Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe

Pulled pork is a comfort food favorite for so many reasons. Succulent meat brimming with seasonings and saucy goodness makes the perfect meaty foundation for countless meals. Whether you're a pulled pork sandwich fanatic or prefer to add it to tacos, load it onto fries, or eat it by the forkful, there's no end to the various ways of serving this tasty dish. Recipe developer Christine Gallary brings us this easy slow cooker pulled pork that requires minimal effort to pull off. 

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Thanks to the powers of a slow cooker, you'll be able to mostly set the meat and forget about it — that is, until it's time to extract it from its stewing juices and shred it into tender bite-sized pieces. Pulled pork is the perfect meal to serve a crowd, and this recipe makes it that much simpler. Pick up some buns and coleslaw for the ultimate comfort food dining experience, or switch it up with an assortment of sides. 

Gather the ingredients for easy slow cooker pulled pork

For this recipe, you'll need to thinly slice onions and garlic cloves. Next, get chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth. To season the meat, grab dark brown sugar (measure it packed), chile powder, kosher salt, ground cumin, and ground cinnamon. Pick up either a boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (AKA pork butt), and be sure to remove any twine or netting containing it. Finally, get your favorite barbecue sauce.

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Step 1: Add the alliums and stock to the slow cooker

Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth.

Step 2: Make the spice blend

Combine the sugar, chile powder, 1 tablespoon salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Step 3: Season the meat

Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic.

Step 4: Slow cook

Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.

Step 5: Remove the pork

Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board.

Step 6: Strain out the cooking liquid

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside.

Step 7: Shred the meat

If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat.

Step 8: Put the pork back in the slow cooker

Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker.

Step 9: Add barbecue sauce

Add the barbecue sauce and mix to combine.

Step 10: Season and serve

Taste and season with salt as needed.

How should I serve slow cooker pulled pork?

Pulled pork doesn't require a whole lot else to make it a hearty main course, but a few key elements can complement it well. Set up a sandwich station starring this barbecue pulled pork front and center. Use brioche or milk buns for a tender bite, and include your favorite add-ins. Lettuce, tomato, and cheese can all work here, but if you want to keep it simple, a tangy coleslaw spooned on top of the meat with a side of creamy potato salad is sufficient. 

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Prepare a similar spread for taco night, or use the shredded pork to top a sheet tray loaded with nachos or fries. Sprinkle grated cheese, olives, and peppers on top for a deliciously filling meal with plenty of crunch. Alternatively, play up the juicy meat by scooping it over a creamy bowl of mac and cheese or serving it with a side of fluffy cornbread.

How should I store leftover slow cooker pulled pork?

Considering you're making a generous amount of pulled pork, you may end up with leftovers unless you've invited a crowd for dinner. If you're planning on consuming the rest within 3-4 days, seal the meat in an airtight container or bag and refrigerate it. To reheat it, you can use your favorite method, including the stovetop, oven, microwave, slow cooker, or air fryer. 

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No matter which appliance you use, the key to preventing the meat from drying out is to add some liquid. If you're simmering it in your slow cooker or a pot on the stove, add some broth and barbecue sauce. Similarly, if you're using the oven, microwave, or air fryer, add the meat to a shallow dish along with a splash of apple juice, broth, or barbecue sauce.

You can also freeze leftover pulled pork if you want an easy dinner at a later date. Be sure to seal it properly, ideally by squeezing out the air from a plastic bag. Thaw the meat in the fridge and then reheat it according to your preference.

Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe

5 (8 ratings)

This easy crockpot recipe turns pork shoulder into tender goodness you can add to tacos, loaded fries, barbecue sandwiches, and more.

Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
6
hours
servings
9
servings
bbq pulled pork on plate
Total time: 6 hours, 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (4 ½- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce

Directions

  1. Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth.
  2. Combine the sugar, chile powder, 1 tablespoon salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  3. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic.
  4. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
  5. Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board.
  6. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside.
  7. If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat.
  8. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker.
  9. Add the barbecue sauce and mix to combine.
  10. Taste and season with salt as needed.

Nutrition

Calories per Serving 561
Total Fat 33.2 g
Saturated Fat 11.4 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 128.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 31.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Total Sugars 23.6 g
Sodium 828.9 mg
Protein 32.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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