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Easy to make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork! No smoker needed. Tender, flavorful and smoky pulled pork straight from your own slow cooker!   Perfect for enjoying as a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, or loaded up on nachos, tacos, or even as a pizza topping.  The possibilities are endless! 

Slow cooker pulled pork on a hamburger bun served with potato chips.


 

Perfectly juicy, tender, smoky, sweet, spicy, crispy pulled pork.  All made easy with the use of a slow cooker.

Pulled pork is amazing when done right. There’s nothing better than tender, smoky pulled pork with a flavorful bark. But what do you do when you don’t have a smoker?

This slow cooker pulled pork is SO easy to make and you can enjoy it as a weeknight family dinner. And can I get an amen from my fellow Texans…there is NO BBQ SAUCE involved in the making of this pulled pork.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Ingredients needed to make a slow cooker pulled pork.
  • Pork Shoulder: Use a bone in or boneless pork shoulder or pork butt.
  • Oil: Use oil to hold the dry rub to the meat. You can use avocado or olive oil. You could also use mustard if you like which is a common binder for Texas BBQ.
  • Liquid Smoke: Use liquid smoke to obtain a smoky flavoring to the meat without having to use actual smoke. If you would prefer to not use this ensure that you are using a smoked paprika in the seasoning and you can also substitute the salt for a smoked salt for additional smoke flavoring.
  • Pork Dry Rub: Our Texas Sweet BBQ Dry Rub is included in the recipe card below. This dry rub has a nice balance of sweet and spice making it the best rub for Texas BBQ pulled pork in a slow cooker.

Best Cut of Pork for Pulled Pork

The best cut that you can usually find at the market is the Pork Shoulder. Which might also be labeled as Pork Butt. They’re the same thing. You could also go with a Boston Butt or a Picnic Roast. These are both smaller cuts that come from the shoulder. And you can do either a bone in, or a boneless that has been tied up with the bone removed.

Find the complete recipe card below with measurements and full instructions.

How To Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork:

The flavor of the meat is going to come down to the seasoning that we use and the liquid that we use to cook the pork in. The texture of the pork is going to come from the temperature and length of time that we cook the meat.

To get the perfect juicy, tender, easily shredded pulled pork we want to cook it low and slow over the course of several hours. You can’t rush it. Setting the slow cooker to low and letting it cook throughout the day is the best method.

Pork should with a dry rub sprinkled on top.

First, coat the pork with the oil then evenly sprinkle with a Texas Style Dry Rub. The dry rub is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. It’s my favorite for using on pork.

Next, cook the pork for 8 hours in the slow cooker in a mixture of worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and liquid smoke.

Pulled pork in a slow cooker.

Broiling the meat briefly is a trick I do with my Slow Cooker Carnitas, and it gives just the perfect little crispy bits of pork.  If you would prefer not to have the crispy bits you can absolutely skip that step, although it really only takes 5 minutes to do.

Shredded slow cooker pulled pork.

Pulled Pork Temperature Guide

Pork is considered safe to eat at a temperature of 145 degrees F.

Technically you will see that pulled pork will be done at 190-195 degrees F. However, I find that the meat just falls apart once it gets to a temperature of 200 degrees F.

You will know when it’s done, when you stick a fork in it, the meat will just separate and shred basically all on it’s own.

  • Pulled pork Sliders/Sandwiches: Pile on the pulled pork, slather it down in some Texas BBQ Sauce.  Add some Coleslaw if desired, or just go with the pork if you wish. Again, there is no BBQ sauce used in making the pork, so if you want to add some sauce to your sandwich, that is up to you!
  • Pulled Pork Pizzathis quick and easy pizza uses a no yeast pizza dough, meaning you can toss this pizza together in minutes, top it with tons of pulled pork, cheese, and some red onion.
  • King Ranch Pulled Pork Casserole. This casserole is a play on a classic Texas King Ranch Casserole, typically made with chicken, but dressed up with some leftover pulled pork. Layers of tortillas, cheese, and pulled pork.
Pulled pork sandwich served with potato chips.

Storage

  • Leftovers: My favorite way to save this pulled pork is to save the meat in one container, then I get all of the juices from cooking and save that in another container. Store both in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Store the meat in a freezer-safe airtight sealed container. Can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheating: Add the meat to a large skillet over medium heat, and spoon in the juices. The fats will have separated from the juices, so it’s up to you how much of the fats you want to add back into the meat, I typically just scoop out the juice from beneath the layer of fat.

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    Perfect Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

    5 from 46 votes
    Prep: 5 minutes
    Cook: 8 hours
    Servings: 8
    Author: Serene
    This Texas style slow cooked pulled pork is made easier in the slow cooker. Perfect for enjoying as a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, or loaded up on nachos, or even as a pizza topping! The possibilities are endless!
    Slow cooker pulled pork on a hamburger bun served with potato chips.

    Ingredients  

    Pork Dry Rub

    Pulled Pork

    Instructions 

    • Mix together the ingredients for the Dry Rub in a small bowl.
    • Trim off any large, hard fat pieces from the pork roast. Rub the pork shoulder with the dry rub on all sides. Place into the slow cooker.
    • Stir together the  apple cider vinegar, worcestshire sauce, and liquid smoke in a small bowl, then pour over the pork roast in the slow cooker.
    • Cook on Low heat for 8-10 hours, or until tender.
    • Carefully remove the pork to a large baking sheet. Keeping it as intact as possible.
    • Broil on high heat in the oven for 5 minutes to get the crispy pieces of pork.
    • Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly. Using two forks, shred the meat.
    • Serve warm on hamburger buns.

    Video

    Equipment

    Notes

    • Pork Shoulder: Use a bone in or boneless pork shoulder or pork butt.
    • Oil: Use oil to hold the dry rub to the meat. You can use avocado or olive oil. You could also use mustard if you like which is a common binder for Texas BBQ.
    • Liquid Smoke: Use liquid smoke to obtain a smoky flavoring to the meat without having to use actual smoke. If you would prefer to not use this ensure that you are using a smoked paprika in the seasoning and you can also substitute the salt for a smoked salt for additional smoke flavoring.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1 | Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Like this? Leave a comment below!

    Photography by KJandCompany.co

    Recipe first published March 19, 2019. Updated February 26, 2024 with new images. SaveSave


    Welcome to my kitchen!

    Welcome to the House of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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    31 Comments

    1. This was absolutely delicious! I paired it with your Bleu Cheese Bacon Coleslaw and wow! What a fantastic meal! Your recipes are wonderful.

    2. My husband doesn’t like a saucy pulled pork.  I came across this recipe and liked that it did not have barbecue sauce or ketchup in the recipe.  I subbed reg paprika and layered the bottom of the pot with lots of onions. Its a super easy recipe and was a big hit with my husband and son.  I will definitely be making this again.  Its a keeper!

    3. Love this recipe. I’m from Canada and will still give you a large AMEN that there is no barbecue sauce in this recipe.

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!….

      Too many recipes for pulled pork online say add a bit of this and a bit of that and 2-3 cups of barbecue sauce…….REALLY?

      So thank you for a wonderfully flavoured recipe that is easy to make and taste much better than something out of a bottle.

      1. You could cook it on high…but the meat will not be as tender. Cooking low and slow is what gives a really tender, moist pulled pork.

    4. Just made this. Didn’t change a thing and family loved it. All I could find was a 4 lb. Butt and worked fine.

    5. This rub is amazing. I truly believe that pulled pork in a slow cooker is the best way to make it… This rub would be amazing in either slow or pressure cooked, it’s smooth, with tons of flavor. I increased the brown sugar slightly because I like a sweet after taste. I will definitely be using this again. I appreciated the tips in this recipe. I trimmed the fat, it was well worth the effort!

      1. Yes! Pork tenderloin is different than shoulder though, so the cook time could be different, probably less.

      2. I purchased bone-in pork shoulder/butt. I don’t know what I was thinking because I had made this before and it’s delicious! Does the bone-in affect the cook time? I just put it in. Thanks!

        1. Yes! The bone does affect the cooking time. It might need longer to cook. Keep an eye on it, when the meat shreds easily then you will know it’s done.

    6. Delish! I am a native Texan…living in Switzerland…and this was a great taste of home! We don’t have liquid smoke here so left that out, as well as the cayenne since I didn’t want it too spicy for my 5 yr old. It turned out perfect—both with and without bbq sauce added. Thanks for a good and easy recipe!