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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:

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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!!
3.85 from 1195 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:

 

368 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is an absolutely fantastic recipe. I just wanted to comment a little tweak I made after you remove the fat from the bottom to cut the loin into chops. This way it gives you more surface area to cover the meat with the seasoning and makes it a lot more flavorful. About six hours into cooking I’ll be able to pull it apart with fork. Mix it up into the juices and allow it to finish cooking the additional two hours. Comes out absolutely great every time and is a family favorite. I also mix my favorite barbecue sauce before serving.

  2. 5 stars
    Making this now, but I have an 8lb Boston pork butt, I will double all the spices but it won’t fit in my crockpot, what temp for the oven, and would it be better if you seared it first?

    1. I have not tested this recipe for the oven, so I’m not sure would give you the best results. You could always cut it down a bit for your slow cooker though!

3.85 from 1195 votes (1,121 ratings without comment)

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