With this Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork recipe, you can enjoy tender and juicy pork seasoned with spices that are slowly simmered and cooked in your favorite bbq sauce! Perfect shredded for tacos, burritos, rice bowls, sandwiches, or just eating by itself.
Pulled pork is a staple protein for so many reasons. It’s easy to make, it’s incredibly versatile, and you can feed a large crowd!
BBQ pulled pork is slow-cooked pork shoulder (also known as Boston Butt) that has been seasoned with smoky and tangy seasonings and sauces. Once fully cooked, the pork can easily be shredded with two forks and used for many different meals.
It's typically cooked in a smoker or in the oven. The great thing about this recipe is that it uses the slow cooker to make it simple and easy! Since the cut of pork has a high fat content, it needs a low and slow approach to break down the fat letting it soak into the meat, making a deliciously tender bbq pork!
This delicious shredded pork can be used in a variety of different ways, including in burritos, tacos, or on top of Creamy Crock Pot Mac and Cheese!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s easy to make - All you have to do is season your pork and slow-cook it in the slow cooker! No need to stand over a hot stove or constantly monitor the cooking process.
- You can feed a lot of people with one batch – This slow cooker BBQ pulled pork recipe is enough to feed a large crowd of hungry people!
- The slow cooker does all the work – Let your slow cooker do all the hard parts and just enjoy the deliciousness when it’s done cooking.
- It’s incredibly versatile - The possibilities are endless with slow cooker BBQ pulled pork! Enjoy it in tacos, burritos, or sandwiches, or just eat it by itself.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Boneless Pork Shoulder - This is the cut of pork typically used for pulled pork. It works well because it has a good amount of fat which helps to keep the pork moist as it cooks.
- BBQ Sauce - You can use your favorite brand of BBQ sauce or make your own!
- Dry Rub - The dry rub is a blend of seasonings to help enhance the flavor of the pork and includes salt, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Adds a tangy acidity to the pork that helps tenderize it and adds a hint of sweetness.
- Chicken Broth - Used to help keep the pork moist as it slowly cooks while adding additional flavor.
How To Make BBQ Pulled Pork In The Slow Cooker
Mix the dry rub: To a small bowl, add the onion powder, pepper, garlic, salt, and Italian seasoning. Whisk until well combined.
Prepare the pork: Pat the pork dry with paper towels and trim any excess fat if desired. Use the dry rub to coat the pork on all sides. Place the seasoned pork into the slow cooker.
Make the sauce: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the bbq sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chicken broth until fully combined, then pour it into the bottom of the slow cooker.
Cover and cook: Pour the sauce on top of the pork. Add the lid to the top and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours. The pork must reach an internal temperature of 195F in the thickest part.
Drain and shred: Remove the large pork piece from the slow cooker and drain the juices saving ¾ cup. Shred the pork with two forks and add it back to the slow cooker with the remaining juice.
Add sauce and serve: If desired, stir additional BBQ sauce into the crock pot with the pork until combined. Enjoy!
- When choosing your pork for this recipe. Find one that is at least 4 pounds and has good marbling (fat content). This will help keep the pork juicy as it slowly cooks.
- When shredding the pork, make sure to get it into nice small pieces so that you can easily fit them in tacos or sandwiches.
- Make sure not to overcook the pork! Check for doneness with a meat thermometer, and make sure the internal temperature registers at 195F before removing it from the slow cooker.
- You can shred pulled pork in many ways, including using two forks, a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or even a food processor.
- When saving the juices, remove as much fat as possible from the top of the liquid.
- Other cuts of pork that can be used for this recipe include pork loin, boneless pork butt, or pork ribs.
- If you don’t have any dry rub on hand, you can use a store-bought version or make your own with different seasonings like smoked paprika and cumin.
- Add some extra flavor to the slow cooker BBQ pulled pork by stirring in a few tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce.
- Use different types of BBQ sauce for this recipe, including sweet, spicy, or smoky.
- For a sweeter version of pulled pork, whisk in ¼ cup of brown sugar with the dry rub.
Storing: Once cooled, any leftover bbq pulled pork can be stored in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezing: To freeze slow cooker bbq pulled pork, place it in a freezer-safe storage bag and remove as much air as possible. Freeze for up to three months. Let the pork thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Reheating: The best way to reheat pulled pork is in the slow cooker. Add the pork to a slow cooker, add ¼ cup of chicken broth or water. Then, cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through. You can also heat it on the stovetop over medium heat.
This slow cooker BBQ pulled pork recipe makes enough to feed 8-10 people or more, depending on what recipe you are using it for.
The best way to drain excess fat is to use a large spoon and skim off the fat that rises to the top of the slow cooker juices. You can also discard any large pieces of visible fat before cooking. Be sure not to dump rendered fat down the drain as this could clog up your sink.
A blend of something sweet, tangy, and acidic is the best combination of liquid to cook pulled pork in, as it will tenderize the pork and add lots of flavors.
Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
- Add onion powder, pepper, garlic, salt, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined. Rub seasoning on pork shoulder and place in the slow cooker.
- Add bbq sauce, vinegar, and chicken broth in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined and pour into the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 7 - 8 hours or high for 3 - 4 or until pork reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees.
- Remove pork from the slow cooker and shred. Drain juices except for ¾ cup and mix the shredded pork back into the juices.
- For extra flavor, add additional BBQ sauce if desired.
- Either bone-in or boneless pork shoulder, also known as pork butt, can be used. If there are any bones, make sure to remove them before shredding the pork.
- When the pork is fully cooked, it should be tender enough to shred easily. To achieve this, cook the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
- I always keep an additional 18-ounce bottle of barbecue sauce on hand when preparing this shredded pork. This way, everyone can add more sauce according to their taste preferences.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.