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Crock Pot Pulled Pork (+Video)

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


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.


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.


  • 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.


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.


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


  • 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


  • 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.


YouTube video


  • 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


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


  1. Oh my goodness!! This is wonderful!! We just had it for supper tonight and the family loved it! I used your pork rub recipe. This was so easy to make. I shred my meat in the stand mixer while its still warm. This is so quick & easy. This also works great for chicken too, but the meat has to be warm in order for it to shred easily. Thank you for sharing!

  2. This is in the crockpot one! I'm late getting it started so probably won't get to eat it tonight (except for the nighttime eaters here) but it will be my breakfast when I get home in the morning. I am not a root beer fan, though everyone else here is, but I think that will be okay. I'm really looking forward to this!

  3. I did this yesterday…the only thing I did was salt/pepper the pork shoulder and add a little onion powder, then put it in 12 oz. of root beer to cook. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect. When it was done, I let it set to cool a while. Put on my disposable gloves and started pulling. It was so tender, came right off the bone. Very little fat left to separate. It was late so I put it in sealed container then into the fridge. Got some out, chopped it, heated in microwave which brought it back to almost out of the pot fresh. Toasted nice buns, added home made slaw and bottled BBQ sauce and it was da bomb! I'd have never guessed this would be SO good! The roast made enough BBQ to feed Cox's Army! I love your site- it isn't just recipes, but a visit with a friend. I'm one of the few males I've noticed hereabouts, so I'll mind my manners and thank you very well!

  4. My family LOVES this recipe. My 14-yr. old asks for it all the time. It is so simple and so easy. I do not add any barbeque sauce, allowing them to add their own sauce. I take the meat out, cut and shred and then strain the cooking juices into a container. I put the meat back in, and pour the strained juices into the pot. It makes the meat so rich and juicy and able to be eaten much later into the day. Along with some buttered & toasted Publix french bread buns this recipe is THE BOMB!

    1. Sounds delicious! And that buttered bun sounds perfect! I don't have a Publix around here. I wish I had one near. I also wish I had an Aldi's close by. Maybe one day! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how much you like this one.

  5. Not sure if anyone has ever mentioned this, but you can use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer to shred cooked meats. Just put the meat in the bowl and turn it on till its shredded. Way faster than 2 forks! This is a great recipe thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thank you Susan! Yes, I learned that handy little trick thanks to someone pinning it on Pinterest. It's a handy little trick but I know not everyone is fortunate enough to have a stand mixer so good ole fashioned forks will also do the trick. If you see my post on Chicken Enchiladas, you'll see where I had fun testing that little trick out! So glad you like this recipe – thank you for letting me know!

  6. I made this for dinner a couple days ago and it was a hit in our house! Tastes just as good as City Barbecue. I am DEFINITELY making this for my daughter's graduation party in June. Thank you so much!!!

  7. I fixed this today using a pork loin. It is the best pulled pork I have ever had, and such a easy recipe! I tried it with bar b que sauce, but the meat is so tender and tasty that I ate most of it without any sauce. To me that is the true test of pulled pork and this recipe passed with flying colors. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. I love your blog so much. EVERY recipe I have tried has been a big hit! Now when I am looking for something new to try,I just come to your blog because I know I will find an easy and delicious recipe that will fit what ever I am craving. Thanks for all you do!

    1. That means so much to me Missy! I am just so thrilled you have had success with the recipes on here. I hope you find lots more that you love!

  8. I am going to try to fix this next weekend for my husband and myself. I was just wondering what I shold do with the leftovers so that the meat won't get dried out. Should I put it back in the juice or is another way better? We kept saying I needed to look for a pulled pork crockpot recipe. We wanted one that didn't make you add the BBQ to the meat while cooking. I just knew if I searched your blog I would find a recipe. Thanks! 🙂

  9. Hi Missy! Yep, I would just store it in some of the juices so it stays nice and moist when you reheat it! 🙂

  10. My family LOVES this recipe. However, we do not discard the liquid after shredding. I keep it to the side and use it to keep the meat moist for storing and to give it an au-jus option. It is great for families with LOTS of after school activities to keep warm for hours. It reheats well and tastes almost better the 2nd day. Thank you, Brandie!

  11. I made this today and it is wonderful! I usually just cook the pork in the bbq sauce the whole 8 hours, but this is much better. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. I just found your site and can't wait to try other recipes.

  12. I made this today and used diet Dr. Pepper because it was all I had on hand. Turned out great. I also saved the liquid and added back to the meat after shredding to keep it from being too dry. It's delish!

  13. I'm starting to feel the need to pull out my crockpot and leave it on the counter. This looks great!

  14. Thanks for your help!! Made the pulled pork on Sunday! 8lbs would have been plenty…but i panicked and bought more and now i have lots of leftovers!! 🙂 And we tried it with your country coleslaw on top!!! Who knew!! It's not something we Canucks have ever tried…at least that i know of! It gave the pulled pork a delicious crunch!! Thanks again for your help!!! We will definitely be doing this again soon!!!

  15. Hi Leanne! Thank you so much!! If you are feeding that many people, I would say go with the pork shoulder roast (or pork butt as it's called). Go with a larger size (maybe 6-8 lbs) and that should be enough for that many adults. I can usually feed 4 adults with this one recipe (2 sandwiches a piece). It depends on how much everyone will eat. If this is gonna be the main meal, you may want to do two, 4-6 pound roasts (if you have two crock pots). But I realize that can get pretty pricey. Just make sure if you go with a bigger roast that you have at least a 6 quart or larger crock pot. Hope that helps!

  16. Thanks for posting all of your recipes! 🙂 I am going to try the Pulled Pork for a get together with neighbours. I am new at cooking but am having fun trying new recipes. Does it taste as good using the tenderloins? Or should i stick with a shoulder?? Approximately how much does one "batch" make? I need to make enough for 9 adults!!

    Thanks for you help..your recipes..and your blog! I can't tell you how happy I am to have found you!!!

  17. Found your recipe on Pinterest for Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, it inspired me to make tonight! Last night I prepared the cole slaw, cause – where I come from, we also put cole slaw on our bbq pork sandwiches. ♥ Pork's in the cooker, and we can't wait to try! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe… and I too loved Orry Main!

    SRQ Foodie

  18. Arne't you cute. I love pulled pork and was thinking about it earlier today. I always eat mine with creamy coleslaw on it . YUm! barb

  19. You said you were in search for the perfect carolina vinegar BBQ sauce… Have you been to Roland's BBQ in Beaufort, NC? It's a must and they sell the sauce by the gallon. We buy some every time we are down and are determined to figure the recipe out one day! I have two possibilities. One from an old cookbook called "Red Splash Vinegar Sauce" and I will have to find the other.

  20. Once you figure out the vinegar based sauce post it! I found a vinegar based sauce sold here in my piggly wiggly, "bishop's 3 N 1 sauce" It says it has vinegar, salt, red pepper and lemon. In it but of course not the amounts of each but that is the order.
    My question.
    How would your pulled pork recipe be with this instead on it? I may just give it a go and see.

    I stumbled upon you in pintrest.. Thanks for sharing. Hope my info on this bishop's sauce is helpful to you!