- Ultimate Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- Watch Us Make the Recipe
- How to Make the Best Pulled Pork Using a Slow Cooker
- What to Serve With Pulled Pork
- More Easy Pork Recipes
- You Will Need
- Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sandwich
- Slow Cooker Carolina Pulled Pork
- Creating the Best Pulled Pork Recipe
- Carolina Pulled Pork Ingredients
- How to Make Pulled Pork in the Oven
- Can I Make Pulled Pork on a Smoker?
- How to Prep Carolina Pulled Pork in Advance
- How to Reheat Pulled Pork
- Tips to Making the Best Pulled Pork
- What to Serve with Carolina Pulled Pork
- More Decadent MAIN DISHES You Must Try:
- World’s Best Carolina Pulled Pork
- Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe
- What cut of meat to use for pulled pork
- How to make Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
- Tips for making this slow cooker bbq pulled pork recipe
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- What Cut of Meat to Use for Pulled Pork:
- How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork:
- How Long to Cook Pulled Pork:
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tips:
- What makes this the best slow cooker pulled pork?
- What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?
- How long do you cook pulled pork in a slow cooker?
- The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Ultimate Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
How to make the best slow cooker pulled pork that’s perfect for sandwiches, salads, and tacos. For a quicker version, we have also shared how to make this pulled pork using a pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot). Jump to the Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how we make it.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
How to Make the Best Pulled Pork Using a Slow Cooker
Pulled pork is perfect for the slow cooker. It’s easy to do and is the ultimate make-ahead meal. Our recipe makes pork that’s tender, full of flavor, and juicy. It’s delicious served alone or add a bit of your favorite barbecue sauce.
The slow cooker shines in this recipe. We start with a pork shoulder — also called pork butt or Boston butt.
It’s a relatively tough cut and does well when cooked over an extended period. It’s also well marbled with fat, which prevents the pork from drying out while cooking. As the pork cooks, the fat melts and sort of self-bastes during cooking.
Making pulled pork in a slow cooker or crockpot is easy, but we still have a few tips for you, so you make it best.
INSTANT POT© UPDATE: Since sharing this recipe, we have tested it using a pressure cooker (we have the Instant Pot). Check the recipe notes section below for our method. By using a pressure cooker, you can make this pulled pork in under 2 hours.
Step 1: Season the Meat
Seasoning the pork is essential, especially when using a slow cooker. Once you hit start, you don’t want to lift the lid, so taking some time to think about flavors and seasoning up front is a good idea.
We’re pretty heavy handed with salt and pepper in the beginning and like to rub the pork with it, getting the salt into all the nooks of the meat. We also season 15 to 20 minutes before adding it to the slow cooker.
Step 2: Cook the Pork on Low and Cook it Slow
After seasoning the meat, we put together a mixture of cooked onions, garlic, tomato paste, and spices. That’s poured over the pork, and we’re ready to cook.
When I said the slow cooker shines in this recipe, I meant it. It’s pretty tricky to overcook pork shoulder. It’s because of this that we happily cook the pork on low for many hours.
In our recipe below we call for at least 8, but you really can go beyond that. The pork should be so tender that a spoon can cut through it. Doing all of this in a slow cooker makes it easy. Do it overnight or while you are away from the house.
Step 3: Skim the Cooking Liquid then Save it
When the pork is finished, you have juicy and tender pulled pork as well as a rich and flavorful broth. It’s pure gold. Remove the cooking liquid from the slow cooker and skim as much fat as possible — remember, pork shoulder is well marbled with fat, so that’s all going to melt into the liquid. Discard the excess fat (which will float to the top) and then stir the liquid back into the pork to keep it extra moist and flavorful.
Another alternative is to refrigerate the pork in its cooking liquid. When it’s cold, the fat will have solidified, making it easy to scrape off with a spoon.
Step 4: Shred the Pork and Combine with Skimmed Cooking Liquid
After skimming the cooking liquid, place it back into the slow cooker. Then simply shred the pork — I just use two forks to do it. Since it’s so tender, the pork literally will fall apart on you.
Place the shredded pork back into the slow cooker with the skimmed cooking liquid then serve!
What to Serve With Pulled Pork
We love pulled pork since it’s perfect for so many occasions. Here are some of our favorite sides to go alongside the tender, tasty pork:
- Homemade Coleslaw — I love the crunch of coleslaw with pulled pork. If you don’t like mayo-based salads, try our mayo-free coleslaw.
- Herb Potato Salad — This mayo-free potato salad is perfect served cold or warm. Here’s our classic creamy potato salad if that is more your style.
- Quick and Easy Pasta Salad — This fresh and easy pasta salad packed with crisp vegetables, fresh mozzarella, and tossed with a simple homemade dressing.
- Ultra Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese — You’ll love this ultra creamy mac and cheese recipe! With the perfect ratio of milk to cheese to sauce, this macaroni and cheese is at the top of my favorites list!
More Easy Pork Recipes
- The Best Juicy Skillet Pork Chops — Say goodbye to dry and flavorless pork chops. With a few simple tricks, you can make juicy and tender pork chops with very little fuss. I love how juicy these pork chops are!
- Perfect Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples — Perfect roasted pork tenderloin is juicy, fork-tender, and is full of flavor.
- Juicy Oven Baked Pork Chops — Easy oven baked pork chops that are tender, juicy, and easily customized to your favorite spices and seasonings.
- Crave-Worthy Ground Pork Tacos — Thanks to ground pork, these easy pork tacos come together fast. You can even make the filling in advance.
- PREP 30mins
- COOK 8hr
- TOTAL 8hr 30mins
Pulled pork is perfect for the slow cooker. Cooking the pork low and very slow is the secret to the juiciest and most tender pulled pork. Serve the pork as is or feel free to stir in your favorite barbecue or other sauces at the end of cooking.
Makes approximately 3 1/2 pounds, 10 servings
You Will Need
1 (4 1/2 to 5 pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed
2 teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped small
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ancho or mild chili powder, see our homemade chili powder recipe
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup water
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce or 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
For Serving (Optional)
Coleslaw, see our mayonnaise based coleslaw recipe or our mayo-free coleslaw
Barbecue sauce, see our bacon bourbon barbecue sauce recipe
- Prepare Pork
- Cook Pork
- To Finish
Rub the pork with salt and pepper, and then set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients. (See notes below if you plan to sear the pork first).
Heat oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic then cook, occasionally stirring, until they are sweet and browned around the edges. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, and cumin. Cook, stirring until the tomato paste turns from bright red to orange in color; about 3 minutes. Add the water, apple cider vinegar, and fish sauce and cook for about 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Rest the seasoned pork in the bottom of a slow cooker then pour the onion and spice mixture on top. Wiggle the pork around the bottom of the slow cooker so that some of the onion and spice mixture slides underneath. Cover with lid and cook until the pork can be easily shredded; LOW for 6 to 8 hours or HIGH for 4 to 6.
Turn off the slow cooker and transfer the pork to a cutting board. If the pork has a bone in it, remove and discard it. Use two forks to shred the meat, discarding any connective tissue, and large clumps of fat.
Remove the cooking liquid and skim most of the fat from its surface. Discard the fat then set the cooking liquid aside.
If using barbecue sauce, add it to the slow cooker and stir in the shredded pork. For even more flavor, add back some of the reserved cooking liquid. If you’re not using barbecue sauce, add the shredded pork and the cooking liquid back to the slow cooker. Taste and season with salt, additional vinegar, or hot sauce as needed.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Can I make this Pulled Pork in an Instant Pot© or pressure cooker? Yes! Cook the onions, garlic, spices, tomato paste, water, vinegar and fish sauce as shared in the recipe above. If you have an Instant Pot, this can be done using the Sauté function. Add the seasoned pork and onion mixture to the pressure cooker/Instant Pot, seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 1 hour. Naturally release (this takes 15 to 30 minutes) then shred the pork then skim and discard the excess fat from the cooking liquid. To serve, combine the skimmed cooking liquid and shredded pork.
- Fish Sauce: Find fish sauce in the international aisle of most grocery stores, in international markets, or online. It has a salty-sour flavor and is something we use to elevate flavors in savory dishes or dishes with lengthy cooking times. On Inspired Taste, you see us use it in our Homemade Pho recipe. If you do not have any, Worcestershire sauce is a good substitute.
- Searing the pork: Some readers have asked why we don’t brown the pork first. We’ve tried it, and while it adds a bit more flavor, in this case, the difference isn’t overwhelming. We skip the step. If you prefer, you can sear the outside of the pork in the same skillet you plan to make the onion-garlic mixture. Searing will leave some browned stuck bits to the bottom of the skillet that you can scrape up when you add the water later on.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste
Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1/10 of the recipe (assumes 10 servings) / Calories 404 / Protein 28 g / Carbohydrate 2 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 1 g / Total Fat 31 g / Saturated Fat 11 g / Cholesterol 109 mg AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher
Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sandwich
- The Meat –.
- Place the quartered onions in a crock pot.
- Combine brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper: rub over the roast.
- Place the roast over the onions in the crock pot.
- Combine the vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt and cayenne; stir to mix well.
- Drizzle about 1/2 of the vinegar mixture over the roast and cover. Refrigerate the remaining vinegar mixture.
- Cook on low for 8 hours. Drizzle the other half of the vinegar mixture over the roast during the last 1/2 hour of cooking.
- While the meat is cooking, prepare the barbecue sauce. Mix all ingredients except soy sauce, butter and smoke. Simmer, uncovered, on low heat for 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, for 10 more minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Remove the meat from the crock pot and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. (Very important step — longer is better).
- Remove the onions and chop to a fine consistency.
- Pull apart the meat with a couple of forks. Meat should have a shredded look to it.
- Mix chopped onions and shredded pork along with a little bit of juice from the crock pot to taste. Add sufficient barbecue sauce to the mixture to achieve desired taste. Meat should have distinctive barbecue flavor.
- To serve, spread barbecue sauce on bottom of a hearty bun.
- Put layer of pulled pork on bun. Spread barbecue sauce over meat.
- Add layer of your favorite cole slaw on top of meat. Layer some more barbecue sauce over cole slaw.
- Spread top of bun with more sauce.
- Grab a fist full of napkins, and enjoy.
Slow Cooker Carolina Pulled Pork
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The type of Carolina Pulled Pork you’re eating depends largely on where in the Carolinas you’re eating. Depending on the area, it might be served with a vinegar-based sauce or a mustard one, but no matter where you have it, it’s going to be a savory, melt-in-your-mouth experience. Our Carolina Pulled Pork favors a vinegar-style sauce and uses some ketchup and a slow cooker (so purists, look away) but it delivers a tender, fall-apart pulled pork with maximum flavor and a set-it-and-forget-it preparation.
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Our pork starts with a dry rub, just to ensure that the meat really reaches the maximum amount of flavor possible. That does mean you need to start thinking about making this a day or two ahead so the meat has time to sit, but it’s really not any trouble. And besides, the flavor rewards are great. (That being said, you can skip the rub entirely if you’d like!)
When it’s time to cook, you sear the meat to really lock in that rub flavor and get the exterior nice and brown, and then it goes into the slow cooker. You pour a mixture of apple cider vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder over the pork, set it to low, and go about your day.
When you come back, the pork will be fall-apart tender (and full of flavor). The liquid it cooked in can act as your sauce; you can just pour it over the meat after you’ve shredded it with two forks. It’s tangy and just a little sweet, and while it’s delightful on a bun with some ‘slaw, it’s pretty hard not to just eat it all as is.
Slow Cooker Carolina Pulled Pork
15 minutes active, up to 34 hours inactive to prepare serves 4-6
- For the dry rub:
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- For the meat:
- 4 lb bone-in pork butt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
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- In a small bowl, mix together all of the dry rub ingredients. Remove 2 tablespoons of the mixture and set aside for later.
- Pat meat dry and sprinkle rub all over the pork, rubbing it in thoroughly. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a ziplock bag and place in the refrigerator to chill one hour and up to overnight (optional).
- If chilled, remove the pork from fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until browned on all sides, 8-10 minutes total.
- Transfer pork to slow cooker with fat facing up.
- In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Pour over pork, cover, and cook on low 8-10 hours.
- Remove pork from slow cooker and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet or bowl. Tent with foil and allow to rest 30 minutes. Using two forks, shred the pork. Toss with reserved dry rub.
- Strain remaining liquid in slow cooker with a fine-mesh strainer and add enough to moisten the pork. Toss to coat and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from No Spoon Necessary.
Want to make the best pulled pork from your own kitchen? The key to making this Carolina pulled pork recipe is the brine.
Creating the Best Pulled Pork Recipe
When I think of BBQ, I can’t help but think of slow and low style, the Carolina way. In order to cook the best pulled pork, it’s essential that you plan ahead and spend some time prepping and cooking that delicious meat at those lower temperatures. This helps bring out all those flavors that melt in your mouth and allows that pork to literally fall apart. I know, we are all lazy and don’t want to, but trust me, this Carolina pulled pork recipe is so easy your dog could do it.
This recipe may seem like a process, but here’s the deal: you really just plop the pork in the fridge to marinate, and then transfer it to the oven. Although it takes a long time, you’re just going about your everyday life so it’s really not extra work on your part.
These idea for this pulled pork recipe come from watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Shout out to Guy, who gets to eat for a living! We occasionally watch his show on Netflix at night, and first of all, it makes us so hungry, but we also feel like we can totally guess when he doesn’t really enjoy something. We wish we could find out what he really thinks are the best and the worst of the places he has tried.
Anyway, I got a little off topic. Here are the secrets to the world’s best Carolina pulled pork.
Carolina Pulled Pork Ingredients
There are three main components to this pulled pork recipe: the brine, the dry rub seasoning, and the homemade bbq sauce.
For the pulled pork brine, you’ll need water, apple cider, kosher salt, dark brown sugar, some of the dry rub (more on that in a moment), bay leaves, and red pepper flakes.
Note that you’ll be using apple cider, NOT cider vinegar, in the pork shoulder brine. But many of our readers have missed that and added pure vinegar and so we had no choice but to try it since so many of you loved the results. Sure enough, it was great! So we prefer the juice but hey, vinegar is fun too! Apple cider adds a little more flavor without ever tasting like apple, and all you have to do is dump it in.
For the pulled pork seasoning, we like to use a blend of onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, kosher salt, pepper, cayenne, dry mustard, cumin, and brown sugar.
Finally, the homemade bbq sauce is completely optional but our family goes crazy for it. We make our sauce with apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, brown sugar, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and salt. Of course, you’re welcome to use a store-bought sauce, but if you’re looking for the best pulled pork recipe ever, well, you need to use homemade sauce.
What’s the Best Pork for Pulled Pork?
To make the best pulled pork, you’ve got to start with the best cut of meat. Most barbecue restaurants use whole pork shoulders, but they’re rarely available in grocery stores. If you find a whole shoulder, use it. Otherwise, we recommend a Boston butt, which is half of the shoulder, the other half being the picnic shoulder.
How to Make Pulled Pork in the Oven
This pulled pork recipe looks lengthy, but each step of this recipe is incredibly easy. Here’s a quick overview of how to make pulled pork in the oven:
- Stir together the pork shoulder brine and let the pork soak in it for 12 to 24 hours.
- Remove the pork from the brine and place it in a large baking dish, then pat it dry with paper towels.
- Rub the pulled pork seasoning all over the meat, saving just a little of the dry rub for later.
- With the fat facing up, bake the pork at a low temperature until it registers 200ºF at the thickest part.
- Turn off the oven and let the pork rest for a couple hours.
- Take the pork out of the oven and remove the fat from the top. Then, shred the meat with two forks.
- Drain half the juices from the pork, then add the remaining dry rub and toss in the homemade bbq sauce.
How Long to Cook Pulled Pork
If you’re southern, you know this isn’t just a secret but practically a law in the south — LOW AND SLOW. I always laugh when people tell me they can’t make bbq, “I let it cook for over an hour and it was dry and hard as a rock!”
Bbq is very relaxed, just like southerners. It wants to hang out all day, and while you may think you’re overcooking it, you’re not! Our pork cooks for at least 12 hours, sometimes more if it’s a bigger butt (I feel like there should be a joke in there). Do not rush it.
Can I Make Pulled Pork on a Smoker?
If you’d rather make smoked pulled pork instead of oven pulled pork, we recommend following our Smoked Pulled Pork Recipe. It gives step-by-step instructions on smoking pulled pork on a Traeger.
How to Prep Carolina Pulled Pork in Advance
Reader Kate says:
“I’m heading up to my cabin and need a dinner for a large crowd a few hours after we arrive, wondering if I can cook the pork and then finish it off in the grill when we arrive? Or if it’s better to do all steps and then reheat it on arrival? Looks delish.”
Great question! We do this ALLLLLLL the time. Go ahead and make this pulled pork recipe, and then you have two choices. Pull it out of the oven and put it straight into the car and it will rest on the way to the cabin and be ready to eat two hours later.
Or make it, rest it, cool it and place in freezer bags, or to be honest, we use this Foodsaver and just suck the air out and freeze pork for use over the next three months. It’s super easy, and tastes perfectly fresh when we reheat. We just place it in the fridge to defrost and then reheat in a large pan with foil in a low oven or stove top with a little oil in the pan and a lid to keep the steam in so it’s juicy.
How to Reheat Pulled Pork
Turn on your oven and set the temperature to 250°F. Then, cover your meat with foil and put it into the oven when it’s ready. After you put it into your oven, let it heat for 30 minutes or until reaching an internal temperature of 165 °F.
Tips to Making the Best Pulled Pork
The key thing to remember when making this pulled pork recipe is to let the meat rest after it’s finished cooking. I told you, it’s lazy. Letting it rest redistributes the juices, and because it’s big and cooked for a long time you’re going to want to let it rest longer — like an hour or even two — before shredding.
Perhaps the biggest secret of all, and one that I cannot claim as my own as this is where Triple D (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) comes in, is to sprinkle a little more of the rub onto the meat before serving. We noticed many bbq joints weren’t just slathering on the sauce, but actually sprinkling that dry rub all over the shredded meat and tossing to let it sink it. You won’t believe what a difference it makes!
You can also use another type of bbq sauce in this pulled pork recipe! Carrian likes a thick, sweet sauce or a Carolina vinegar bbq, and I love this Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce on my homemade pulled pork.
What to Serve with Carolina Pulled Pork
We recommend firing up the grill and making grilled corn to go with this Carolina pulled pork. It is so dang good every time! And just for pure comfort, add a side of Southern macaroni and cheese. A few other pulled pork sides we love are:
- Macaroni Salad
- Southern English Pea Salad
- Broccoli Salad
- Roasted Potato Salad
- Baked Beans
More Decadent MAIN DISHES You Must Try:
- Best Prime Rib
- Oven Braised Short Ribs
- Instant Pot Turkey Breast
- Korean Oven Braised Short Ribs
- Oven Braised Beef Roast
- Creamy Herb Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
- Smoked Tri Tip
- Easy Garlic Butter Steak
- Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce
- Beef Ribs with Charred Pepper Cream Gnocchi
- All our MAIN DISH recipes!
World’s Best Carolina Pulled Pork
4.55 from 83 votes Prep Time: 1 day Cook Time: 14 hours Total Time: 1 day 14 hours Servings: 10 Want to make the best pulled pork from your own kitchen? This recipe for the world’s best Carolina pulled pork all starts with a brine.
- 5-8 pound Pork Butt bone in and fat pad on top
For the Brine
- 4 Cups Water
- 4 Cups Apple Cider
- 1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 3 Heaping Tablespoons Dry Rub
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
For the Dry Rub
- 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
- 1 Heaping Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Pepper
- 2 Teaspoons Cayenne Powder
- 2 Teaspoons Dry Mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin
- 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
For the BBQ Sauce (Optional)
- 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup to 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
- 2 Pinches Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt to taste
- NOTE: This recipe should be started 2 days ahead of time as you need 24 hours in the fridge, 12-14 in the oven and 2 hours of resting.
- Prepare the Dry Rub
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a ziploc bag.
- Set aside.
- For the Brine
- In a large stock pot, add the water, apple cider, salt, sugar, 3 tablespoons dry rub, pepper flakes and bay leaves.
- Rinse off the pork and add to the pot making sure it is completely covered in the brine and add the lid.
- Place in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.
- For the Sauce
- In a glass jar, add the ingredients and place the lid on then shake to combine.
- Set aside.
- To Cook
- Heat the oven to 225 degrees.
- Remove the pork from the brine and place in a roasting dish or 9×13″ baking pan as long as the sides don’t touch the pan.
- Pat very dry with paper towels.
- Remove 2 tablespoons of the dry rub to another ziploc and set aside for after it is cooked.
- Rub the remaining seasoning all over the pork and in any cracks or flaps.
- With the fat facing up, place the pork in the oven with a meat thermometer.
- Bake for 12-14 hours or until 200 degrees registers on the thickest part of the pork with a meat thermometer. *Remember to watch your oven, ours turns off automatically at 12 hours so I have to turn it back on.
- At this point you can turn off the oven and leave the pork in there to rest for two hours or if you have more baking to do place foil over the meat and allow to rest on the stove.
- Once the meat has rested, remove the fat from the top and using two forks, shred the meat and remove the bone.
- Drain half of the juices out and add the remaining dry rub to taste, toss to coat and drizzle a little vinegar sauce over everything.
- Serve immediately as is or on buns.
Nutrition Facts World’s Best Carolina Pulled Pork Amount Per Serving (1.5 cup) Calories 445 Calories from Fat 126 % Daily Value* Fat 14g22% Saturated Fat 5g31% Cholesterol 136mg45% Sodium 6886mg299% Potassium 953mg27% Carbohydrates 35g12% Fiber 1g4% Sugar 31g34% Protein 43g86% Vitamin A 280IU6% Vitamin C 1mg1% Calcium 79mg8% Iron 4mg22% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Author: Sweet Basil Course: Every Man’s Favorite Easy Day Recipes Keyword: bbq pulled pork recipe, best pork for pulled pork, best pulled pork recipe, carolina pulled pork, pork shoulder brine, pulled pork oven, pulled pork recipe, pulled pork rub, pulled pork seasoning
If you can, marinade the pork overnight before you plan to cook it. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, Worcestershire sauce, spices, thyme and garlic together then stir in the vinegar to make a paste. Add the pork and rub all over. Cover with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge overnight. If not marinating, mix the ingredients together with generous seasoning, rub over the pork, then put into the slow cooker.
If you have marinated the meat, lift the pork out of the bowl and add to the slow cooker, discarding the juices. Season the pork well. Pour in the barbecue sauce and toss the pork in the sauce to coat. Cook on low for about 8hr, or until the pork shreds easily. Halfway through the cooking time, quickly open the pot, turn the pork joint over and cover quickly with the lid again (don’t leave the pot uncovered for longer than necessary, as the meat will take longer to cook).
Transfer pork to a large board and shred with two forks. If you want a thicker sauce, pour the juices from the slow cooker into a large saucepan and boil until reduced down to a thicker consistency. Add the shredded pork to the pan and stir to coat. Serve in brioche burger buns with coleslaw, some coriander leaves and a few drops of hot chilli sauce.
Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe
October 23, 2018 4 Comments ”
The best slow cooker BBQ pulled pork recipe! Tender and flavorful pulled pork is so easy to make in your crockpot. Perfect for busy days or for feeding a crowd.
This Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork recipe is so good and so easy! I make it all the time on busy days. My kids love it!
It takes just five minutes to throw everything for this pulled pork in your slow cooker in the morning. It can cook all day if you are going to be at work or otherwise out of the house.
This pulled pork recipe is a crockpot dump recipe, meaning you put everything in your crock pot, turn it on, and that’s it. The pulled pork cooks low and slow all day and you come home to a flavorful home-cooked meal.
I like to make a batch of pulled pork at the beginning of the week because I can serve it a couple of different ways during the week. Our favorite are classic BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, with extra BBQ sauce and my homemade coleslaw recipe. This pulled pork recipe also makes great tacos, nachos, quesadillas and lettuce wraps. It’s delicious with my macaroni salad recipe.If you’re craving pulled pork and forget to plan ahead for your slow cooker, try my faster Instant Pot Pulled Pork.
This slow cooker pulled pork is a simple, 5-ingredient recipe. Here’s how you make it.
What cut of meat to use for pulled pork
You can make this pulled pork recipe with pork tenderloin, pork shoulder or Boston butt. Most pulled pork recipes call for pork shoulder or pork butt, but I prefer to use pork tenderloin because it is leaner. Pork shoulder/Boston butt creates a slightly more flavorful pulled pork because it is a fattier cut of meat. Pork tenderloin makes a healthier pulled pork because pork loin is a leaner cut of meat.
If you are making this pulled pork recipe for a large group of people, I recommend using Pork shoulder/Boston butt because they are usually a larger cut of meat and more budget-friendly.
How to make Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
Ingredients for slow cooker pulled pork
Just a few ingredients are all you need to make tender, flavorful BBQ pulled pork:
- Pork tenderloin or pork shoulder/Boston butt – see my notes above about which cut of meat to use for this pulled pork recipe
- BBQ sauce – use your favorite BBQ sauce as the flavor will create the flavor of the final dish. I like to look for a BBQ sauce with lower sugar and a short ingredient list. If you have 5 extra minutes I highly recommend making my healthy homemade BBQ sauce. You can just dump all of the ingredients in your slow cooker (no need to simmer on the stove).
- Apple cider vinegar – this helps to tenderize the meat and adds a kick of flavor
- Spice rub – for this recipe, I keep the spice rub simple with chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
This slow cooker pulled pork recipe is so simple to make! You don’t need to sear or brown the meat before adding it to your slow cooker. You won’t notice much difference in the flavor of the pulled pork if you do brown the meat, so save yourself a step and some time.
To prep this recipe, put all of the ingredients in your slow cooker. You can either cook it for 8-9 hours on the low setting or for 5-6 hours on the high setting. I recommend the low setting if you have the time because the slower cooking process allows the meat to turn out more tender.
The pulled pork is done when it shreds easily with a fork. Before shredding, let the meat rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes. This will help the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, for juicier shredded pork.
How to make pulled pork for the freezer
You can make this slow cooker BBQ pulled pork recipe as a freezer to crockpot meal. Place all of the ingredients in a heavy duty zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to cook the pork, thaw it for 24 hours in the refrigerator and then cook in your slow cooker as directed in the recipe.
You can also freeze cooked pulled pork for 2-3 months. Cool completely and then freeze the shredded pork with the cooking sauce in an airtight container.
Tips for making this slow cooker bbq pulled pork recipe
- For healthier pulled pork, choose a BBQ sauce that has lower sugar and a short ingredient list.
- Cook your pork for pulled pork using your slow cooker’s low setting if you have time because the slow cooking process leads to more tender meat. If you don’t have 8 hours, you can use the high setting.
- Pulled pork freezes well. Cool the shredded pork completely, seal it in an airtight container with the cooking sauce, and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw, heat and serve.
- You can reheat pulled pork in the microwave, but I get the best results reheating it on the stove. Place your pulled pork in a small saucepan and add a little BBQ sauce, water or broth. Cover the pot and heat over low until warmed through, stirring occasionally.
The best slow cooker BBQ pulled pork recipe! Tender and flavorful pulled pork is so easy to make in your crockpot. Perfect for busy days or for feeding a crowd. Course Main Course Cuisine American Keyword bbq pulled pork, crockpot pulled pork, pulled pork, pulled pork recipe, pulled pork sandwich, slow cooker pulled pork Prep Time10 mins Cook Time8 hrs Total Time8 hrs 20 mins Servings 8 servings Calories 207kcal
- 2.5 pounds pork tenderloin or boneless pork shoulder/pork butt
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Place pork in bottom of slow cooker. Add the BBQ sauce and apple cider vinegar.
- Sprinkle the chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper over the pork.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 5-6 hours, until the pork shreds easily.
- Remove pork to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Shred pork and serve on burger buns for sandwiches, or in tacos, quesadillas, nachos or lettuce wraps.
Serving: 1/3 pound pork | Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 512mg | Sugar: 6g
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posted by Kristine on October 23, 2018
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
June 25, 2018
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is incredibly easy to make and wonderful to have on hand to add protein to meals. We make a batch every week, and after testing various methods for doing it (like searing vs no sear), this is my favorite way to make it.
Pulled pork is the next best thing to chicken breast as far as keeping protein on hand goes, if you ask me. You can do SO many things with pulled pork.
Even though you can make pulled pork with other cooking methods, like in the oven, in the smoker, or even braised on the stove for several hours, I think making it in the slow cooker is the easiest method by far.
Plus, you won’t be heating up the entire kitchen for several hours like you would if you used the oven. If you don’t own a slow cooker yet, the one that I purchased was a $17 investment (lol) and has lasted me for 5 years with no problems. It’s one of the cheapest and best kitchen purchases I have ever made. Plus you can make tons of recipes in them, like Slow Cooker Beef Ragu or Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip. On my list next are these crockpot Baked Beans from my friend Mary.
Alright, let’s get into the details for slow cooker pulled pork.
What Cut of Meat to Use for Pulled Pork:
The classic cut for pulled pork is a pork shoulder, which you may also see named at the store as pork butt or Boston butt.
I prefer a boneless roast that has been tied, but you could do a bone-in cut as well.
For a leaner pulled pork, you can get away with using the top loin boneless roast, but it won’t be as moist as your typical pulled pork. I have a method below for removing excess fat from the pulled pork that you may find helpful.
How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork:
First you want to season the pork shoulder. This could be as simple as salt and pepper, though I absolutely love rubbing on some homemade Sazon Seasoning:
Another simple flavoring is to cook the pork in pineapple juice, which is a magical flavor combination with pork. Simple add a small 6-ounce can to the crock along with the other ingredients.
Note: it is not necessary to add any liquid to the slow cooker if you’re just doing a spice blend.
Next, place the pork shoulder into the crockpot, and no, I don’t sear the pork beforehand. I’ve tested searing and don’t think it makes much difference here. Most of the meat you’ll be eating later is interior, and doesn’t get a sear anyway. I’ve concluded it’s not worth the effort, which is nice because honestly it’s a pain to sear a 4 pound hunk of meat.
How Long to Cook Pulled Pork:
Cook the pork for 8 hours on low, until the interior reads 190F. There will be liquid in the crockpot that the pork gave off while cooking:
Remove the pork to a board and let it rest for 20 minutes. Then shred it with a fork:
The pork should yield quite easily to the fork, and fall apart nicely.
Now, collect the remaining liquid from the crockpot. You can see that most of it is pork juice, but there’s a small layer of fat at the top:
If the fat bothers you, chill the measuring cup in an ice bath and in the fridge until the fat hardens on top:
Then you can easily discard the fat.
Pour the remaining liquid through a strainer all over the pork:
(And if you skipped solidifying the fat, you can just pour the liquid through a strainer all over the pork right after cooking).
The pulled pork is now ready to enjoy, and can be used for many different recipes like Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Pulled Pork Bruschetta, or added to this Bacon Cheddar Jalapeno Grilled Cheese.
This pulled pork is also gluten-free, dairy-free, Whole 30 compliant, low carb, paleo, and keto friendly.
I love serving the pork with a side of homemade Coleslaw.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tips:
Can you overcook slow cooker pulled pork? Yes, definitely. The best way to combat this is to first get a feel for your own slow cooker, since models can vary in heat intensity, and also the size can impact cooking time. If you’re cooking a smaller pork shoulder that’s 3 pounds, you should check the temperature earlier than you would for a 5 pound pork shoulder. The pork is done when it reaches 190F and shreds easily with a fork.
How to reheat pulled pork: While you can reheat it in the microwave, I think it tastes best when it’s reheated in a skillet. Add a small amount of fat like neutral olive oil, butter, or lard, and cook the leftover pulled pork for a few minutes until warmed through.
What temperature to cook slow cooker pulled pork: I always cook pulled pork on low in the crockpot. In my opinion, the high setting is just too much for the pork. If you do high, it still typically takes a minimum of 4 hours. Stick with the low setting if you can.
Can pulled pork be frozen? Yes, it freezes beautifully! Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Pin 4.95 from 37 votes This Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is incredibly easy to make, and it’s perfect for weeknight meals! Course Main Course Cuisine American Keyword pulled pork, slow cooker pulled pork Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 4 hours 20 minutes Total Time 8 hours 25 minutes Servings 8 -10 Calories 288kcal
For the Pulled Pork:
- 4 lb boneless pork shoulder (aka pork butt)
- Sazon seasoning optional
Compatible Side Dishes:
- Coleslaw (summer)
- Red Potato Salad (summer)
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts (winter)
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes (winter)
- Season the pork all over with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you’d like, then place it in the slow cooker.
- Cover with a lid and cook on low for about 8 hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 190F.
- When the pork is done cooking, remove it to a board, and let cool for at least 20 minutes before shredding with a fork.
- Take the leftover liquid from the crockpot and strain it to remove any solids.
- If you don’t mind the fat, add the liquid back to the shredded pork and toss well. If you want to remove the excess fat, chill the liquid in an ice bath in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until the fat solidifies, then discard, and pour the remaining liquid over the pork. Enjoy!
*Different salts vary in “saltiness,” but I do about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt for a 4 to 5lb pork butt. If you’re using table salt, cut the amount in half. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 5-6 days, and can be frozen for up to two months. Calories: 288kcal | Protein: 51g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 857mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 2mg
Post updated with more tips, instructions, and photos in June 2018. Originally published in September 2013. This post contains an affiliate link.
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How to make The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork! Everyone is sure to love this amazing slow cooker pulled pork. The perfect blend of spices make it tender and so flavorful.
How to make The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is a big claim but I can tell you I’ve tried a lot of pulled pork recipes and this one is at the top of my list! So simple yet plenty of flavor! This has been enjoyed as sandwiches, as tacos, as nachos and even just on it’s own. Short of going through a major process of slow smoking the meat, this slow cooker version will be your new favorite and the best go-to option for slow cooker pulled pork without all the work! And it’s perfect for busy days when you need to have a meal for entertaining. I’ve made this many times for many crowds, and it’s always gone by the end of the night.
This recipe has also been converted for those of you that love pressure cookers and it’s pretty amazing if I do say so myself!
What makes this the best slow cooker pulled pork?
Just the right blend of spices (most you should have on hand) rubbed into a pork shoulder roast make for a flavorful meat that has a tiny bit of kick but is generally mild enough for even picky eaters. Want some bold flavor? Up the spices to your liking… if you like spicy you can up the cayenne!! And I love setting out several different types of BBQ sauce so that everyone can make their own flavor combos.
Check out my video showing you just how easy it is to make this slow cooker pulled pork recipe:
What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?
- pulled pork is generally made using pork shoulder
- there are two pieces to the shoulder usually available at the store – the butt and the picnic shoulder
- the first generally works the best, but I’ve had great results with the picnic shoulder too
What is also love is that…..
There is no need to brown anything up ahead of time which makes this a quick start meal.
How long do you cook pulled pork in a slow cooker?
Throw it in early in the day and let it slow cook for at least 8 hours (or even longer) for best results.
For meat like this to properly shred, it needs to reach an internal temperature of 205 degrees F. It will seriously fall apart. If your meat is hard to shred, it’s not done yet.
A little bit of apple cider vinegar goes in here too and it really does the trick to break down the meat to make it more tender plus gives it just the right zip of extra flavor. I haven’t tested it another way, but I’m guessing apple juice would work well also.
A few of my favorite sides to serve up alongside this pulled pork are:
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Southwest Pasta Salad
- Grilled Baked Potatoes
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
How to make the best slow cooker pulled pork! The perfect homemade spice blend makes it great for sandwiches, tacos and more!! 3.66 from 1029 votes Pin Course: Main Course Cuisine: American Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 8 hours Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes Servings: 12 Calories: 150kcal Author: Jennifer Draper
- 4 pound pork shoulder
- 2 tablespoons paprika ((try smoked paprika for more of that smoked flavor))
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- Mix together all of the dried spices and rub into all sides of the pork
- Place vinegar and water in bottom of slow cooker
- Carefully add pork (so you don’t wash off spices)
- Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours
- Remove pork and shred (remove any large fatty pieces and discard)
- Add juices from slow cooker as desired
Tip 1: Save a bit of seasoning and toss it with cooked pulled pork to add extra kick (but just a tad, you don’t want to ruin the delicious flavors of the meat!)
Tip 2: If you want brown crispy ends you can put shredded meat on foil lined baking sheet and broil for a couple of minutes in the oven (watch carefully!) Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 266mg | Potassium: 351mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 650IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1.4mg Tried this Recipe? Tag us Today!Mention @slowcookergourmet or tag #slowcookergourmet!
to convert to Instant Pot. Amazing Instant Pot Pulled Pork is everything it claims to be! Amazing!
Useful tools for making this pulled pork include:
- pulled pork shredder claws
- meat thermometer (a great investment if you cook any types of meat, I use mine almost every day)
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