Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is for meat lovers who simply cannot resist tender and juicy shredded meat! It is an easy recipe that is full of flavor, with the perfect blend of spices.
Slow Cooker recipes are great for serving a larger crowd or for weekly meal prep. For more great recipes to serve during busy weeknights, try my Crock Pot Pineapple Pork Loin, Slow Cooker Pork Stew, and Tender Kalua Pork.
The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Slow Cooker is pretty much meant to be used for making this delicious recipe. It is slowly cooked in a mix of brown sugar, spice blend, and barbecue sauce. The meat turns out super juicy, tender, and mouth-watering.
Also, pulled pork is perfect for BBQ season or to be enjoyed anytime you crave some juicy, out-of-this-world meat. It also makes for a great freezer meal. You can make one big batch of this, store the leftovers. Then, use them up for the rest of the week in various dishes.
The secret to the best pulled pork is cooking it low and slow, with plenty of liquid. In addition, you can use tougher cuts of meat when slow cooking. The meat turns out equally tender and juicy!
This dish is versatile and you can add it to just about anything short of protein. Make it into pork sandwiches over hamburger buns, tacos, nachos, wraps, or eat it on its own. Not only is this pork recipe versatile, but it is also easy peasy to prepare.
Using the crockpot, you can simply throw in all the ingredients and just forget about it. Ideal for busy weeknights or busy days. Let the aroma arising remind you that you have something amazing cooking in the kitchen.
What is pulled pork?
It is shredded meat that is tenderized by hours of slow cooking until the tissues can be easily “pulled” apart. Usually served with sauces, this is popularly served with barbecue sauce.
Also, take note, though, that this dish is extremely versatile, and any kind of sauce may actually be used on it and will still taste great.
The Best Cut of Pork for Pulled Pork
The benefit of cooking in the slow cooker is that it turns pretty much any cut of or into tender and juicy meat. Most of the time, I go with boneless pork shoulder. It is also called pork butt or Boston butt.
In addition, choose a pork shoulder that is evenly marbled. This will enhance the flavors a lot!
- Meat: Boneless pork shoulder.
- Seasoning: I use a combination of brown sugar, liquid smoke, onion powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, thyme, ground mustard, and ground cinnamon.
- Barbecue sauce: Using homemade bbq sauce is recommended. But if you are short on time, go with your favorite barbecue sauce.
- Beer and apple cider vinegar: Root beer or regular beer will work.
- Minced garlic or garlic powder
How to make pulled pork in the slow cooker?
- The meat: First, ensure to use a great cut of pork shoulder. Then, cut it into large pieces, and add them to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Season: Next, make the sauce by combining the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Pour the sauce over the meat.
- Slow cook: Set the crockpot to low. Then, cover and cook. This will take about 8 hours until the meat is fall-apart tender.
- Shred: Once tender, remove the meat to a baking dish or cutting board and let it cool. Get two forks and shred the meat.
- Sauce: Get the juice that is left in the crockpot and remove any remaining grease on top. Mix this with a cup of barbecue sauce. Then, pour the resulting mixture over the shredded meat.
- Serve: Serve with buns, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw.
- Seasonings: Feel free to use your favorite seasonings. Also, if you do not have liquid smoke, simply substitute it with smoked paprika.
- Liquid: If you do not want to use beer, then use 1 cup of chicken broth, beef broth, or vegetable broth instead. In addition, substitute apple cider vinegar with red wine vinegar.
- Instant Pot: Making this comfort food in the electric pressure cooker is equally easy, and much faster. Check out my Instant Pot Pulled Pork recipe.
How long to cook it for?
Cooking on LOW heat will take about 8 hours while doing so on HIGH will take about 4 to 5 hours. Cook until tender and easy to shred.
Also, remember for perfectly tender meat, the internal temperature should reach about 205 degrees F. It will be super moist and fall-apart tender.
If after cooking it is still hard to shred, then it’s not done yet.
How much liquid should I use?
You don’t have to add any extra liquid besides the sauce mixture that is recommended in this recipe. The juices from the meat will come out eventually, so, there really is no need to add more liquid.
Can you overcook pulled pork?
Yes, it is possible and that will leave you with mushy meat. Hence, I would still recommend going for the slow-cooking on LOW to prevent it from happening.
Can you use pork loin for pulled pork?
This cut is too lean to be used for this recipe. This also holds true for tenderloin and pork chops. Therefore, I would not recommend it.
Turn it into a sandwich
One of my favorite way of serving this dish is over hamburger buns. Just add the shredded pork over the buns or slider buns along with coleslaw, pickles, and some potato chips!
Don’t forget to drizzle some sauce from the pot over it! It is the best party food, and also ideal for super bowl or game days!
What to serve with it?
Here are some great suggestions:
Refrigerate: Pulled pork holds well in the fridge. First, let it cool completely at room temperature. Then, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Also, refrigerate some of the sauce along with it. This way, you can use it to reheat leftovers.
Freeze: Let it cool completely, then add the meat to either an airtight container or to freezer bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. If using freezer bags, remove any excess air and lay them flat in the freezer. Thaw the night before serving in the fridge, after which heat it up on the stove with some BBQ sauce.
More delicious pork recipes:
- Before shredding, you can let it sit first for about 10-15 minutes to let the flavors redistribute and integrate.
- Also, try removing any excess fat that the pork shoulder has prior to cooking.
- Refrain from opening the lid of the crockpot as it is cooking in order to maintain a high temperature.
- To make pork tacos, just serve them over tortillas and garnish with some chopped jalapeno peppers and cilantro.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- 3-4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder (cut into 3-4 pieces)
- 2 cups barbecue sauce
- 1 cup beer (beer of choice or water)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (use more for a spicier kick)
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- After Slow Cooking:
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 cup leftover cooking sauce
- Hamburger buns
- Combine all the Sauce ingredients in a large bowl and stir well.
- Add the pork pieces to the Slow Cooker and pour the sauce on top of them.
- Cover with the lid, cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Until pork is tender enough to shred with a fork.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker, add it to a large, dip dish and shred it using two forks.
- Strain the cooking liquid and reserve about 2 cups.
- Mix the pork with the remaining 1 cup of barbecue sauce and 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Stir to combine. If needed add more cooking liquid.
- Serve pulled pork immediately on buns, if desired top with coleslaw and more barbecue sauce.
- Store in the refrigerator the remaining cooking liquid, you can use it to reheat the pulled pork, in case it needs more liquid.
- Store pulled pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.