crockpot pulled pork

crockpot pulled pork new
Updated photo 5/31/12

My brother has a habit of giving out remarkably vague “recipes.” For example: “Put some pig or cow in the slow cooker with some liquid. Use a spice rub if you want. Cook until you get home from work, then give the fat to the dog and shred the meat.”

Um. Right.

I needed more information. Does the size of the roast matter? Whether it has a bone? I used pork shoulder, and Cooks Illustrated has a recipe for barbecue pulled pork, so I adapted some of their instructions – the ingredients and method for the spice rub – for this slow cooker version. I was reluctant to add liquid to the slow cooker liner with the meat, because I had some idea that it would dilute the flavor in the meat, so I added just a bit of water and some liquid smoke. I cooked it for about 10 hours, added some barbecue sauce, then cooked it for 1 hour longer.

Oh my gosh, it’s so good. I almost didn’t want to add barbecue sauce, because the meat tastes so good without it, but of course it was that much better once I added it. And it makes a ton of food. I’m going to guess that the pork shoulder I used, which was probably the smallest I could find, was about twenty servings. I froze most of it, and it reheats really well.

I learned a few things from this. For one, there’s no need to worry about liquid diluting the flavor of the meat – the meat exudes a surprising amount of liquid anyway. It’s best to add just a bit of water to help the slow cooker get the cooking started. Also, as far as cooking times go, longer seems to be better. So, as my brother said, start dinner cooking before you go to work, and when you get home 9 or 10 hours later, you’ll be just in time to shred the meat, add the barbecue sauce, and let that all cook together for a bit.

Overall, served with coleslaw, this makes for a fantastic meal. I know that crockpot pulled pork recipes are a dime a dozen, but trust me that this spice rub adds far more flavor than root beer ever could. Plus, it’s not much work at all, so with minimal effort you can stock your freezer with multiple nights’ worth of easy and tasty meals.

Update 9.21.08: Last time I made this, I used a pork shoulder that just barely fit in my crockpot; I think it was in the 7.5 pound range.  After 8.5 hours, the pork wasn’t tender enough to be pulled, at least on the inside.  So I recommend erring on the longer side of this cooking range, especially if you’re using a large roast.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (spice rub from Cooks Illustrated)

Spice Rub:
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground white pepper

1 (6-8 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
2 cups barbecue sauce

1. Mix all spice rub ingredients in small bowl.

2. Massage spice rub into meat. Wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (For stronger flavor, the roast can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

3. Unwrap roast and place it in slow cooker liner. Add liquid smoke, if using, and ¼ cup water. Turn slow cooker to low and cook for 8-10 hours, until meat is fork-tender.

4. Transfer roast to cutting board; discard liquid in liner. “Pull” by tearing meat into thin shreds with two forks or your fingers. Discard fat.

5. Place shredded meat back in slow cooker liner; toss with 1 cup barbecue sauce, and heat on low for 30-60 minutes, until hot. Serve with additional barbecue sauce.


  1. Bridget, this looks awesome. seriously, I’ve NEVER seen a crockpot recipe I’ve actually wanted to try until this one. We are soooo trying this. Thanks!

  2. I am going to detour to the butcher on the way home and grab the shoulder I thought about getting last night. This would make a fabulous lunch for tomorrow with some fresh baked buns and maybe beans. Yummy!

  3. It looks mouth watering good. I will have to try this recipe, I’ve been craving pulled pork lately!

  4. OMG, that looks amazing! I love the photo of all the spices – I”m stealing that idea and trying this recipe sometime! 🙂

  5. That looks so good! I agree with Jess the spices photo is very nice !

  6. Bridget…I tagged you! Check out my blog for details.

  7. This looks so good right now!

  8. look at all those yummy spices! mmmmm!

  9. I got a crockpot for a wedding gift, and have managed to make a few disgusting mushy meals in it. I refuse to give it away, though, because i hoped that I could find a pulled pork recipe that would make it worth owning the stupid thing. I think you just saved my crockpot!

  10. Now this looks like a recipe that is completely worthy of having in the files. Everyone needs a good, easy pulled pork recipe 🙂 Looks great!!

  11. Michele says:

    Hi Bridget — Great blog and recipes. We loved the szechuan beans with pork. What do you use for BBQ sauce?

  12. This sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Michele – I use Dinosaur BBQ sauce. I’m not sure if it’s available nation-wide.

  14. Michele says:

    Thanks Bridget. I ended up making my own BBQ (from one of Ina Garten’s books). It was great with this pork, although I think you could easily get by with just using it as a condiment. This meat has fantastic flavor from the rub.

  15. Jessi says:

    Is this spicy with that much cayenne and chili powder? My husband had cancer and now he can’t handle spicy stuff. It really sounds yummy!!!!

  16. Jessi – It’s not spicy. Really, the only spice I noticed was from the black pepper. It might depend on your chili powder? The stuff I use (sorry that I don’t know the brand) isn’t spicy at all.

  17. This looks incredible. We will definitely be trying this.

  18. Wendy says:

    Tried this yesterday–YUMMY!! I put Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce on it and added extra liquid smoke. The hamburger buns were a bit stale so I grilled them, and served the pork sandwiches with grilled sweet corn. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  19. dotcrow says:

    This is a great recipe, as everyone who tries it will find. I usually roast the pork in an oven set to about 150 degrees. This requires a heavy covered pot, either aluminum or iron, and you should sear the meat on the stove before putting it in the oven. For one reason or other I searched for a Crock Pot recipe and found this one. Try it – you’ll like it.

    To Jessi asking about the heat —

    1. Reduce the amount of black pepper and white pepper, or omit them completely. Peppercorns have a fair amount of heat.

    2. Omit the cayenne altogether.

    3. Make sure you have MILD chili powder. You can get this blend from Penzy’s Spices, it has good flavor but is not hot.



  20. claire says:

    I am making this for Thanksgiving instead of turkey (plus a roast leg of lamb)! It looks soooo good.

  21. @dotcrow:
    If you do it in the oven, should be at least 220. Should be slow but food safe. This is about what most southern pit cookers will heat to as well.

  22. Melissa Bean says:

    Anyone know how many this would serve? I’m having a football party on Friday–Go Utes!

  23. I made this recipe over the weekend and it was delicious. Thank you so much!

  24. Jdgator919 says:

    I made this the other night and it turned out fabulous. I used a 4 lb. boston butt and just halfed all of the spices. The 4 lb. made about 5 large sandwiches. Mine cooked for about 8 hours and was kept warm for 2. It literally slid off the bone.

    I can’t believe people spend $5.00 or more on PP sandwiches when they are so easily made at home and frozen!

    Thanks for such a perfect recipe!

  25. I prepared this recipe using 7 lb boneless pork sirloin roast (that is what was on sale last week, and it made tender, tasty pulled pork). I made mini buns using frozen roll dough (I flattened the dough balls when they were mostly thawed). It was part of a potluck for 90 people. My mini pulled pork sandwiches disappeared quickly, and got rave reviews! I will definitely use this as my go-to pulled pork recipe, and I have already shared it with several others. Yummy!

  26. CRYSTAL says:


  27. Excellent recipe!! pork was tender, FLAVORFUL, and TASTY!! I used a whole bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet Vidalia Onion BBQ Sauce instead of the 2 cups recommended.

  28. Thanks for sharing the recipe – my husband agreed that it was by far the best thing to ever come out of my crockpot… you know, besides queso 🙂

  29. Thanks for the great recipe! I made it yesterday for our Super Bowl party and it was a big hit. I think I need to buy a bigger crock pot before I make it again, though. About halfway through when the meat started to plump up we had to tape down the lid to keep it on!

  30. Adrienne says:

    Ridiculously amazing recipe. I haven’t even gotten to eat supper yet, but I’ve sampled the meat and it is fantastic.

    Thanx for blogging about it. The spice rub is also something I”m saving for the next boring piece of meat that wanders my way.

  31. Stacy B says:

    Wow, this looks fabulous! Great pictures! We’re making it tonight for my daughter’s first birthday party (for the adults) tomorrow…I cannot wait to try it 🙂

  32. Amanda says:

    Hi Bridget,
    Thanks so much for this recipe. I’ve had my crockpot for years, and this was the first recipe I saw that persuaded me to pull it out and actually use it. And I’m so glad I did–the pork is wonderful.

    I’m looking forward to serving it to guests next weekend, and I’m wondering what the best way to reheat it it? You mentioned that it freezes well, so I was planning on storing it there, and then possibly reheating it in the slow cooker. Should I skip the 30-60 minute reheat today w/bbq sauce today and do that as the reheat? Would love to hear your thoughts.

    Thank you!

  33. Amanda – I think you could go either way on the 30-60 minute reheat at the end. I guess I’d probably do it today, just to give yourself one less thing to think about when you have guests next week.

    I think reheating it in the crockpot would be a great idea for guests. It’s low maintenance and the meat will stay warm while people arrive, get settled, and go back for seconds. I usually just defrost it overnight and then heat it in a covered pot on the stove, but that’s just for my husband and myself for dinner.

  34. Lindsay says:

    I stumbled across this recipe in my efforts to find a decent pulled pork. I made this for 40 people a couple months ago (took 4 crockpots) and we served at a shelter nearby. My husband was so bummed that he didn’t get any that I’m making it again for him tonight. He was literally obsessed with it. Thanks so much for the amazing rub! Yummy!!

  35. Dyanna says:

    Made this for dinner tonight and OMG was it the best pulled pork I’ve ever had. My husband even loved it. I did not have cayenne pepper so I replaced it with 1 1/2t of red pepper flakes.

    Thank you!!! Love your blog!!

  36. I just made this tonight and it came out amazing! I didn’t even bother with the barbecue sauce because the spice rub ended up making a delicious sauce in and of itself. This is one of my favorite new recipes!

  37. I blogged this yesterday after seeing it on your site. Absolutely DELISH! I was short on time so put it straight in the crockpot after the rub and it still was so so good!

  38. I want to try this so much I’m going out to purchase a crock pot. What would be the ideal size?

  39. H-Man says:

    This is a great recipe. I’ve made it twice and each time it has been gone over well. The first time I made it 10 hours did not seem like enough. The second time I cooked it about 15 and the meat fell right off the bone. I added my secret BBQ sauce and it was perfect. Thanks for posting this.

  40. Laura says:

    Well, I don’t know what I did wrong. I followed the recipe to the letter and after 9 hours on low, the meat is still tough! I pulled some off of the bottom (the juices went about 1/2 way up) and have enough for a handful – it does taste great but I’ve got a houseful coming in an hour so I may have to order pizza! Any suggestions for next time?

  41. bridget says:

    Laura – Just cook it longer. The cooking time depends a lot on the size of the roast, the heat of your particular crockpot, the size of your crockpot, the temperature of the crockpot liner. (If you refrigerate the liner with the roast in it overnight, that adds about an hour to the cooking time.) And you can just put the rest of the roast you just cooked back on the heat and let it keep cooking, although it sounds like it’ll need another few hours. You could skip the “reheat with the BBQ sauce” step at the end, but it still doesn’t sound like it’ll be ready by the time you need to feed your guests. I’m so sorry about that – I know that I would be disappointed if I was in your situation.

  42. This was absolutely delicious! My husband even said that it was as good as, if not better, than the local guy with the BBQ setup in town. And we live in NC, so that’s saying something! Next time I need to buy a larger shoulder though because my husband went to town and I was expecting some leftovers! Overall, great recipe!! Thanks!

  43. I finally tried it over the weekend and I must say it was fantastic. The only trouble I had was the dry rub did not permeate the meat (I marinated it overnight) but I had some left over and used it to season the meat after I shredded it. My family loved it.

  44. bridget says:

    Nina – I’ve noticed that I get more flavor from the rub when I give it a day or two, although even an overnight rest makes for tasty meat.

  45. Charlie says:

    Great spice dry rub recipe. I substituted all brown sugar and hawaiian red clay salt, reduced the chile powder by half and used 2 tbl jerk spice, 1/2 tsp grnd cloves, and 1 tbl garlic powder just to be different. Gave it a little more earthy island flavor. C’est magnifique, Bridget!

  46. Oh my, this was excellent. I’ve never made pulled pork before. I was 1 Tbsp. short in chili powder so I used 1 Tbsp. of homemade Chinese 5-spice powder. I had a 3.5 pound roast and made the full amount of rub, and I let it sit overnight, and it was incredible. Thank you for the very useful post!

  47. This was absolutely delicious. Thank you for the recipe. I thought the dry was the best I have ever used. It made the pork taste wonderful.

  48. This is the most amazing recipe for pulled pork. I have made it at least 6-8 times, and it tastes better each time!

  49. Sally says:

    Love this recipe. Tried splitting a pork loin and did half in the oven and half in the crock pot. The crock pot wins hands down as it is much more moist and I actually had trouble keeping enough water in the oven recipe. I usually just rub the meat well with the seasoning recipe and have about half left for the next time which I find is a bonus. Maybe my meat is less spicy without the entire rub recipe mixed in, but everyone has raved about it anyway.

  50. Sarah says:

    I am going to make this for a gathering I am estimating 20-30 people, I am curious as to just how much this makes? I have two 7lb pork shoulder roast and trying to decide if it will be enough?

  51. bridget says:

    Sarah – Two 7-pound roasts should be enough (although I think you’ll need two crockpots, because one 7-pound roast is actually a little too big for my standard-sized crockpot). Of course it depends on how much other food you have, but I think it’s safe to say that one 7-pound roast makes 10-15 servings.

  52. I just made that recipe this weekend and it was fantastic! We really enjoyed that tasty dish! Thanks for sharing and keep up with the great work!



  53. Norma says:

    I wanted to serve something yummy for a large crowd (over 20) and wanted to spend time visiting with my guests instead of cooking. So, this recipe was definitely a good choice!! Everyone brought a salad, I made desserts!! I would definitely do this again- we also had barbecue sauce on the side for those wanting more of the smokey flavor!!

  54. Christine says:

    amazing. i love it. i make this for parties or just for family dinners. every time i make it, everybody wants “my” recipe. thank you so very much for sharing!

  55. Molly Jones says:

    Just wanted to say we’ve made this twice, and it is now our go-to recipe whenever we want pulled pork. I’m on my way to the store to get what I need to make it again tomorrow.
    A suggestion to the person who said it was too tough after nine hours: We do ours overnight. Just put it in the crock pot and turn it on right before you go to bed. Leave it for a few more hours in the morning, then take it out and shred it, and add the bbq per directions around noonish…I really don’t think you can cook it too long. Using this method this is one of the easiest things I know how to make, and also one of the best. Thanks!

  56. Shannon says:

    I wanted to let you know that this was my first experience making pulled pork for a party of about 20 people…and I got compliments from people that it was the best pulled pork they ever had! I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out delicious!!!! Thanks 🙂

  57. cooking downunder says:

    It’s the easiest and by far the most delicious pull pork I’ve ever made, I have done it a few times and it always turns out perfectly! Thanks again 🙂

  58. Made this last night, very good 🙂

  59. N.C pit smokinnnnn says:

    Although I think you nailed it on the prep/rub for this recipe, I need to clear up some errors. Not that I’m biased, but I’m in North Carolina – and we make the best pulled pork on the planet. First off, If you are going to cheat (using a crockpot instead of a pit/smoker), I’d recommend started on a grill for a better end result – put it on a gas grill/ or small amount of charcoal (do not forget hickory chips/ pear wood etc.. ) and smoke it at low heat for an hour or two. Then transfer it into the crock pot (use beer instead of water) , cook at low for about 6 more hours or until center of roast hits over 190 degrees & looks like it’s about to fall apart. Pull roast and set in colander to let drippings drain off as you let it rest for 30 minutes – shred pork into strands and use a small amount of East N.C barbecue sauce to remoisten the meat a bit – DO NOT ADD ANY SAUCE AND RE-ADD IT TO COOK LONGER IN THE CROCKPOT – unless you want to destroy the natural texture and flavor of all the effort you just put in – this is especially important if you are intent on making a tomato based pulled pork sauce – the sauce is supposed to accentuate the flavor and be added to fresh meat not be smothered in it — fail to follow these warnings and you can soon congratulate yourself for spending 8+ hours to make an Arby-Q

  60. Randy says:

    This is an awesome recipe! I used a 5lb Boston Butt and it barely fit in my 3.5 quart crock pot. I had the same problem as Mary, I had to put a big book on top of the lid and tape it down because the meat expanded. It eventually cooked down and it wasn’t a problem after that. I cooked it for 9.5 hours and had turned it up to high for the last 2.5 hours. Next time I think I will start it out on high for an hour or so to get it started and then turn it on low. If you like pulled pork this one is easy and taste great! So Tender!

  61. Crystal says:

    This is amazing!!! It was easy and delicious. I made this for all the parents at the ski hill and they loved it. We put the rub on and let it set overnight. We then put it in the crockpot before bed the next night, took it out early afternoon and it was so tender and yummy! Can’t go wrong with this recipe

  62. Tucker says:

    I made this yesterday and it was amazing. I was optimistic from the start as I use a similar dry rub on pork ribs. Amazing pulled pork dinner last night. Thanks.

    I cooked a 7.5 pound pork butt on low for 8.5 hours at which point it wasn’t quite done. Turned it up to high for another 2 hours and it was perfect. I’d probably start on high as well next time, then turn down.

  63. RevJen says:

    I made this last month to take to a gathering. I shared this link on’s Table Talk forum, and now two or three others have made it. It’s getting rave reviews everywhere.

    Unfortunately, they’re now attributing the recipe to me, but I let them know where it’s from!

  64. I got a crock pot for Christmas and this was my very first crock pot recipe. My only worry is that I started out too good! This was fantastic! Easily the best pulled pork sandwich I’ve ever had.

    I used a 5 lb pork shoulder and cooked it for 8.5 hours. Perfectly done, fell right off the bone. Warmed for another hour with the Trader Joes BBQ sauce and absolutely loved it. I cut down the salt to only 1 tbs and that seemed to be just fine.

    For folks new to cooking — like myself — this is a bit expensive that first time out. I had to buy 7 of the spices and thankfully most were on sale. That said, in the future this is going to be a very cheap meal to make. The roast itself was only $9 and this could easily feed 8 people.

  65. Thank you so much I did a google search and came across your recipe and made it today for Super Bowl party. Everyone LOVED it, thank you so much for the wonderful recipe. I was going to post it this week with a link to you. Thanks again.

  66. I made this last weekend, and it was great. I’ll post it and link back to you soon, but thanks for the recipe!!

  67. will try this tomorrow morning – will marinate overnight! Can’t wait!!

  68. Olympic 2010 Fever is in our city of Vancouver!!!
    We are going for GOLD on Sunday!!! Go Canada Go!!!
    I’m going to make this pulled pork for the game, I know it will get the Gold medal, I’ve read all the reviews! Thanks so much! Jen from Nanaimo B.C.!

  69. Elizabeth says:

    I have made this three times and it’s AMAZING….thank you for sharing it!!!! This weekend I made a shoulder roast that was 7.75 lbs. I ended up cooking it for 12 hours on high and it just fell apart.

  70. I just polished off two ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS pulled pork sandwiches, courtesy of this recipe.

  71. Frank says:

    Thank you for the recipe! I’ve been looking for a pulled pork one in a crockpot since I don’t have a proper smoker. Trying it out for Mother’s Day. Just put the overnight rubbed meat in and will you let you know how it turns out in about 12 hours.

  72. I’ve made this one several times and always have wonderful results; the spice rub is the BEST. I generally don’t use the chili powder or the cumin; my boyfriend and I like the salt/sugar combo plus the cayenne pepper and regular pepper going on. I now use the slow cooker plastic liners, and I just pop the roast in one of those, wrap it well, leave in the fridge overnight, and then just put the liner and roast in the crockpot. Thanks for sharing such a good and ridiculously simple recipe!

  73. I made this recipe this past Sunday for a LOST party, and it was a huge hit! I cooked two 4lb shoulder roasts overnight and it was melt in your mouth tender. I didn’t incorporate the barbeque sauce into the pork, just allowed people to pick and choose which sauce they wanted and it worked out great. Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  74. Just shredded my boston Butt and added the bbq sauce and put it back into the crockpot. OMG that is one fine 8 pound pulled pork.
    This will not only feed 12 camping in a couple of weeks but also some for the freezer later. Tried a few different recipes and this one is the best so far. Used a jar of some apple butter bbq sauce recommended by a staff member at a local gourmet kitchen store and she nailed it.
    This will be a hit camping for sure. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  75. I found this recipe doing a Google search for pulled pork recipes. I served it on the 4th of July, with only minor changes to the rub recipe (not as much pepper, more chili powder and added garlic and onion powder to the mix).

    I put the rub on the meat on a Wednesday night, let it sit until Saturday morning then I laid the roast on a bed of thick onion slices. Cooked on low for 11 hours, the bone pulled right out of the roast in one piece. Moved the meat and the onion slices to a separate pot and I didn’t have to work very hard to pull the pork. A couple of stirs with a serving fork and some Stubb’s BBQ did the trick. Let it sit over night in the fridge, then reheated on on Sunday evening. The crew I fed RAVED about it. Thanks for this keeper of a recipe!

  76. I want to use the leanest pork I can. I saw one post about a loin. How about a loin or a tenderloin? I’d like to serve 10 and have some leftovers. Any suggestions? Can’t wait to use this rub.

  77. Brilliant recipe! I ended up using a different rub, though, from the book Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier:

    Equal parts freshly ground black pepper, paprika, salt, sugar, and garlic powder necessary to cover meat. Leave to rest for 3 hours before starting cooking.

    I’ve also cooked it your way, and I can’t choose which way I prefer the meat cooked!

  78. MrsWheel says:

    I made this for a party and it was a huge hit. I even used the recipe to make shredded chicken for the non-pork eaters – I just substituted skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs in place of the pork and removed the skin and bones before shredding the meat. I’ve already gotten requests to make it again for football season. Thank you!

  79. A friend of mine made this for a get-together. You’d think a small group of ladies would be somewhat demure about eating a messy meal like juicy pulled pork. Oh no! The 5 of us devoured an entire crock pot of pork shoulder in less than an hour. This was so delicious!! I’m getting it ready tonight to serve to my husband for dinner tomorrow. He’s going to love it!

  80. bellaa says:

    This looks awesome! I just put the spice rub on my roast…just an FYI – I got a 7 lb. roast and I could have halved the recipe for the spice rub, it was too much. If you are making this, you could make the full quantity of rub but then reserve some (so your hands don’t touch it after touching the raw meat) and use it only if you don’t have enough. Save the extra for next time.

  81. Elizabeth S. says:

    AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have made this several times and it’s a hit every time. Granted it’s not cooked in a smoker, but I think the spice rub does an awesome job making up for it. Highly recommend this!

  82. Dawn D says:

    Excellent recipe! I made it this weekend for a dinner with extended family. I used Penzey’s smoked paprika and their Chili 9000. I will definitely make this again.

  83. LOVE this recipe – I found it about 2 years ago online, and have made it many many times since. I always get a request to pass along the recipe. When I pulled up the recipe (a bookmarked “favorite”) today, I felt like I just had to say a big THANKS for posting this 🙂

  84. Anthony says:

    ive been looking around for pulled pork recipes ever scince i watched Man vs Food and thought that pulled pork sandwhiches look amazing as i live in the U.K i have never tried one.
    this recipe realy stood out from the rest and the reviews were very encouraging.

    i am currently in work with the pork in the slow cooker at home!! so it should be done around 4:30-5:00pm, i cant wait to get home to smell it cooking,

    i have used pork shoulder but minus the bone as i couldnt find that anywhere plus pork shoulder in th U. K is quite expensive!!

    the bone im guessing adds another depth of flavour but hopefully the dry rub will give it a great flavour on its own.

    i will post with my verdict after i have had it for tea tonight,


  85. Hi,

    I spent 30 mins reading pulled pork receipts on the web, and like this one the best. I am going to start making this in a few mins.
    I will add onion and garlic.
    Fingers crossed that it tastes good.
    Also per the suggestion on the man from N. Carolina I am going to cook with beer instead of water.
    Really excited about this.
    Thank you


  86. this was SO amazing. I live in SC – and prefer vinegar based sauce. here is my favorite recipe for that if anyone is interested…it’s from good old – you just mix them together. it was perfect for this recipe! thanks again!

    · 1 cup cider vinegar
    · 1 tablespoon salt
    · 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    · 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    · 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  87. Ak Brian says:

    I love this recipe too. I like to use cider vinegar in the crockpot instead of water. I find it adds flavor (granted I love cider vinegar based sauces) and helps break the meat down. I’ve never had to “pull” the pork, it just falls apart when you touch it. I also like to sub a wood smoked salt (mesquite, alderwood, etc.) and smoked paprika for the rub. Chipotle powder instead of chili powder works too. People swear it came out of a smoker and not a crockpot.
    You can also take the liquid from the crockpot and reduce it down to a nice base sauce for your homemade BBQ sauce (once you separate the fat out). Best wishes for all those pork lovers out there.

  88. I want to make this this weekend for March Madness…YUM!

  89. This was delicious – thank you!

  90. Kirsten Konefal says:

    This looks fabulous. Do you know how many the recipe serves if we are planning on smallish size sandwiches? We are having about 25 guests.


  91. bridget says:

    Kirsten – When my husband and I eat this with just a side of coleslaw, we get about 12 generous servings from it.

  92. Jennifer says:

    All I can say is thank you! I am a military wife with 4 children. One of which is autistic. Recipes like this are a blessing. Thank you agian!!! Easy, and the best pulled pork recipe ever.

  93. Thankyou so much for taking the time to figure out and share this awesome recipe! I planned my hubbies graduation party this past weekend around a southern food/picnic food theme. This was the ONLY meat dish so it couldn’t fail. I was nervous bc I was doing 12 lbs of meat and didn’t know how long to leave it in the cooker. I marinated it for about 24 hrs then put it in the cooker at 9pm the night before the party. It was falling apart by noon and was even softer by 5 pm when we took it out. Sooooo yummy! W are still enjoying the leftovers 🙂

  94. Christina says:

    Just christened my new slow cooker with your recipe this weekend, and it was a HUGE hit. Absolutely delicious and juicy. I used two 3.5 lbs pork shoulders and it made like you said, enough for probably 12-14. Froze a bunch of it too. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  95. First time I saw this reciepe, it sounded amazing. I used a pork shoulder and followed the directions. My husband just loved it!!!Today, I’m trying it on chicken! Wish me luck.

  96. Ialso wanted to say this is so awesum to make. The pictures you showed were just great!!! And the pork just fell off it was so tender. Just a great recipe, thanks!!!

  97. I’ve made this recipe multiple times and I think my wife loves it more than I do. I typically make a much smaller pork shoulder (about 4 lbs typically). The rub is fantastic, makes the meat so flavorful and it’s just as good leftover as it is the day you make it.

  98. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Being a Southerner, I grew up on pulled pork. Having been transplanted to New Orleans, however, it’s too damn hot to do it the traditional way (spending all day tending a grill). I’ve tried several slow cooker recipes in the past, but this one looks like it’ll be my favorite. Along with your cole slaw recipe from your May blog, I’m all set for the 4th!

  99. Brit Brit says:

    Wow, been reading the blogs for about a half hr now. NOT 1 Complaint!! …Great Recipe Bridget this seems to be a hit cant wait to try it when I get off wrk. Made notes of the reviews and we will have to see how this ends up!! …..Happy 4th of July everyone. Will post on the 5th after this is all eatN yummmmyy.

  100. Brit Brit STL says:

    Oh…?? by the way would onion layers at the bottom of the slow cooker be ok b/c I love onions but I dont want it to over power the taste??!!?!

  101. Brit Brit STL says:

    Wow is all I have to say.. Amazing! I used half of my rub and I saved the other half for another day. This was beautiful and Ill be makin it allllll the time sooooo easy and delicious!! THANK YOU

    Oh and yes I live in St.Louis but I am from Texas and you must serve the BBQ sauce on the side… The flavor and texture of the meat is just to good to smother. To be honest my guests at my party prefered it how it was without the bbq sauce, I was suprised. Thanks again Bridget

  102. Lucia says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. Yum, yum! I cut back a bit on the cayenne since I’m making it for kids, but it probably would have been fine as-is. It’s not overpoweringly spicy. Also, I used extra cumin because I love it. I did not add the barbecue sauce because I was so intrigued by the spices smelling up the house that I didn’t want to mess with that. Did serve the sauce as a condiment, though, and that was great!

  103. Whilst this is an interesting recipe, I think there is too much spice to allow the sweet flaour to come to tyhe fore. I made thye recipe as listed. There was too much concentrqation on spice. I cut the amounts of spices and came up with a much better result. Try this
    1 Teaspoon Black pepper 2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
    1 Teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
    1 Tablespoon mild chili powder 1 Tablespoon dried Oregano
    1 Tablespoon Paprika 2 Tablespoons sea salt
    1 Tablespoon granulated sugar 1 Teaspoon White Pepper
    This made a much tastier meat, very tender and with a decidedsweet pork flavour. With less peppers the bite was almost gone. John

  104. Greg A says:

    Took me two hours of google to find this. Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks!

  105. We’re very excited to try this! We were planning on having pulled pork, but forgot to get the root beer, so I wanted to look up an alternative recipe. This was the one that Google sent me to, and it sounds like a good thing that I forgot the root beer:)

    One thing though, we didn’t have crock pot liners on hand, so here’s hoping it still cooks well!

  106. Thomas says:

    I’ve been using the McCormick Slow Cooker flavor packet lately and it truly is simple and delicious. You add it (it’s all dry) to ketchup, vinegar and brown sugar and it creates its own very tasty sauce which it cooks in and is there in the bottom of the cooker when you’re done.

    As the package costs about $2 each, I’d really like to figure out a way to duplicate it at home.

    Anyone else tried the McCormicks?

    I’d be curious to know how different this recipe would be to the packaged spices.


  107. Literally, the best pulled pork recipe I have ever made. I threw in some cider vinegar instead of the water, which added to the flavor. I recommend it! But this is the best rub I’ve come across in the multitude of pork recipes there are out there online. Thanks for sharing!!

  108. Karen says:

    I have been making pulled pork for years and this was the best recipe I’ve used. The rub was awesome!!!! Thanks

  109. Dennis says:

    Great base as a recipe..
    I added Two Tablespoons of Powered Garlic… then again I live in the East Asian Oriental culture for the last 20 years,,, pretty much put Garlic in everything out here…
    Came back home in the early evening, opened the door, ah the aroma of the efforts told of success….
    Peace to All,


  110. I wanted to make pulled pork for New Year’s Day rather than a roast. We’ve tried making it previously but didn’t like how it came out. I stumbled across this recipe after I had already gotten my ingredients, and made some changes after reading this one.

    Man … it turned out wonderfully! I only wish I’d made more!

    A couple of minor variations that I did:
    1. I grilled the meat for about 30-40 minutes before putting in the crock pot. I grilled it on all sides until it was nice and browned. (I see that someone else recommended that also). It seemed to add a nice flavor.

    2. I put about 1/2 cup of beer in the crock pot. (I see that someone else recommended this also!)

    I did add sauce (a tangy mustard based sauce) and put the meat back in the crock for another 30 min. But honestly next time I think I will skip that, as the person from NC says. I think it tasted better and had a nicer texture right after I pulled it.

  111. This was a great recipe. My husband who rarely comments about food, repeatedly told me how good the pulled pork I made was.

  112. Deb Worden says:

    Made this overnight for a group of 16 – 8 lb. shoulder roast – have never made one with a rub before. I looked for a long time to find a great recipe. This was it! We had about 2 cups left afterwards! It was a hit, easy to make and so delicious. I did not put any sauce in it – I let people choose their own sauce. I can’t wait to make it again.

  113. I just tossed my 4.5 lb Boston Butt in my slow cooker after a nice long overnight in the fridge. After all of the amazing comments I have read I honestly can’t wait to come home and try this. Thank you!

  114. Came home tonight… the only thing I can say about this pulled pork recipe is that I don’t want it to end and I might end up in the ER for eating too much. THANK YOU!

  115. Have my pork shoulder all rubbed and ready to go but thinking about having if for dinner tonight. How would this be in the crockpot on high for 4-6 hours instead of low? Anyone know?

  116. Helpme says:

    Help! I put my pork on the grill and it burnt because the fat caught fire. I cleaned it up some and put it in the crock pot but I’m afraid it will only have a burnt taste?!?

  117. bridget says:

    Helpme – You’ll be fine. I’ve cooked pulled pork entirely on the grill (see here), and the fat burned, but the end result tasted perfect.

  118. I made this for dinner last night and it was really good! I guess all I did was use your rub recipe though as I changed a few things 🙂

    I used a 2.25lb boneless pork loin as that’s what I had on hand. Because I was using a considerably smaller roast I used less rub. Instead of tablespoons I made the rub with an equal proportion of teaspoons and ended up only using about half of the mix (I saved the rest for next time!). I didn’t have time to let the roast sit in the fridge after I rubbed it down, but it worked out just fine, and of course I was dealing with less meat! So after I rubbed it down I just put it (fat side up) in the slowcooker with the water. I let it cook on low for about 7 hours, then I took out the roast, discarded the fat, and dumped about 1/2 of the liquid out. I put the roast back in the slowcooker and shredded it up and let it sit to soak up the juices that I left behind. After about 30 mins we ate the shredded pork on homemade buns with BBQ sauce and it was perfect! I was worried about the meat possibly being dry since it was such a lean cut, but it was nice and moist and flavorful! I ate my topped with some homemade coleslaw in addition to BBQ sauce and it was amazing!

    I do have to say, I don’t typically like meats like this with any rub, but this sounded good so I went with it and I’m glad I did! The flavors of the rub didn’t overwhelm the meat at all it just added a nice complimentary smoky background flavor. I didn’t add the BBQ sauce to the meat in the slowcooker because the meat was already so flavorful!

    Thanks for sharing your recipe, I’ll definitely be making this again!

  119. Christine says:

    Do you take the fat off before or after cooking it? This is my first time using a shoulder so I’m not quite sure what to do with all the fat.

  120. bridget says:

    Christine – That thick layer of fat will peel right off after cooking, so just leave it on until then.

  121. Debbie says:

    Thank you for this EXCELLENT recipe! So easy, and everyone LOVED it!!

  122. Angela says:

    This sounds like a really good recipe. I just put my meat in the crock pot. Had it marinating in the rub almost three days. My only concern is the rub didnt smell good? I made it once and I expected it to smell yummy and I didnt like the smell. Thought I did something wrong so I started over. Same result. Did anyone else have this problem. I’m hoping it taste good at the end. Because of the great reviews I’m giving it a shot anyways

  123. Best pulled pork recipe! I had a large crowd around New Years and had several different selections of meat. There was leftovers for all the other meat but the 8 lb’s of pulled pork was completely gone! Everyone raved about it and wanted the recipe. My husband and I are trying to eat a bit lighter so I am trying the rub with chicken breasts tonight. I am not letting the rub mix marinate on the chicken overnight but will let you know how it turns out..

  124. Allison says:

    This pulled pork is AWESOME!!!!!!! I have been looking/trying many different pulled pork recipes for a while with no great luck. I found this one and I made it for a pot luck lunch at church yesterday. Someone else had brought some pulled pork from a popular BBQ restaurant in the area, my pulled pork was gone, and they still had a full pan left. The people who brought the other pork even liked mine better, one of them even said that mine had more flavor than the one they brought. The only downside was that there wasn’t enough left over for my husband and sons to have for dinner last night. LOL Thank you for sharing the recipe. This will be in my recipe box forever!!!

  125. Chelsea says:

    Can you use light brown sugar or does it have to be dark?

  126. bridget says:

    Chelsea – I always use light brown sugar, because it’s the only type I keep around. It works great!

  127. Trixie says:

    I made this tonight and we LOVED it! I just mixed the spices this morning and rubbed in into the pork and put it the crock pot right away because the pork roast was the only thing I had in the house for dinner tonight and I didn’t want to go to the grocery store. It was so good, I can’t wait to try it again and let the spices soak in for a day or two. One thing I did note, as another commenter suggested was to half the spice mixture. My roast was just under 4 lbs (there are only three of us). I used a spoon to sprinkle the mixture onto the meat and even though I completely coated my roast, I still had enough mixture left over for another time. (Oh, and I added garlic powder because I LOVE garlic.) I cooked my roast on high for one hour, then on low for another 7 hours and it shredded perfectly. I used Sweet Baby Rays – Vidalia Onion BBQ Sauce and let it simmer in the crockpot in the sauce for another hour before dinner. This is divine!! The cumin really adds a nice smokey flavor to the meat. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

  128. I’ve got this in the slow cooker now and got a couple more hours to go but already smells delicious, We’re from the other side of the pond in the UK. Ever since a friend sent us a package of local jams, chutneys and jellies from NC my 7 yr old step son has had a fascination with US food, condiments and sauces. and dreams of one day flying across the Atlantic just for the the food…… for now he’s happy with this pulled pork and running riot in the house shouting “Boy vs Food”……… Thanks 🙂

  129. Bridget, thanks for posting this recipe, it awesome. I’ve done it twice now and it is always a crowd pleaser. I’m making it again today but cut back a bit on some the spices and added some Old Bay. Looking forward to seeing how it comes out.

  130. This was the worst pulled pork I have had, the spice overpowers the meat and just tastes awful…..what a waste of spices and pork….don’t make it

  131. Tamah Massey says:

    I used this recipe on VENISON SHOULDER and it was abslutely wonderful. I can’t wait to try it on a pork shoulder.

  132. Michelle says:

    By far the BEST pulled pork recipe EVER!!! My guest as well as myself loved the way it turned out and said it was the best pulled pork they ever had!! One little thing I did differently was I mixed Sweet Baby Rays Original BBQ sauce & Sweet Baby Rays Hickory BBQ sauce and I know it sounds a little strange but I put a tiny dash of baking soda to cut out some of the acidy taste BBQ sauce gives out. SUCCESS!! Thanks so much for posting this recipe!! 🙂

  133. Loved the pulled pork! Love how it wasn’t “mushy” like a lot of crockpot recipes. Just the right amount of heat for us – my 3 year old son was not overwhelmed by the heat at all. I think we got about 15 sandwiches out of a 6.18lb pork butt (for those that were wondering the yield), but it should have been at least 16, because I did some quality control snacking while shredding the meat. 🙂 I used Josie’s Quick and Easy BBQ sauce, amazing. Everyone at the pot luck loved these sandwiches. My only regret was not buying a bigger roast – we hardly had leftovers! 🙂

  134. We made 3 pork roasts like this for our Super Bowl party we hosted. Everybody loved it! One of my friends who knows I love to smoke meat asked how I got the smoke flavor in it.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  135. looks great… i’m using beef brisket and not adding BBq sauce and heating again in the crockpot read your reviews and think this the way to go…

  136. i used beef brisket and it worked beaufuly

  137. This is an amazing recipe… my little boys (2 and 4 well and the big one too- my husband) LOVE IT! It’s not spicy AT ALL.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  138. This is a GREAT recipe! Some tips… serve a choice of sauces… on the side. The meat is great on its own. Let guedts choose between a sweet tomato or apple vinegar sauce.

  139. martha says:

    this was delicious, even though i didn’t get to marinate in the rub for a few days, a keeper of a recipe! i made the rub, mixed it with water and poured over the shoulder roast, added a blip of liquid smoke and crock potted for 7-8 hours on high. took out meat, shredded, discarded the juices and added the bbq sauce and cooked on low for another hour. oh so yummy!

  140. Hi, Bridget: My son (20) has been bugging me to find a decent pulled pork recipe for some time. We’ve tried others and always found them to either been way too saucy or too greasy, so I am putting yours together tonight (spicing the roast & putting in the fridge), then getting it in the crock pot tomorrow morning. He’s not huge on the sauce, mainly opts for flavor (I do ribs in the oven low and slow with about the same spices, which he loves), so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that your recipe is “the one” that will finally please him (and the rest of the men in the family (I’m the lone female here). I’ll write again and let you know how things go after we have dinner tomorrow night. Thanks for a great-sounding recipe!

  141. Josh the Happy says:

    Going to try this, but going to add ground mustard, thanks this is what i spent the last fifteen minutes looking for.

  142. Amanda says:

    How long should I cook my 9.5 lbs. shoulder/butt in crock pot?

  143. Amanda – About ten hours.

  144. Meredith says:

    I just have to tell you that this recipe is amazing! It feeds a crowd with plenty of leftovers if you use a big enough roast/crock pot and freezes so well. I make it at least once during the summer when we have family gatherings and lots of times in the winter to stock the freezer. And when I do make it I have to keep it a secret from co-workers otherwise I end up catering lunch for the office 🙂

  145. Erin Peters says:

    Just wondering if anyone has made this using smoked paprika rather than the paprika / liquid smoke combo? I just bought a bottle of smoked paprika from Trader Joe’s and haven’t found anything appropriate to use it on yet, but I definitely don’t want to use the normal paprika amount if that’s going to be overboard on the smoky flavor. I’ve made this once without the liquid smoke and my family absolutely loved it, but they don’t like a heavy smoke flavor so I’m nervous about using the smoked paprika in an incorrect proportion. Would love any feedback anyone has on this.

  146. Erin Peters – It sounds like it would be really good. Why don’t you try just 1 tablespoon smoked and use regular paprika for the other three tablespoons? You should end up with a subtle but not overpowering smokiness.

  147. MommaP says:

    I have made this recipe several times and everyone loves it! Add some of the dry rub to the pork along with the barbeque sauce…it is delicious!!!!

  148. Tracy DiBenedetto says:

    I bought a Ninja 3 in 1 cooking system and decided to look for a pulled pork recipe and found yours.I have made it several times and my family absolutely love’s it! It is a regular request from my husband! Thanks for sharing!

  149. I’ve been over and over this page and cannot find a “print recipe” anywhere> Do I have to hand copy recipes on this site?

  150. Amazing. Wonderful. The best.Alabama white sauce to put on it.

  151. Katie says:

    I am trying this tonight. What is the best way to freeze it if we have leftovers? Freeze it before or after re-heating with the BBQ sauce added. Thanks!

  152. I went and bought a crockpot yesterday so I could make this… it looks so good. We moved from Memphis to Santa Rosa, CA last year and craving some bbq! I prepared and chilled the pork overnight and it went in this morning. It’s bbq tonight!

  153. Jessica says:

    Looks delicious!! Just put the rub on it now.. Going to cook it up Tomorow while I’m at work! I love crockpot meals.
    I used half smoked paprika and half reg hopefully that doesn’t taint your blend too much I’ve just been lookin for a reason to use some of it, was a gift.
    Looking forward to tasting it 🙂

  154. Not sure why you would discard the liquid. After you remove the pork you have a jus which can be used as gravy or as a base for soups.

  155. Nancy says:

    I always make this for get togethers. Everyone loves this and I am always asked for the recipe. Great for summer pool parties!! Thanks for the recipe.

  156. Joe in MO says:

    Amazing results! I agree with the common dual-reactions: “It doesn’t need sauce!” Followed by, “Wait, it’ll be _better_ with sauce!” I’ve done 3 full recipes and it always comes out great. I live alone so I freeze it in a 12-slot muffin tin. (2-3 “muffins” is a nice serving.) I add some (about 1-2T) of the cooking juice to keep it moist when reheating. Don’t freeze with sauce. If you vacuum seal them, the packets can last a year and still taste fresh. I make a triple batch of the spice rub (mostly Penzey brand) in a sealed jar and use 1 cup for the latest chunk of pork. This is a fantastic easy recipe that makes portion-managed eating very easy to do.

  157. Amber says:

    I just wanted to say that I’ve been making this recipe for about 3 years now and never had a time that it didn’t turn out great! I don’t think I could ever switch to a different recipe. I have never had anyone tell me they didn’t like it. I know some people were wondering if it was too spicy but we have always thought the barbecue sauce really tames it down and haven’t had a problem. We are due with our second baby soon and I have this going in my crock pot now to stock up my freezer. Thanks for a simple and delicious recipe!

  158. This is by FAR the best pulled pork i’ve EVER made (and i have an extremely expensive smoker, but STILL use this recipe and my crock!). I make this at least once a month and am always told ‘it’s amazing’ when served to guests. One question. i’ve recently been asked to do a freezer meal swap. i really want to use this as my contribution. have you ever pre-rubbed/froze the pork? i would think it would work as it’s a dry rub and then maybe just less water when cooking? thoughts/suggestions appreciated

  159. Sue – I haven’t tried that, but I feel confident that it’ll work just fine. I wouldn’t change anything to the cooking method. But since the cooked meat freezes and thaws without any harm, I usually just freeze it after shredding.

  160. This is the best pulled pork! Make it all the time and feeds a crowd! Love it!

  161. Hi there I’m going to be making this tomorrow and then waiting the 3 day marinating period as advised, my question is, I would like to cook this with a beer as my liquid, would you recommend this and if so would a dark or lighter beer suit it best?



  162. Alan – Beer is a great idea for the liquid. I think you’d be good with anything that isn’t too bitter (so no IPAs). If I was buying beer specifically for this recipe, I think I’d go with something sweet, like a porter or brown ale, but you should be good with almost anything you have on hand.

  163. Cooking Mama says:

    I found your recipe when searching for a pork barbeque recipe that included a spice rub. I coated it with the rub, and refrigerated it for about 24 hours. I put it in the slow cooker on Low for 10 hours (overnight), and I can barely keep myself from eating it for breakfast, it’s so good! Even though there was a large amount of spices, it was really just a subtle flavor at the end of cooking. The pork did give off a lot of its own liquid….I would guess 2 cups worth (mine was a super big pork shoulder roast, bone-in, about 8lbs). I am feeding 3 families with this puppy (along with cole slaw, and sandwich stacker pickles, mmmmmm). Thanks for a great recipe.


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