Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe is so easy, uses few ingredients and made with sweet pork tenderloin or boneless or bone in pork shoulder.
BBQ Pulled Pork
If there was ever a recipe that stands the test of time, Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is it! BBQ pulled pork is a huge hit in my home and it’s one of the easiest meals to prepare.
Cooked long and slow is key to achieving the ultimate BBQ pulled pork. One of the heroes of this dish is dark pop. That’s right. Coke, Pepsi, root beer. Whichever one floats your boat. Then smothered in homemade barbecue sauce or one of your store bought favorites for a dynamite slow cooker pulled pork experience.
Although this quick and easy pulled pork recipe works beautifully with any kind of pork roast, boneless or bone in pork shoulder, pork butt, pork tenderloin or center cut pork loin are the optimal choices.
Always tender, the flavors of this easy slow cooker pulled pork recipe runs deep.
The fact there are never any leftovers is proof positive just how delicious this meal is.
If I entered this BBQ pulled pork recipe in a sandwich contest, it would be considered an award winning pulled pork recipe. It’s that good.
Sweet Pulled Pork Slow Cooker Recipe
The best sweet pork slow cooker recipe starts with a simple pork rub. This spice mixture is made up of basic ingredients like salt, pepper (black or cayenne), garlic powder and onion powder.
Press or massage that rub into your pork before the cooking process.
Gently toss the pork into your slow cooker and top with some chopped onions.
Then pour your favorite dark soda pop all over top of the pork. It’s the genesis of the sweetness phase.
My beloved next door neighbor and amateur food critic, Renate, bragged about her pulled pork and I have say it was good. When I suggested she try adding dark pop next time, the look of disbelief could have knocked you over with a wet noodle!
Her next sweet pulled pork slow cooker meal included dark pop and I got to play food critic when she invited me to sample it. The results were nothing short of spectacular and Renate said she would never make it without dark pop again!
Feel free to use root beer, Dr. Pepper, Coke or Pepsi! Personally, I use root beer as it’s my son’s favorite as it’s always around the house. Thanks to its sugar content, high acid and caramel flavor, all dark pop will work really and the outcome will be a more juicy, less glazy pulled pork.
It’s the dark horse, if you will, that kick starts the sweetness and tenderness phase evolving into one of the best sweet pulled pork slow cooker meals you’ll ever make!
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tenderloin
Even though I’ve made this simple BBQ pulled pork recipe many times, it never gets boring!
Quite often you can buy two pork tenderloins packaged together which spells more of that slow cooker pulled pork goodness.
When they’re on sale, I stock up because they freeze beautifully and making slow cooker pulled pork tenderloin is dead easy.
Right now, I have at least 4 packages sitting in my freezer calling out for my slow cooker.
Pork tenderloins have the potential of making meals magical and is especially so when it comes to this sweet pulled pork or slow cooker recipe.
Whenever the mood strikes me, pork tenderloins are at my fingertips ready and waiting for me to make the best slow cooker pulled pork tenderloin on the planet.
A little melodramatic? Maybe.? But the truth of the matter is that it can become a reality.
The only way to know is by finding out for yourself. I can’t wait to hear what you think in the comments below!
Slow Cooker Bone in Pork Shoulder
Bone in pork shoulder slow cooker isn’t just a phrase, it’s an experience. Pork shoulder produces some of the finest BBQ pulled ever made.
Generally, pork shoulder is reasonably priced and widely available at your local market.
If you’re feeding a crowd, it’s best to order an entire pork shoulder ahead of time as pork shoulder is often sold in two separate pieces.
A little pork history
Pork shoulder is sometimes referred to as the pork butt. Although very similar, these cuts are located beside each other.
Pork butt is found at the front of a pig and the ham is actually at the back end.
Both the pork shoulder and butt are found in the shoulder area of the pig. Interestingly, the pork butt (also referred to as the Boston butt or blade roast) is located in the upper portion of the front leg and extends to the back of the pig’s neck.
Typically the pork butt is sold as bone in (which includes some of the shoulder blade) or boneless inside netting.
Below or underneath the butt is the pork shoulder, picnic roast, picnic shoulder or arm roast, and these cuts continue down the foreleg until the ham hock or pork knuckle is reached.
When purchasing a cut to make this or any other pulled pork recipe, pork butt is ideal as it has terrific fat marbling and its shape makes for easier and more uniform cooking.
More triangular in nature, pork shoulder is frequently sold with the skin on that protects a layer of fat. If smoking or grilling it, just score the skin to allow those flavors to seep and crackle on the fire.
When slow cooking pork shoulder, remove the skin or ask your butcher to do it as the skin won’t crackle inside your slow cooker. Skin prevents the dry rub from penetrating the pork and no matter how long you cook BBQ pulled pork, it will be too tough to eat.
Bone in pork shoulder yields slightly more flavor than boneless. So when making this slow cooker BBQ pulled pork recipe, just leave the bone in.
Once the meat is cooked, the bone will slide off the pork quite easily.
Usually the cheapest of pork cuts, bone in pork shoulder is perfect for this quick and easy pulled pork recipe.
A minimum of 2 to 3 pounds is all that’s required to make this delightful sweet pulled pork slow cooker recipe.
Or buy a 4 ½ to 5 pound boneless or bone-in pork shoulder or butt with twine or netting removed, if any and remember to double the other ingredients too.
Pork shoulder and pork butt are considered somewhat tough cuts of pork and are best cooked low and slow producing some of the best, melt in your mouth, fall apart tender BBQ pulled pork you’ll ever taste!
Boneless Pork Shoulder Slow Cooker Recipe
Looking for a boneless pork shoulder slow cooker recipe that taste amazing can be difficult to find. Well, you’re search has ended, my friend, as this is one quick and easy BBQ pulled pork dish you’ll want to make over and over again.
One can debate whether bone in pork shoulder is better than boneless pork shoulder. Let the slow cooker show its capability. What it does to boneless pork shoulder is transformative and can make a BBQ pulled pork that is nothing short of spectacular!
Quick and Easy Pulled Pork Recipe
For a quick and easy pulled pork recipe, let me count the ways!
BBQ pulled pork can be served in a tortilla wrap. I’ve done it many times and the results have always been absolutely wonderful!
Pulled pork tastes great served on top of a salad, nacho chips or on a bed of rice. These are terrific options if eating bread or tortilla wraps is not your thing.
Try stuffing them in bell peppers, lettuce wraps, quesadillas or pasta.
With leftovers, I usually make pulled pork pockets that start with a tube of refrigerated pizza dough or a tube of Grands crescent roll dough. I make the pizza dough version more often out of sheer love for them!
These BBQ pulled pork pockets make the perfect small meal or snack and disappear with lightning speed. They’re an obsession and totally addictive. I kid you not.
As always, I would love to hear what ideas you come up with for quick and easy pulled pork recipes. I LOVE BBQ Pulled Pork and I’m always open to finding creative ways of enjoying them.
BBQ Pulled Pork Pockets with refrigerated Pizza Dough
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to a thin 20 by 12 inch rectangle. As close as you can get it.
Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise and then cut each side into 8 equal rectangles.
Spoon BBQ pulled pork onto 1 side of each rectangle.
Brush the edges (using a brush) of the rectangle with a beaten egg or egg wash.
Seal each pizza dough rectangle of pizza dough over BBQ pulled pork. Use a fork to press down and seal the the entire edges of the rectangles.
Place the BBQ pulled pork pockets onto a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet.
Brush the top of each sealed pocket with egg wash.
Bake until golden brown color; between 15 and 17 minutes.
Serve with additional barbecue sauce or mustard if desired.
BBQ Pulled Pork Pockets with refrigerated Grands crescent roll dough
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Separate dough into 4 rectangles (NOT 8 triangles). Make sure seams are gone inside each rectangle. Each rectangle should be roughly 7 x 5 inches or 6 x 4 inches.
Make them roughly the same size but don’t stress too much.
Place on rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place heaping spoonfuls of BBQ pulled pork on each rectangle half until within ½ inch of each edge.
Bring end up and over top of filling, overlapping at the edge.
Using a fork to press and seal edges.
Brush each pocket with water and bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until a beautiful golden brown.
Serve warm with extra barbecue sauce or mustard, if desired.
Easy Pulled Pork Recipe
Part of this easy pulled pork recipe’s success is the way in which this barbecue pulled pork sandwich is created.
There’s nothing that drives me more bananas than a soggy bun when you’re trying to eat all that pulled pork goodness in between it.
To get around this problem, there’s a simple solution.
Split the bun of your choice in half and toast both halves with a slice of cheese.
Top the pulled pork on the bottom half of your bun. Melted cheese prevents the bun from becoming soggy.
Although not a requirement, it’s a suggestion. And a good one at that in my opinion.
My husband says I overthink these kinds of things, but I’ve overheard him boasting on many an occasion about how wonderful these sandwiches are. And I’ve never seen him eat just one. That in itself is testament to just how good these are!
So park that thought, Ken, as it works. I’d be curious to to know if it does the same for you.
BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe
One of the most fun aspects of making this BBQ pulled pork recipe is the barbecue sauce and its variations.
Barbecue sauce is the heart and running theme of a quality pulled pork. Whether it’s store bought or homemade, the choice is yours. Or consider modifying store bought to suit your family’s tastes.
Achieve the goldilocks effect by adding a little extra mustard like Dijon or the grainy version. Grated onions and garlic can be a game changer. Seasoning your barbecue sauce with onion and garlic powder may do the trick. Adding a bit of this and a bit of that to your barbecue sauce can be transformational!
Many times these ingredients are readily available in your fridge and pantry anyway.
My homemade barbecue sauce is super simple and totally customizable to suit your personal taste. This basic recipe includes ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, hot sauce, salt and pepper.
The best BBQ pulled pork recipe starts with a superb barbecue sauce that is embellished with your favorite staples and seasonings. And that’s not only a statement, it’s a promise!
Best Pulled Pork Recipe
As they say, one never knows until one tries it. Right?
Both not only make the perfect weeknight or weekend family dinner, they’re a great way of feeding a large crowd.
Once your guests get a taste of this dynamite pulled pork recipe, the drool factor will be at play and it will feel like the 4th of July!
Ingredients in Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
The Best Homemade Barbecue Sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- mustard, if desired
- relish, if desired
- grated onion, if desired
- liquid smoke, if desired
- hot sauce
Orange BBQ sauce
- apple cider vinegar
- orange juice
- garlic cloves, minced
- minced onion
- Worcestershire sauce
- orange marmalade
- dried red pepper flakes
- orange zest
OR Store bought Barbecue Sauce
Pulled Pork Rub Recipe
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- cooking spray
- pork shoulder, pork butt, bone in or boneless or two pork tenderloins
- coke, pepsi, root beer, dr. pepper or any other dark pop 2 cans is 12 ounces, 3 cans is 18 oz.
- crusty buns
- shredded cheese of your choice (cheddar, mozzarella, American, Colby, Parmesan, Provolone, Gouda, Monterey Jack)
How to make the Best Sweet Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe
Coat the slow cooker with cooking spray. Sprinkle chopped onions all over the bottom of your slow cooker.
In a small cup, combine salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Rub and press mixture all over pork. This pulled pork rub recipe is so simple and so effective, just you wait and see!
Place pork inside slow cooker on top of onions. Pour the dark pop of your choice all over the roast. Cook on low for about 8 hours.
Gently remove roast and set aside on a plate.
Dump the remaining liquid from your slow cooker down the drain and wipe it out with paper towel as best you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Before returning roast back into slow cooker, remove any bone, fat or muscle sections from the roast. Throw pieces that you will be using and eating back into the slow cooker.
Next, using two forks (or your fingers), shred the meat.
Prepare barbecue sauce if not using store bought.
Add it to the shredded meat and continue to cook on low until heated through; between 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Use as much or as little sauce as you prefer.
Split buns and place in oven on broil to toast each half.
Once halves start to brown, remove from oven, add cheese and put back under the broiler until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
Using tongs, pinch piles of the pork mixture on top of each bun half and top with the other half.
Serve and enjoy!
Orange Barbecue Sauce Pulled Pork Recipe
- Whisk together all the ingredients for bbq sauce in a medium saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until it reaches a ketchup-like consistency.
- Add rub ingredients to a small bowl and mix. Rub pork shoulder with seasoning and place into the crock pot.
- Pour bbq sauce over pork shoulder and cover. Cook on low for 7 ½ hours. Shred the pork and top with orange zest.
- Serve between hamburger buns and enjoy!
Feast your eyes on this video below and see just how delicious this pulled pork is made!
Best Sweet Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe Video
Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe
- large slow cooker
- rimmed baking sheet
Barbecue Sauce, homemade #1
- 1 ½ cups ketchup
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce, more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
Barbecue Sauce, OPTIONS
- mustard, if desired
- grated onion, if desired
- relish, if desired
- drops liquid smoke, if desired
Orange Barbecue Sauce, homemade #2
- 1 cup ketchup
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoon orange zest
OR store bought
- 2-3 cups barbecue sauce, your favorite variety
Pulled Pork Rub Recipe
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1-2 teaspoons cumin
- cooking spray
- 1 onion, chopped or diced
- 3 pound pork shoulder, pork butt or 2 pork tenderloins
- Easily substitute for a 4 ½ to 5 pound boneless or bone-in pork shoulder or pork butt with twine or netting removed (if any). Just remember to double everything else too.
- 12-18 ounces Use coke, pepsi, root beer, dr. pepper or any other dark pop. 2 cans is 12 ounces and 3 cans is 18 ounces.
- 4-8 buns (your favorite variety)
- 2-3 cups cheese, shredded. (your favorite variety)
- Prepare slow cooker with cooking spray. Sprinkle chopped onions all over the bottom of the slow cooker.
- In a small cup, combine salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Rub and press spice mixture all over pork.
- Place pork inside your slow cooker on top of onions. Pour dark pop of your choice all over roast. Cook on low for about 8 hours.
- Gently remove roast and set aside on a plate.
- Dump remaining liquid from your slow cooker down the drain and wipe out slow cooker with paper towel as best you can. It doesn't have to be perfect.
- Before returning roast back into slow cooker, remove any bone, fat or muscle sections from the roast. As you clean roast, throw pieces you will be eating back into slow cooker.
- Next, using two forks, or your fingers, shred the meat.
- Prepare homemade barbecue sauce if not using store bought. Add to your shredded meat and continue to cook on low until heated through; between 45 minutes to 1 hour. Use as much or as little sauce as you prefer.
- Split buns and place in oven on broil to toast each half. Once halves start to brown, remove from oven, add cheese and put back under the broiler until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Using tongs, pinch piles of the pork mixture on top of each bun half and top with the other bun half. Serve and enjoy!
Orange Barbecue Sauce and Pulled Pork
- Get out all of your barbecue glazed pulled pork ingredients if you want to try our new orange pulled pork recipe!
- Rub pork shoulder with seasoning and place into the crock pot.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for BBQ sauce in a medium saucepan.
- Simmer over medium-low heat for 25 to 30 minutes,
- Until it reaches a ketchup-like consistency.
- Pour bbq sauce over pork shoulder and cover.
- Cook on low for 7 ½ hours.
- Shred the pork and stir until blended.
- Top with orange zest.
- Serve between hamburger buns and enjoy!
OPTIONS for Serving and LeftoversThis pulled pork can be served in a wrap, on top of a salad or on a bed of rice. Another great way to enjoy this quick and easy pulled pork recipe is to use a tube of refrigerated pizza dough or a tube of refrigerated Grands crescent roll dough. I'll explain how we make both below.
BBQ Pulled Pork Pockets with refrigerated Pizza DoughPreheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to a thin 20 by 12 inch rectangle. As close as you can get it. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise and then cut each side into 8 equal rectangles. Spoon BBQ pulled pork onto 1 side of each of the rectangles. Ideally, using a brush, brush the edges of the rectangle with a beaten egg or egg wash. Seal up your rectangle of pizza dough over your BBQ pulled pork. Use fork to press down and seal the the entire edge of the rectangle. Place the BBQ pulled pork pockets onto a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top of each sealed pocket with egg wash. Bake until golden brown color, between 15 and 17 minutes. Serve with additional barbecue sauce or mustard if desired. Enjoy every bite!
BBQ Pulled Pork Pockets with refrigerated Grands crescent roll doughPreheat your oven to 375 degrees. Separate your dough into 4 rectangles, NOT 8 triangles. Make sure seams are gone inside each rectangle. Each rectangle should be roughly 7 x 5 inches or 6 x 4 inches. Get them as close as you can to that size. Place on rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Place heaping spoonfuls of BBQ pulled pork on each rectangle half until within ½ inch of each edge. Bring end up and over top of filling, overlapping at the edge. Using a fork, press to seal edges. Brush each pocket with water and bake for 13 to 15 minutes or beautiful golden brown. Serve warm with extra barbecue sauce or mustard if desired. Enjoy every bite!