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This amazing Pulled Pork Recipe is a crowd-pleasing, super simple way to cook pulled pork. You only need a crockpot or slow cooker and a few hours to cook! So delicious with my favorite homemade Macaroni and Cheese and Coleslaw.
What is Pulled Pork?
Pulled Pork is an American dish, originating from the South which uses shredded pork shoulder as the main ingredient with other regional-based sauces added on after cooking slowly over a smoker, wood fire, or in a slow cooker or crockpot.
Crockpot versus Smoker
Both a Crockpot and a smoker work beautifully for cooking pulled pork. Not everyone has a smoker, so your Crockpot or slow cooker will do. You are essentially braising this large piece of meat to get that glorious, shreddable texture. You can definitely just use a dutch oven and bake this meat low and slow in the oven as well, but I find cooking it in the crockpot is the easiest way to make this pulled pork recipe. You just set it and forget it which is my kind of recipe. If you do have a smoker, you MUST try my smoked pork butt recipe.
What Cut of Meat is Best for Pulled Pork?
Pork Shoulder, sometimes referred to as Pork Butt, is the cut of pork used for all Pulled Pork Recipes. It is some of the most tender and flavorful meat after being cooked low and slow. Partly because it’s naturally very fatty, but also because it just falls off the bone after cooking.
I used a hefty 3-pound roast that I’ve lightly trimmed. When pork shoulders go on sale, pick up one or two, and make this easy meal for your family. You will all love it! (Beware when buying from Costco; You’ll need several crockpots to cook it all!) Freezing extra raw pork is a great solution.
The Best Sauce to Cook Pulled Pork In
For this slow cooker pulled pork, I find it best to add in some cooking liquid and flavorings for maximum flavor. Here is what I like to add for the cooking:
- BBQ sauce. Use a really good BBQ sauce that you love. We like KC Masterpiece. Gordon’s parents swear by Sweet Baby Ray’s. It really doesn’t matter. As long as YOU like the taste of the BBQ sauce you’re using, that’s all that matters.
- Yellow Onions. I love the flavor these give off. After hours of cooking, these just melt into the sauce leaving flavor behind.
- Water. This acts as the majority of cooking liquid. I didn’t love the way chicken broth or beef broth tasted, so I much prefer water.
- Lots of Salt and Pepper. This helps anchor the flavor of the meat and helps create that sweet-savory mix that pulled pork is known for.
After the pork is completely cooked, I like adding in more bbq sauce, brown sugar, yellow mustard and minced garlic. Oh mama, is it good!
How to Make Pulled Pork
I love Crockpot meals on a busy weeknight! Throw everything in and forget about it until it’s done. This recipe is no different. For full recipe details and ingredient increments, see the printable recipe card below.
Add Pork Butt and Cooking Liquid into Crockpot
In a crockpot, place pork, water, bbq sauce, salt, pepper, and onion. Cover and turn crockpot on.
How Long to Cook Pulled Pork
The only thing you need when cooking large cuts of meat is time–and lots of it! For best results, cook 8-10 hours on low. If you don’t have that much time, cook for 4-5 hours on high.
Of course, you can make this in advance and keep it warm until you’re ready to serve. The beauty of a crockpot–it’s so versatile! It makes my life easy. Great for a party, too!
Pull the Pork
Remove all meat from the crockpot. Spoon off fat from the remaining liquid in the crockpot and discard. Pour out remaining cooking liquid and set aside.
Shred or ‘pull’ pork removing excess fat and gristle as you go. Return to crockpot and stir in garlic, bbq sauce, brown sugar, mustard, and more salt and pepper. Add in cooking liquid as needed to moisten. Cook another 30 minutes to 1 hour. Serve on white bread, rolls, hamburger buns or however you’d like with any of my favorite BBQ side dishes:
- Homemade Rolls to make sandwiches.
- Classic Coleslaw because this combo is out of this world.
- Mexican Street Corn because that is just delicious.
- Tangy Baked Beans…another southern side that makes my heart sing.
- Homemade Cornbread that is sweet and tender
- Macaroni and Cheese….a favorite you can get at any BBQ joint
How to Store Leftovers
Any leftover Pulled Pork can be saved by refrigerating in an airtight container for up to 4 days!
To reheat, simply warm in the microwave, lightly covered (to retain moisture), until heated through, stirring occasionally.
To freeze, place in an airtight freezer safe bag or container. If using a ziplock bag, be sure to remove as much of the air as possible. Pulled pork will stay fresh in the freezer for 3 months.
Love this Pulled Pork Recipe? Try These Pork Recipes:
- Smoked Pork Butt
- Loaded Pulled Pork Nachos
- Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe
- Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork Frito Bites
- Sweet Potato Pulled Pork Sliders
- Crispy Cheese Pulled Pork Tacos with Sesame Slaw
Below is the printable recipe card. Save it and enjoy, friends!
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- In a crockpot, place pork, water, bbq sauce, salt, pepper, and onion. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours until very tender. (Or cook on high heat for 4-5 hours or until very tender.)
- Remove all meat from the crockpot. Spoon off fat from the remaining liquid in the crockpot and discard. Pour out remaining cooking liquid and set aside.
- Shred pork removing excess fat. Return to the crockpot and stir in garlic, bbq sauce, brown sugar, mustard, and more salt and pepper. Add in cooking liquid as needed to moisten. Cook another 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Serve with homemade or Hawaiian sweet rolls and coleslaw.