Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is a flavorful and tender dish made from seasoned, shredded pork shoulder. It’s a versatile and crowd-pleasing favorite, perfect for sandwiches, tacos, or serving alongside classic barbecue sides.

Today’s Freezer Essential: Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder, often referred to as the “budget-friendly cut,” offers multiple benefits in addition to its low cost. Its versatility shines in various recipes, from slow-cooked pulled pork to hearty stews, allowing for diverse meal options.

Pork shoulder also provides a nutritious source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin B6, niacin, and selenium, contributing to a balanced diet without breaking the bank.

Pulled Pork: History, Varieties, and More!

Pulled pork is deeply rooted in Southern American cuisine, particularly in the barbecue traditions of the American South. Pork shoulder, also known as “pork butt” or “Boston butt,” is the preferred cut for making pulled pork. Despite its name, it doesn’t come from the rear end of the pig but from the upper shoulder.

Often started with a dry rub and then smoked, pulled pork can also be made in the slow cooker like we’ll do in this recipe or in the oven. There’s a world of barbecue sauces that pair beautifully with pulled pork. These sauces range from sweet and tangy to spicy and vinegary, depending on regional preferences. Some famous styles include Kansas City, Carolina, and Texas barbecue sauces.

Pulled pork is incredibly versatile and can be used in various dishes beyond sandwiches, such as tacos, pizzas, salads, and even breakfast scrambles.

Ingredients Needed

Exact measurements can be found in the printable recipe card below.

  • Pork Shoulder: For this recipe, I recommend a bone-in pork shoulder that is 4 lbs or more.
  • Seasonings: Use BBQ seasoning, Italian seasoning, or whatever spices you prefer.
  • Onion: A sweet yellow onion would be great in this pulled pork, but you can use whatever type of onion you have on hand.

Recipe Variations

  • Use a spicy dry rub mix with ingredients like cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and chili powder or add a jalapeno to the slow cooker to make this pork spicy.
  • Season with a blend of chili powder, cumin, and oregano and add some chopped tomatoes, jalapeños, and a squeeze of lime juice to the slow cooker for a Mexican twist.
  • Try smoking your pork shoulder for ultimate smoky flavor. Check out the instructions in the blurb below.

Tips for good food on a budget!

Look for sales and discounts on pork shoulder, which is often one of the more affordable cuts of meat. Buying a larger piece can also be cost-effective because you can use leftovers for various meals.

How to smoke pulled pork

If you want to try your hand at smoking your pork shoulder, follow these simple steps:

  1. Apply your preferred dry rub or seasoning to the pork butt. Allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before placing it in the smoker.
  2. Smoke the pork butt at a consistent temperature of 190-200°F (88-93°C) for about 1.5 to 2 hours per pound of meat. In this case, for a 4 lb Boston butt, it would be approximately 6 to 8 hours.
  3. Once the pork reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker, wrap it in aluminum foil, and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes. This resting period helps redistribute juices and ensures a moist and flavorful result.


This is an overview of the instructions. For complete directions, scroll down to the bottom.

  1. Place wedged onions in the slow cooker to prevent sticking.
  2. Pat pork dry, cover with dry rub, and set on onions.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours until fork-tender; cook longer if needed for easy shredding.

How to store and love your leftovers

  • Refrigerate: o store leftover pulled pork in the refrigerator, let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container. It can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. When reheating, add a splash of broth or BBQ sauce to keep it moist.
  • Freeze: For longer storage, portion the pulled pork into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Remove excess air to prevent freezer burn. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
  • Reheat: To reheat frozen pulled pork, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. For a quick reheating, use the microwave with a damp paper towel to retain moisture. Alternatively, gently warm it in a covered skillet with a bit of liquid over low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. For a crispy texture, consider reheating it in the oven or on a stovetop skillet with a touch of oil, allowing the edges to become slightly caramelized.

Use leftovers from this recipe as a base for tacos and burritos!


Can I use a boneless pork shoulder?

Yes, boneless pork shoulder can be used for pulled pork, but bone-in varieties often have more flavor.

What can I serve with pulled pork?

Pulled pork pairs excellently with coleslaw, BBQ sauce, pickles, and served on buns as sandwiches. It’s also great in tacos, burritos, or on top of nachos.

What to make with pulled pork

  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  • Tacos & Burritos
  • Loaded Baked Potatoes
  • Quesadillas

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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is a flavorful and tender dish made from seasoned, shredded pork shoulder.
Katie Chase
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes
Recipe Servings 8 people


  • paper towels
  • large slow cooker
  • meat claws


  • 4 pound pork shoulder or larger, bone-in
  • 1 cup seasoning BBQ, Italian, whatever you prefer
  • 1 onion wedged


  • Wedge the onions and place on the bottom of the slow cooker. This layer helps to prevent the pork from sticking to the bottom of the crockpot as it cooks.
  • Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Cover the entire piece with a dry rub seasoning blend. Place on top of the onions.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours. Meat will be fork tender. If not fork tender, recover and allow to keep cooking until easily shreds with two forks or meat claws.
Disclaimer: Please note all serving sizes, pricing, and nutrition is an estimate based on 2023-2024 pricing and nutrition guides. For accuracy please do your own calculations.

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