Home » Slow Cooker Recipes » Crock Pot Pulled Pork (+Video)

Crock Pot Pulled Pork (+Video)

Treat yourself to the mouthwatering flavor of tender, slow-cooked pulled pork, effortlessly prepared using the slow cooker!

A CROCK POT BBQ PORK RECIPE

This Crock Pot Pulled Pork recipe has been my go-to recipe for years. I recently just created an Instant Pot Pulled Pork version based on this one. It’s just so good and flavorful. It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients. You can even pop it all into the slow cooker the night before so it’s ready for you the next day! And you have to serve it with some Southern Style Cole Slaw.

a pulled pork BBQ sandwich on white parchment paper and crinkle French fries scattered around.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PULLED PORK:

How do I make my own homemade pork rub?

This is my tried-and-true recipe for all my pork recipes. Just mix it all up and rub it well into the pork shoulder.

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons brown sugar

Can I use a pork tenderloin instead of pork shoulder for pulled pork?

Yes. You can certainly use a pork tenderloin using this same recipe. Because is much smaller, It won’t take as long to cook though as a pork shoulder. About 4-6 hours on low.

Do I have to use the liquid smoke?

No, of course not. You have to use very minimal amounts of liquid smoke or it will overwhelm other flavors so I am only using a small amount here but it adds amazing flavor!

What is the best store-bought BBQ sauce to use?

This is one that is always up for debate. A lot of times I just get what is on sale. However, if I have to pick a favorite it would be Sweet Baby Ray’s or the K.C. Masterpiece Black Label barbecue sauces. If you really want to make this special, try making a Homemade BBQ Sauce! Or, if you like a vinegar based sauce, try my Crock Pot Eastern Carolina Pulled Pork recipe!

What size pork shoulder should I buy?

You want to purchase one that will fit in your slow cooker. This recipe will work with any size of bone-in pork shoulder. I use either a 6 quart or 8 quart oval slow cooker depending on the size of the pork shoulder.

How do you store leftover pulled pork?

Store leftovers in a lidded container in the refrigerator and it will keep for up to 3 days. I like to add some of the liquid leftover in the slow cooker to the container. That way, when I go to reheat it, those juices will ensure that the pork stays moist!

a hand holding up a pulled pork sandwich in front of a slow cooker.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • pork shoulder roast (pork butt) – this will work with pretty much any size pork shoulder roast. I generally get one that is between 4-6 pounds with the bone-in. Just make sure it fits in your slow cooker.
  • Dr Pepper – root beer or Coca-Cola also work.
  • hickory liquid smoke – this is going to give you that light smokey flavor as if you had cooked it on the smoker. You don’t need a lot of this so don’t use more than what the recipe calls for.
  • pork rub seasoning (store-bought or homemade) – see my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) above for the recipe I use. It’s also in the recipe card below.
  • BBQ sauce (store-bought or homemade) – if I am using store-bought BBQ sauce, then I almost always go with Sweet Baby Rays.
pork shoulder roast, BBQ sauce, can of Dr Pepper, both of liquid smoke and pork seasoning in a bowl.

HOW TO MAKE CROCK POT PULLED PORK:

Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Rub pork rub all over pork shoulder until it is fully covered.

collage of two photos: patting the pork shoulder dry with a paper towel; pork rub shown all over the pork shoulder.

Place seasoned pork shoulder in a 6-8 quart oval slow cooker. Pour in can of cola and liquid smoke, all around the sides of the pork.

collage of three photos: seasoned pork shoulder in slow cooker; can of Dr Pepper being poured into slow cooker; liquid smoke being shown poured into slow cooker.

Cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is very tender. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the remaining liquid (optional: you can keep a little bit of liquid if you plan to keep this pork on the warm setting for serving – you don’t want it to dry out). Remove the bone and shred the pork using a couple of forks, removing any excess fat. You can take it one step further depending on how small you like your pieces of pork. You can chop up the pork into smaller pieces using a large, sharp knife.

collage of two photos: fully cooked pork shoulder in slow cooker; two forks shredding the pulled pork.

At this point you can place the meat back in the slow cooker along with the bottle of barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes then put it on the warm setting. This option is best when serving a crowd.

a pair of tongs holding up some pulled pork over the slow cooker.

Or you can place on hamburger buns and let everyone spread BBQ sauce on their own sandwiches (which my family prefers).

pulled pork on an open face bun with BBQ sauce drizzled on top of pork.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Originally published: December 2011
Updated & republished: August 2023

Crock Pot Pulled Pork recipe.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork (+Video)

Treat yourself to the mouthwatering flavor of tender, slow-cooked pulled pork, effortlessly prepared using the slow cooker!
5 from 24 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 4-6 pounds bone-in pork shoulder roast (or pork butt)
  • ¼ cup store bought or homemade pork rub, see notes for recipe
  • 1 can Dr Pepper (Coca Cola or root beer work too)
  • 1 Tablespoon hickory liquid smoke
  • 1 bottle your favorite BBQ sauce

Instructions

  • Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Rub pork rub all over pork shoulder.
  • Place in a 6-8 quart oval slow cooker (use the proper size slow cooker depending on the size of your pork shoulder).
  • Pour in can of Dr Pepper and liquid smoke all around the sides of the pork.
  • Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is very tender.
  • Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the remaining liquid (or hold onto to some of the liquid if you plan on reheating the pork later or you need to keep the pork warm for an extended period of time.)
  • Remove the bone and shred the pork using a couple of forks, removing any excess fat. Optional step: Chop up the pork using a larger sharp knife to make smaller pieces of pork.
  • Place the shredded meat onto a hamburger bun and add the desired amount of sauce per sandwich.

Video

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
  • Optional: you can place the meat back in the slow cooker along with the bottle of barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes. You can also leave your shredded pork in your slow cooker and leave it on the keep warm setting until ready to eat.
  • Don’t use more liquid smoke than I listed above. It can be overpowering if you use too much.
  • Most dark sodas will work for this recipe: Root beer and Coca-Cola are good alternatives.
Pork Rub Recipe:
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 459kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 934mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 32g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




77 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe it is my go to for pulled pork. Even my picky eater kids love this and ask for leftovers until it’s gone, Which never happens. Thank you! I do have a question does it matter if you cook it with the fat and bone side up or down?

    1. Hey Richard! I have done it both ways and I have found with the crock pot, it didn’t make a difference in taste and I cook this quite often and I have asked people if they could tell a difference in taste or texture or moistness. No one noticed at all. Generally, folks will tell you to cook pork butt with the fat side up so the fat can drip down into the meat as it cooks. I definitely do that when I am smoking it.
      With a crock pot, either way, the fat and juices will release and the pork butt ends up cooking in all of that anyways along with the condensation that builds up in the slow cooker. So I say do what you prefer 🙂 Also, I am so happy even the picky ones love this one!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh wow! I really really love your rub recipe. Seriously, I cook a lot of pork and this is the best I’ve ever made! Thank you for sharing this recipe with us.

  3. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite go-to recipes! I want to make it tomorrow but won’t have time to cook 8-10 hours. Can I cook it on high for 4-6 hours?

    1. So happy to hear that Jackie!! Honestly, I don’t recommend cooking on high. Pork shoulder is a pretty tough cut of meat. By cooking it low and slow, it helps to really make the meat nice and tender. Cooking it too quickly and you won’t be able to shred it. I’m sorry!

  4. 5 stars
    Wow that was awesome!. I made your rub exactly as detailed and I did add in a bottle of BBQ sauce after pulling the pork apart and draining off the liquid and it was so yummy!! .

  5. Going to be making this for a work function next week and this sounds amazing, will let you know how everyone liked it…….

  6. 5 stars
    Tried this yesterday and used your seasoning rub. The house smelled wonderful all day! The hubby loved it and ate two large sandwiches with potato salad that I whipped up. Great recipe! We bought a 9 lb pork butt and cut it into so we will be ready to make this again. Can't wait to try more of your recipes:)

  7. 5 stars
    I made this recipe last week and it was amazing! I have a newborn at home, so cooking time is VERY limited, and it was extremely nice to be able to throw this in the slow cooker and forget about it the rest of the day! My husband loved it too, so I will definitely be adding this to our "keeper" list. Thanks for helping this new mama out!

  8. 5 stars
    Thank you for this great recipe! Made it for a large group (doubled the recipe) and they all raved about how delicious it was. Got this one in my favorites!

  9. 5 stars
    I use gingerale sometimes & add a splash of worcestershire sauce.. if there are leftovers, i use the bbq pork and coleslaw for tacos in hot corn tortillas .

  10. 5 stars
    Made this today with a pork loin, added Montreal Chicken Spice mix for the rub and also injected it at the beginning with the mixture. Turned out delicious, will be making again for sure!

    Thanks

  11. 5 stars
    This recipe is bulletproof. Making it for the second time tonight. Dont even bother with another recipe, this is perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Ah ha, and there you are 17 at the Botanical Gardens in Norfolk. Thank for all of the great recipes! Allen V., Norfolk Resident.