A foolproof recipe for slow cooker pulled pork with a homemade bbq sauce. It's one of my favorite weeknight dinners, and leftovers are great too!
I just love this recipe. Dinner doesn't get any easier than this! Quickly mix a homemade bbq sauce (or use a store-bought sauce), pour over the pork, set, and forget. Eight hours later, come home to a tender, flavorful, perfectly cooked dinner!
Pulled pork is such a classic comfort food, and making it in the slow cooker is a foolproof way to achieve truly tender, succulent meat that mixes perfectly with the sweet-tangy sauce.
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make pulled pork in your slow cooker. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Pork roast: The classic cut to use is pork butt - see the discussion below. This is a great cut for slow cooking because it's fatty and flavorful, and the fat melts away as it slowly cooks.
Barbecue sauce: Either store-bought or homemade, this is completely up to you. For a homemade sauce, I mix together tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and a small amount of sweetener. If you like your food spicy, try adding ¼ teaspoon cayenne. You can also omit the sweetener for less sweetness and more tang.
How to make pulled pork in a slow cooker
Easily! Scroll down for the detailed recipe card. Here are the basic steps:
- Quickly mix the bbq sauce in a bowl or a jar.
2. Place the meat in the slow cooker pan. There's no need to brown it first, and there's also no need to add water.
3. Add the barbecue sauce. Make sure it covers all surfaces of the meat.
4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. You will love the smell that will fill your kitchen after the first few hours!
5. Shred the meat and mix it with the sauce, right inside the slow cooker pan, then serve.
What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?
Pork shoulder is probably the best cut. If you have a choice between pork shoulder (the lower part of the shoulder) and a pork butt (the upper part), go with pork butt, aka Boston butt. It's tasty and fatty and won't dry out during the slow cooking process. Pork shoulder is best when making a pork roast.
Sometimes I use pork loin in this recipe. It's leaner than pork shoulder, so it's admittedly not as good. But I find that it still produces tasty and juicy meat, probably thanks to the barbecue sauce.
How to thicken the sauce
Thickening the cooking juices isn't strictly necessary, since you simply shred the meat and mix it into the juices. But if you'd like a thicker sauce, you can raise the heat to high after shredding the meat and mixing it with the sauce and keep cooking for 30 more minutes.
How to serve pulled pork?
Traditionally, you would serve it on buns. Sometimes I serve it on cloud bread. But I usually just skip the bun altogether and serve this dish over cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower. I add a simple green side (such as microwave broccoli) for a complete meal.
What to do with leftovers?
As with most slow-cooked meats, leftovers of this recipe keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. They taste great even on the last day! To prevent them from over-drying, gently reheat them in the microwave, covered, on 50% power.
Other slow-cooked recipes that you might enjoy
A good alternative to pork is using chicken thighs. Here's a great recipe for bbq pulled chicken (this one is made in the oven). And for a Mexican flavor, try these crispy and delicious pork carnitas. They are incredibly flavorful!
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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- 3 lb. pork butt roast
- Place the pork in your slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce ingredients. Pour over the pork and use your hands to make sure the pork is well-coated.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
- Carefully remove the lid (hot steam will escape). Increase the heat to HIGH. Use two forks to shred the meat and mix it well with the sauce (remove the butcher twine if needed). Cover and cook until slightly thickened, 15-30 more minutes, then serve.