Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

Sweet and savory, fall-apart tender pulled pork with plenty of juicy, flavorful sauce. This recipe uses a blend of spices and a homemade sauce to create a mouth-watering BBQ that your friends and family will love. And it’s all done in your crockpot, making it an easy summer recipe to prepare, serve, and clean up!

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork on homemade buns

After a long winter, we look forward to picnics and potlucks with family and friends. One of my favorite summer go-to’s is BBQ pulled pork! It’s super simple to make, a one-pot meal, and easy to serve in the crockpot for a crowd. We typically serve it on our Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns. But it can also be repurposed into some amazing nachos or a delicious crunch wrap.

What to serve with BBQ pulled pork?

Some of our favorite sides include coleslaw, creamed corn, or potato salad. Other fun summer options include pasta salad, baked beans, mac and cheese, grilled veggies, or a nice fruit salad. This versatile recipe pairs well with many different options from creamy and cheesy to light and fresh.

Tips for Perfect Pulled Pork Every Time

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork in the crockpot

  1. Choose a good cut of meat with quite a bit of marbling, such as pork butt or shoulder roast. The fat dispersed throughout the meat adds moisture and flavor during cooking.
  2. Use an acid to help tenderize the meat. In this case, we are using a good amount of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar will create tender, fall-apart pork that will shred easily.
  3. Generously rub the meat with seasonings to enhance the flavor. We used brown sugar, chili powder, garlic, onion, and thyme. For an additional smokey flavor, consider adding smoked paprika. This rub flavors the meat as well as the juices that become the BBQ sauce.
  4. Go low and slow. That’s the name of the game when it comes to pulled meats. If you have the time, 8-10 hours on low is ideal. This gives plenty of time for the collagen in the meat to break down, which allows the roast to easily fall apart. The longer time frame also allows the meat to marinate in the juices longer, adding more flavor. I have been know to cook roasts overnight for up to 12 hours!
  5. Save the juice! In this recipe, there is no pre-made BBQ sauce used. The sauce and rub seasonings, in addition to natural juices from the pork, packs tons of flavor. But the key is to incorporate the meat back into the sauce after shredding. For maximum flavor and sauciness, reduce the sauce by draining the juices into another pot and simmering on the stove for about 15-20 minutes before incorporating the shredded meat.

Let’s get to the recipe!

Tools You’ll Need

  • Slow cooker – You’ll want a slow cooker that is 6 quarts or more to accommodate your roast.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 lb pork shoulder roast
  • Oil – Vegetable, canola, avocado, or olive oil all work well.
  • Ketchup – I use a store-bought variety with no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. They are getting easier to find as most mainstream ketchup brands are coming out with a “natural” version of their product. If you’re into homemade ketchup, though, go for it!
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Brown sugar – Date sugar is also a good substitute with a lower glycemic index.
  • Yellow mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Chili powder
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Thyme

Directions

Step 1:
Coat the bottom of the slow cooker with vegetable oil.
Then place pork shoulder in crockpot fat side up. There’s some debate about whether the fat side should be up, down, or removed. Always do fat side up! This keeps the roast nice and moist, basting itself with fat during the cooking process and adding a ton of flavor.

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork shoulder, fat side up

Step 2:
Mix ketchup, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, and pour over the top.

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork sauce

Step 3:
Stir the brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder, and thyme together.

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork rub

Step 4:
Coat the meat with the seasonings.
Cover and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork rub on meat

Step 5:
Remove roast from slow cooker and shred meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to slow cooker and stir meat into juices.

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork in crockpot

Step 6:
Serve on homemade buns or as desired.

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork on homemade buns

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

Sweet and savory, fall-apart tender BBQ pulled pork with plenty of juicy, flavorful sauce. This recipe uses a blend of spices and a homemade sauce to create a mouth-watering BBQ, prepared in the slow cooker.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4-6 lbs pork shoulder roast
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • ¾ C ketchup
  • ½ C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T yellow mustard
  • 3 T Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ C brown sugar
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 ½ T onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp thyme

Instructions

  • Pour vegetable oil into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place roast on top, fat-side up.
  • Mix ketchup, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, and pour over the top.
  • Stir the brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder, and thyme together. Then coat the meat with the seasonings.
  • Cover and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  • Remove roast from slow cooker and shred meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to slow cooker and stir meat into juices.
  • Serve on homemade buns or as desired.

Notes

This recipe is very juicy, so either serve with a slotted spoon, or for extra flavor, reduce the sauce even further. You can do this by continuing to cook with the lid off until sauce thickens, which will take a few additional hours in the crockpot. Or, after removing the roast from the slow cooker, drain the juices into another pot and simmer on the stove for about 15-20 minutes. Then stir the shredded meat back into the sauce.
Servings: 12

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