Crock Pot Pork Shoulder for Pulled-Pork Sandwiches

Crock pot pork shoulder with coleslaw on a bun

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 hrs
Total: 10 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8 to 12 servings
Yield: 6 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1085 Calories
68g Fat
47g Carbs
67g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 1085
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 68g 87%
Saturated Fat 23g 114%
Cholesterol 244mg 81%
Sodium 920mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 67g
Vitamin C 11mg 57%
Calcium 148mg 11%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 1101mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

For this crowd-pleasing recipe, pork shoulder is cooked to perfection in the crock pot with your favorite barbecue sauce for a fabulous main dish or pulled pork sandwiches. It's incredibly easy and almost entirely hands-off, making it perfect for family dinners, game-day gatherings, and potlucks. You can shred it in the pot and keep it warm while serving.

This is a basic recipe for pulled pork using a boneless or bone-in shoulder (also known as a Boston butt), but be sure your pork shoulder will fit in the slow cooker and will allow you to put the cover on tightly before starting. If needed, you can cut the pork into pieces so that it will fit in the cooker. You'll only need a couple of other ingredients to make this tasty dish.

If you have extra crock pot pulled pork, you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to three months. Or get creative with your leftover pulled pork and use it to make tamales, egg rolls, and more.


Click Play to See This Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork Sandwiches Recipe Come Together

"Set it and forget it! Great for a freezer meal. I like making Korean pulled pork sandwiches and topping them with store-bought kimchi or cucumbers quick-pickled in rice vinegar." —Renae Wilson

Crock Pot Pork Shoulder for Pulled Pork Sandwiches
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 (4- to 7-pound) pork shoulder or Boston butt, bone-in or boneless

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 dash kosher salt

  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large onion, chopped, optional

  • 1/2 to 1 cup barbecue sauce, plus more for serving

  • Sandwich buns, for serving

  • Coleslaw, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for crock pot pork shoulder for pulled-pork sandwiches recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Add the water and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If desired, add chopped onions.

    Pork shoulder and chopped onions in a slow cooker

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Turn to low and cook 7 to 9 hours longer, until very tender.

    Pork shoulder and onions in a covered slow cooker

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Remove roast and discard the fat and juices. Chop or shred the pork and then return the meat to the slow cooker.

    Shredded pork shoulder in slow cooker

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Mix 1/2 to 1 cup of barbecue sauce into the meat for flavor. Cover and cook on low for about 30 minutes to 1 hour longer, until hot.

    Shredded pork shoulder with barbecue sauce in a slow cooker

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Serve as is or on warm split sandwich buns with coleslaw and extra barbecue sauce on the side.

    Pulled pork sandwiches on buns with coleslaw

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


  • If the roast is too large to fit in one piece, cut it into large chunks or trim it to fit in your slow cooker crockery insert.
  • Low and slow is the best method for cooking pork shoulder. You'll know it's done when the meat is so tender you can easily pull it apart with a fork.

Recipe Variations

How to Store

  • Leftover pulled pork should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a sprinkle or two of water if needed to keep it from drying out.
  • Pulled pork can be frozen. Let cool and add to a zip-top freezer bag, pressing out the air. Freeze for up to three months and defrost in the fridge before using.

Can You Overcook a Pork Shoulder in a Crock Pot?

While it's hard to overcook a tough and fatty cut like pork shoulder when it's on low in a slow cooker, it will eventually become dry as more liquid evaporates. For best results, cook it in a small amount of liquid and don't cook it for more than 10 or 11 hours for best results.

Can You Put Raw Meat in the Slow Cooker?

It is safe to add raw meat to a crock pot or slow cooker if it will be cooked through completely. Tough cuts like pot roast, pork shoulder, and stew meat can be browned first and then cooked through in the cooker or simply added to the crock pot. Ground meat is typically cooked beforehand for the best texture and so the fat can be drained.