Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

$9.48 recipe / $1.19 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.80 from 5 votes
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Something truly magical happens when you cook pork low and slow. It turns into the most mouth-watering tender and juicy meat you’ve ever had. And meat this tender is good with everything, so if you make this Slow Cooker Pulled Pork on Sunday, you’ll have meat to last you all week. Pile that slow cooker pork onto sandwiches, tacos, bowl meals, nachos, salads, and more for quick dinners the rest of the week!

Slow cooker pulled pork on a plate with tongs and sandwich fixings on the sides.

What Kind of Pork to Use for Pulled Pork

To get the juiciest and most tender pulled pork make sure to buy a pork butt or pork shoulder. These cuts are marbled with fat and connective tissue that slowly melt and gelatinize when cooked with slow, gentle heat, creating ultra moist and tender meat.

You can buy bone-in or boneless pork butt or pork shoulder. I prefer to use boneless and then cut the pork into large pieces so they cook a little faster, but you can leave the bone in and remove it when shredding the pork if preferred. Just keep in mind that cooking time may be longer if you leave the bone in during cooking.

How to Season Pulled Pork

I used a versatile yet flavorful spice rub on the pork before slow cooking, along with a little extra fresh garlic. This mix of paprika, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and brown sugar enhances the pork’s flavor, but keeps it neutral enough to be paired with BBQ sauce or any other flavor profile you plan to pair with your pulled pork.

Three slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches on a wooden cutting board.

How to Serve Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork sandwiches are always a hit (brioche buns, BBQ sauce, pickles, and/or coleslaw), but this pulled pork is also great for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or nachos. I also love piling pulled pork onto bowl meals, salads, or even adding it to soup or ramen. You can seriously add it to anything!

Storage Instructions

Keep the pork in the juices when refrigerating to keep the meat as moist as possible upon reheating. After cooking, transfer the shredded pork and juices to an air-tight food storage container and refrigerate for up to 4-5 days. After completely chilling in the refrigerator, you can transfer the pork to the freezer for longer storage (about three months). To reheat the pork, simply heat in a sauce pot over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until hot.

Close up side view of a plate full of slow cooker pulled pork.
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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

4.80 from 5 votes
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is an easy way to cook the most tender and juicy pork ever. It's great on tacos, sandwiches, burritos and more.
Three pulled pork sandwiches with pickles on a wooden cutting board.
Servings 8 ½ cup each
Prep 15 mins
Cook 4 hrs
Total 4 hrs 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. pork butt ($8.07)
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into chunks ($0.37)
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped ($0.32)

Spice Rub

  • 2 tsp paprika ($0.20)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika ($0.10)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp onion powder ($0.10)
  • 2 tsp salt ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.04)

Instructions 

  • Combine the spices for the spice rub in a bowl.
  • Cut the pork butt into large chunks. If the pork butt has a bone you can either remove it before cooking or wait until you are shredding the cooked meat to remove it. Keep in mind the pork will require extra cooking time if cooking with the bone in.
  • Add the pork pieces to a large bowl and sprinkle the spice rub over top. Toss until the pork is evenly coated in spices.
  • Dice the yellow onion and add it to the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the seasoned pork on top of the onion, then add the roughly chopped garlic on top.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. Test the pork with a fork to make sure the meat is tender. It should shred easily with a fork. If not, cook for one hour longer. The total cooking time will depend on the size of your pork butt.
  • Once the pork is tender, use two forks to shred the meat.
  • If you prefer crispy edges on your pork, place some of the pork on a sheet pan and broil for a few minutes, or just until the edges are browned and crispy. Keep a close eye on the pork as it broils!
  • Serve the pulled pork on sandwiches, tacos, bowl meals, and more!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Equipment

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 247kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 32gFat: 10gSodium: 694mgFiber: 0.5g
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BBQ sauce being poured onto pulled pork sandwiches.

How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – Step by Step Photos

Spices for pulled pork in a small wooden bowl.

To make the spice rub for the pulled pork, combine 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp salt, and ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Chunks of pork butt on a cutting board.

Cut a 3 lb. pork butt into large chunks. If your pork butt is bone-in, you can either remove the bone or cook with the bone in and remove it when shredding your meat. Keep in mind that if you leave the bone in, the pork will take slightly longer to cook.

Meat coated with spices in a bowl.

Place the pork in a bowl, sprinkle the spice rub over top, then toss until the pork is evenly coated in the rub.

Diced onion in the slow cooker.

Dice one yellow onion and place it on the bottom of the slow cooker.

Pork in slow cooker with chopped garlic,

Place the seasoned pork in the slow cooker and top with four roughly chopped cloves of garlic.

Cooked pork in the slow cooker.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. If your pork butt is larger than 3 lbs. you may need to cook slightly longer. Check the tenderness of the meat after 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. It should pull apart easily. If it’s still tough, let it cook another hour then check again.

Shredded pork in the slow cooker, some being lifted with tongs.

Once the pork is tender, use two forks to shred the meat.

Broiled pulled pork on a baking sheet.

If you want crispy edges on your pulled pork (who doesn’t?!). Place some of the pulled pork on a baking sheet and place it under your oven’s broiler for a few minutes. The melted fat on the pork will fry the edges and make it beautifully crispy! Keep a close eye on the meat as it broils since broilers cook very quickly!

Three pulled pork sandwiches with pickles on a wooden cutting board.

Enjoy your pulled pork on sandwiches, tacos, bowl meals, quesadillas and more!

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  1. This pork is SO good. We made a bunch of it and froze half. We’ve been eating it for several weeks, and we’re not tired of it! Used it in sandwiches and burrito bowls.

  2. This was great, but next time I’ll trim the fat before cooking. It felt like pork fat soup at the end lol.

  3. I’ve made this at least a dozen times.
    In a an oil bath (think carnitas)
    A jigger of Liquid Smoke
        in the pot (BBQish)
    Bone-in and out
    Overnight dry rub (mostly not)
        which can burn when you brown 

    My Go To is 9 lbs. in large chunks 
    Let the butcher debone 
    Seasoned and browned 
    in a 6 qt Dutch Oven 
    Take the lid off and 
    crank the heat at the end
    Shred, pack and weigh 
    then stick in the freezer 
    for a quick easy meal 

    Reheat is usually under the broiler or toaster oven (crispy edges) for tacos,
    or riffing on coleslaw beds for BBQ

    —- –  o – —-

    I’m commenting after a search for Raspberry Barbecue Sauce, and find your site delightful ! Bookmarked 

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  4. I love this recipe..I used a 4lb bone in butt. Left it whole.with fat cap on. Put rub on the night before and left overnight on the frige.
    Put in crockpot on the morning on low 8 hours. When done, I shredded the meat removed the fat and bones. Used some that night and the rest went into freezer bags with some of the juice after fat was skimmed off. Was able to use the meat for 5 generous meals for 2. We made BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, pressed Cuban sandwiches, shredded pork tacos, pork stir fry over rice., and some quesadillas.. Great recipe!!

  5. boneless country style pork ribs work great for this too! had trouble getting pork butt for a while, so tried those on a whim and like it even more. great recipe, thanks!

  6. Another great pork recipe–this economical and delicious cut is one we sometimes smoke, but a more manageable recipe is very welcome. I particularly love your tip about a quick trip under the broiler. My slow cooker is a 50 yr old crock pot–I’ll wait until the next time I see a butt on special and if it’s too large, freeze some of it prior to cooking. My supermarket has often sold the boneless 6-8 lb size for $.99. Although I suspect that price is gone forever, I do expect to see one under $2 before long.

    If anyone is looking for a spot for leftovers, your spectacular recipe for 30 minute posole deserves some current recognition!!! https://www.budgetbytes.com/30-minute-posole/ It’s one of my faves.

  7. Sounds absolutely delicious, can’t wait to try in my under used slow cooker which has been in the cupboard for ages! Definitely inspired to get it back into regular service, especially as the colder weather approaches.
    Love your attention to detail, can’t go wrong step by step photos and instructions. Thank you