This slow cooker pulled pork is coated in a homemade spice rub, then simmered in the crock pot until tender. Shred the meat and add BBQ sauce, then dinner is ready to serve!

I love to use my slow cooker on busy days where I know I won’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner. Some of my family’s favorite recipes include slow cooker honey garlic chicken thighs, slow cooker ribs, and this simple yet satisfying pulled pork.

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Slow cooker pulled pork on a hamburger bun, served with french fries.

Slow cooker pulled pork is such an easy and versatile dinner option – it can be used in so many different ways, and it’s always a hit with adults and kids alike. I make this recipe almost every week; I love to come home at the end of the day to have dinner waiting for me.

How do you make slow cooker pulled pork?

The first step to make pulled pork is to give the pork some flavor by browning the outside of the meat in a pan with some oil. Season the pork with a little salt and pepper before you brown it. Once the pork is browned, coat it with barbecue rub. You can pick your favorite spice rub or use my delicious smoky and sweet homemade barbecue rub. When the pork is coated in rub, simply cook it in a slow cooker until tender. Shred the meat with two forks and pour a little barbecue sauce on the meat and it will be hot, delicious and ready to serve.

A seared pork shoulder roast inside of a slow cooker.

What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?

For great pulled pork you want a cut of meat with some marbling for flavor and to keep the pork from drying out. The best cut of meat for pulled pork is pork shoulder. Retaining moisture is not as much of a concern when making pulled pork in a slow cooker; however, pork shoulder will still give you the best taste and texture. While any pork shoulder will do, if you have a choice between the top of the pork shoulder (the Boston butt) or the bottom of the pork shoulder (the picnic roast) choose the Boston butt for its excellent marbling and outstanding flavor.

Pork shoulder coated in spice rub.

Tips for crock pot pulled pork

  • Browning the meat is optional, but it brings a lot of extra flavor to the pulled pork. If you have the time, I recommend it.
  • Homemade spice rub is best, but you can use store bought in a pinch.
  • You can use bone in or boneless pork shoulder. If you use bone in pork shoulder, simply remove the meat from the bone before you shred it.
  • Don’t rush the cooking time. Cooking the meat for an extended period of time will give you the best results.

A pork roast inside of a crock pot.

Can you freeze pulled pork?

You can freeze pulled pork for up to 3 months. You can store your pork in either a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container. The pork should be put in the refrigerator to thaw the night before you plan to serve it. Reheat your pork in a pan on the stove over low heat.

Can you overcook pulled pork?

It is hard to overcook pulled pork. This recipe calls for cooking pulled pork for 8-10 hours. If you cook the pork for longer than that, you may find that the texture of the meat can become mushy, and the meat will shred into finer pieces which is not always desirable.

Slow cooker pulled pork, shredded and tossed in BBQ sauce.

Pulled pork is so tender and flavorful –  it is fabulous in a sandwich, on pizza, in chili, or to simply eat as-is. Using a slow cooker takes the guesswork and difficulty out of making pulled pork and is a great way to have an easy and delicious meal.

More slow cooker recipes you’ll enjoy

5 from 22 votes

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

AuthorSara Welch
Slow cooker pulled pork on a hamburger bun, served with french fries.
This slow cooker pulled pork is coated in a homemade spice rub, then simmered in the crock pot until tender. Shred the meat and add BBQ sauce, then dinner is ready to serve!
Time
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time8 hours 10 minutes
Total Time8 hours 20 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 8

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds pork shoulder bone in or boneless, can also use country style pork ribs
  • 1/4 cup BBQ rub homemade or store bought
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce homemade or store bought

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Brown the pork roast, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Coat the pork in the BBQ rub.
  • Place the pork in a slow cooker.
  • Pour the chicken broth into the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 8-10 hours on low, or until pork is very tender.
  • Drain off the liquid. Shred the pork with two forks. Stir in the BBQ sauce, then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 871mg | Potassium: 643mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg

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Comments

  1. Can I brown the roast the day before, store it in the fridge and then get it started in the crock pot the next morning??

    1. It’s better to brown it the day of only because it’s a food safety risk to store a partially cooked piece of meat! Or you can skip the browning if you’re in a hurry.

  2. 5 stars
    I am making this for my in-laws tonight for the second time! This is an absolutely amazing and easy recipe! This is becoming a family favorite!

  3. I bought a pork butt today and it’s 7.27 lbs. Should I double the amount of rub and broth? And what about cooking time?

    1. You can try it, I find this cut of meat benefits from a low and slow cook for the most tender results. It may take longer than 4 hours on high to get that same effect!

  4. I started ours last night for dinner tonight and accidentally went over the 8-10 hours. I think it was in there 11-12 hours. Is that going to affect it badly. Also, since we won’t be eating it until this evening. We took it out with the sauce and put it in the refrigerator. Is that his the right thing to do? Any advice on reheating? Also, this is only like my second time using a crockpot lol

    1. It should be fine, you did the right thing! You can reheat in the microwave, covered in the oven, or in a pan on the stove.

  5. I cut the pork butt in half (to fit my slow cooker), browned it and then deglazed the pan with the chicken broth. I poured the broth into the cooker, put the rub on the pork and then placed it in the slow cooker. It should be done in 3-5 hours. I made your home-made rub recipe (doubled it for later) and will make your bbq sauce tomorrow. Will serve it as a simple meal on New Year’s Eve with slider buns, slaw, bbq sauce, black-eyed peas and a veggie tray.

  6. 5 stars
    This is my absolute weekend go to recipe! I’m not sure there is a better slow cooker recipe out there for pulled pork and it is awesome for all weekend long football watching, a huge fan favorite!

  7. 5 stars
    Served this for dinner last night and it has instantly become a new family favorite recipe! Looking forward to enjoying leftovers for dinner again, tonight!

  8. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I hate when pulled pork comes out super dry – I usually have to end up adding a ton of extra BBQ sauce, but this one was perfect!

  9. 5 stars
    This looks so delicious. I have been wanting to learn how to make pulled pork and I definitely want to try this recipe out!