Slow cooker pulled pork with homemade sauce is drenched in a rich and flavorful barbecue sauce. It's simple to make with wholesome ingredients.
Set-it-and-forget-it slow cooker meals like this one are the best. They take little time to prepare and taste great.
Homemade barbecue sauce adds a little more time to prepare, but it tastes much better than store-bought and has a lot less added sugar, and more importantly no high fructose corn syrup. The homemade bbq sauce has a hint of maple syrup and smoked paprika for a sweet and smoky flavor.
If you prefer a sweeter bbq sauce, try blueberry bbq sauce and if you like spicy, try this homemade spicy beer bbq sauce recipe.
Why you will 🤍this recipe
- It's easy to make with very little prep time.
- It's a delicious and versatile recipe and tastes great leftovers.
- The homemade sauce and spice rub are a much healthier and tastier way to enjoy pulled pork.
Here is what you will need
This is an overview of the ingredients and steps to make this recipe; scroll down for a printable recipe card with exact measurements and detailed instructions.
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- Boneless pork loin or shoulder
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Chili powder
- Sea salt
- Coconut sugar or brown sugar
- Tomato paste
- Apple cider vinegar
- Fresh garlic
- Orange juice
- Maple syrup
- Worcestershire sauce
- Slow cooker
- Measuring cups
- Small bowl
- Measuring spoons
- Instant-read thermometer
How to make bbq shredded pork in a slow cooker
Prepare the ingredients: slice the onions, pat the pork roast dry with a paper towel, measure all of the ingredients and mix the spices together.
Arrange the onions in the bottom of the crock pot. Rub the spice mixture over the pork roast and place it on top of the onions in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 ½ hours.
Remove the pork from the slow cooker and cover it with foil. Skim off the fat from the juices in the slow cooker. Mix the sauce ingredients together. Shred the pork with two forks and return it to the slow cooker; cook for
Shred the pork with two forks and return it to the slow cooker; cook for at least 30 minutes longer and serve.
NOTE: Cook time can vary depending on the size of the pork roast and your slow cooker. The internal temperature of the pork should be at least 165 degrees f.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Pork - Pork shoulder is the best cut to make pulled pork; it shreds nicely and has a lot of flavor. If you prefer a leaner cut of meat, you can use a boneless pork loin. It will not shred as nicely, but the flavor is there and it has a lower fat content.
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Sliced Onions - Any type of onion will work in this recipe. I like to you all-purpose onions or sweet onions, but in the end, whichever type of onion you use will work. If you only have red onions, they will work too.
Spices - the spices can easily be replaced with your favorite bbq rub or spice blend. You will need approximately 1 ½ tablespoons of barbecue seasoning blend.
Orange juice - Can be substituted with the same amount of apple juice or pineapple juice.
How to store leftover slow cooker bbq pork
Pulled pork is one of those dishes that is perfect to make for meal prep and it tastes even better the next day. You can store leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Freeze leftover pulled pork once it's reached room temperature in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost frozen pork in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheat leftover pulled pork on top of the stove or in the oven.
Tip! Try an instant-read meat thermometer for the quickest and best results.
A great way to serve this delicious recipe is as pulled pork sandwiches on your favorite roll with a side of coleslaw, potato salad, or a baked potato.
Pulled pork also tastes great in quesadillas, tacos, nachos, salads, or wraps.
Pulled pork with spicy bbq sauce - add a little bit of heat with a dash or two of cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or red pepper flakes for spicy sauce.
Pulled barbecue chicken - Replace pork with boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Reduce the cooking time to 2 ½ to 3 hours.
- You can use your favorite packaged barbecue sauce if you are pressed for time.
- For a caramelized texture and flavor, sear the meat for about 5 minutes on each side in a very hot cast iron skillet before adding it to the slow cooker.
- You can skim off excess fat by removing the pork from the slow cooker and setting it aside. Carefully pour the liquid in the slow cooker into a measuring cup and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes. The fat will rise to the top which can be easily skimmed off.
- For a smaller portion, use a pork tenderloin and scale the recipe by one-half and reduce the cooking time by an hour.
Yes, you can. Both the pork shoulder and pork butt come from the pig's shoulder. The pork butt comes from higher up on the leg while the shoulder is located further down the leg.
Since there is a long cook time for pulled pork, the sauce will cook into the meat and the end result will not have as much bbq flavor. In addition, if you add the sauce after the pork has been cooked, you will have the opportunity to drain the excess fat.
It's easy to make this recipe in the oven. Cover the meat with the dry rub and place it with the onions in a roasting pan, cover it with aluminum foil, or place it in a dutch oven and cover it. Cook at 325 for 4 to 5 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and shred it. Toss it in the sauce and heat it on top of the stove over low heat for at least 30 minutes and serve.
Typically it takes half the amount of time to cook in a slow cooker using the high heat setting. But I don't recommend the high heat setting for slow cooker pulled pork. Pork shoulder is a tough cut of meat and tastes better when it's cooked low and slow which will produce the best texture of meat that will be tender.
Tip! Try an instant-read meat thermometer for the quickest and best results.
Try These Slow-Cooker Dinner Ideas
- Slow-Cooked Chipotle Chicken Stew
- Slow Cooker Asian Pork
- Easy Peanut Butter Chicken Recipe
- Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken
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Click on serving size to scale this recipe
- 3 pound pork shoulder
- 1 onion medium
- ¼ cup water
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons organic low sodium tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- Slice the onions and place them into the slow cooker.1 onion
- Mix the spice rub ingredients together and rub them into the meat.2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- Place the meat on top of the onions, pour in the water, cover and cook for 4 ½ to 5 hours on low.3 pound pork shoulder, ¼ cup water
- Mix up the ingredients for the bbq sauce.3 tablespoons organic low sodium tomato paste, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 clove garlic, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 ½ teaspoons worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred it and drain excess fat off of the meat.
- Add the shredded meat back into the slow cooker and pour in the sauce.
- Cover and cook on low for at least 1 hour longer.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used
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