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Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

Can't babysit a grill for a whole day? This easy slow cooker bbq pulled pork gives you the irresistible smoke and tangy goodness of a full-on smokehouse operation right from your kitchen.

There is a hand holding up a pulled pork sandwich. There is a toasted bun, pulled pork, and slaw, with a bowl of pulled pork in the back.

What is pulled pork?

Pulled pork is kinda what it sounds like: a roast of pork (usually butt/shoulder) cooked to tenderness before being pulled apart. Despite the simplicity, there are definitely a few different ways to go about having pulled pork—one great example being these slow cooker pork carnitas.

Easy slow cooker bbq pulled pork

So what makes this recipe BBQ pulled pork? Why can we call something BBQ that was cooked in a slow cooker? Because we can, that's why. And because this recipe makes great use of your favorite BBQ sauce (let me know in the comments which one you choose!).

There is a plate with a pulled pork sandwich. There is a toasted bun, pulled pork, and slaw, with a bowl of pulled pork in the back.

Bbq pulled pork ingredients

For this recipe, you’ll need ingredients to place in the slow cooker with the pork, as well as ingredients to make the rub for the pork. What goes in with it? Aromatics—in this case, we go for garlic and onion. The simple rub ingredients are below.

What is the best cut of pork for pulled pork?

A pork shoulder or pork butt will be the best cut of pork for this recipe. I like to use a boneless, skinless pork butt roast for pulled pork. Some people like to leave the bone in, as it imparts flavor, but I promise you'll get plenty of flavor with the boneless option should you choose to go that route.

Dry rub for pulled pork

  • Salt - The foundation of flavor!
  • Cumin - To make things interesting.
  • Brown sugar - Little bit of sweet.
  • Cayenne - Little bit of heat.
  • Black pepper - Salt was going to be lonely.

BBQ sauce for pulled pork

  • BBQ Sauce - You can use any kind of BBQ sauce for this recipe. My favorite is the Franklin Pork BBQ Sauce. What's yours?
  • Apple cider vinegar - The acidity teams up with the richness of the pork for a flavor explosion.
  • Chicken broth or stock - What can't be improved by a good stock?
  • Worchestershire sauce - Can't really pronounce it—gotta have it!

How to make bbq pulled pork

The method for making bbq pulled pork with this recipe is searing in a pan (SO IMPORTANT!) and then cooking in a slow cooker. It’s SO easy to make pulled pork in the slow cooker. I would say "set it and forget it," but trust me: you won't forget about this until long after you've had a chance to eat it and make it again.

BBQ pulled pork instructions

  • Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. To do this, take the pork out of the packaging and use paper towels to soak up all the excess liquid.
  • Combine the rub ingredients into a small bowl. Use your hands to add the rub all over the pork.
  • Heat up a skillet to medium/medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Sear the pork on each side for about 3-5 minutes until golden brown. (5 minutes on the big sides and 3 minutes on smaller sides).
  • While the pork is searing, prepare the sauce mixture and chop the onion and garlic.
  • Place the pork in the slow cooker (fat cap up).
  • Add sauce mixture, onion, and garlic.
  • Slow cook the pork on low for about 8 hours or until done. The pork should be tender enough to shred.
  • Remove the pork from the slow cooker and let it cool so you can trim the fat and drain some of the excess liquid (optional).
  • Shred using two forks.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • For optimal enjoyment, serve with buns and coleslaw!
This is a glass dish filled with pulled pork. There are pieces of golden brown pulled pork, topped with onions.

Is bbq pulled pork healthy?

This bbq pulled pork is packed with nutrients! One serving of bbq pulled pork is 330 calories and offers 18 grams of protein!

This is a pulled pork sandwich. There is a small plate with a bun, pulled pork, and slaw in between.

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

You're going to give it from 6-8 hours, depending on the slow cooker you use and the size of roast. It's not such an exact science in this case: you're trying to cook it through and get it to a point where it pulls easily.

This is an open faced pulled pork sandwich. There is a small plate with two buns -- one has slaw and the other has pork on it. There is also a bowl of pulled pork on the side.

Can you put raw pork in a slow cooker?

You can definitely do that, but the searing process at the beginning is a huge difference maker in terms of flavor. Trust me: I've tried it both ways, and the sear in the beginning is the way to go.

Can you cook pulled pork too long in a slow cooker?

I guess it's possible to cook anything too long in a slow cooker—pork is no exception. You just want to cook the pork completely through and give it a chance to become tender enough that it pulls apart when you ask it to do so (nicely, of course).

What to serve with pulled pork

We like to have our pulled pork with a bun and a side of slaw. Oh, and more sauce.

This is a pulled pork sandwich. There is a small plate with a bun, pulled pork, and slaw in between.

Looking for more easy dinner recipes?

Try one of these popular easy dinner recipes:

There is a hand holding up a pulled pork sandwich. There is a toasted bun, pulled pork, and slaw, with a bowl of pulled pork in the back.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

Can't babysit a grill for a whole day? This easy slow cooker bbq pulled pork gives you the irresistible smoke and tangy goodness of a full-on smokehouse operation right from your kitchen.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq pulled pork, pulled pork
Servings: 6
Calories: 330kcal
Author: Jordan Smith

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 4 lb pork shoulder or butt skinless, boneless (I used a boneless boston pork butt roast)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Dry Rub:

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Sauce for top of pulled pork:

  • 1 cup BBQ sauce Franklin BBQ Pork BBQ Sauce
  • ¼ cup Apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Chicken broth or stock
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Bottom of slow cooker:

  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves minced

Instructions

  • Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. To do this, take the pork out of the packaging and use paper towels to soak up all the excess liquid.
  • Combine the rub ingredients into a small bowl. Use your hands to add the rub all over the pork.
  • Heat up a skillet to medium/medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Sear the pork on each side for about 3-5 minutes until golden brown. (5 minutes on the big sides and 3 minutes on smaller sides).
  • While the pork is searing, prepare the sauce mixture and chop the onion and garlic.
  • Place the pork in the slow cooker (fat cap up).
  • Add sauce mixture, onion, and garlic.
  • Slow cook the pork on low for about 8 hours or until done. The pork should be tender enough to shred.
  • Remove the pork from the slow cooker and let it cool so you can trim the fat and drain some of the excess liquid (optional).
  • Shred using two forks.
  • Optional: Add extra BBQ sauce to the pork after pulling.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • For optimal enjoyment, serve with buns and coleslaw!

Nutrition

Serving: 4oz | Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.7g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 22.3g
Recipe Rating




Katie N

Tuesday 20th of July 2021

Made this today and it was fantastic! My husband couldn’t wait to dig and texted me “daaaaaaaang this is good!” He is hard to impress! This fell apart and was so tender. This will become a regular recipe for us, for sure!