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Cook this BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker for a zesty, saucy, tender, pull-apart pork that's great on a sandwich or piled high on your plate!
This is a fabulous Southern pulled pork slow cooker recipe that's so easy and quick to put together.
You don't need a pressure cooker, and you don't need a smoker to pull off a delicious pulled pork recipe that will please your family and friends.
All you need is a bit of time and slow cooking, and you will be rewarded with tender, fall-apart pork that you will add a zesty barbecue finishing sauce to.
Top the resulting barbecue pulled pork with one of my coleslaw recipes on a sesame seed bun, and you're all set for family or friends.
Double this recipe, and you have enough food for a crowd.
This recipe easily makes 8-10 large sandwiches, so a family of four (like mine) will be eating our fill with plenty leftover for another meal (even with hungry teenage boys).
You can also choose to serve coleslaw on the side. My family goes mixed on this one with about half wanting it on the side and the other half piling coleslaw on top of the pulled pork.
So, topped or not - bun, or not - this pulled pork slow cooker recipe will have all your kin asking for you to make it again and again.
What You'll Need
- 3 pound pork roast, boneless (or 4 pounds bone in)
- drizzle of oil
- onion powder
- dry marjoram or oregano
- minced garlic
- apple cider vinegar
- yellow mustard
- tomato paste
- Worcestershire sauce
How to Make BBQ Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker
First you will cook your pork roast, boneless or bone in. No need to trim any fat before cooking, as the fat will add flavor to the meat during cooking.
Once the pork is fall-apart tender (after 3-4 hours on low and 6-8 hours on high), you will remove the roast from the slow cooker and separate the meat from the bones and fat.
Note: Do not discard the liquid broth left behind in the slow cooker, as this liquid has lots of flavor and will help your pork be nice and juicy once returning it to the cooker.
You want small pieces, and it's ideal to "pull" the meat apart with your fingers or with a fork or two. The meat should be very tender, so this process should be simple and not take very long.
Next, you will return the meat to the slow cooker and add the finishing sauce.
Alternately, you can simply add all the sauce ingredients to the meat before mixing together. I like to mix it all with a large fork to help incorporate the tomato paste and the other ingredients.
If you prefer, you can mix together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl with a fork or whisk before adding to the pulled pork.
This is probably a better option that ensures that the sauce is covering more of the meat. I don't always prep my sauces together before adding in, so the choice is yours.
Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce
The sauce for this pulled pork is simple to make. It's made up of tomato paste, a bit of water, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, onion powder, marjoram (or oregano), minced garlic, vinegar, yellow mustard, and salt.
All these combine to give you a saucy, lightly sweet, savory, flavorful sauce that your slow cooked pulled pork will soak up once done.
No extra sauce will be needed, and no fear that this pulled pork will be dry.
Once the pork is done cooking, the sauce ingredients will readily soak into the pulled pork bits, incorporating all the saucy goodness into the meat.
The pulled pork seasoning sauce is easy to put together. Simply add all the sauce ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and whisk together until the sauce is smooth.
Thirty minutes to an hour more is all you need to serve this delicious pulled pork!
I hope you enjoy this BBQ pulled pork Crock Pot recipe as much as my family and I do! Let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to let me know which coleslaw you paired it with or if you ate it all by itself.
Tips & FAQs
What are the best sides with pulled pork?
I highly recommend one of my coleslaw recipes either on the side or on top of the meat as a sandwich on a sesame seed bun.
My latest Green Apple Coleslaw is a big hit at my house with the apple flavors blending nicely with the pork.
Other winning coleslaw recipes include my classic Southern Coleslaw Recipe, which is a simple, basic coleslaw that goes with everything.
I also recommend my Lemon Dill Coleslaw - the first coleslaw I used with the first version of this pulled pork recipe (it has been adapted over time). So simple and fabulous with the lemony dill flavors mixing nicely with the barbecue flavors.
Can you make pulled pork without owning a pressure cooker or a smoker?
Absolutely! This pulled pork is cooked in the slow cooker, which is a fabulously simple way to cook pulled pork. You don't need a pressure cooker to make it tender, and you don't have to have a smoker for great flavor.
What are some tricks when cooking pork butt for pulled pork?
I used a pork roast for this pulled pork recipe. The label didn't specify pork butt, but you can certainly use this cut.
The tricks for cooking pork butt for pulled pork are simply cooking low and slow, which the slow cooker takes care of in the above recipe.
What part of the pig does pulled pork come from?
You can use pork from the shoulder or butt, but I simply use a pork roast that doesn't have a ton of fat.
You can also look specifically for pork butt or pork shoulder for the cut of meat that's best for pulled pork. You want a bit of fat for flavor.
Actually, the more fat the more flavorful your pulled pork will be. However, you may not want all the fat in the end product (like me - not because of being fat averse, but I just don't like the mouth feel of a bunch of fat in my pulled pork).
What is the best way to keep pulled pork moist?
Any tasty pulled pork slow cooker recipe worth its weight will be moist and tender and flavorful.
Cooking in the slow cooker with a well-fitting lid is important for preventing the meat from drying out. You don't want all the juice to evaporate in steam.
This recipe produces a bit of broth while cooking the pork, which you do not want to discard.
Adding the pork back to the broth in the slow cooker after pulling apart along with the other ingredients will help keep your pulled pork moist.
I hope you love this recipe for BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker as much as we do! Let me know in the comments below!
BBQ Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker
- 3 pound boneless pork roast or 4 pound bone in
- 2 Tbsp olive oil or oil of choice
- Add pork to slow cooker and turn heat to high. Drizzle with the oil and cook for 3-4 hours on low or 6-8 hours on high (or until it's fall-apart tender or falling off the bone if using bone in pork).
Pulled Pork Sauce
- When pork is almost done, add all sauce ingredients to a medium-size bowl and whisk together until smooth. Set aside until ready to add to pork.
- Remove meat from slow cooker and separate out any fat or bone, pulling it into bite-sized pieces as you go. (I like to use a fork to break it up initially, then use my hands to get the smaller pieces.)
- Note: Do not discard the liquid broth left behind in the slow cooker, as this liquid has lots of flavor and will help your pork be nice and juicy once returning it to the cooker.
- Return meat to the slow cooker and add the Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce. Stir together until the meat is well covered in the sauce. Turn heat to low. Heat for another 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Serve warm by itself or on buns or rolls with coleslaw.
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