The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe
Easy to make with smokey, slow roasted flavor, this Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe is simply the best there is. Perfect for feeding a crowd or freeze in batches for easy weeknight dinners, this easy pulled pork will be a staple when planning any menu.
Originally published January 2017 and updated January 2020.
This post may contain affiliate links to products I use and love.
Can you believe January is over? It always amazes me how quickly time flies by when the end of the month comes around. It makes me realize how much of a procrastinator I really am…..and apparently, this month that’s been my strength. I’ve actually excelled at it this month and if that was my goal for the year it would be totally awesome, but it’s not.
In fact, I vowed that I would procrastinate less and….well, I’m not. And now, the BIG GAME is happening and all the amazing recipes I had planned to share are piling up. So, you’re about to get smothered with tons of game day foods like the BEST CrockPot Pulled Pork Recipe ever. It’s ok….it works for a weekday dinner, too!
SLOW COOKER PULLED PORK
I’m sure everyone has a great pulled pork recipe but this one…..this one is the very BEST there is. And I don’t say that lightly….in fact, I’ve been working on this recipe for years. Like 20 years to be exact and now, this is it….this is the one I go to every single time.
Pulled Pork is an American barbecue dish that’s common in most of the southern states. It’s, most often, made with pork shoulder that’s been slow smoked over wood until it’s super tender. The pork is then shredded and served with barbecue sauce.
I don’t like to fuss with a smoker or smoker box on the grill during the winter months so I bust out my trusty slow cooker and make a CrockPot Pulled Pork recipe that’s simple to duplicate. It’s tender, juicy and melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
HOW TO MAKE PULLED PORK IN THE SLOW COOKER
A lot of pulled pork recipes tend to be flavorless and dry, you need a ton of toppings just to make them palatable. But the BEST Pulled Pork recipe is fabulous just on it’s own. It’s packed with smokey flavor with a little sweetness and a bit of heat, it tastes like it’s spent some hours on a smoker but….without those crispy edges, the smoke ring and burnt ends. (We’re going to work on that when the weather gets warmer….and I get a smoker….and my own cowboy.)
To make the best pulled pork in your CrockPot or slow cooker, you must first buy the best cut of pork for pulled pork. Basically, any fatty cut of pork will work because fat equals flavor. I prefer to use a pork shoulder, they’re divided into two parts: Boston Butt and Picnic Roast. Typically, I’ll grab a bone-in Picnic Roast but either works well and sometimes you’re left to whatever your grocery has to offer.
If you can only locate a Pork Loin Roast, that will work well, too. You may need to check for doneness by trying to shred the pork with a fork….it may need to cook for a longer period since it can be a leaner cut of pork.
Browning your pork roast before transferring to your slow cooker adds a ton of deep, rich flavor. I beg you not to skip this step but if you’re pressed for time, it will still be amazing if you don’t brown it first.
My slow cooker has a stovetop safe insert and I LOVE it.…if you don’t have an insert that is safe for the stovetop you can brown your pork in a heavy duty skillet.
Place your pork in the crockpot and whisk together all the other ingredients in a bowl with the beef stock. Pour the whole mixture over the pork and cover. Cook the pork shoulder on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. When the meat easily falls off the bone (and it will), transfer the pork to a large platter and remove the fat layer (if any). Shred the pork with two forks and return to the slow cooker.
The best part about this whole recipe is Pork shoulder self-bastes and stays moist, and is nearly impossible to overcook. So, no worries if you can’t pull it out of the slow cooker right at the end of the cooking time.
You’re now ready to pile it on to your luscious Pulled Pork Sandwiches. (That’s right, I said LUSCIOUS!)
WHAT TO SERVE WITH PULLED PORK
We, also, love to make these easy BBQ Sundaes with leftover pulled pork instead of the brisket!
This Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe is a lot like this Kalua Pork but with so much more flavor. And if you’re looking for something a bit different but equally amazing, try these Apple Butter Pulled Pork Sliders, it has a sweet sauce that would be fantastic on a shoe!
The Very Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe
- slow cooker
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 lbs bone-in pork shoulder
- In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, beef stock, vinegar, liquid smoke, tomato paste and honey. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper. Place the pork in the skillet and brown on all sides, approximately 15-20 minutes. (It may take about 5 minutes per side, brown until crusty and golden.)
- Transfer the pork to the slow cooker, fat side up, and pour the liquid mixture over the pork.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours.
- Turn the pork over and cook for an additional 3 hours on low. (Alternatively, you can cook the pork on high for 4 hours total.)
- Transfer the pork roast to a large platter. Using two forks, carefully remove the fat layer and discard. Shred the pork and remove the bone from the slow cooker.
- Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker. Continue cooking for 1 hour on low.
- Serve immediately.
Pork can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.