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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!!
3.84 from 1194 votes
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 150 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

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:

 

366 Comments

  1. Hey! I love love this recipe. I plan to make an 8 pounder for a Halloween party. What would your recommendation be for cooking that?

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I put all the dry rub ingredients in a baggie and the wet ingredients in a water bottle and take this camping! Of corse I use a crockpot liner for easy clean up!

    1. It depends how I want to use it. If I’m making tacos or a sandwich I will often just heat in the skillet with a bit of oil. If you want a larger batch or want it to be juicier, you can heat in a saucepan with a bit of broth or even reheat in the slow cooker on low.

  3. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! My husband enjoys smoking meat and when we don’t have the time or the best weather, this is what we make. It is so delicious! I will eat with Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce or homemade. It is very easy and always yields great results! Much better than the recipes with soda.

  4. 5 stars
    I have been using this recipe for 6 years now and still LOVE it!!!! Turns out better than a lot of restaurant style pulled pork I have had! (And I live in the South!)

  5. 5 stars
    This is our go-to pulled pork recipe! In the slow cooker early this morning for an amazing dinner! We can’t wait!

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