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The best part is, your slow cooker will do all the cooking, slow simmering and infusing all the great BBQ flavors into your tender and juicy pork. 

I like using my slow cooker when I need to feed a crowd of friends pulled pork as the main dish. The slow and gentle cooking process helps to break down the tough fibers in the pork, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is similar to slow cook open pit BBQ.

Pulled pork close up of shredded meat with sauce on it

As the meat cooks slowly over low heat, it becomes infused with the flavors of the seasonings, creating a savory and scrumptious meat to serve your guests.

What type of pork is best in a BBQ slow cooker recipe?

When it comes to cooking pulled pork in a slow cooker, choosing the best cut of meat is important for achieving tender and flavorful results. One of the best cuts for this purpose is the bone-in pork shoulder. Here’s why:

  • Excellent Flavor: Pork shoulder, also known as pork butt or Boston butt, is a flavorful and well-marbled cut of meat. The marbling of fat throughout the meat adds richness and enhances the flavor of the pulled pork.
  • Moisture and Tenderness: The pork shoulder contains a good amount of connective tissue and fat, which contribute to the moistness and tenderness of the meat when cooked slowly over a long period. As the pork  cooks low and slow in the crock pot, the collagen breaks down, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • Affordability: Pork shoulder is a budget-friendly option compared to other cuts of pork. It offers great value for money while delivering excellent flavor and tenderness. Perfect for a large back yard BBQ with friends. 

What’s the key to infusing great flavor in pulled pork? 

To make the best-tasting pulled pork you will want to start by giving your pork a good rubdown with my Authentic Texas BBQ Dry Rub Recipe. 

texas style bbq rub ready to be rubbed on pork, beef or chicken

The rub adds layers of complex flavors to the pork. The combination of spices and seasonings like brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and more creates a flavorful crust on the meat as well.

As the pork slowly cooks, these flavors seep into the meat, infusing it with a delicious BBQ flavor. If you are in a hurry, you can also use your favorite store-bought dry rub instead.


How To Make BBQ Pulled Pork Using A Slow Cooker

With a few simple steps that take about 10 minutes, you can have your meat cooking in your slow cooker to free you up to go about your day.

Preparing The Pork For Slow Cooking

Excess fat should be trimmed off a pork shoulder when making slow cooker pulled pork to prevent the meat from becoming overly greasy and fatty when cooked. Trimming the fat helps to achieve a more balanced and flavorful end result.

A pork shoulder on a cutting board with a meat knife that has trimmed off excess fat setting beside it

1. Start by placing the pork on a clean cutting board, fat side up.
2. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut away any visible large pieces of fat on the surface of the meat.
3. Hold the knife at a slight angle and gently slide it under the layer of fat, separating it from the meat. Be sure to cut away from you not towards you for safety reasons. 
4. Continue to trim the fat, moving the knife in smooth, even motions, and being careful not to remove too much of the meat.
5. Once the excess fat has been trimmed off, pat the meat dry with paper towels before seasoning it with a rub. 

How To Apply BBQ Rub To Pork

Shoulder on a cutting board with barbecue dry rub all over it
  1. Apply the BBQ rub: Generously coat the entire surface of the pork with the BBQ rub. Use your hands to massage the rub into the meat, ensuring it covers all sides and crevices. The rub forms a flavorful crust on the meat when cooked.
  2. Let it rest: Once the BBQ rub is applied, allow the seasoned pork to rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the flavors of the rub to penetrate the meat.
     

Gina’s BBQ Rub Tip

I like to use kitchen latex gloves when working with raw meat to help prevent the spread of bacteria. They also help keep my hands clean and make cleanup a snap. 

  • Cover the slow cooker with the lid and set it to cook on low heat for 8-10 hours. Note* Total cooking time may vary due to the size of the pork roast and the brand of slow cooker. 
  • Once the cooking time is up, carefully remove the pork shoulder from the crock pot and transfer it to a large cutting board. Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes until it has cooled down enough to handle.
  • Pour all the cooking juices into a fat separator to separate the fat from the liquid.
  • Using your hands or two forks, pull the pork apart into shreds.
  • Drain off the fat that has separated in the fat separator container.
  • Place the pulled pork in a bowl and toss it with the cooking juices sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It is now ready to be served.
A large plate of pulled pork and a cutting board with pulled pork being shredded with two forks

Gina’s Tips For Shredding Pulled Pork

  • Two Forks Method: One of the most common and easiest ways to shred slow cooker pork shoulder is by using two forks. Once the pork shoulder is cooked and tender, carefully transfer it to a large cutting board or a heat-resistant surface. Then, hold one fork in each hand and use them to pull the pork apart. Insert the forks into the meat and pull in opposite directions, allowing the fibers to separate and create those classic pulled pork strands.
  • Hands: My favorite method of shredding crock pot  pork shoulder is to use place rubber gloves on to handle the meat and pull it a part. Make sure the pork shoulder has cooled down slightly before attempting this method. Once it is cool enough to handle, simply use your fingers to pull the meat apart. Gently work through the pork, using a tearing motion to separate the fibers. Be cautious of any remaining bones or gristle, and remove them as you go.
  • Meat Claws or Bear Claws: If you’re looking for an alternative tool for shredding large amounts of shredded pork, consider using meat claws or bear claws. These handy tools are designed specifically for this purpose, with sharp, claw-like prongs that easily tear through the pork. Simply hold the claws in your hands and dig them into the meat, then pull them apart to shred the pork. Meat claws provide a comfortable grip and make the shredding process more efficient and effortless.

Party Menu Ideas Using Pulled Pork

You can make this pulled pork recipe the day before you plan on entertaining. It’s such a versatile meat that can be used as the base for many main dish menus. 

Pulled Pork Sliders: Serve the pulled pork on mini hamburger buns or slider rolls with your choice of toppings, such as coleslaw, pickles, or barbecue sauce. These mini pulled pork sandwiches will be a crowd-pleasing appetizer or main dish.

Mexican Pulled Pork: This shredded pork is great stuffed into burritos, quesadillas, tacos, or in an easy-to-make nachos casserole.

Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese: Add pulled pork to Creamy Slow Cooker  Mac & Cheese. Simply mix in the pulled pork in the last 20 minutes of cooking time and you’ll have a comforting and flavorful option for your guests.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes: Make my Crispy Skin Air Fryer Baked Potatoes or sweet potatoes, then stuff them with a mixture of pulled pork, rice, black beans, corn, and cheese.


How To Store Leftover Pulled Pork

1. Storing leftover shredded pork:
  – Allow the pulled pork to cool down to room temperature before storing it.
  – Divide the pulled pork into smaller portions based on your future meal needs.
  – Place the portions in airtight containers or resealable freezer bags.
  – Label each container or bag with the date to help you keep track of freshness.
  – Store the pulled pork in the refrigerator if it will be consumed within 3-4 days.

2. Freezing leftover pulled pork:
  – If you won’t be using the pulled pork within a few days, freezing is a great option.
  – Ensure the pulled pork is completely cooled before freezing.
  – Place the portions in freezer-safe containers or bags, removing any excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  – Seal the containers or bags tightly.
  – Label each container or bag with the date and portion size.
  – Store the pulled pork in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

3. Reheating frozen pulled pork:
  – Thaw the frozen pulled pork by transferring it to the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost function in your microwave.
  – Once thawed, transfer the pulled pork to a microwave-safe dish or a saucepan.
  – For microwave reheating, cover the dish loosely and heat in short intervals, stirring occasionally.
  – Make sure to heat the pulled pork to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s safe to eat.
  – Once reheated, use the pulled pork immediately in your favorite recipes or enjoy it as a standalone dish.

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Pulled pork that has had extra sauce added after it was shredded
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The Secret To Making Tender BBQ Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
allow rub to rest on raw pork: 30 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Do you want to make your BBQ pork fall-off-the-bone tender? I'm going to teach you how to make super tender BBQ slow cooker pulled pork in under 10 minutes of prep to cooking time.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

hand showing you to tap on the ingredient to add to your walmart and target list.

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Start by placing the pork on a clean cutting board, fat side up.
    5 pound pork shoulder
  • Use a sharp knife to carefully cut away any visible large pieces of fat on the surface of the meat.
  • Once the excess fat has been trimmed off, pat the meat dry with paper towels before seasoning it with a rub.
  • Generously coat the entire surface of the pork with the BBQ rub. Use your hands to massage the rub into the meat, ensuring it covers all sides and crevices. The rub forms a flavorful crust on the meat when cooked.
    1/3 cup Texas BBQ Dry Rub
  • Once the BBQ rub is applied, allow the seasoned pork to rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the flavors of the rub to penetrate the meat.
  • Add chopped onions and garlic to the slow cooker.
    1/2 cup onion, 1 tablespoon garlic
  • Pour in honey, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
    6 ounces tomato paste, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup honey, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Take the pork shoulder that has been rubbed with BBQ dry rub and place it in the slow cooker. Use your hands or a large spatula to turn the pork shoulder and coat it with the seasoning sauce. *I use kitchen latex gloves for this step since I am handling raw meat.
  • Cover the slow cooker with the lid and set it to cook on low heat for 8-10 hours. Note* Total cooking time may vary due to size of pork roast, and brand of slow cooker.
  • Once the cooking time is up, carefully remove the pork shoulder from the crock pot and transfer it to a large cutting board. Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes until it has cooled down enough to handle.
  • Pour all the cooking juices into a fat separator to separate the fat from the liquid.
  • Using your hands or two forks, pull the pork apart into shreds.
  • Drain off the fat that has separated in the fat separator container.
  • Place the pulled pork in a bowl and toss it with the cooking juices sauce. It is now ready to be served.

Notes

Texas BBQ Dry Rub Recipe – www.intentionalhospitality.com/texas-bbq-rub-recipe/
Gina’s Tips For Shredding Pulled Pork
1. Two Forks Method: One of the most common and easiest ways to shred slow cooker pork shoulder is by using two forks. Once the pork shoulder is cooked and tender, carefully transfer it to a large cutting board or a heat-resistant surface. Then, hold one fork in each hand and use them to pull the pork apart. Insert the forks into the meat and pull in opposite directions, allowing the fibers to separate and create those classic pulled pork strands.
2. Hands: My favorite method of shredding crock pot  pork shoulder is to use place rubber gloves on to handle the meat and pull it apart.  Make sure the pork shoulder has cooled down slightly before attempting this method. Once it is cool enough to handle, simply use your fingers to pull the meat apart. Gently work through the pork, using a tearing motion to separate the fibers. Be cautious of any remaining bones or gristle, and remove them as you go.
Serving: -6g
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Dish
Author: Gina Dickson

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