How Long Should You Rest Meat For Pulled Pork?

Making a batch of pulled pork can be a true labor of love. Those devoted to smoking their barbecue can spend 15 to 20 hours keeping an eye on that perfect piece of pork butt or shoulder to ensure that it cooks properly (via Hey Grill Hey). With each passing hour, the rich scents of dry rub and roasted meat get stronger. Once you get that meat out of the smoker, and onto a cutting board, it might be hard to extend your patience much more. However (just like most other meats) pulled pork needs to take a brief rest before it can be shredded, and served up alongside your favorite sides.

Pulled pork is a great barbecue option to feed a crowd. While it can take hours in a smoker, there are also plenty of other ways to cook it up including in the oven, in a slow cooker, or in an instant pot (via Our Salty Kitchen).

45 minutes is the sweet spot for pulled pork

There are a few different ideas out there about how long you can, or should, let your pork rest before shredding it. According to The Meat Smoking Guy, the most important thing is that it has that time to rest, and it's only shredded when it's about to be served. He says that time is crucial for the meat to reconstitute and helps lock in all of the juices and flavor.

The Bearded Butchers recommends a minimum rest time of 15 minutes for a six to eight-pound piece of pork, though they say 45 minutes is their sweet spot. The BBQ Host also says that 30-45 minutes is the optimum time to let the meat rest before shredding.

If you are prepping your pulled pork for a party that's later in the day, Bearded Butchers say it can rest for up to roughly two hours. Though, the Meat Smoking guy recommends wrapping and storing a finished pork butt or shoulder in an insulated container for up to five hours.

If you're smoking the meat ahead of time you can also refrigerate the meat, and warm it back up before being served. While you could shred the meat cold, it's not recommended as that heat helps the collagen and fat holding it together to render, and make shredding a far simpler task (via The Meat Smoking Guy). Just make sure not to start cooking it again to avoid drying out your pulled pork.