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Most of my recipes are traditional flavors and methods, but sometimes I like to try something new.  With fall in the air and all this talk of pumpkin spice, why not grill some pumpkin.  Better yet, make Pumpkin pulled pork!  The flavors did not disappoint.   You get the savoriness of the pork with mild pumpkin flavor and hints of apple, cinnamon and all spice that make you scream yum and dig for more.

Step 1: Prep the pork

This recipe is definitely not a last minute dinner choice.  It is a process that needs time and patience for the meat to cook through nice and slowly while containing the tenderness and flavorfulness of the pork as well as the seasoning that’s applied throughout.

Because of the vessel used to cook this meal, make sure to purchase a smaller pork shoulder.  I don’t recommend anything larger than 4 pounds. To get started, coat the entire pork shoulder with yellow mustard which will work as a binder and season with Dad’s All Purpose rub. Don’t worry, you will not taste the mustard at all.

Pat the seasoning down vs. rubbing to avoid any of the spice from falling off. Don’t be shy with the seasoning.  The shoulder is a large chunk of meat, so make sure to coat it heavily on all sides. Some of the spice will burn off during the cooking process.

While you wait for the smoker to reach 250 degrees, leave the seasoned pork shoulder in room temperature for about 30 minutes and allow it to sweat which opens up the meat to absorb all those wonderful spices.

Pulled Pork Tips

  • Use hot sauce or olive oil as yellow mustard substitutes if you are not a fan.
  • Don’t be shy on the seasoning.  It’s a large cut of meat, so season heavily on ALL sides.
  • If short on time, use a boneless shoulder to speed up the process.
Pumpkin Pulled Pork ingredients

Dad’s Seasonings

Must have grillin seasonings!

Step 2: Direct smoke first

Place the seasoned pork shoulder on the grill set up for indirect heat.  Leave it on until the internal temp of the protein reaches 170 degrees.

Depending on the size of the shoulder, you should estimate 1.5 hours/lb. Total cooking process will last 7-9 hours.

For the first 2 hours, leave the pork on the smoker and let the grill do its magic.  After that, spray the pork shoulder with apple cider vinegar every hour.  This helps keep the meat moist and prevent the bark from burning.  It does not impact the flavor of the meat.

After about 4 -5 hours or when the internal temperature of the pork reaches 170 degrees, it’s time to wrap it up.

Pulled Pork direct smoke

Place the seasoned pork shoulder on the grill set up for indirect heat.  Leave it on until the internal temp of the protein reaches 170 degrees.

Depending on the size of the shoulder, you should estimate 1.5 hours/lb. Total cooking process will last 7-9 hours.

For the first 2 hours, leave the pork on the smoker and let the grill do its magic.  After that, spray the pork shoulder with apple cider vinegar every hour.  This helps keep the meat moist and prevent the bark from burning.  It does not impact the flavor of the meat.

After about 4 -5 hours or when the internal temperature of the pork reaches 170 degrees, it’s time to wrap it up.

Step 3: Wrap or pumpkin it

This is where the traditional approach changes.  Instead of wrapping the smoked pork shoulder in butcher paper, foil or pan, I decided to use a hollow pumpkin as the cooking vessel.  

Recipe Tip

  • When looking for a pumpkin, make sure it will fit on your grill when closed. That is why it is also very important for the size of the shoulder to not be too big or else it won’t fit inside.

Start by cutting out a large lid to have enough space to inset the shoulder inside the pumpkin. When it comes to cleaning out the pumpkin guts, take a handheld mixer and start twisting out the seeds and membrane. It less messy, fast and fun.  

Once the grilled pork internal temperature reaches 170 degrees, place the pork shoulder in the pumpkin. In a mixing bowl, add apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon, all spice, cumin and nutmeg.  Whisk the ingredients together and pour it over the pork shoulder. These fall flavors are perfect on pork with sweet and savory notes that will only enhance the flavor of the meat. Close the pumpkin and set it back on the grill for another 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 204 degrees. In addition to the internal temperature, test the tenderness of the meat by doing a probe test which should go into the pork roast with easy.  Remove the pumpkin pork from the grill and let it rest for 1 hour before shredding. Enjoy this delicious seasonal pumpkin pulled pork!

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to use a bone-in pork shoulder?

No, just depends what your grocery store or butcher have. Bone-in will take slightly longer to cook vs. boneless but will provide more flavor. Bone-in also cooks more evenly. Boneless may have some well done parts since it’s not evenly shaped due to the bone being removed.

Is it better wrap the pork shoulder in butcher paper or foil?

I prefer to use foil over butcher paper because it helps retain all the moisture which keeps the pork nice and tender. I use a foil pan to fold the shoulder, then wrap the top with a foil sheet.

 

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4.80 from 5 votes

Pumpkin Pulled Pork

With fall in the air and all this talk of pumpkin spice, why not make Pumpkin pulled pork!  You get the savoriness of the pork with mild pumpkin flavor and hints of apple, cinnamon and all spice.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 1 Large pumpkin
  • 4 lbs Boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 cups Apple cider
  • 1/4 cup Dad's all purpose rub
  • 2 tbsp Yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp All spice
  • 1 tbsp Cumin

Instructions 

  • Score the fat cap in a checkered pattern.
  • Coat the entire pork shoulder with mustard and season with Dad's all purpose rub.
  • Set up the grill for indirect heat at 250 degrees and place the seasoned pork shoulder directly on the grates.
  • Once the internal temperature of the pork reaches 170 degrees, remove the pork off the grill.
  • Cut out a large lid off the top of the pumpkin to have enough space to inset the shoulder inside. Clean out the guts of a pumpkin, with a handheld mixer.
  • Once the grilled pork reaches 170 degrees, place the shoulder in the pumpkin. In a mixing bowl, add apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon, all spice, cumin and nutmeg.  Whisk the ingredients together and pour it over the pork shoulder.
  • Close the pumpkin and set it back on the grill for another 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 204 degrees.
  • Remove the pumpkin pork from the grill and let it rest for 1 hour before shredding.

Video

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About Maciek

I make easy meals that anyone can replicate at home. I’m not a professionally trained chef, just your average guy that likes to fire up the grill. So follow along and see what’s cooking today!

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