This slow cooker BBQ pulled pork is tender and juicy pork shoulder, smothered with a sweet and savory homemade BBQ sauce.
Looking for a delicious meal to serve up at your next backyard BBQ?
This slow cooker BBQ pulled pork uses pork shoulder and is cooked all day, low and slow, in the slow cooker, so it becomes incredibly tender and flavorful.
It’s smothered in a homemade BBQ sauce that packs a punch of flavor, made from ketchup, brown sugar, tangy apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, and spices.
This pulled pork is perfect for a weekend barbecue, but it’s also great for meal prep; you can make a big batch and enjoy it for lunches or dinners all week long!
No matter how you serve it up, you’re sure to love this slow cooker BBQ pulled pork!
Table of Contents
Ingredients for slow cookers BBQ pulled pork
- Yellow onion – Yellow onion will add sweetness to our BBQ sauce.
- Ketchup – Ketchup has a perfect blend of sweet, and savory for our sauce.
- Apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is both sweet and tangy.
- Brown sugar – Brown sugar will give us a deep molasses flavor.
- Tomato paste – Tomato paste will add some umami to our sauce.
- Spices – I’ve chosen a blend of smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder for this BBQ sauce.
- Kosher salt and black pepper – Salt and pepper are essential to help enhance all of the flavors.
- Pork shoulder – When cooked slowly, pork shoulder becomes tender and juicy.
Is pork shoulder the same thing as pork butt?
Pork shoulder and pork butt (or Boston butt) come from generally the same area on a pig–the shoulder–but they have distinct differences.
Pork butt comes from the thicker section of the pork shoulder, and has more fat and marbling throughout.
The pork shoulder comes from the thinner end of the pork shoulder and has less marbling and fat.
Both are perfect for low and slow cooking so that the connective tissues can break down and the pork becomes tender and juicy, and both can be used interchangeably for this slow cooker BBQ pulled pork.
Have fun with your BBQ sauce and make it your own!
Feel free to add in some of these flavors to suit your taste buds:
- Use honey instead of brown sugar
- Give it a kick of spice by using either a chopped jalapeño or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
- For an extra rich umami flavor, try a splash of soy sauce.
- Replace my spice blend with Creole seasoning.
How to make pulled pork in the slow cooker
- Remove the pork from the packing and cut it into 1-inch chunks.
- In the slow cooker crock add onion, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper.
- Whisk or stir the mixture together until combined.
- Add in the cubed pork and toss to combine.
- Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours.
- Shred the pork and toss in the sauce in the crock pot.
- Serve on buns, over rice, or stuffed in a baked potato.
Storage and leftovers
Any leftover slow cooker BBQ pulled pork can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat, simply place in a microwave-safe dish covered loosely with a damp paper towel and heat for 2-3 minutes or until heated thoroughly.
More BBQ recipes
- Looking for a fun appetizer? Try my Bourbon BBQ Meatballs
- Need to feed a hungry crowd? Try my BBQ Pineapple Burger
- Want a new wing for game day? Try my Wild Blueberry BBQ Chicken Wings
- Craving pizza? Try my Smoked Mozzarella BBQ Chicken French Bread Pizza
Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
- 1 small onion finely diced
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 pounds pork shoulder fat trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- Add all ingredients except the pork shoulder (onion, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper) to your slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Next, add the cubed pork shoulder and stir to coat the pork with the sauce.
- Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours, or until the pork is fork tender.
- Shred the pork and serve as desired.
- (Optional) To thicken the cooking liquid into a rich BBQ sauce, remove it to a small saucepan and whisk in 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until your desired consistency.
- Storage: Store any leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.