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The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

How to make The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork! Everyone is sure to love this amazing slow cooker pulled pork. The perfect blend of spices make it tender and so flavorful.pulled pork sandwich on a black plate with a gray checked napkin in the background

How to make The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is a big claim but I can tell you I’ve tried a lot of pulled pork recipes and this one is at the top of my list! So simple yet plenty of flavor! This has been enjoyed as sandwiches, as tacos, as nachos and even just on it’s own. Short of going through a major process of slow smoking the meat, this slow cooker version will be your new favorite and the best go-to option for slow cooker pulled pork without all the work! And it’s perfect for busy days when you need to have a meal for entertaining. I’ve made this many times for many crowds, and it’s always gone by the end of the night.

This recipe has also been converted for those of you that love pressure cookers and it’s pretty amazing if I do say so myself!

glass bowl of spice blend for slow cooker pulled pork

What makes this the best slow cooker pulled pork?

Just the right blend of spices (most you should have on hand) rubbed into a pork shoulder roast make for a flavorful meat that has a tiny bit of kick but is generally mild enough for even picky eaters. Want some bold flavor? Up the spices to your liking… if you like spicy you can up the cayenne!! And I love setting out several different types of BBQ sauce so that everyone can make their own flavor combos.

Check out my video showing you just how easy it is to make this slow cooker pulled pork recipe:

pork shoulder rubbed with spices in a slow cooker to make slow cooker pulled pork

What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?

  • pulled pork is generally made using pork shoulder
  • there are two pieces to the shoulder usually available at the store – the butt and the picnic shoulder
  • the first generally works the best, but I’ve had great results with the picnic shoulder too

What is also love is that…..

There is no need to brown anything up ahead of time which makes this a quick start meal.

How long do you cook pulled pork in a slow cooker?

Throw it in early in the day and let it slow cook for at least 8 hours (or even longer) for best results.

For meat like this to properly shred, it needs to reach an internal temperature of 205 degrees F. It will seriously fall apart. If your meat is hard to shred, it’s not done yet.

pulled pork in a black slow cookerA little bit of apple cider vinegar goes in here too and it really does the trick to break down the meat to make it more tender plus gives it just the right zip of extra flavor. I haven’t tested it another way, but I’m guessing apple juice would work well also.pork shredded in a slow cooker with the pulled pork shredder claws

A few of my favorite sides to serve up alongside this pulled pork are:

pulled pork sandwich on a plate

The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Jennifer Draper
How to make the best slow cooker pulled pork! The perfect homemade spice blend makes it great for sandwiches, tacos and more!!
3.82 from 1172 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 150 kcal


  • 4 pound pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika (try smoked paprika for more of that smoked flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water


  • Mix together all of the dried spices and rub into all sides of the pork
  • Place vinegar and water in bottom of slow cooker
  • Carefully add pork (so you don't wash off spices)
  • Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours
  • Remove pork and shred (remove any large fatty pieces and discard)
  • Add juices from slow cooker as desired


  • Add extra kick:  save a bit (don't overdo it) of seasoning and toss it with cooked pulled pork.
  • For brown, crispy ends, put shredded meat on foil lined baking sheet and broil for a couple of minutes in the oven (watch carefully!)
  • Shred meat with 2 forks, potato masher, shredder claws, or electric mixer.
  • If meat is difficult to shred, it's not done yet. Put it back in the slow cooker for a bit longer.


Calories: 150kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 18gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 266mgPotassium: 351mgSugar: 2gVitamin A: 650IUVitamin C: 0.8mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1.4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @slowcookergourmet or tag #slowcookergourmet!
Important nutritional disclaimer

Click here to convert to Instant Pot. Amazing Instant Pot Pulled Pork is everything it claims to be! Amazing!

pulled pork sandwich on bun on black plateUseful tools for making this pulled pork include:



  1. Excited to try this! I’d like to serve this for a lunch party. Can it cook all night or what’s the longest you’ve cooked the pork before?

  2. 5 stars
    This was the best pulled pork I’ve ever made. I omitted the vinegar and did a cup of water because we are not vinegar fans. It was perfect and not mushy (I hate mushy bbq) I kept it in my slow cooker on warm and added back juices as needed since we eat at different times. 😋

    1. You should try it with the apple cider vinegar, you don’t taste vinegar.

      It adds a bit of apple flavor and makes the meat so much more tender and moist.

        1. If I’m pressed for time I’ll start it on high for a few hours to get it going and then switch to low to finish. Cutting the pork into smaller chunks helps it cook faster as well.

    1. Absolutely!! But place it in an pan and wrap the pork in foil. On 375 for 6-8 hours if the bone in wait until the bone sticks out. If you go to get pull the bone and the meat doesn’t fall off right away. It’s not done.

  3. 5 stars
    My hubby and I found this recipe on pinterest a few years ago and it is our go to recipe now for pulled pork tacos. It is perfect! We fell in love with authentic Mexican tacos but its so expensive to go to the restaurant, and when we discovered this recipe it was perfect! We seriously eat this ALL THE TIME in a lot of different meals! Tacos, burritos, pulled pork sandwiches with bbq sauce, we even save some of the meat to throw in to ramen and its so flippen good. Its seriously our favorite recipe! We had never tried smoked paprika before this recipe either, and now it is a big staple in our house, haha. Thank you! I really need to try your other recipes, because if they are as good as this one I’ll be in heaven.

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