Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Barbecue Recipe

Pulled Pork Barbecue Slow Cooker
Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 9 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
620 Calories
39g Fat
21g Carbs
43g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 620
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 14g 71%
Cholesterol 163mg 54%
Sodium 650mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 43g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 66mg 5%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 750mg 16%
*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.)

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 this Carolina coleslaw and more barbecue sauce. Or serve the sandwiches with a creamy coleslaw or this kale and cabbage slaw. 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.


  • 3 medium onions; 2 sliced, 1 finely chopped, divided

  • 4 pounds pork roast (boneless pork shoulder, fresh picnic, or Boston butt)

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 (16-ounce) bottle barbecue sauce

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

  • 2 drops liquid smoke, optional

  • 3 to 4 whole cloves, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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  2. Place 1 sliced onion at the bottom of the slow cooker.

    put onions in slow cooker
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  3. Stud the pork roast with cloves (or put them in a small cheesecloth bag or tea strainer), if using. Season with salt and pepper.

    season meat
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  4. 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.

    put water in slow cooker
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  5. Cover and cook on low 9 to 12 hours, or until the pork is very tender and falling apart.

  6. Remove the pork roast from the pot. Remove and discard the cloves and excess fat and liquids along with bones if the roast was not boneless. You may also discard the sliced onions, if desired.

  7. When the 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.

    shred the meat
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  8. Return the pulled pork to the slow cooker. Add the finely chopped onion, barbecue sauce, and optional red pepper flakes, and optional liquid smoke. Cover the pot and continue to cook on the high setting for 1 to 2 hours, or until the onions are tender.

    mix the ingredients together
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  9. Serve the pulled pork on large, crusty buns with your favorite barbecue sauce. Garnish with dill pickles, thinly sliced raw onion, and pickled banana peppers. Serve with crisp, homemade slaw, either piled on the pork sandwiches or on the side.


  • If you are in a hurry, you can cook the pork roast on high for 4 to 6 hours. Or cook it in a fraction of the time in an Instant Pot pressure cooker.

Recipe Variations

  • 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 need to hold 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.
  • For a twist, try this slow cooker root beer pulled pork recipe.