Recipes » Main Dish Recipes » Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

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5 from 2 votes
A fool-proof slow cooker method of preparing southern style pulled pork.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Pulled pork barbecue sandwich on a white serving plate.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – My fool-proof method for preparing southern style pulled pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Less than 10 minutes of prep time!

When I think of barbecue, pulled pork is at the top of my list. It’s practically a staple in the south. If you’re ever invited to a southerner’s home for a get together, you’re likely to encounter a slow cooker stuffed full of this shredded porky goodness!

Pulled pork barbecue sandwich on a white serving plate.

There’s nothing else quite like southern BBQ pulled pork shoulder. It’s slow cooked all day long with the fat side up, infusing itself with wonderful flavors. My mouth is watering just writing about it. And here’s the clincher — it’s super simple!

All you need is a pork shoulder (Boston butt), a slow cooker or instant pot with a slow cooker setting, and 6 simple ingredients, 4 of which hardly even count.

What is Pulled Pork?

Pulled pork is simply a slow cooked pork roast that has spent a day basting in its own juices (remember, fat side up!) The pork becomes so tender that the meat literally falls apart.

If it sounds really simple, that’s because it is! And when you make your BBQ pulled pork in a slow cooker, it’s almost child’s play. Just pop that big old roast in the cooker, set it, and forget it.

You could start this before you leave for work and have dinner ready when you walk back in the door. It’s also great on a busy Saturday when you have lots of errands to run. It’s wonderful for no special reason at all…just because you want some smoky southern BBQ pulled pork :-)

How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Season the Pork

Four pound pork shoulder roast sitting on paper towels on a cutting board.

You’ll want a three to four-pound pork shoulder roast (or Boston Butt) for this. One side of the roast will have a cap of fat all over it – don’t remove the fat cap! The fat gives great flavor to the pork. It also continually bastes the roast as it melts and drips down preventing it from drying out while you cook it.

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and water needed for the recipe.

Sprinkle the roast liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Cook the Roast Low and Slow

Place the pork roast in a slow cooker with the fatty side up. Add just 1/4 cup of water around the roast. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours.

Remove the Roast and Discard the Fat

Pork shoulder roast (Boston butt) after cooking for 7 hours.

Remove the roast from the slow cooker and discard any large, visible pieces of fat.

Cooking juices in a fat separator cup.

Pour the cooking juices into a fat separator cup and set it aside while you pull the pork.

Pull the Meat into Shreds

Cooked pork roast being pulled into shreds on a cutting board.

Using two forks or “meat shredding claws,” pull the pork into shreds. I usually do this on a plastic cutting board that can go straight into the dishwasher. Just makes my life a little easier :-)

Add Cooking Juices and Sauce

Photo collage showing adding the cooking juice and barbecue sauce to the pulled pork.

Return the pulled meat to the slow cooker along with the de-fatted cooking juices and barbecue sauce.

The barbecue sauce in the photo is my homemade sauce. It’s thin, tangy, and not sweet at all. I know most people prefer a sweet sauce, so use whatever recipe or bottled brand you prefer.

Finish Cooking

Cook for an additional hour. Serve on toasted buns for the perfect southern BBQ pulled pork sandwich!

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Serving Suggestions

To serve the pulled pork as sandwiches, you can make sliders, or just a big ole pulled pork sandwich with dill pickles and plenty of barbecue sauce on a toasted hambuger bun.

To make your pulled pork into a meal, you can always go with the traditional sides of baked beans and potato salad. Or try fresh corn, hot cabbage slaw, fire and ice tomatoes, or sweet and sour cucumber salad.

You can also make a delicious dinner plate with crispy fried okra, homemade macaroni and cheese, potato salad, sour cream and onion cornbread, and a slice of chocolate cake for dessert… YUM!

FAQs

Which cut of meat is best for pulled pork?

This is one recipe where I would not recommend substituting any other cut of meat. The cut really does make all the difference. You want a pork shoulder roast, also known as a Boston butt. Note: barbecue restaurants typically use the entire shoulder, but that’s hard to find at a retail grocery store. Pork shoulder roast (Boston butt) is widely available.

How many pounds of pork roast should I buy per person?

In general, one pound of uncooked pork should feed 2-3 people depending, of course, on portion sizes. Remember that a pork shoulder loses a good bit of weight during cooking. One pound of raw, uncooked pork shoulder will cook down to just over 1/2 pound after the fat has rendered.

When placing the roast in the slow cooker, does the fat side go up or down?

Fat side up ALWAYS on any meat that you are slow roasting. Placing the fat side up provides a steady source of moisture and evenly bastes the roast all during the cooking time.

How do you keep a pork shoulder moist?

A pork shoulder with a nice thick cap of fat, cooked low and slow, will take care of itself. The fat slowly melts as the roast cooks providing a source of constant basting to the meat underneath. I can’t imagine how anyone could wind up with a dry shoulder roast cooked by this method :-)

Can you freeze barbecue pork?

You can! It’s great to freeze for nights when you’re just too busy to cook. Just thaw, reheat, and serve! Transfer any leftover meat with its liquid to a freezer safe, ziptop bag. Be sure to remove as much air as possible. Freeze for 4-6 months.

How do you reheat pulled pork?

To reheat pulled pork, I recommend placing it in the oven or slow cooker. Microwaving can cause the pork to dry out and become tough. Before reheating, allow the pork to come to room temperature. Heat in a slow cooker for about an hour, or in the oven at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes.

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Pulled pork barbecue sandwich on a white serving plate.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

A fool-proof slow cooker method of preparing southern style pulled pork.
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 133kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 4 pound pork shoulder roast (Boston Butt)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce

Instructions

  • Put the pork roast into the slow cooker with the fatty side up.
  • Sprinkle the roast liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add just 1/4 cup of water around the roast. Cover and cook for 7 hours.
  • Remove the roast from the cooker and discard the visible pieces of fat.
  • Pour the cooking juices into a fat separator cup and set it aside while you pull the pork.
  • Using two forks, “pull” the pork into shreds.
  • Return the pulled meat to the cooker along with the de-fatted cooking juices and barbecue sauce. Cook for an additional hour.
  • Serve on toasted buns.

Notes

Note: One side of the roast will have a cap of fat all over it – don’t remove that, it gives great flavor to the pork. It also continually bastes the roast as it melts and drips down preventing it from drying out while you cook it.
For the barbecue sauce, use whatever recipe or bottled brand you prefer.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 236mg | Potassium: 277mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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44 Comments

  1. So excited !! Today is my fiances bday, and he LOVES pulled pork. My but roast is in slow cooker now :) cant wait until dinner time . thank you for this awesome recipe, my fiance will LOVE it :)