Home-canning pulled pork starts by cooking pork butt or pork shoulder until it reaches 202°F. Shred the pork and mix it with dried seasonings or BBQ sauce. Ladle the pork mixture into hot canning jars and process in a pressure canner for 75-90 minutes.
What is the Best Way to Can Pulled Pork?
Pulled pork is best canned in a pressure canner. Per the National Center for Home Food Preservation, pressure canners reach a temperature between 240°F to 250°F, which is the high heat range recommended to safely can meat.
How to Cook and Pressure Can Pulled Pork
Follow these step-by-step directions for cooking, shredding, and pressure canning pulled pork below:
- Prepare pork butt or pork shoulder by removing surface fat and cutting them into chunks to help them cook faster.
- Cook the pork pieces in a roasting pan at 300°F, or slow cook it in a crock pot or Instant Pot until the pork becomes tender and starts falling apart. Pork becomes tender once it reaches an internal temperature of 202°F-205°F, which may take 6-8 hours.
- Once cooked, shred the meat by using two forks or a meat claw.
- Place the shredded meat in a clean mixing bowl and stir in ¼ cup of BBQ sauce, 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, and any desired seasonings. Pulled pork benefits from seasonings such as black pepper, brown sugar, canning salt, and liquid smoke, but these are optional.
- Wash canning jars, lids, and rings thoroughly in hot, soapy water and rinse well.
- Place canning jars in clean simmering water to keep the jars hot until the canner is ready.
- Fill a pressure canner with 2-3 inches of water per the manufacturer’s instructions and bring it to a boil.
- Ladle the pulled pork into hot, sterilized quart or pint jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
- Add boiling water, beef stock, or heated BBQ sauce to fill the jar, maintaining 1-inch headspace.
- Wipe the jar rims with a damp paper towel or clean cloth with white vinegar.
- Place lids on the jars, add the rings and twist until they are fingertip tight.
- Place the jars in your pressure canner onto the jar rack inside using canning tongs.
- Put the lid of the pressure canner on, and increase the heat of the stove to bring the water inside to a boil.
- Remove the pressure regulator to allow steam to vent through the vent pipe. Let the steam escape in a steady stream for 10 minutes.
- Allow the pressure canner to build to the correct pressure based on canner type and elevation per the tables below:
Processing time for hot-pack pulled pork in dial-gauge pressure canners:
|Altitude (ft)||0 – 2,000||2,001 – 4,000||4,001 – 6,000||6001 – 8000|
|Pints (75 mins)||11 lbs||12 lbs||13 lbs||14 lbs|
|Quarts (90 mins)||11 lbs||12 lbs||13 lbs||14 lbs|
Processing time for hot-pack pulled pork in weighted-gauge pressure canners:
|Altitude (ft)||0 – 1,000||1,001 +|
|Pints (75 mins)||10 lbs||15 lbs|
|Quarts (90 mins)||10 lbs||15 lbs|
- Process pint jars for 75 minutes and quart jars for 90 minutes. Ensure the pressure remains at the recommended level throughout the processing time.
- Once the processing time lapses, turn off the stove. Allow the pressure canner to depressurize naturally, dropping the gauge to zero.
- Open the lid of the pressure canner and remove the jars from the hot water using a jar lifter. Transfer them to a towel-lined countertop.
- Wait for 12-24 hours for the jars to cool undisturbed at room temperature.
- Remove the screw bands from the jars and press the center of each lid to confirm vacuum sealing. If the lids flex when pushing on them, the jars aren’t correctly sealed and should be refrigerated and used within a week.
- Label sealed jars with the date of processing and the contents. Store the jars in a cool, clean, dry place.
Is it Safe to Can Pulled Pork in a Water Bath?
No. The water bath canning method is only recommended for high-acid foods. The temperature of boiling water only reaches 212°F, which isn’t enough to effectively kill harmful bacteria.
Should You Add Barbecue Sauce When Canning Pulled Pork?
Adding BBQ sauce when canning shredded pork is optional. You may add ¼ cup of BBQ sauce per jar or cover with other liquids, such as hot broth or boiling water.
Benefits of Canning Pulled Pork
- Convenience: Canned pulled pork in your pantry provides a delicious ready-to-eat meal in minutes!
- Cost-effective: Pulled pork is made with inexpensive cuts of pork, and canning helps you cut grocery costs.
- Flexibility: Pulled pork can be used to make sandwiches, burritos, soups, and casseroles.
- Nutrition: Canned shredded pork is packed with nutrients and an excellent source of proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, riboflavin, B vitamins, and niacin.
What are the Risks of Canning Pulled Pork?
- Botulism: Pulled pork is a low-acid food and requires a pressure canner to reach the temperature needed to eliminate bacteria.
- Cross-contamination: Dirty hands, utensils, and canning equipment can cause contamination when canning meat. To avoid this, thoroughly wash hands, jars, lids, and other utensils before use.
- Improper canning methods: Some canning recipes call for processing pork in a water bath, which is unsafe. Always use the pressure canning process for canning pulled pork.
- Under-processing: According to the USDA, under-processed pork could put you at risk of contracting Trichinellosis. Follow the recommended processing time and pressure-per-sea level guidelines when pressure canning to avoid under-processing.
How Long Do You Pressure Can Raw Pork?
Per the National Center for Home Food Preservation, the processing time for hot or raw pack meat is 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts. Pressure-canning raw pork will not yield a pulled pork texture.
What is the Best Way to Store Canned Pork?
Store canned pork in a clean, cool environment at 50°F – 70°F. Ensure the storage area is free from moisture and away from direct sunlight to extend its shelf life.
Properly stored canned pulled pork has a shelf life of two years. For the best quality, consume canned pulled pork within 12 months.