Discover the secret to succulent, tender slow cooker pulled pork with our foolproof recipe. Let your slow cooker do the work as the flavors meld to perfection, resulting in mouthwatering, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Perfect for sandwiches, tacos, or simply enjoyed on its own, this pulled pork will be the star of your next meal.

Slow cooker pulled pork, where simplicity meets sensational flavor. If you’ve ever craved a dish that tantalizes your taste buds while practically cooking itself, you’re in for a treat. Picture this: tender, juicy pork so effortlessly prepared that you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making it every week. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal effort, you can transform a humble pork shoulder into a culinary masterpiece that will have your family and friends begging for seconds.

The magic of slow cooking lies in its ability to coax out the natural richness and depth of flavors from even the simplest of ingredients. As your pork simmers away low and slow, it becomes infused with aromatic spices and savory goodness, resulting in meat so tender it practically falls apart with the touch of a fork. And the best part? You can set it and forget it, allowing you to go about your day while your kitchen fills with the mouth-watering aroma of anticipation.

Whether you’re planning a casual weeknight dinner or hosting a gathering with loved ones, slow cooker pulled pork is sure to steal the show. Serve it piled high on soft buns with your favorite barbecue sauce for a classic crowd-pleaser, or get creative with tacos, sliders, or even pizza toppings. The possibilities are endless, but one thing is for sure: once you’ve experienced the sheer delight of homemade pulled pork, you’ll never look back.

So, dust off your slow cooker, gather your ingredients, and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that’s as simple as it is satisfying. With just a few hours of gentle simmering, you’ll soon be rewarded with a dish that’s sure to become a staple in your repertoire.

Reasons to love Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • Flavorful Simplicity: With just a few basic ingredients, you can create a dish bursting with rich, savory flavors. The slow cooking process allows the pork to marinate in its own juices and absorb the seasonings, resulting in tender meat that melts in your mouth with every bite.
  • Effortless Preparation: Unlike labor-intensive cooking methods, slow cooker pulled pork requires minimal effort. Simply season the pork, place it in the slow cooker, and let it work its magic while you attend to other tasks. It’s a hassle-free way to enjoy a delicious homemade meal.
  • Feeds a Crowd: Whether you’re hosting a gathering or planning ahead for meals throughout the week, slow cooker pulled pork is a crowd-pleaser that yields plenty of servings. It’s a practical choice for feeding large groups or for batch cooking to save time later on.
  • Budget-Friendly: Pork shoulder, the cut commonly used for pulled pork, is an economical choice that delivers exceptional flavor. Slow cooker pulled pork allows you to create a hearty and satisfying meal without breaking the bank, making it a favorite among budget-conscious cooks.
  • Set It and Forget It Convenience: The beauty of using a slow cooker lies in its set-it-and-forget-it convenience. Once you’ve assembled the ingredients and set the timer, you can step away and let the slow cooker do the rest. There’s no need for constant monitoring, allowing you to enjoy peace of mind while your meal cooks to perfection.

Ingredients needed to make pulled pork

  • Pork: star of the show. Look above for more information on the different types of pork that can be used.
  • Onion: The onion is a flavor that’s in the background. It cooks down a lot to the point that you barely notice it.
  • Tomato Paste: This is the basis of your sauce for the pulled pork.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is a must in making slow cooker pulled pork because it helps to cut down on the richness of the pulled pork.
  • Honey & Brown Sugar: Some sugar is required when making a BBQ sauce. Brown sugar is a much better option than, say, high fructose corn syrup. I know some people have asked if you can make it a sugar-free option, but I have not found one that works.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: It balances the sweetness with some savory flavor
  • Liquid Smoke: This is an ingredient I’ve only just started using recently. It gives you the flavor that it’s been on the BBQ all day but with zero fuss.
  • Hot Sauce: This is an optional ingredient if you do not want some spice, but I like a bit of spice to balance the sweetness.
  • Paprika & garlic powder & mustard powder: This gives the sauce that great BBQ flavor.
  • Cornstarch: To thicken up the sauce and some of the pork’s juices, you mix water and cornstarch together to create a slurry.

What cuts of meat are ideal for making pulled pork?

  • Pork Shoulder (also known as Pork Butt): This is the most common and widely recommended cut for pulled pork. It’s well-marbled with fat and collagen, which break down during slow cooking, resulting in tender, juicy meat that shreds easily.
  • Pork Picnic Shoulder: Similar to pork shoulder, the picnic shoulder is another excellent choice for pulled pork. It has a slightly different shape and may have a bit more fat, but it cooks up just as deliciously as the pork butt.
  • Pork Collar Butt: This cut is less common but equally suitable for pulled pork. It’s a bit leaner than the traditional pork shoulder, but still yields tender and flavorful results when cooked low and slow.

How to make slow cooker pulled pork

  • Prepare the Pork: Season your pork shoulder with your favorite dry rub or spices, ensuring it’s well-coated for maximum flavor.
  • Layer Flavors: Place sliced onions, garlic, and any additional aromatics in the bottom of your slow cooker to infuse the pork with extra depth of flavor as it cooks.
  • Add Liquids: Pour in a flavorful liquid such as broth, apple cider vinegar, or barbecue sauce to keep the pork moist and add extra layers of taste.
  • Cook Low and Slow: Set your slow cooker to low and let the pork cook for 8-10 hours, allowing it to become tender and easily shreddable.
  • Shred and Serve: Once the pork is done, use two forks to shred it directly in the slow cooker, mixing it with the flavorful juices. Serve it on buns, in tacos, or however you prefer, and enjoy the deliciousness!

Variations

  • Barbecue Style: After shredding the pork, mix it with your favorite barbecue sauce directly in the slow cooker for classic barbecue pulled pork. Serve on buns with coleslaw for a traditional Southern-style meal.
  • Asian-Inspired: Add soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a touch of honey to the slow cooker for an Asian twist. Serve the shredded pork in lettuce wraps with shredded cabbage, carrots, and a drizzle of hoisin sauce.
  • Tex-Mex Flair: Season the pork with cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika for a Tex-Mex flavor profile. Serve it in tacos with salsa, avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime for a delicious fiesta.
  • Hawaiian Style: Add pineapple juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar to the slow cooker for a taste of the tropics. Serve the pulled pork on Hawaiian rolls with a slice of grilled pineapple for a sweet and savory treat.
  • Caribbean Twist: Mix in jerk seasoning, lime juice, and a splash of rum for a taste of the Caribbean. Serve the pulled pork on a bed of rice with black beans and mango salsa for a flavorful island-inspired meal.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Trim Excess Fat: Before seasoning your pork, trim any large pieces of excess fat from the exterior. While some fat is desirable for flavor and tenderness, removing excessive fat can prevent the dish from becoming overly greasy.
  • Allow Time for Seasoning: For maximum flavor, season your pork shoulder with your preferred dry rub or spices at least 1 hour before cooking. This allows the seasonings to penetrate the meat and infuse it with flavor.
  • Layer Flavors: Consider adding sliced onions, garlic, or herbs to the bottom of the slow cooker before adding the pork. These aromatic ingredients will enhance the flavor of the pork as it cooks and create a more complex final dish.
  • Choose the Right Liquid: The liquid you use in the slow cooker can greatly impact the flavor of the pulled pork. Choose a flavorful liquid such as broth, apple cider vinegar, beer, or even cola to enhance the taste of the meat.
  • Low and Slow Cooking: For the most tender and flavorful pulled pork, cook it on the low setting of your slow cooker for 8-10 hours. This long cooking time allows the collagen in the meat to break down slowly, resulting in juicy, succulent pork that falls apart effortlessly.
  • Shred with Ease: Once the pork is cooked, use two forks to shred it directly in the slow cooker. The meat should be so tender that it falls apart effortlessly. If you prefer a finer texture, you can use a pair of meat claws or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to shred the pork more finely.

The Best Toppings for Pulled Pork

  • Trim Excess Fat: Before seasoning your pork, trim any large pieces of excess fat from the exterior. While some fat is desirable for flavor and tenderness, removing excessive fat can prevent the dish from becoming overly greasy.
  • Allow Time for Seasoning: For maximum flavor, season your pork shoulder with your preferred dry rub or spices at least 1 hour before cooking. This allows the seasonings to penetrate the meat and infuse it with flavor.
  • Layer Flavors: Consider adding sliced onions, garlic, or herbs to the bottom of the slow cooker before adding the pork. These aromatic ingredients will enhance the flavor of the pork as it cooks and create a more complex final dish.
  • Choose the Right Liquid: The liquid you use in the slow cooker can greatly impact the flavor of the pulled pork. Choose a flavorful liquid such as broth, apple cider vinegar, beer, or even cola to enhance the taste of the meat.
  • Low and Slow Cooking: For the most tender and flavorful pulled pork, cook it on the low setting of your slow cooker for 8-10 hours. This long cooking time allows the collagen in the meat to break down slowly, resulting in juicy, succulent pork that falls apart effortlessly.
  • Shred with Ease: Once the pork is cooked, use two forks to shred it directly in the slow cooker. The meat should be so tender that it falls apart effortlessly. If you prefer a finer texture, you can use a pair of meat claws or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to shred the pork more finely.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to cook pulled pork in a slow cooker?

Pulled pork typically cooks on the low setting of a slow cooker for 8-10 hours, depending on the size of the pork shoulder. This long cooking time allows the collagen in the meat to break down slowly, resulting in tender, succulent pork.

Do I need to sear the pork before putting it in the slow cooker?

While searing the pork before slow cooking can add additional flavor, it’s not necessary. The low and slow cooking process in the slow cooker will still result in tender, flavorful pulled pork even without searing.

How should I store leftover pulled pork?

Leftover pulled pork can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, gently warm the pork in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven until heated through.

What are some serving suggestions for pulled pork?

Pulled pork can be served in a variety of ways, including on buns for sandwiches, in tacos or burritos, over rice or salad, or as a topping for pizza or nachos. It’s versatile and pairs well with a wide range of flavors and accompaniments.
pulled pork sandwich

How To Make Slow cooker pulled pork

Using a pork shoulder, pantry spices, and coke, this slow cooker recipe is ideal for feeding a large crowd or a family gathering.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 330 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 slow cooker or instant pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • ¾ cup tomato paste
  • cup honey
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp sriracha or hot sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 boneless pork shoulder 3-4 pounds
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Serving

  • buns
  • coleslaw
  • cheese

Instructions
 

  • In the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker, whisk together the onion, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, honey, water, brown sugar, Worcestershire, smoked paprika, garlic powder, mustard powder, sriracha, 1 teaspoon salt, and liquid smoke (if using), until smoothly combined.
  • Season the pork all over with a generous amount of kosher salt and ground pepper.
  • Add the pork to the slow cooker and spoon the sauce all over the top to cover it.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours or LOW for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is fall-apart tender. Transfer the pork to a large bowl, leaving the cooking liquid in the slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons cold water to create a slurry. Pour into the slow cooker, then whisk to combine. Cover the slow cooker and cook on HIGH, whisking every so often, until the sauce is thickened to your liking, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • While the sauce thickens, shred the pork with two forks or, if it is cool enough to handle, with your fingers.
  • Stir the shredded pork back into the thickened sauce in the slow cooker. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired (you may need an extra pinch of salt or some additional hot sauce if you enjoy a kick). Spoon pork on top of buns with coleslaw and pickles to create a sandwich, or serve it any way you like.

Notes

Instant Pot- I like to do this in a instant pot as well and i set it for and hour and you have pulled pork ready to go.
Keyword BBQ, pork chop
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