Chinese Five Spice Pulled Pork

If you’re looking for a sweet pulled pork recipe with lots of depth, here it is!  The basic rub uses only 3 ingredients (coarse salt, Chinese 5 Spice Powder, and brown sugar) so it’s super simple.  You can find Chinese 5 Spice Powder either in the spice aisle or in the Asian foods section of your grocery store.  You can also make your own version using the recipe in How to Grill by Steven Raichlen.  Let’s get started…

Chinese Five Spice Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Chinese Five Spice Pulled Pork Sandwiches


1/4 cup of Coarse Salt (like Kosher or Sea Salt)
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of Chinese Five Spice Powder (I used just a little bit less than that)
Pork Shoulder (bone in or boneless)


Smoker set to 275-300 degrees (F) or a grill set up for indirect grilling
Hickory or Mesquite wood chips or chunks.  You can really use whatever wood variety you like.  I would bet apple or plum would be nice.


Chinese Five Spice Barbeque Rub

Chinese Five Spice Barbeque Rub

Mix the ingredients for the rub together in a bowl until well mixed.  Your hands work the best to do this.

Apply the rubApply an even coating of the rub to your pork shoulder.  Mine was just under 4 pounds and it used about half the rub mixture. (The meat on the right is a chuck roast with coarse sea salt and black pepper, but that’s a different story.)

Place your pork shoulder in the smoker and cook it until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees (f).  Then wrap in foil and continue to cook until it reaches 200 degrees internal temperature.  My sub-4 pound shoulder took 3 hours unwrapped and then about 1 hour in foil until it was done.  If you have a full 7-8 pound shoulder, it could take 8-12 hours before it’s done.

Completed Chinese FIve Spice Rubbed Pork Shoulder

Once your shoulder is done, let it rest in the foil for at least an hour.  During this time, the connective tissue will continue to break down and the meat will reabsorb the juices it released into the foil.

Chinese Five Spice Pulled PorkOnce your meat has rested, place it on a cutting board and pull it using your hands (if they are heatproof) or a couple of forks.

Chinese Five Spice Pulled Pork SandwichPlace your pulled pork on a soft bun with a squirt of your favorite BBQ sauce and you are good to go!

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda’s:

  • Want some heat?  Add a little cayenne pepper to the rub mixture.
  • Top your sandwich with some acidic coleslaw to cut the sweetness of the pulled pork
  • Make lettuce wraps with some thin cut carrots and cucumber for a low carb option.
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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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  • Jeff

    Thanks Raun, This looks wonderful. Always good to chat on 48 Days. I will be trying this recipe.
    Jeff David

  • Raun Lauterbach

    Very cool, Jeff! Let me know what you think of it.