This slow cooked pulled pork recipe can be a game changer for you. It is so easy to make, and the end result is fall off the bone, moist slow cooker roast.
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The ingredients for our slow cooker pulled pork are pantry staples that are easy to find at the grocery store. Let's talk about the key ingredients.
- Meat: We used a pork shoulder roast also known as a Boston butt in the U.S.
- Rub: We used a combination of dried spices and light brown sugar.
- Aromatics: We used a yellow onion, garlic cloves and bay leaves.
- Liquids: We used chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients for our slow cooker pulled pork recipe, then chop the onions and peel the garlic cloves.
- Put all the spices along with the brown sugar in a small bowl. Mix them together with a spoon to make the homemade rub.
- Rinse the Boston butt with cold water and pat it dry with paper towel. Use your hands to rub the spice mixture on both sides of the Boston butt.
3. Place the sliced onions, peeled garlic, and bay leaves in the bottom of a large crock pot, then add any leftover spices from the rub. Pour in the low sodium chicken broth.
4. Place the Boston butt fat side up, then add the Worcestershire sauce and the liquid smoke.
5. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours or on low for 12. The roast is done when it reaches 190°F on a meat thermometer and is very tender.
6. Place the Boston butt on a large cutting board with grooves. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Once it has cooled enough so you can touch it, shred it with two forks.
7. If you like, add the garlic cloves and cooked onions back into the meat and mix it together. If you'd like to add some of the liquid from the slow cooker, add it one tablespoon at a time.
8. Now you have some finger-licking Southern pulled pork ready to be made into sandwiches. Make this for supper tonight--you will be so glad you did!
Yes, you can. Make sure you cook it until the internal temperature reads 190F with a meat thermometer. When it's done, it should be moist and very tender. This should take 8 hours on high or 12 hours on low. The texture can be mushy if it's cooked too long.
No, the loin doesn't have enough fat and will not shred properly once it's cooked. If you can't find the whole shoulder, you can also use Boston butt or picnic shoulder.
Yes. In our recipe, we use chicken broth flavored with a bit of liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce. The liquid is important because it helps the meat cook and dissolves all the connective tissue making it super tender.
When cooked, the pork shoulder should easily shred. If you find that it's done cooking and it isn't tender then the pork may need to cook a bit longer. You can't rush cooking this dish. It needs the full amount of time in order to cook up tender and juicy.
There are many uses for this pulled pork recipe. Below are some suggestions.
- Mexican: tacos, taquitos, enchiladas, nachos, burrito bowls, or quesadillas
- American: sandwiches, chili, mac and cheese, breakfast hash, sliders, or on top bratwursts on a hot dog bun
- Italian: pizza, rigatoni, or spaghetti
- Asian: Vietnamese Bah Mi, or Chinese pulled pork lettuce wraps
In the South, you will see a variety of side dishes for pulled pork. Some popular ones are:
- Mac and cheese
- Baked beans
- Hush puppies
- Corn casserole
- Fried okra
- Green beans
- Black eyed peas
- Collard greens
Freeze: Let it cool completely, then put two cups into each airtight container or zip-top freezer bag. It should keep for up to two months. Make sure to label it, so you know when it will expire.
Reheat: The easiest way is to microwave it, but you can also reheat it in a skillet--just add a little oil and cook over medium heat until it's warmed through.
- Make this one day ahead to improve the flavor.
- Make a homemade rub with spices you love.
- You don't need to sear the meat before putting it in the slow cooker.
- You can reserve the juice, just skim off the fat.
- Use two forks to shred the meat once it's cool enough to handle.
More Pork Recipes You'll Love
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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
For the Rub
For the Meat
- 7 pound pork shoulder roast, Boston butt, boneless
For the Aromatics
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- Stir together the rub mixture spices in a medium bowl.
- Rinse and pat dry the roast with paper towels, then rub the spice mixture all over the roast.
- Slice the onion into rings and peel the garlic, then place them at the bottom of the crock pot. Add two bay leaves and dump any remaining spices from the rub mixture into the crock pot. Pour in the liquids and place the roast fat side up.
- Cover and cook on high for 8 hours or on low for 12. The roast is done when it is very tender.
- Once the roast is done, place it on a large cutting board. Let the meat rest for 30 minutes. For pulled pork use two forks to shred the meat and discard any extra fat, then place the pulled pork in a very large bowl. This should take 15 minutes.
- Take the cooked onions and garlic out of the crock pot and place in a small bowl. Mush up the garlic with the tongs of a fork, then add the garlic and onions to the meat.
- This step is optional: add the extra cooking liquid to the pulled pork, one tablespoon at a time, until the meat is as moist and flavorful as you desire.
- Serve on hamburger buns with BBQ sauce, coleslaw and pickled red onions, on soft tacos, or as is with some BBQ sauce.
- To improve the flavor of pulled pork, make this one day ahead.
- A homemade rub with spices you love is the best way to go.
- Save time, don't sear the meat before putting it in the slow cooker.
- Skim off the fat before reserving the juice.
- As a short cut to guests, stir in your favorite BBQ sauce to the pulled pork before serving on buns.
Our slow cooker pulled pork recipe was originally published on May 3, 2018 and was updated on June 6, 2019 with new photos and content on also on May 17, 2022 with resized photos and updated content.