The Best Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot! (2024)

361 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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The Best Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot! (1)

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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 such as 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. Try this Dutch Oven Pulled Pork or this Instant Pot Pork Roast too!

What type of meat is best for slow cooked 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 (3-5 lbs each). There are different names for the various parts of the pork shoulder that may be used—whether you use a pork butt, pork shoulder, Boston butt or picnic roast, they will all work just fine.

How long should you cook pulled pork in a Crock Pot?

The Crock Pot is great for pulled pork because you need to cook it low and slow for several hours. I usually cook 4 lbs of pork shoulder for 7 hours on low. Be aware though, pulled pork will dry out if overcooked.

Can you slow cook pulled pork on high?

I don’t recommend it. Pork is the most tender when cooked on low. Trust me, it’s worth the wait! For a quicker option, try this Instant Pot Pulled Pork.

What to put on a pulled pork sandwich

Pulled pork sandwiches are a super easy dinner idea or way to serve a crowd. If you use real food ingredients for your rolls and toppings, it’s also a healthier alternative to all that junk food you get at Superbowl parties or BBQ gatherings.

Whole wheat bread or bun

Start with any whole wheat slider bun, either homemade or store bought. Whole grain brioche is another delicious option or serve pulled pork sandwich style with homemade sandwich bread.

Vegetable toppings

Traditionally, pulled pork is served with coleslaw. You can also top your pulled pork sandwiches with lettuce, julienned carrots, onions, or arugula—almost any sandwich or burger fixings taste great on pulled pork!

Personally, I like to add veggies that give the sandwiches a bit of crunch. If you’re entertaining, offer toppings buffet style so people can pick their own.


My husband says this recipe is great without BBQ sauce, and we avoid it because it’s usually full of sugar. An easy alternative is to drizzle a bit of the leftover juices onto your sandwich. Just don’t go overboard or your bun will get soggy!

Some other great sauce ideas are: hot sauce, tzatziki, and salsa.


Not everyone agrees when it comes to cheese on pulled pork, but some popular choices are cheddar, mozzarella, and Havarti. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try Gruyère, Cotija cheese, or pepper jack. Try these pulled pork nachos too!

How to make this pulled pork recipe in an Instant Pot

Crockpots and Instant Pots cook things differently, but this is one recipe that does adapt well to pressure cooking. Here’s how to make this pulled pork recipe in an Instant Pot:

  1. Note: You’ll need an additional 1 cup of liquid for this recipe. Water will work, but chicken stock will be more flavorful.
  2. Prep the seasoning mixture.
  3. Heat a small amount of olive oil in the Instant Pot on the sauté setting.
  4. Meanwhile, cut your pork shoulder into quarters.
  5. Cover each pork piece with the seasoning mixture, then drop into the Instant Pot. Don’t overcrowd; you may have to work in batches.
  6. Brown the pork on all sides and remove.
  7. Turn off the Instant Pot, then toss in half a cup of water or stock and use wooden spoon to deglaze the pan.
  8. Place the pork back into the Instant Pot and add the remaining ingredients including the other ½ cup of water or stock. Note: Instant Pots heat from the bottom. Add the onion last and keep it mostly on top of the pork.
  9. Cook on high pressure for 60 minutes. Once it’s done, natural release for at least 15 minutes.

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.

  • Collard Greens
  • Simple Corn Salad
  • Kale and Bacon Stuffed Potatoes
  • Southern Potato Salad (without mayo!)
  • Whole Grain Cornbread
  • Charred Corn Salad with Tomatoes and Avocados

The Best Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot! (2)

Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot

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!

361 Reviews / 4.6 Average

Prep Time: 5 minutes mins

Cook Time: 7 hours hrs

Total Time: 7 hours hrs 5 minutes mins

Course: Dinner

Method: Slow Cooker

Diet: Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Peanut/Tree Nut-Free

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Servings: 6

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  • In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the first six ingredients (all of the spices) with a fork.

  • Pour in the honey, vinegar, and olive oil and stir to form a paste.

  • Place the onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top it with the 2 pieces of pork and then pour the honey paste over all sides of the pork pieces. It’s okay if some of it (or a lot of it) just drips down to the bottom.

  • Turn the slow cooker on to low and cook for 7 to 8 hours or until the meat is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.

  • Serve the shredded pork warm with fixings like homemade coleslaw and cornbread. My husband also likes his dipped in a little hot sauce. Refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.


I used a pork shoulder, but you could experiment with a pork roast or pork loin, although they won’t be as flavorful. Another serving option is whole-wheat hamburger bunspulled pork sandwiches!

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts

Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot

Amount Per Serving

Calories 444Calories from Fat 189

% Daily Value*

Fat 21g32%

Saturated Fat 6g38%

Polyunsaturated Fat 2g

Monounsaturated Fat 11g

Cholesterol 124mg41%

Sodium 1309mg57%

Potassium 773mg22%

Carbohydrates 28g9%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 24g27%

Protein 37g74%

Vitamin A 1811IU36%

Vitamin C 3mg4%

Calcium 46mg5%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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