temperature, carefully lower the sealed bag of pork shoulder into the water bath. Make sure the bag is fully submerged and use a bag holder or clips to secure it in place.
Cook for 18-20 hours. Check the water temperature every 5-6 hours. Over time the water could evaporate and if it drops below the water line it will shut off. Slowly add warm water to the container if it starts getting low.
Step 5: Finish in Oven
Preheat oven to 275F degrees.
Once your sous vide is finished, remove your meat from the bag and transfer to a wire rack on a baking sheet. Pat it dry with paper towels and apply the rest of your spice blend.
Bake for an hour and a half to two hours. The exterior of your sous vide pork shoulder should be dark and hard.
Step 6: Garnish & Serve
Remove from the oven use two forks to shred the pork into smaller pieces. Garnish with your favorite BBQ sauce and sides. Enjoy!
How to Serve Sous Vide Pork Shoulder
Pulled pork is such a versatile treat, it can be served so many different ways. If you have the self control to not just shovel it directly into your mouth hole, try these different vehicles to serving sous vide pork shoulder.
- Pulled Pork Sando: Probably one of my favorite ways to eat pulled pork. Serve it on a soft Hawaiian bun with BBQ sauce, cheese, and some caramelized onions.
- Cheesy Crispy Pork Tacos: Check out our recipe. We serve them with a grapefruit salsa that everyone goes crazy for.
- Pulled Pork Salad: It’s healthy, cause it’s a salad! Toss some of the pork onto a bed of greens with some of your favorite veggies, some shredded cheddar cheese, and drizzle it with ranch dressing. I love salads.
What to Serve w/ Sous Vide Pork Shoulder
If you’re more of a purest and are simply serving this delicious sous vide pork shoulder as is, then hats off to ya, and here are some great ideas for sides and sauces to serve with it.
Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce. This tangy, spicy, smoky Carolina gold BBQ sauce packs a punch. It’s a South Carolina staple tweaked to smack your taste buds around and leave them wanting more.
Green beans and Bacon w/ Apple Cider Vinegar. Finishing you greens won’t be a problem with this green beans and bacon recipe. Punchy apple cider vinegar and garlicky onion soup mix takes this southern classic to new heights.
Sweet Potato Home Fries with a Tangy Yogurt Sauce. You’ve never had home fries like these. We dice sweet potatoes and tossed them with fresh herbs, spices and coconut oil. They’re baked, and topped with a tangy lime and paprika yogurt sauce. You’re gonna love these curry sweet potato home fries!
Storing Sous Vide Pork Shoulder
If you’re freezing your sous vide pork shoulder, put it in an air tight container or heavy duty zip lock bag and make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible. This will help prevent freezer burn. It should be fine frozen for up to 6 months.
However, if you’re planning on eating the pulled pork within 3 or 4 days, just store it in the refrigerator in an air tight container.
When you’re ready to enjoy your leftovers, simply reheat the pulled pork in a saucepan on low heat. Add a splash of broth or water to keep it moist. If you’re in a rush you could just reheat it in the microwave.
Sous Vide Pork Shoulder FAQ’s
Here are some FAQ’s about the sous vide process and using it to cook pork shoulder.
Why cook pork shoulder sous vide?
Set it and forget it baby! Besides checking the water level a couple times, its so easy to cook a pork shoulder this way. It’s also a great method because if done right, it will be cooked perfectly every time.
How long does it take to cook a pork shoulder sous vide?
For fall apart pulled pork, it’ll take around 20 hours.
What temperature should I cook the pork shoulder sous vide?
165degrees F, is the sweet spot.
Can I add spices and seasonings to the sous vide bag?
Yes, and you should.