Surprise and delight the whole family with our Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork recipe! This easy dinner recipe takes the stress out of meal prep while delivering lip-smacking, fall-apart-tender pulled pork that’s smothered in irresistible barbecue goodness. Just set it, forget it, and let your taste buds revel in joy! We promise you one thing – everyone will be asking for seconds.
- Why You Will Love It: Minimal Effort Maximum Results
- Ways To Serve Pulled Pork With BBQ Sauce
- Ingredients and Substitutes
- Best Cut of Meat For Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- How To Know Your Pork Is Ready?
- Other Tips and Tricks For Best Results
- What To Serve With Slow-Cooked BBQ Pork?
- Storage and Reheating
- Other Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
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Why You Will Love It: Minimal Effort Maximum Results
- The best pulled pork recipe that makes a great family-friendly meal.
- Great recipe that suits many dietary requirements: it’s dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free!
- Easy recipe: your slow cooker (often referred to as a crock pot) will do most of the work (just like our Curried Sausages in a Slow Cooker).
- Only minutes of prep time, making it suitable for busy days.
- This cooking method makes it very hard to overcook pork, resulting in juicy pork as an end result every time.
- So many ways to use pulled pork that you will never have the same meal twice!
Ways To Serve Pulled Pork With BBQ Sauce
- Serve on a hamburger bun for classic pulled pork sandwiches.
- Create delicious pork tacos using pulled pork as a filling.
- Use slider buns for bite-sized pulled pork sliders.
- Stuff it into bao buns alongside Asian Cabbage Slaw.
- Make a BBQ Pork Pizza.
Let us know of your favourite way to use pulled pork! We love new and exciting ideas to add to our repertoire!
Ingredients and Substitutes
You will need a few simple ingredients that you can find in most grocery stores to make this Pulled Pork with our favorite barbecue sauce. You can find the full recipe and quantities in a recipe card and the bottom of the post.
- pork shoulder roast: we used a boneless pork roast, and removed the rind before cooking it.
- brown onion: can be replaced with red onion or shallots. Alternatively, use a heaped tablespoon of onion powder.
- tomato ketchup: we like to use reduced salt and sugar kind, as we are adding enough sugar to the sauce already!
- garlic clove: peeled and minced, or very finely chopped. You may replace it with ½ teaspoon of garlic powder.
- apple cider vinegar: or white wine vinegar.
- dark brown sugar: can be replaced with light brown sugar.
- smoked paprika: if you wish, you may use sweet paprika and a little bit of liquid smoke instead.
- cayenne pepper: or chili powder.
- water: or chicken broth.
- cornflour (corn starch) + 3 tablespoon water: to thicken the BBQ sauce. You may replace it with potato starch.
Best Cut of Meat For Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
When choosing the best cut of pork that is suitable for a long time of cooking on low heat, you need to consider the following:
- Bone-In or Boneless: Both bone-in and boneless pork roast can be used. The bone adds extra flavour, but boneless is easier to work with when shredding the meat.
- Marbling: Look for a pork cut with good marbling—tiny streaks of fat within the meat. This marbling helps keep the pork moist and adds flavour during the long cooking process. A leaner cut of meat (like pork tenderloin/ pork loin) will dry out quicker and would be better suited for quick roasting or cooking on the stove.
- Size: Opt for a size that fits comfortably in your slow cooker.
As a result, we use pork shoulder: Pork shoulder, also known as pork butt or Boston butt, is the most popular and widely used cut for pulled pork. It has the right balance of meat and fat, which yields a flavorful and tender result.
Step 1: Homemade BBQ Sauce
We are big believers that the best BBQ sauce is homemade barbecue sauce! It is not difficult to make, and you are likely to have most (if not all) of the ingredients in your cupboards already. To make our favorite BBQ sauce, all you need to do is add the ingredients (minced garlic, tomato ketchup, vinegar, sugar, smoked paprika and chilli powder) to a medium bowl. Add the finely chopped onion and mix well.
Step 2: Preparing Pork For Slow Cooking
The preparation of your pork will depend on the cut of meat that you are using. We used a boneless roast (pork shoulder) and all we needed to do was trim excess fat off from the top. Place the pork in a slow cooker and pour the BBQ sauce all over the top and the sides of the roast. Tip in the water, making sure to avoid washing off any sauce from the meat. Set your slow cooker on low setting for 9-10 hours or high for 6-7 hours.
Step 3: How To Shred Pork?
Once the pork reaches the right level of doneness (read about it below), it should practically disintegrate at the touch. Use tongs to transfer it to a separate shallow large bowl or a rimmed serving platter. Cover it with foil and leave it to rest for a few minutes. During this time, let the cooking liquid settle in the slow cooker (the fat should separate on top).
To shred it, utilize either forks or meat claws, commencing from the centre and gently pulling it apart until it’s fully shredded. If the pork proves resistant to shredding, it’s probably not been cooked long enough.
Step 4: Thicken the Barbecue Sauce
Using a spoon or a small ladle, remove most of the upper layer of fat (the fat should separate on top of the sauce).
Pour the remaining sauce that has been left at the bottom of the slow cooker, into a saucepan and heat it over low heat.
In a small bowl, mix 1 level tablespoon of cornflour (cornstarch) with 3 tablespoon of water to make a slurry.
Trickle it into the sauce and stir over low heat until the sauce thickens slightly.
Drizzle the thickened sauce all over the shredded pork. Alternatively, mix the pulled pork with the sauce in a saucepan, and serve.
How To Know Your Pork Is Ready?
Different slow cookers cook meat at different rates. What is more, cooking time will depend on the cut and quality of the pork, as well as the size of your roast.
Our goal is to have tender, succulent pork that easily falls apart while maintaining that meaty texture—avoiding any mushiness. To accomplish this, the key is to cook it for the correct duration (typically no more than 10 hours on low), not add too much sauce and avoid vigorous stirring.
If you have a meat thermometer, we highly recommend verifying the internal temperature of the centre of your roast; it should read 96°C or 205°F.
Other Tips and Tricks For Best Results
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is not difficult to make. But if it is your first time cooking it, here are a few things to note:
- If you don’t have time or ingredients to make your own sauce, you may use your favorite shop-bought BBQ sauce. Just add some finely chopped onions, and you’ll be on your way.
- For an extra smoky flavour of your pork shoulder, add 2 tablespoon of liquid smoke to your BBQ sauce.
- If you have a well-stocked spice cabinet and some extra time, make a spice rub for your pork and let it infuse with the spices for a couple of hours in the fridge before cooking it. To make a delicious dry rub, mix 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon mustard powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon black pepper and ½ teaspoon salt and apply this BBQ rub onto the surface of the pork.
- Want your BBQ Pulled Pork fast? Try this instant pot (pressure cooker) recipe.
What To Serve With Slow-Cooked BBQ Pork?
Pair this tender pulled pork coated in a flavorful BBQ sauce with sides that have lots of contrasting textures. We love the following side dishes with it:
- Courgette Ribbon Salad
- Green Bean and Tomato Salad
- Creamy Potato Salad
- Red Cabbage Slaw
- Asian-Style Cabbage Slaw
Storage and Reheating
Cool the leftovers to room temperature, and place them into an airtight container. Refrigerate any leftover pulled pork for a maximum of 3 days.
To reheat, the best way is to gently warm the pulled pork on the stovetop or in the microwave. Add a touch of water to add moisture and prevent it from becoming overly thick or dry. Alternatively, mix in some extra BBQ sauce before serving.
To freeze, divide the pulled pork into airtight, freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before use.
Other Slow Cooker Recipes
We hope you liked our easy pulled pork recipe. If so, have a look at our best slow cooker recipes below to cook next time:
- Sticky Crispy Chinese Pork Belly In A Slow Cooker
- Slow Cooker Duck Leg Confit
- Slow Cooker Braising Steak (With Morrocan Spices)
- Slow Cooker Lamb Shoulder
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- 1.5 kg pork shoulder excess fat trimmed off
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 200 g tomato ketchup
- 2 garlic clove crushed
- 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder
- 50 ml water
- 1 level tbsp cornflour (corn starch) + 3 tablespoon water
- Trim any excess fat off the pork shoulder and place it in your slow cooker.
- To a medium bowl, add the finely chopped onion, minced garlic, tomato ketchup, vinegar, sugar, smoked paprika and chilli powder. Mix everything well.
- Spoon the sauce all over the pork, then carefully pour the water around it. Avoid washing off any sauce from the meat.
- Cover the slow cooker with a lid and cook on high for 6-7 hours, or low for 9-10 hours, until the pork is fork tender.
- Once cooked, take the pork out of the slow cooker and cover with a sheet of foil to keep warm. Let the sauce settle. Then, using a spoon or a small ladle, remove most of the upper layer of fat (the fat should separate on top of the sauce).
- Pour the remaining sauce into a saucepan and heat it over low heat.
- In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of cornflour (cornstarch) with 3 tablespoon of water to make a slurry.
- Trickle it into the sauce and stir over low heat until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Shred the pork using two forks. Add it to a serving bowl and drizzle the thickened sauce all over. Alternatively, mix the pulled pork with the sauce in a saucepan, and serve.