Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Barbecue

Pulled Pork Barbecue Slow Cooker
Diana Rattray
  • 9 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 9 hrs
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Ratings (85)

Nothing beats slow-cooked pulled pork for a party or gathering. The melt-in-your-mouth pork is shredded and served on sandwiches. It's simple and versatile, and your guests can build their sandwiches on toasted soft buns with or without Carolina coleslaw and more barbecue sauce. If you like heat, add a teaspoon—more or less—of crushed red pepper flakes to the barbecue sauce. For smoky pit barbecue flavor, add some liquid smoke.

You may wonder why the recipe calls for either pork shoulder or Boston butt. The reason is that Boston butt is actually the upper part of the shoulder of the pig. The whole shoulder consists of the butt and the picnic, which is the lower part.

What You'll Need

  • 3 onions (2 sliced, 1 finely chopped, divided)
  • 4 pounds pork roast (boneless pork shoulder, fresh picnic, or Boston butt)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (16 ounces) bottle barbecue sauce
  • Optional: 5 or 6 whole cloves
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (for spicy sauce)
  • Optional: A couple of drops of liquid smoke

How to Make It

  1. Place one sliced onion at the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Stud the pork roast with cloves, if using. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the pork in the slow cooker on top of the sliced onion. Cover with the second sliced onion and add 2 cups of water.
  4. Cover and cook on low 9 to 12 hours, or until the pork is very tender and falling apart.
  5. Remove the pork roast. Remove and discard cloves, bone, and fat as well as any excess liquids and onions remaining in pot.
  1. When pork roast is cool enough to handle, use a fork or your fingers to pull it apart until the entire roast is shredded. If you make pulled pork often, you might want to buy meat shredding claws.
  2. Return the pulled pork to the slow cooker. Add the finely chopped onion, barbecue sauce, and optional red pepper flakes, and optional liquid smoke, and cover. Heat on high for 1 to 2 hours, or until the onions are tender.
  3. Serve the pulled pork on large, crusty buns with your favorite barbecue sauce. Garnish with dill pickles, thinly sliced raw onion, and pickled pepperoncini (Italian banana peppers). Serve with crisp, homemade slaw, either piled on the pork sandwiches or on the side.

Tips and Variations

This recipe uses the low and slow method. You can vary the cooking time as well as the barbecue sauce.

  • If you want to add a more depth of flavor, brown the pork on all sides in a skillet with oil over medium-high heat before you add it to the slow cooker.
  • If you are in a hurry, you can cook the pork roast on high for 4 to 6 hours.
  • If you are going to be holding the pulled pork for longer, after adding the barbecue sauce and onion, cook it on low for 1 to 3 hours rather than on high.
  • You can use your favorite bottled barbecue sauce or your own homemade sauce.
  • If the barbecue sauce is very thick, add a bit of water just before the pork is ready.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 547
Total Fat 27 g
Saturated Fat 10 g
Unsaturated Fat 12 g
Cholesterol 172 mg
Sodium 689 mg
Carbohydrates 25 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Protein 48 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)