Pulled Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker)

October 4, 2018  ·  Published December 4, 2011

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A good Pulled Pork is just one of those comforting recipes we should all have stashed in our recipe book. This is the pulled pork recipe I’ve been using for years! I love how it’s incredibly easy yet incredibly delicious!

Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe

So what makes this my favorite pulled pork recipe?

  • A simple homemade dry rub (the seasoning mixture that’s rubbed over the roast).
  • A slightly sweet, tangy, smokey broth mixture the roast soaks and cooks in for 8 hours.
  • I love that since it’s cooked in the slow cooker it’s super tender.
  • And I also like the shortcut of a store-bought bbq sauce here, making it doable for busy days (but feel free to use homemade if you got some on hand).

Then for me it’s not complete without a side of coleslaw. The two just go hand in hand right?

My coleslaw of choice for pulled pork sandwiches is this simple recipe HERE, but I do like to add blue cheese crumbles when pairing it with pulled pork. It takes it over the top.

Pulled Pork ingredients needed shown here

Easy Pulled Pork Ingredients

For the pulled pork seasoning, you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp salt and 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or a little more if you want it spicier)

For the roast and broth you’ll need:

  • 4 pound boneless pork shoulder roast (aka Boston Butt roast)
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 Tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 1/4 cups BBQ sauce (I like to use Bullseye)

Then don’t forget about the buns and coleslaw if you want to make a bbq pork sandwich!

Pulled Pork Sandwich

How to Make Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
  • Place roast in a baking dish and rub entire roast with dry rub mixture, pressing mixture over the roast. Cover roast with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine apple juice, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire and liquid smoke.
  • Place roast in a slow cooker, pour several tablespoons of the apple juice mixture over the top of the roast, then pour remaining mixture on the side of the roast (I do this so all the dry rub isn’t washed off the top).
  • Cover slow cooker and cook on low heat 8 – 10 hours.

Pulled Pork shown here finished cooking in crockpot

  • Remove roast from slow cooker and shred (leave broth in slow cooker). Return shredded pork to slow cooker (in broth) and allow to cook on low 10 – 20 more minutes.
  • Drain most of the broth from pork (I leave about 1/2 cup), pour in barbecue sauce and toss.
  • Serve in buns with coleslaw to make pulled pork sandwiches, if desired.

Pulled pork shown here in crock pot pouring barbecue sauce over top.

What’s the Best Pork for Pulled Pork?

Stick with pork shoulder (AKA Boston butt) for flavorful, tender results.

Can I Use a Bone-In Pork Roast?

A bone-in roast works great here too. Look for one that’s about 4.5 pounds to make up for the weight of the bone.

Can I Make Pulled Pork in an Instant Pot?

To make this easy pulled pork recipe in an Instant Pot, cook at high pressure or manual mode for 75 minutes.

Pulled Pork

How to Reheat Pulled Pork

I recommend reheating leftover pulled pork in the oven or in a covered skillet over low heat. Be sure to reheat the pulled pork with some of its juices, otherwise it’ll dry out.

Can You Freeze Pulled Pork?

Yes, this slow cooker pulled pork freezes very well. Seal it inside a freezer bag with some of its juices. To thaw, place in your fridge overnight.

Pulled Pork shown here in a bun with coleslaw sitting on parchment paper on a marble surface

Tips for the Best Pulled Pork

  • Add a good seasoning before cooking. The dry rub used here is tasty and doesn’t call for 101 ingredients.
  • Simmer in a flavorful broth. The roast will soak up the flavors of the broth (which is apple juice and apple cider vinegar based here) throughout that lengthy cook time.
  • Cook low and slow. I love the slow cooker method for pulled pork because it yields perfectly tender shredded pork.
  • Don’t forget the sauce. Pulled pork is all about that barbecue sauce. I recommend using a smokey rich sauce that isn’t too sweet.
  • Add coleslaw for texture, freshness and color. It makes the sandwich look that much more appealing.

More Easy Pork Recipes You’ll Love

Pulled Pork shown here in a bun with coleslaw sitting on parchment paper on a marble surface
4.83 from 17 votes

Pulled Pork (Slow Cooker)

This is my go-to pulled pork recipe! It's super easy to make, amazingly tender, and deliciously flavorful. Put it in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to a dinner that's practically ready after work.
Servings: 8 people
Prep10 minutes
Cook8 hours 15 minutes
Resting2 hours
Ready in: 10 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 pound boneless pork shoulder roast (aka Boston Butt roast)
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 1/4 cups BBQ sauce (I like to use Bullseye)

Instructions

  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
  • Place pork shoulder in a baking dish and rub entire roast with dry rub mixture, pressing mixture over the roast. Cover roast with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine apple juice, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire and liquid smoke.
  • Place roast in a slow cooker, pour several tablespoons of the apple juice mixture over the top of the roast, then pour remaining mixture on the side of the roast (I do this so all the dry rub isn't washed off the top).
  • Cover slow cooker and cook on low heat 8 - 10 hours. 
  • Remove roast from slow cooker and shred (leave broth in slow cooker). Return shredded pork to slow cooker (in broth) and allow to cook 10 - 20 more minutes. 
  • Strain most of the broth from pork (I leave about 1/2 cup), pour in barbecue sauce and toss.
  • Serve in buns with coleslaw if desired.

Notes

  • I like to serve with this coleslaw HERE. I like to add some blue cheese crumbles to it as well it pairs deliciously with the pork.
  • Serve with fresh bakery buns for best results. Skip those down the bread isle.
  • Recipe source: adapted from Food Network.
Nutrition Facts
Pulled Pork (Slow Cooker)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 338 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 92mg31%
Sodium 1921mg84%
Potassium 747mg21%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 24g27%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 1040IU21%
Vitamin C 2.6mg3%
Calcium 55mg6%
Iron 2.8mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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87 Comments

  • CT-Griff

    Off & on over the years, I’ve eaten pulled pork sandwiches and they were… well, just okay. Not terrible but not jaw-dropping wonderful either.

    And then a Facebook friend convinced me I’d just hadn’t had the “right” pulled pork sandwiches. So, I bought a 6# pork butt and started looking at dozens of different recipes. This one sounded too spicy and that one sounded too bland and this other one… well, you get the idea.

    And then I found this COOKING CLASSY recipe for pulled pork. It sounded as if it had just the right amount of sweet & smoky & spicy and everything else I was looking to have in a pulled pork sandwich, including homemade coleslaw for which, if I do say so myself, I’m particularly well-known for in these parts.

    OMG… this is absolutely & positively the most PERFECT pulled pork recipe on the face of the planet! Add in my coleslaw and grown men have made rude gestures to one another at the buffet table trying to scrape the serving bowl of its last dribs of pulled pork. LOL!

    Both my husband and adult son are known for not going out of their way to tell me when they like a meal or not… but this pulled pork recipe was the one they finally couldn’t keep quiet about. They have each requested it numerous times and if I forget to put it in the regular meal rotation, they are very quick to remind me it’s been *AGES* since we’ve had it. NB: In their definition, “ages” translates to 10-14 days. ;)

    Thanks very much for an incredible recipe that has really upped my cooking game.

  • Gypsy

    Wonderful easy great tasting recipe. Found the bullseye to be a little too spicy and substituted Kraft original. Everybody asks for the recipe

  • CiCi

    I couldn’t find a boneless pork shoulder. I took my bone out and it’s cut in portions. Would it still be okay if it’s not a whole together pork shoulder?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes that’s just fine, it should only cook need to cook 7 to 8 hours.

  • Lauren

    This recipe is amazing! I didn’t have enough time to let the roast rest with the dry rub mixture on it before putting it in the crockpot, but it still tasted amazing! The roast was fall-apart tender and packed with flavor. I’m sure it tastes even better when it rests in the fridge overnight prior to cooking, but if you’re anything like me and don’t always plan ahead, don’t let that stop you from making this anyway! Thank you so much.

  • Mandy

    My husband says it is the best pulled pork he has ever had. And said it didn’t need BBQ sauce on it. I messed put the BBQ sauce in with the vinegar and apple juice. I rubbed the roast down and let in sit in the fridge over night. I made the broth and put it in a jar and let that sit in the fridge over night as well. I cooked on high for 4 hours and then low for 4 hours. I will be saving this recipe!

  • JOHN

    I HAVE A PACKAGE OF FULLY COOKES FROZEN PULL PORK, I’M HAVING A HARD TIME UNDERSTANDING THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE PACKAGE. I WANT TO MAKE A SANTWICH WITH THAT HOW DO HEAT IT AND MAKE SANTWICH?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I would recommend referring to the brands website for cooking instructions. I’m guessing it would be a thaw period in the fridge then reheating on the stove in a pot or in the oven.