Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork is one of the most magical things you can make with your slow cooker! Only three ingredients, and you’ll have dinner cooking away.
BBQ pulled pork is a classic recipe that we love serving with Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese or Root Beer Baked Beans. If you are looking for a chicken recipe, try my Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken.
Why this recipe works
I believe this recipe was the third recipe on my blog, first published in February of 2013! Though it’s one of my oldest recipes, it stands the test of time. One taste, and you’ll be making this bbq pulled pork every week!
If I know that I need to feed a large crowd in the morning, I run to the store and grab what I need for these easy slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches. It’s a crowd-pleaser and very economical!
- Pork Shoulder Roast: This cut of meat is often called pork butt or Boston Butt. If you use pork loin roast, your pork won’t be as juicy or flavorful, that’s a more healthy choice.
- Barbecue Sauce: We use Sweet Baby Ray’s though any will work great!
- Water: This keeps the roast from drying out.
Step One – Add the pork to the slow cooker, pour over the barbecue sauce and pour the water around the edges.
Step Two – Cook for 10 hours on low or 7-8 hours on high for larger roasts. If your roast is smaller, you can get away with 8-9 hours low or 6-7 hours high. The longer, the better for pulled pork; it will only get more tender.
Step three – Shred the pork – If your pork is fatty remove the pork onto a cookie sheet with a rim on it, this will give you more room to sort out the fatty pieces. Shred with two forks, discard any fatty pieces. Add the meat back to the slow cooker and some of its juices; you can add a touch more barbecue sauce if desired.
- Spice is nice – Add a spicy bbq sauce or one minced jalapeno. Or add a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika as a spice rub on the pork.
- Peachy – Add one cup of peach preserves and one tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the recipe at the beginning of cooking.
- Beer-Braised – Use beer instead of water for a beer-braised pork butt- be sure everyone on your guest list is okay with added beer. Add a teaspoon of garlic powder and tomato paste for a perfect match with the beer.
- Sandwiches -Make sandwiches out of the bbq pork. You can use hamburger buns or our favorite- sweet Hawaiian buns! They now sell them in large-sized buns. Add a heaping pile of coleslaw on top of each sandwich if desired.
- BBQ quesadilla – Use the pork to fill a quesadilla. Mozzarella cheese is the best with pork and barbecue sauce. Great for using up that leftover pork.
- Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – Throw a couple of foil-wrapped sweet potatoes in a 350-degree oven for about an hour and 20 minutes. Stuff the sweet potatoes with the barbecue pork; top with a touch of cheese, sour cream, and chopped sweet yellow onion.
Yes, pork tenderloin will shred just like pork shoulder. Cook on LOW for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Tenderloin is less fatty and can have less flavor than pork butt, but it is a healthier option.
Only one cup of water is necessary for pork butt, the pork will let off some of its own juices during the cooking time.
You can use soda such as Dr. Pepper, Coke, Pepsi, or root beer. Apple juice or apple cider, beer or hard cider. All add to the dish’s flavor, and you can’t go wrong!
If you would like to add a rub to the roast, you can with the barbecue sauce and water. You can use a homemade rub or buy a pulled pork seasoning mix. Sprinkle the mixture over the pork and rub it all over. Continue with the recipe below.
Liquid smoke is an excellent addition to pulled pork sandwiches. You can use hickory, mesquite or applewood flavored liquid smoke. It doesn’t take much at all to flavor this recipe. Only add 1-2 TEASPOONS at the beginning of the cooking time. Not any more.
Barbecue sauce already has sugar, so you won’t want to add too much. You can add 1/2 cup of brown sugar to this recipe if you like your pork more on the sweeter side.
Yes! This recipe does just that. The slow cooker was meant to add meat and other ingredients, set, and forget about it (well, until dinner time).
No, the longer it cooks the better it gets! The meat will only shred better the longer you cook. Some people cook their pulled pork for 16 hours. Though, I don’t recommend any longer than that, it will burn eventually.
Yes! Pulled pork freezes well—place in freezer ziplock bags. Freeze for up to three months. You will want to thaw the day before you need it in the fridge.
The pork will shred when you put a fork in it, though you’ll want to keep cooking it for the entire cooking time, so it will be evenly shreddable throughout.
Pulled pork can dry out or get chewy after reheating. You can avoid this by reheating in a small saucepan on the stove. Add the leftover pulled pork to the pan add a splash of water and additional barbecue sauce. Cook until heated through, often stirring (it will burn).
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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe
- 6 lb. pork shoulder or butt (or any size (smaller) will work with this recipe!)
- 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce (plus more for serving)
- 1 cup water
For serving (if making sandwiches):
- King's brand sweet Hawaiian buns or rolls (regular buns work great too)
- coleslaw kit (optional)
- barbecue sauce
- Remove the pork from the wrapper and add to the slow cooker. Add the barbecue sauce over the pork.
- Add 1 cup water around the roast.
- Cook on low for 10 hours or on HIGH for 7-8 hours (you can get away with a little less time if your roast is very small)
- Remove the roast to a plate or a rimmed cookie sheet if it is very large. (Keep about a cup of juices from the roast in the slow cooker)
- Shred the pork with 2 forks, discard any fat. Add the shredded meat to the slow cooker with reserved juices.
- Serve the shredded pork on buns with additional barbecue sauce and coleslaw if desired.
- If you would like to add a rub to the roast you can along with the barbecue sauce and water.
- You can use a homemade rub or buy a pulled pork seasoning mix.
- Sprinkle the mix over the pork and rub all over. Continue with the recipe below.
- Liquid smoke is a great addition to pulled pork sandwiches.
- You can use hickory, mesquite or applewood flavored liquid smoke.
- It doesn’t take much at all to flavor this recipe. Only add 1-2 TEASPOONS at the beginning of the cooking time. Not any more.
- Soda such as Dr. Pepper, Coke, Pepsi or Root Beer.
- Apple Juice or Apple Cider
- Beer or Hard Cider
- Yes, pork tenderloin will shred just like pork shoulder. Cook on LOW for 8 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.
- Tenderloin is less fatty and can have less flavor than pork butt but it is a healthier option.
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.
It works for us
Grandma Jo says
Never having made pulled pork, I was in search of a fool-proof recipe. I definitely found it! Easy to make and so delicious.
It was a hit with the family; and I will certainly use this recipe again. Thank you!
EASY and the pork is delicious! This is my second time using the recipe. I’m adding some liquid smoke, just to try.
Angela C. says
If I wanted to use coke instead of water, would I still add the same amount? 1 cup no matter which liquid we use? Thanks!!
Sarah Olson says
What about salt pepper onion power ? What seatings can I use
Sarah Olson says
You can use all of those! Anything you want. I wouldn’t add too much salt though.
Sorry to bother you again. I didn’t add any of those things I just added those three ingredients. And I did it overnight because I wanted it ready for this morning. But now I don’t need it ready until dinner time can I keep the crockpot on warm? There is enough liquid in the bottom.
Sarah Olson says
Four hours is the max you want to keep food on warm.
The entire family loved it!