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Crock Pot pulled pork is one of the easiest and most affordable slow cooker dinners you’ll ever make! With just a few minutes of prep, you can have a big batch of tender, juicy meat to use in tacos, sandwiches, wraps, or salads all week long. A flavorful bbq dry rub seasons the pulled pork, which is perfect when tossed with bbq sauce and piled high on buns! Serve it alongside coleslaw, pickles, collard greens, potato wedges, or cornbread!

Close up side shot of a crock pot pulled pork sandwich with bbq sauce

Pulled Pork Crock Pot

This quick Crock Pot pulled pork recipe requires a handful of basic ingredients that you probably already have stashed in your kitchen. Best of all, after a few minutes of hands-on prep time, it’s an all-day slow cooker meal that cooks low-and-slow while you go about the rest of your business!

The Best Cut of Meat for Pulled Pork

The best cut of meat for pulled pork is called a “pork butt” or a “Boston butt.” Some grocery stores often label this as a “pork shoulder” or “picnic ham.” Boston butt comes from high on the hog, above the shoulder blade. It has a lot of juicy, marbled fat, which lends itself well to juicy, slow-cooked meat.

Adding sliced onion to a slow cooker

Can I use a boneless pork butt?

Yes! Using a bone-in pork butt adds even more flavor to your meat; however, you can certainly use a boneless pork butt instead. In general, a boneless pork butt will require slightly less cooking time than a bone-in piece of meat, so keep an eye on it and adjust accordingly.

Can I use pork tenderloin for pulled pork?

Yes, you can — but it’s not ideal. Pork tenderloin is a very lean cut of meat, which does best when cooked quickly at a higher temperature (like this grilled pork tenderloin with bbq rub). It doesn’t lend itself as well to the low-and-slow cooking process, and instead has a tendency to become dry or tough when it’s cooked for too long.

That said, if you’re looking for a leaner cut of meat for pulled pork, then slow cooker pork tenderloin just might be your answer! It will have a different taste and texture than the pork shoulder (since it’s a different cut with less fat), but if you cook it in the Crock Pot for about 8 hours on LOW, it should stay fairly moist.

Homemade bbq dry rub in a small bowl

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a big batch of slow cooker pulled pork. As always, specific measurements and complete step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Onion and Garlic: these add great flavor to the meat, breaking down and becoming so tender and sweet during the long cooking process that you can shred them right along with the meat and sauce at the end.
  • Pork Butt: also called “Boston butt” or “pork shoulder,” this inexpensive cut has a lot of marbled fat, which keeps the meat juicy and tender during the long cooking process.
  • BBQ Dry Rub: you’ll make your own barbecue rub, which includes brown sugar, chili powder, kosher salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and onion powder. It’s slightly sweet and zesty, but not too spicy. You can substitute with your favorite store-bought rub if you prefer.
  • Chicken Broth: adds moisture to the slow cooker for braising the pork. You can substitute with a different cooking liquid if you prefer. For instance, try beer, apple cider, Dr. Pepper, or Coca Cola.
  • Barbecue Sauce: optional, for serving with your cooked, shredded pork. We love Stubbs sauce, but you can substitute with your favorite homemade or store-bought brand.
Rubbing dry rub seasoning on a pork shoulder

How to Make Pulled Pork in Crock Pot

The Crock Pot is such a handy tool for making pulled pork, because this dish really does best when cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time. Set it in the morning and let it go all day long. Dinner will be waiting for you when you get home from work!

  1. Place sliced onion, minced garlic, and chicken broth in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Stir together the brown sugar and spices to make the bbq rub.
  3. Pat the pork dry, and then rub the seasoning blend all over the meat.
  4. Place the pork in the slow cooker, cover with a lid, and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours or on HIGH for 5-6 hours. You may need to adjust the cooking time, depending on how hot your Crock Pot runs (and how big your pork is). The pork will be fall-apart tender when it reaches an internal temperature of 205°F.
  5. Shred the meat with two forks, discarding any fatty pieces.
  6. Return the meat to the juices. Serve with barbecue sauce, if desired.
Overhead shot of a bowl of pulled pork with bbq sauce

The Best Way to Shred Pulled Pork

Before shredding, allow the pork to cool enough so that you can easily touch it without burning your hands. When you have such a big piece of meat, it can be very juicy and messy, so I like to put the pork on a rimmed baking sheet. This helps to prevent the juices from spilling all over the counter. Since the meat is so tender, it should basically just fall apart when you shred it with two forks.

What to Serve with Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This versatile meat can be served in a variety of ways! We prefer pulled pork sandwiches with a drizzle of barbecue sauce, but you can also serve the pork on top of a salad, in a wrap, stuffed into baked potatoes with barbecue sauce and cheese, as pulled pork sliders, or as pulled pork tacos or carnitas.

Here are some sides that go well with crockpot pulled pork:

Wooden table with a plate of Crock Pot pulled pork and sides

Storage

Leftover pulled pork will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To extend the life of your leftovers, you can freeze the cooked meat in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

How to Reheat Pulled Pork in Crock Pot

If you want to reheat your cooked pulled pork in the Crock Pot, place the cooked pork (and all of the reserved juices) in the slow cooker on the “WARM” setting for 2-4 hours. This is a great option if you need to prep a meal in advance! You can also reheat cooked meat in a saucepan or Dutch oven on the stovetop over low heat, or smaller portions in the microwave.

Square side shot of slow cooker pulled pork on a sandwich on a plate with cornbread and coleslaw

Recipe Variations

  • Use a boneless pork shoulder or pork roast in lieu of the bone-in pork butt. The boneless roasts tend to cook slightly faster, so adjust your cooking time accordingly.
  • Try a different braising liquid instead of the chicken broth. Good options include beer, apple cider, root beer, Dr. Pepper, or Coca Cola.
  • Instead of a regular barbecue sauce, try topping your pulled pork with this delicious Alabama White BBQ Sauce.
  • Spicy pulled pork: add some cayenne to the dry rub, and serve the pork with crushed red pepper flakes, sliced jalapeños, or hot sauce.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with the chicken broth for a bright, acidic component.
  • To make this pulled pork recipe in the oven, follow all of the same instructions, but place the ingredients in a large Dutch oven with a lid. Roast the pork at 325°F for about 5-6 hours.
BBQ pulled pork on a brioche bun with a side of coleslaw and pickles

Tips for the Best Crock Pot Pulled Pork Recipe

  • You may need to adjust the cooking time, depending on how hot your slow cooker runs (and how big your pork is). The pork will be fall-apart tender when it reaches an internal temperature of 205°F on an instant-read meat thermometer.
  • If your pulled pork is tough, it’s probably because you haven’t cooked it long enough. The collagen in the meat is what keeps it tough, so you need to allow plenty of time for those fibers to break down. Just extend the cooking time and make sure that there’s enough liquid to keep the pork moist as it simmers.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? This meat freezes really well! I like to package leftovers in individual containers, label them, and stash them in the freezer for later meals. The pulled pork is delicious served on sandwich rolls, but it also works well on salads, tacos, stuffed in baked potatoes, nachos, in quesadillas, or on pizza! Get creative and enjoy the leftovers in a variety of ways.
  • Shred the cooked meat on a rimmed sheet pan to catch any juices.
Side shot of Crock Pot pulled pork in a sandwich on a plate

More Pulled Pork Recipes to Try

Square side shot of crock pot pulled pork sandwich

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 people
Calories 438 kcal
Crock Pot Pulled Pork is one of the easiest and most affordable slow cooker dinners you'll ever make!

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or sub with other cooking liquid, such as apple cider, beer, Dr. Pepper, or Coca Cola)
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (plus more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 (6-7 lb.) bone-in Boston Butt or pork shoulder
  • Optional, for serving: bbq sauce; sandwich buns; coleslaw; pickles

Instructions

  • Place the onion and garlic in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Pour chicken broth over top.
  • In a small bowl, make a rub by whisking together brown sugar, chili powder, salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and onion powder. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork.
  • Place the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Cover and cook for 10-12 hours on LOW or for about 5-6 hours on HIGH. When the pork reaches an internal temperature of 205°F it will be fall-apart tender!
  • Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred the meat, discarding any large pieces of fat.
  • Add juices from the pot to moisten the meat, as desired. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve with bbq sauce.

Notes

Nutrition information is an automatically calculated estimate only. Facts will vary greatly depending on the size, cut, and amount of meat on your Boston Butt.
  • You may need to adjust the cooking time, depending on how hot your slow cooker runs (and how big your pork is). The pork will be fall-apart tender when it reaches an internal temperature of 205°F.
  • If your pulled pork is tough, it’s probably because you haven’t cooked it long enough. The collagen in the meat is what keeps it tough, so you need to allow plenty of time for those fibers to break down. Just extend the cooking time and make sure that there’s enough liquid to keep the pork moist as it simmers.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? This meat freezes really well! I like to package leftovers in individual containers, label them, and stash them in the freezer for later meals. The pulled pork is delicious served on sandwich rolls, but it also works well on salads, tacos, stuffed in baked potatoes, nachos, in quesadillas, or on pizza! Get creative and enjoy the leftovers in a variety of ways.
  • Shred the cooked meat on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any juices.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/10 of the recipeCalories: 438kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 60gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 191mgSodium: 926mgPotassium: 1141mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 335IUVitamin C: 1.2mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 4.2mg
Keyword: crock pot pulled pork, pulled pork crock pot, Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in July, 2019. The photos were updated in March, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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