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May 26, 2021

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

The slow cooker is perfect for recreating the deliciousness of low and slow barbecued pulled pork, even if you don't have a smoker in the back yard. 

Pulled pork sliders

This barbecue pulled pork is so easy to make and the ingredient list is probably already in your pantry. 

Ingredients for slow cooker pulled pork:

Dry marinade:

You will need brown sugar, smoked and sweet paprika, granulated (or powdered) onion, granulated garlic, ground cumin, ground cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. 


You will need a five-pound boneless pork butt. It's a fairly tough cut of pork with lots of fat marbling and connective tissue. It's also sometimes called Boston butt or pork shoulder... P.S. The butt is not actually the butt. It's the shoulder and areas around there. 

While pork butt is best cooked low and slow, it also makes amazing Chinese barbecued pork (essentially meat candy). 

Cooking sauce:

For the cooking sauce, all you need is store bought barbecue sauce (Bulls Eye). Once the meat is cooked, separate the fat from the cooking sauce, add some apple cider vinegar and a little more brown sugar, and simmer it all together before tossing it into the shredded meat. 

Slow cooker pulled pork sliders

I am really late to the pulled pork party. The first time I tried pulled pork was from a food truck at our annual community festival about nine years ago. 

There were several food trucks, all with long lines, with the exception of the pulled pork food truck. Clearly, we west coast coast folks have a thing or two to learn about pork deliciousness. 

We were all very hungry, so we opted for the food truck with the shortest line, the one with pulled pork. I'm so happy we did! Since then, I've been experimenting with creating my own pulled pork, including one recipe for pulled pork cooked in an Instant Pot, and this one today, cooked in a Crock Pot. 

Slow cooker pulled pork on a bun

How to serve pulled pork:

Pulled pork is wonderful for tailgates, summer backyard get togethers, and family reunions, You can make it in advance, reheat it, and keep it warm in the slow cooker for serving.

Of course, this pulled pork is wonderful for sliders. I love it topped with cole slaw in the sandwich for a little extra crunch. 

Slow cooker pulled pork on a bun with cole slaw on top

You can also serve it over grits with cole slaw, on loaded baked potatoes topped with cheese, or for making nachos and quesadillas. 

Dish the pork over rice or mashed potatoes too! 

One of my favorite ways of enjoying leftover pulled pork is in either crunchy or soft tacos. 

Slow cooker pulled pork tacos

While I haven't tried it yet, it would be excellent in soup or stew with vegetables. I'd also like to try it instead of the chicken in copycat California Pizza Kitchen barbecue pizza

More ideas for using slow cooker pulled pork:

Add some to macaroni and cheese. 

Stuff it into empanadas. 

Add it to your favorite spring or egg roll filling. 

I think it would be delicious in quiche!

One of my favorite ways of serving this pork is over French fries. So good!

Slow cooker pulled pork fries

More amazing Crock Pot recipes:

Italian Chicken and Orzo Soup

Baked Beans

Asian-Style Pot Roast

Chile Verde with Pork

Korean-style Beef Tacos

Progressive Eats logo

Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month's theme is Memorial Day BBQ and Picnic Favorites! Our host is Jane who blogs at The Heritage Cook.

If you're unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it's a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. 

Come along and see all of the delicious BBQ and picnic inspired dishes!

Memorial Day BBQ and Picnic Favorites

Cocktail Appetizers Main Courses Side Dishes

Be sure to check out everyone's BBQ and picnic recipes! 

Crock Pot pulled pork sliders

This is an updated recipe: This recipe was originally published in August of 2013. I've updated it with new photos and a printable recipe card. Plus, we got to enjoy this pulled pork again! It was so worth it. 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Yield: 12 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
The slow cooker is perfect for recreating the deliciousness of low and slow barbecued pulled pork, even if you don't have a smoker in the back yard.


  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 T granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 T granulated onion or onion powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 5 pound boneless pork butt, cut into fourths
  • 1 C barbecue sauce (I used Bull's-Eye Original) plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Extra brown sugar to taste
  • Barbecue sauce for serving


  1. Combine the sugar, paprikas, garlic, onion, cumin, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Rub the spices on the pork pieces and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
  3. Place the unwrapped meat into a 5 to 7 quart slow cooker and cover with the barbecue sauce.
  4. Cover and cook on low for about 10 to 12 hours.
  5. Remove the meat to a bowl, cover with foil, and keep warm.
  6. Let the sauce in the slow cooker sit for a bit to let the fat rise to the top. Pour the sauce into a fat separator and separate the non-fat liquid, or skim fat off the top. Add the apple cider vinegar and more brown sugar to taste.
  7. Shred the pork into bite sized pieces with two forks. Add one cup of the sauce and toss. Add more if needed to moisten.
  8. Serve the pork with more of the barbecue sauce on the side. 

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pulled pork, slow cooker, crock pot
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Would you like to comment?

  1. The pork shoulder, or butt, or whatever way they want to call it, is my favorite cut, absolutely! LOVE the idea of french fries with it Karen, but then who wouldn´t right?! jaja

    1. Thanks Paula. French fries are one of those foods that go with anything don't they?

  2. Like the variations!

  3. YUM! Perfect for summer dinners---this slow cooker recipe is calling my name!

  4. We just bought a new Kamado grill and I am already a pulled pork fan. So wonderful to have another recipe to try!

  5. I've got a bunch of family including 5 of my grandkids coming for the holiday weekend. They would LOVE this. Adding the pork to my shopping list!

  6. I am a sucker for pulled pork, especially when paired with slaw. So good!!

  7. I love all your ideas for how to use pulled pork. Usually I just do the same old pulled pork on a bun, but now .... PS - Can't wait to try this version.

  8. Cannot get much more classic than that! One of my favorite meals!

  9. I love that pulled pork can be used in so many tasty ways. I can't wait to use this recipe for tacos and nachos!

  10. I haven't used my crockpot since I started using an Instant Pot but I keep it knowing one day I'll need a larger utensil for cooking for a crowd. Because I LOVE pulled pork!

    While traditionally I've always been a sandwich type, my neighbor who eats gluten free has turned me onto pulled pork on top of mashed potatoes. Oh my...delicious!


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