May 11, 2022| By

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 8 hrs
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This BBQ pulled pork recipe is marinated in a homemade dry rub and slow cooked in barbecue sauce, onions, garlic, and a touch of whiskey for the ultimate tender and juicy comfort food! Eat this BBQ pork recipe as a sandwich, by itself, or even with a side of coleslaw - you'll be hooked at first bite!

a bbq pulled pork sandwich on a serving dish

BBQ pulled pork is one of those classic dishes that everyone loves. Pulled pork recipes are one of those "old faithful" recipes that you can make and enjoy fresh out of the pot and then pack it up and have for the rest of the week. (The leftovers are always better!)

You can braise it, slow cook it, and even make this recipe in an instant pot. However you decide to prepare this dish, I can personally attest that this recipe is the BEST.

a pulled pork sandwich

Why this recipe is the BEST

  • For starters, it's super easy to make! Literally, you can make this recipe is three basic steps - season and sear, slow cook, and then shred!
  • The seasoning blend for this recipe is the best pulled pork marinade! It's beyond delicious. You'll want to marinate all of your meats in! It's a combination of garlic, onion, and chili powder with some red pepper flakes and ground mustard... add a little coriander and a pinch of cayenne pepper - it's a party.
  • You can easily make this recipe in your slow cooker (my favorite method), instant pot, or even braise in the oven or on the stove!
  • This pulled pork recipe goes with soooo many different sides and is truly a crowd pleaser! It's also a great recipe for birthday parties, get togethers, cookouts (especially in the summer because you don't have to turn on your oven!), Memorial Day, Labor Day - the list goes on!
dry rub seasonings in a plate

Ingredients for the dry rub and braising liquid for the pork shoulder

The dry rub ingredients are the basis of the flavor. My dry rub includes:

  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • chili powder
  • red pepper flakes
  • ground mustard
  • ground coriander
  • cayenne pepper

The braising liquid is critical as this is the liquid that the pork shoulder is cooked in! For the braising liquid, you'll need:

How to make pulled pork (so easy)

SEASON AND SEAR

Combine garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes, ground mustard, coriander, and cayenne in a small bowl to make the dry rub. I like using these seasonings because they add a little smoky flavor with a tiny bit of spiciness and a zing!

Coat the pork shoulder in seasonings, liberally. TIP: for the maximum flavor, leave the meat on a cooking rack in the refrigerator for 24 hours to dry brine. This step is optional but highly recommended.

Add olive oil and butter to a large skillet and sear the pork on all sides. This helps to maximize and lock in all of that flavor by caramelizing and forming a crust on the meat.

seared meat in a slow cooker

ADD TO SLOW COOKER

Mix together apple cider vinegar, whiskey, liquid smoke, your favorite bbq sauce, honey, hot sauce, and beef broth in the slow cooker. The whiskey adds subtle caramel notes with pairs really with the liquid smoke and tart apple cider vinegar! I also used honey and hot sauce to balance out all of the smoky flavors for a semi sweet and savory punch to each bite!

Once everything is mixed together, add the meat, onions, and diced garlic, secure the lid and cook on low for 8 hours.

bbq pulled pork in a slow cooker

SHRED THE PORK

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and add to a large plate or baking sheet. Using two forks, shred the pork pulling the meat apart. Enjoy as a sandwich, with mashed potatoes and veggies, on top of nachos, or even by itself.

pulled pork on a sheet pan

Watch me make this BBQ Pulled Pork Using a Slow Cooker

Tips for making bbq pulled pork

  • don't be afraid to really pile on the seasoning! Sometimes less is more but this is NOT one of those times.
  • allowing the pork to dry brine in the refrigerator makes a world of a difference! If you have time, salt and add the seasonings to the pork and allow it to sit in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. The flavor really penetrates the meat and gives the pulled pork SO much flavor!
  • save the sauce and store the meat in its own juices. This really allows the flavors to come together so well.

Other Cooking Methods

I highly recommend the slow cooker as it's my favorite method. With the slow cooker, all you have to do is press a few buttons, cover with a lid, and go about your business! Then you look up and it's done!

However, if you dont have a slow cooker, you can also use an instant pot or braise on the stove top or oven. More details below in the recipe card!

lunch crock pot on a dish with sandwiches

FAQs

Can I freeze pulled pork?

Absolutely! Place pulled pork into an airtight container or vacuum seal in a plastic bag and freeze for up to 4 months.

When you're ready to eat it, thaw it out in the refrigerator and then heat in the microwave or stove top.

How to reheat pulled pork?

You can reheat the pulled pork in the microwave until warmed or even heat on the stove with a splash of water.

Also, there's a Lunch Crockpot that you can use that's amazing! It's literally a small portable crockpot that you can take on the go! If you want to go on a picnic or take it to work and warm at your desk, it's the perfect way to reheat your food without drying it out!

What to serve with pulled pork?

The options are limitless. I love making this bbq pulled pork recipe into sandwiches and serving them with potato chips or french fries, however you can also serve it with baked beans with ground beef, coleslaw, mac and cheese, a salad, biscuits, or even spaghetti squash and other veggies!

bbq pulled pork sandwich on a white surface

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

a bbq pulled pork sandwich on a serving dish

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

The best BBQ pulled pork recipe that's easy, flavorful, super delicious. Cook in the oven or a slow cooker or instant pot and enjoy!
Serving: 8
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 8 hrs
Total Time: 9 hrs
Calories: 439kcal

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker
  • Lunch Crockpot optional
  • Skillet

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs pork butt or pork shoulder
  • 2 tbsps garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 yellow onions sliced
  • 1 ½ cups BBQ sauce
  • ½ cup hot sauce
  • ¼ cup whiskey bourbon
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • ½ cup honey

Directions

  • Make the dry rub: Combine garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes, ground mustard, coriander, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix together. 
  • Slice the pork butt into large chunks, about the size of a fist. Season with salt and pepper and coat with dry rub.  Optional: allow meat to sit uncovered on a cooling rack in the refrigerator overnight. 
  • Drizzle Olive oil and butter into a skillet over high heat. Once oil and butter mixture has warmed, add 6-7 chunks of pork to the skillet and sear on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat for all pieces of pork. 
  • Add bbq sauce, hot sauce, whiskey bourbon, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, and honey to the slow cooker and mix together with a whisk. Add seared pork chunks, sliced onions, and garlic. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 8 hours. 
  • Remove pork from slow cooker and shred with two forks. Add back to the slow cooker to sop up the juices. Serve as desired.

Watch The Video

Notes

Other cooking methods:
If using an instant pot or pressure cooker: Follow the recipe as is for steps 1-3 then add the bbq sauce, hot sauce, whiskey bourbon, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, and honey to the slow cooker and mix together with a whisk. Add seared pork and cover and seal the lid. Cook on manual for 1 hour then release the pressure completely before switching into the venting position. Shred the pork and then add back into the sauce and store as desired.
To oven braise: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then follow the recipe for steps 1-3 and then add all of the ingredients for the braising liquid to a deep dutch oven or pot. Add seared pork and cover with a lid and place in the oven for 4-5 hours, until fork tender. Shred pork and place back in the sauce and store as desired.
 
To braise stove top: follow the recipe for steps 1-3 and then add all of the ingredients for the braising liquid to a deep dutch oven or pot. Add seared pork and cover with a lid. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 4-5 hours, until fork tender. Shred pork and place back in the sauce and store as desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 802mg | Potassium: 957mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 463IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    I've been cooking for years and this is the best pulled pork recipe I've ever made. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for a party over Memorial Day weekend and it was a huge hit! Love that I could just have it going in the slow cooker and not have the stress of cooking meat while my guests were here. Great recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    This pulled pork was a hit for Memorial Day Weekend! We enjoyed the leftovers in tortillas for Taco Tuesday, too. Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    I am hooked on the flavor of this pulled pork - the use of powdered and fresh garlic plus coriander is true genius.

  5. 5 stars
    I don’t usually cook but I had to try this recipe because it looked really easy. I have a slow cooker so I decided to give it a try and it came out REALLY good. Idk if it was the sauces or the spices or both but I tore this up and so did my friends. I’ve got this recipe bookmarked to make again for 4th of July.

  6. 5 stars
    I made this slow cooker BBQ pulled pork for a get together we had last weekend and everyone raved about how flavorful it was. I'll definitely be making this often, especially as the weather heats up and makes turning on the oven unbearable.

  7. Quick question, if I didn't want to use the whiskey, would I just omit?? This pork recipe looks so delicious! I will be trying this recipe next week for dinner! Thank you!!