Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

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There’s nothing much better than homemade BBQ, especially Carolina-style.

This recipe was developed with a BBQ smoker mentality – but for a slow cooker. Serve it with the made-from-scratch coleslaw and homemade Carolina BBQ sauce (included in the recipe card), and it will truly rival any BBQ joint just about anywhere. Even in the Carolinas! And your slow cooker does all the heavy lifting!

A straight-on view of a slow cooker pulled pork sandwich sitting on a red checkered sandwich wrapper with kettle chips scattered around it.

How To Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches


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The Ingredients You Will Need

To achieve that authentic pulled pork flavor and texture, we’re utilizing three key components, in addition to the meat. You need the perfect rub, a flavorful mop, and a classic Carolina sauce. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand

For the Rub:

Seasonings – Course sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and cayenne.
Brown sugar – Dark is what we recommend, but light works, too.

For the Liquid Mop:

Apple cider – Unfiltered cider is best and can be found in the juice section (or sometimes the produce area) of most supermarkets.
Worcestershire sauce
Oil – Vegetable or canola.
Seasonings – Salt and pepper.

For the Sauce:

Apple cider vinegar – This is the key ingredient in Carolina sauce. Go with a quality brand, if possible.
Ketchup – Again, quality makes all the difference.
Brown sugar – Dark or light both work just fine.
Seasonings – Salt and crushed red pepper flakes.
BBQ sauceHomemade is best, but quality store-bought will work, too.

For the Sandwiches:

Pork shoulder – Seek out a Boston butt, if possible. Or, look for a packaged pork shoulder in your supermarket. Bone-in adds flavor.
Buns – We toast them and then butter them for maximum flavor.
ColeslawHomemade is best and can be made in advance. But, store-bought will work in a pinch.

EXPERT TIP: Ask your butcher to remove the layer of fat on the top of the roast. This is called the ‘fat cap.’ Or, you can carefully remove it yourself with a sharp knife and a steady hand. Use your hands to get the rub into the roast before cooking.

A person wearing black kitchen gloves pressing a pork rub into a large Boston butt on a wooden cutting board.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork FAQs:

  • What is the best roast to use? We love a Boston butt, but any pork shoulder cut will work. If going boneless, slow-cook for 8 hours. Bone-in, slow-cooked for 10 hours.
  • Can the roast be slow-cooked in the oven? Yes! Follow the recipe as is, however, instead of slow-cooker, place the seasoned pork into a large Dutch oven and cover.  Slow-cook in your oven at 300°F for 3 hours, or until the roast is tender. Shred, and discard all but 1 cup of the liquid. Add the meat, 1 cup of liquid, and 2 cups of the sauce back into the Dutch oven, and return to the oven for another 30 minutes on high (400°F). 
  • Can the pulled pork be reheated in the slow cooker? Yes! To expedite heating, let the prepared meat come to room temperature and then place it in your slow cooker.  About an hour before serving, turn the slow cooker on high until heated through, then switch to “Warm.”
  • Can the pulled pork be frozen? Yes! For up to 2 months! The sauce, too!

EXPERT TIP: The mop is key to getting the pork pull-apart tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. You’re essentially braising the pork. You’ll discard most of the liquid once the pork is fully cooked.

A person pouring a liquid mop mixture over a Boston pork butt that is seasoned and sitting in a slow cooker.

How To Serve

You can serve this directly from your slow cooker and let family and guest build their own sandwiches. Make sure the coleslaw is chilled and fresh. We love to toast and butter the buns, but that’s not completely necessary. But, it adds so much flavor!

There are so many ways to use your pulled pork, too. It is amazing when added to homemade nachos, potato skins, and taco quesadillas (replace the beef with the pulled pork).

EXPERT TIP: Bear Paws (or Claws) make shredding the slow cooked pork a breeze. Alternatively, a couple of forks will do the trick, too. We often make a double batch of the sauce, because you’ll want to have plenty on hand once it’s time to make sandwiches!

Two images with the first being a person using plastic bear claws to shred cooked pulled pork and then another shot of the pork in a slow cooker with Carolina sauce being poured over it.

Other Amazing Slow Cooker Recipes to Try

If you’re like us, your slow cooker is one of your most beloved cooking tools. Here is a collection of some of our all-time favorite slow cooker recipes that we’re certain you and your family will love, too.

Pork Baby Back Ribs
Dublin Coddle (With Sausage, Potatoes, and Bacon)
Beef Stew
Chopped Brisket Sandwiches
Beef Braciole
Spiral Ham
Chicken Chow Mein
Coconut Chicken Curry
Baked Beans
Corn on the Cob
Asparagus Risotto

These are all amazing in their own unique slow cooker way, but, in the meantime, isn’t this epic sandwich calling your name?

A person drizzling Carolina barbecue sauce over a pile of slow cooker pulled pork sitting on the bottom portion of a hamburger bun.

There’s really nothing much better than a slowly smoked Boston butt that has been perfectly seasoned.

You may be thinking that it’s next to impossible to re-create authentic pulled pork in your slow cooker.

Folks, we’re here to tell you, this recipe is the real deal. Try it and see what you and your family think.

And leftovers are even better the next day!

A straight-on view of a slow cooker pulled pork sandwich that is topped with coleslaw and drizzled with Carolina barbecue sauce.

Ready to make the best sandwich this side of North Carolina? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A straight-on view of a slow cooker pulled pork sandwich that is topped with coleslaw and drizzled with Carolina barbecue sauce.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

These slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches are about as good as you'll find. Huge flavor that is easy to put together in the slow cooker, finished off with an amazing BBQ sauce. So good!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch / Dinner
Cuisine: American, American Southern
Keyword: Crock-Pot Pulled Pork, Easy Pulled Pork, Slow cooker pulled pork recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 456kcal


  • 6 to 7 quart slow cooker


For the Rub

  • 3 tbsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp course salt ie, sea salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 7 to 8 lb pork shoulder ie, Boston butt, bone-in

For the Liquid Mop

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt ie, sea salt

For the Carolina BBQ Sauce

  • 1 ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce

For the Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • 8 buns split, toasted and buttered
  • Coleslaw


  • Mix the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl.
    3 tbsp black pepper, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp course salt, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 7 to 8 lb pork shoulder
  • Mix the ingredients for the liquid mop in a medium bowl.
    1 cup apple cider, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp black pepper, 1 tbsp salt
  • Press the rub into the meat and place it in the slow cooker.
  • Pour the liquid mop over the meat.
  • Cook on LOW: Bone-in: 10 hours. Boneless: 8 hours.
  • When the meat is almost done, put all the Carolina BBQ sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
    1 ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¾ cup ketchup, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp crushed red pepper, 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Carefully remove meat from the cooker.
  • Discard all but about 1 cup of the liquid (set aside).
  • Shred the meat from the bone using two forks.
  • Place the meat back into the cooker and add the reserved liquid.
  • Mix in 2 cups of the Carolina BBQ sauce and cook for another 30 minutes.
  • Toast the buns on a grill or a hot skillet and then butter them, if desired.
    8 buns
  • Place shredded pork onto toasted buns and top with extra sauce and coleslaw.
  • Pass the remaining sauce in a separate dish.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
You can prepare this in the oven by placing the seasoned pork, along with the mop, in a large Dutch oven.  Cover and place in a 300°F oven for 3 hours.  Remove the roast, shred the meat, and discard all but 1 cup of the liquid.  Add meat, 1 cup of the liquid, and 2 cups of the sauce back into the Dutch oven and stir.  Cook for another 30 minutes.  
The pulled pork can be prepared up to 2 days in advance of serving.  Simply reheat on HIGH for an hour before serving.  Once hot, reduce to 'WARM.'
The pulled pork and sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months. 


Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 756mg | Potassium: 235mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 1100IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 8mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE:This post was originally published in XXXX, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in January, 2024!


  • 5 stars
    Just made this yesterday and it was a hit. I love the tangy and sweetness of the sauce. This is definitely a recipe that I will make over and over again. It is my new pulled pork favorite. FYI, didn’t have apple juice so I subbed a little applesauce to keep the flavor profile and as true to the original recipe as possible. Wouldn’t change the recipe at all. Thanks, Barbara

    • Hi Barbara!!! That is just so fantastic! Your modification was spot on!! We are thrilled it turns out so great and THANK YOU for letting us know and for the great reviw! That means the world to us!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • This recipe looks amazing, however; I don’t have apple cider available. And no time to run to the store. what would you suggest to substitute? I was thinking could I use a cup of applesauce for the same flavor profile? Thanks in advance.

  • 5 stars
    I looked for a pull pork recipe for a long time. This is far most the best! Made it my slow cooker and came out great! I will try it next time (next weekend) in my Dutch oven pot. Will let you know how it came out.

    • Hi Griselda!! That is just amazing to hear! We are so thrilled you had such success with the pulled pork, and yes! This will work wonderfully cooked low and slow in your Dutch oven!! Please do let us know! And thanks for letting us know and for the GREAT review! That means the world to us!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I was looking for a good pulled pork recipe and couldn’t settle on anything that seemed knock out. Then, I remembered you guys (I’ve made your mahi mahi fish taco recipe before with rave reviews). SO glad I came back to your site for this recipe. IT WAS DELISH! And the coleslaw too. Now, I’ll just try your site first! So good!

    • Woo hoo!!! That is so awesome to hear! We are so glad you came and found our pulled pork recipe. We do love it so much, too. And we are SO THRILLED you had success with the dish…and the coleslaw! That makes us so happy! Thank you so very much for letting us know and for the great review. As always, that means the world to us!! Stay in touch! All the very best, Kris & Wesley

  • Thank you for a wonderful recipe, my son loved it. Next time I have to get so coleslaw. Keep the recipes coming, every time you post I save the recipe.

      • Thanks!! I really love the website, it is very helpful and the recipes have been excellent. My wife and I recently had a baby and I have taken over all cooking duties in the house and this website has really been a great help! My wife says thanks as well!

      • Anthony! Thank you so much! Nothing makes us happier than to hear something like this. And CONGRATULATIONS on the new addition to your family! How wonderful. You guys sound like an amazing family. We are so glad we can contribute a little in the kitchen! Please stay in touch and don’t hesitate to ever ask a question or let us know what you think! Tell your wife we said ‘hi’ and congratulations!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I made this tonight for the second time and these sandwhiches are BEYOND delicious! The meat was so tender and fell off the bone so easily. The slaw was crunchy perfection. The combo of warm pork with cold slaw, spicy with sweet, crunchy with soft, make these sandwhiches award winners!

    • That’s awesome Janine! I gotta say, those pulled pork sammies are on of my all-time favorites. I agree, the combination of the slaw with the tender pork just can’t be beat. These get requested quite a bit in our household. Thank you so much for sharing and we couldn’t be happier that they worked so well for you! Stay in touch! Kris & Wesley

  • Just reading over the recipie. I’m pretty sure that you put the liquid mop into the slow cooker with the meat but it doesn’t specify that in the instructions. I have yet to try pulled pork in a slow cooker and this one looks like it may be the one to finally try.

    • Hi Linda! Thank you for bringing that to my attention! I added a step to the instructions. Add the mop liquid with the rubbed meat, and then cook on low. It’s really good, let us know how it turns out!

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