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Can pulled pork rest too long? | NO LONGER THAN 12 HOURS!

Every piece of meat can rest too long.

Pulled pork can rest in the oven or ice chest for about 8-12 hours. Anything longer – and you will have too cold of meat to serve.

What do I do if my pork shoulder is done early?

You need to take the pork shoulder off the smoker, and place it in either a warming oven or ice chest cooler.

What do I do if my pork shoulder is done early?

When you place your barbecue in either an ice chest or warming oven, you help to prolong the amount of time that it is holding warm.

If your concern is that it is done too early, this can be a great method.

It allows you to stop worrying about when your pork shoulder is finished, and how you can effectively serve it. 

Usually, if a pork shoulder is done too early, you can be rest assured that by placing it in one of those two storage methods, it can safely sit in there for 8-12 hours.

This alone opens up a lot of possibilities for other cooks, as now you can start planning your cooks better. 

How long can I hold pork butt in oven?

How long can I hold pork butt in oven?

You can hold pork butt in an oven for roughly 8-12 hours. This will keep the ambient and internal temperatures steady.

When choosing to hold your pork butt in an oven, you can have a clean and effective way to make sure your barbecue comes out simply amazing.

It’s also recommended to wrap the pork butt in either foil or butcher paper to ensure the temperature will hold even longer.

You don’t have to wrap it, since the oven can hold the ambient temperatures just fine – it’s just a pit-master pro tip if you really want to start holding it for longer periods of time.

You also want to pay close attention to how large the city of pork butt is. 

If it’s one of those monster 20lbs pork butts, then expect to let it rest in the oven closer to the end of the 12 hour resting range.

If the pork butt is hovering around 9-10lbs, then you don’t really have to let it rest for over 12 hours (although you certainly could). My recommendation: let it rest for 3-6 hours in the oven.

Table showcasing pork butt weight correlated with resting time in oven:

Pork Butt WeightResting time
10lbs3-6 hours
20lbs6-12 hours

Can I pull pork after it cools?

Can I pull pork after it cools?

You want to pull pork when it cools. This will ensure that no moisture is lost after the cooking period. Make sure the internal temperature is between 150 – 160 degrees.

When you let a pork rest and the internal temperature comes down to between 150-160 degrees internal, the end product will be awesome. 

One of the worst mistakes you can make when smoking a pork shoulder is pulling it way too soon. Doing so will ruin your cook and the meat will be completely dry.

You won’t be able to eat it. Therefore, it is always recommended to do the following:

  1. Pull Pork Shoulder Off Smoker
  2. Place in storage container – ice chest/warming oven
  3. Let rest until 150 – 160 degrees internal
  4. Pull/shred pork shoulder after if cools

If for some reason you decide to let the pork shoulder rest inside a refrigerator – you probably won’t want to try to shred/pull it after it has cooled way down.

All of the fat inside and around the meat itself at that point has solidified and you will be hard pressed to try and shred everything.

How do you keep a pork shoulder warm without drying it out?

How do you keep a pork shoulder warm without drying it out?

To keep a pork shoulder warm without drying it out you will want to pull it off the smoker, wrap it in foil/butcher paper, then place it in either a warming oven.

Do not increase any ambient temperatures, and let the pork shoulder rest. You will be fine leaving it for up to 12 hours.

Is it OK to leave it covered in the oven at around 150 all day?


By letting a pork shoulder sit in a warming oven all day at an ambient temp of around 150 degrees – you are keeping the environment hot enough to never let the pork shoulder go cold, but low enough to let the hot internal temperature come down to a more reasonable amount.

Usually, if you follow the above advice – you will never have a tough or dry pork shoulder. 

One word of caution when storing your pork shoulder – it is absolutely critical to ensure that you pull the meat off the smoker at the right temps! 

When in doubt, follow these steps:

  1. Pull Pork shoulder off the pit at around 200 – 204 degrees internal
    1. Make sure it is PROBE TENDER before pulling off the smoker racks
  2. Place it in a pan
  3. Wrap in foil or butcher paper
  4. Place in storage container – ice cooler or warming oven
  5. Wait roughly 8-12 hours to let the internal temps come down 

Is Pulled pork better the next day?

Pulled pork can be better the next day.

Is Pulled pork better the next day?

You have to make sure to take the right steps to ensure it comes out just as good fresh.

Pull the pork shoulder at 200 degrees internal, and let it rest for a long enough time of 8-12 hours.

When you reheat the pulled pork the next day – it will taste amazing and be incredibly tender.

If you have a large gathering on a certain day – and are inquiring about whether you can time the smoking of your pork shoulder ahead of time – you certainly can. 

All you need to do is budget when your company is coming over. From that point, budget roughly another 24 hours to account for total smoking and resting time for your pork shoulder.

When serving pulled pork the next day – you have two options:

  1. Plan ahead, not refrigerate, and hold the pork shoulder in an ice chest/warming oven for 12 hours before serving.
  2. Take an extra couple steps, and simply place the pork shoulder in the fridge, then appropriately reheat it a few hours before your company arrives.

Doing either of these methods will ensure that your pork shoulder will be very moist, tender, and tasty. That is all that matters.