The Best Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot!

357 Reviews / 4.6 Average
This simple pulled pork recipe for your slow cooker doesn’t include any highly processed ingredients like refined brown sugar, corn syrup, or ketchup. Make this for your next outdoor bbq or cookout!
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This is some of the best pulled pork I’ve had in a long time (I’ve been working on perfecting this recipe for months!), and it also doesn’t include any highly processed ingredients like refined brown sugar, corn syrup, or ketchup.

My husband says it is so good that no BBQ sauce is necessary. Now, you know it’s good pulled pork when you don’t reach for your favorite BBQ sauce. He would like me to pass on that he does like to dip it into a little hot sauce, although I for sure prefer mine with nothing added.

Try it both ways and decide for yourself. Either way, this is a great dish for serving (and pleasing!) a crowd.

What type of meat is best for pulled pork?

Pork shoulder is the most common cut used when making pulled pork. The shoulder includes the front leg and shoulder, and will likely come with a bone and plenty of marbling. The marbling is key because the fat is what will prevent the meat from drying out during the cooking process.

A full pork shoulder is a large cut of meat, so I recommend asking your grocery store’s butcher to cut the shoulder down into two portions (3-4 lbs each). Alternatively, you can choose a Boston roast or picnic roast—these are smaller cuts of the shoulder and work just fine.

What to serve with pulled pork

I have some great side choice options here on the blog that perfectly accompany this slow cooker pulled pork.

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1,505 thoughts on “The Best Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot!”

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    This has been my go-to recipe for years and i love it!
    I’ve recently moved to the other side of the globe and unfortunately couldn’t put my crockpot in my suitcase and am in a country with no crockpots (can you believe it?!).
    Could stove top or oven be an option?and if so, what changes would i need to make to the original recipe?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Melinda, you can either serve them with the meat if you like or not. Otherwise, they help give a great flavor to the pork. – Nicole

  2. Can I use a 4 lb pork shoulder boneless picnic rolled & tied? If so, should I leave it tied? Making this tomorrow. Thanks.

    1. Hi Grace, Sorry we can’t always comment back in real-time. I would untie it if you decide to use it. – Nicole

  3. The first time I made this using 3 tablespoons pf paprika was way two much. All I could taste was paprika. Next time I reduced the paprika to 3 teaspoons or slightly over using half smoked paprika. Much better for me. A great recipe. Thank you!

    1. We have not tried it with beef. A really lean piece of meat won’t work that great with this particular recipe. – Nicole

    1. Hi Erin, while we have not tried it with chicken, other readers have and said it comes out great. One reader says “Just watch cooking times in the slow cooker- I find that chicken breasts are done in around 3 hours.” – Nicole

  4. I assumed that the dry ingredients were to be rubbed on the pork, then placed on the onion halves, then the paste poured on the sides, but not the top?I looked for other directions but could not find.

    When finished, do I shred the pork into the liquid and serve?

    thank you

    1. Hi Deb, the instructions say to add the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add in the honey, vinegar, and olive oil in to make a paste that will then get poured over the pork.You can shred it in the slow cooker or pull it out on a separate dish if you like. It should easily pull apart for you. – Nicole

  5. This is one of our favorite recipes!! Especially for big BBQs! I’ve recently been trying to be more mindful of the serving sizes I eat. I see the nutrition facts, but I’ve missed the serving size if it’s there. Any idea how many ounces was considered a serving? Thanks for your time and help!

    1. Hi Cari, this recipe calls for 3 pounds of meat, and there is roughly 16 ounces to a pound. This recipe is about 6 servings. – Nicole

      1. I think your math/conversion is a little off here. :-)

        You said “there is roughly 16 ounces to a pound.” — there are exactly 16 oz to a pound.

        I would assume that 3 pounds of meat makes at least 12 servings, assuming a 4oz serving size.

        OR did you mean that 16oz of meat makes 6 servings? And so this recipe for 3# of meat makes 18 servings?

        Thanks! I just brought home 8# of pork loin (steal of a deal at Costco) and I will be making this recipe.

      2. Hi, it really all depends on your serving size (4-8oz). If you stuck with the recommended 4oz serving size, you will definitely get more servings. – Nicole

    1. 100 Days Admin

      Hi, sorry we can’t answer recipe comments in real-time, but the answer is no. This recipe will create SO much of its own natural liquid. Hope it turned out amazing for you. – Nicole

    1. I make this all the time in my instant pot pressure cooker. I just add about a cup of chicken broth to the bottom and set it to cook for about 90 minutes. If you cut the pieces smaller it could probably cook faster.

      1. Perfect! Thanks for the information, I’m sure others will enjoy making it in the instant pot. – Nicole

  6. I can not cut the pork shoulder in half because of the bone, but it fits perfectly in the crock pot. Would you recommend trying to break it up towards the end? Will this change the flavor or cook time? Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. Also added a tablespoon of liquid smoke. Makes a big difference. I also left out the red wine vinegar. Was a thick paste to start with but then the juice from the meat took care of that.
    Thanks for a great recipe!!!

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to perfect my pork shoulder cooking both on the grill and in the crock pot. On the grill I am 0 for 1 and in the crock pot I am 1 for 2. My 1 in the crock pot was a GRAND SLAM thanks to this simple recipe. The flavor is amazing and the pork pulls apart effortlessly. The only mistake I made was doubling the entire recipe because I had twice the meat (pork shoulder). Doubling works for everything except the cayenne. Although it’s fantastic to me (I love spicy foods) no one in my family, except my 9 year old, will touch the stuff. Next time I make this recipe, which will be soon, I’ll double the recipe but keep the cayenne as recommended. Thank you for saving my average. Looking forward to trying it again so the whole family can experience the greatness.

      1. 100 Days Admin

        Some of our readers have made it the day before and then re-heated in the crockpot on low. – Nicole

  9. Pulled pork is one of my favorite things to cook in a slow cooker. I make mine similar to yours. For added flavor, I put a dried spice rub on the pork, wrap in plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator prior to cooking.

  10. I made this for the first time for my husband’s 50th birthday dinner. It was a hit! Easy to make, the house smelled fantastic and everyone loved it. We did pulled pork tacos with marinated onions, guacamole and coleslaw. This will be a new fave. YUM!

  11. 1 star
    I tried this recipe. Followed instructions exactly and added exact amounts of required ingredients. The roast was tender and fell apart but the flavor was bland and so sweet that nobody liked it. The honey in this recipe is too much. It was “edible”, but my opinion is we ruined a fine pork shoulder.

  12. 5 stars
    I made this last night. Started the crockpot before I went to bed at 11 pm and at 7 am, I shredded the meat. It was delicious. Great recipe. Very easy.

    1. 100 Days Admin

      Sorry we didn’t answer in real time. Did you end up doubling and how did it turn out? – Nicole

  13. 5 stars
    This is a great pulled pork recipe when you don’t have time or the weather won’t cooperate to get the grill going. It doesn’t have a smokey flavor and the texture is a little different than when you smoke it but it’s still very tender and has excellent flavor. There is a lot of juice left over like many have mentioned but that’s where a lot of the flavor is. If you’re concerned about the fat, let it cool just until you can see the difference between the fat and the juices and you can skim the fat off the top. My pork shoulder/butt was about 7 pounds and there was little room left in the slow cooker and I cooked it for 8 hours and it turned out great. I also used apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and it didn’t disappoint.

  14. 5 stars
    Wonderful. I have made this several times and it always pleases. I have gotten a lot of compliments on this pulled pork from potlucks and even making it at the firehouse (you all can imagine how hard it can be to please firemen!) Getting ready to make it again for Memorial Day!

  15. I didn’t have Red Wine Vinegar, so I substituted with Red Wine & Vinegar! Looking forward to tasting it!

    1. 5 stars
      Wow! So easy and so delicious. I made it with less meat (1kg) but didn’t change the quantities of the other ingredients. Love the fact that there is lots of liquid for the shredded pork to soak up. Didn’t find it sweet at all, just spicy and tasty.

  16. 3 stars
    Hmm… this recipe got mostly rave reviews, and I really wanted to like it. A few people mentioned it had no flavor and no smell while cooking and that’s exactly what I experienced. I followed the recipe exactly. My cut of pork even had a “perfect for the slow cooker” sticker on it. The texture of the shredded pork is perfect, but it has practically no flavor other than just… plain pork. I took the meat out and shredded it, then tasted it –bland. So I added spoonfuls of the sauce/juice and stirred, tasted, repeated. Ehn. It’s very greasy, obviously that is from the pork itself, but I would recommend omitting the olive oil. It’s completely unnecessary. I also think maybe there’s too much paprika and not enough… I’m not sure what. Also, I removed the onions rather than mixing them in with the shredded pork because they were just mushy and gummy. I will definitely make this again, but without the added oil and with a different spice mix and perhaps less honey. Or maybe using maple syrup instead? Or brown sugar. I do love all the natural ingredients, the easy slow cooker part, and the tender shredded pork though.

  17. Catherine Sevdalian

    4 stars
    I used 1:1 (or 1/2 and 1/2 of whatever amount your measurements call for if that makes more sense to you) regular paprika and smoked paprika (because I ran out of regular) and it had a really great smokey flavor. I think I will do the same thing next time I make it. I also adjusted the recipe for the size pork shoulder I had, which changed the amount of spices.

    I also used previous poster’s suggestion of removing most of the liquid and reducing it down to a sauce and adding it back in, which worked well. But I found most of the liquid got absorbed by the meat as it warmed/finished cooking after I shredded it. It’s a little more liquidy than straight-up pulled pork, I suppose, but it will be liquidy if you put a sauce on it anyway and you don’t have to with the flavor in this recipe.

  18. 5 stars
    This recipe was a huge hit at our office potluck. Everyone enjoyed the fact that the flavor of the meat wasn’t overpowered by sauce or heavy spices.

  19. My husband doesn’t like bbq sauce because it’s too sweet. Does the honey make this very sweet? Thank you in advance

  20. Is it ok to cook it on high instead of low. And if so, how long on high should I put it on for? Thank you

  21. 5 stars
    We loved this recipe!! I followed all the directions but cooked it in my instant pot steaming for 65 minutes. It was fantastic! The boys liked it better that the bottled bbq sauce…Win for Real Food!!

      1. 5 stars
        I did not add any extra liquid in addition to the recipe sauce. My piece of pork was fatty on one side. It turned so tasty!!

  22. I tried it but I didn’t have Cheyenne pepper so I used red pepper flakes it was a bit hot so I added a little brown sugar, it’s perfectly delicious! Thank you!