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Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

Recipe from Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker, by Nicki Sizemore (Storey Publishing, 2019)
My friend Tanya lives in Florida and swears by her slow cooker in the sweltering days of summer. She inspired me to start using my slow cooker in the warm months as well, and now it’s my secret weapon for getting dinner on the table without heating up our kitchen. These pulled pork sandwiches are one of our favorite meals in the height of summer, but also in the dark days of winter—they’re just as delicious after a day at the pool as they are after a day on the slopes. I like to pile a crunchy cabbage and corn slaw right on top of the sandwiches. For maximum flavor, rub the spice mixture over the pork and refrigerate it overnight before cooking.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time7 hrs
Total Time7 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy pulled pork recipe, slow cooker bbq pulled pork, slow cooker pulled pork
Servings: 8 -10 people

Ingredients

Spice rub

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 4- to 5- pound boneless pork shoulder roast (also called pork butt), trimmed of excess fat
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slow cooker

  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½-1 cup barbecue sauce, to taste

For serving

  • Buns
  • Barbecue sauce

Instructions

Rub the pork

  • In a small bowl, mix together the smoked paprika, granulated garlic, ground mustard, cayenne pepper and brown sugar. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper, and rub it all over with the spice mixture. If you have the time, refrigerate the pork in an airtight container or ziptop bag overnight.

Assemble the slow cooker

  • Arrange the onion and garlic in the bottom of a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker and pour in the vinegar and honey. Place the pork on top. Cover and cook until the pork is tender and pulls apart easily with a fork, about 9 to 10 hours on low or 7 to 8 hours on high.
  • Switch the slow cooker off, and transfer the pork to a cutting board. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes. Using two forks, coarsely shred the pork, discarding any large chunks of fat or sinew.
  • Using a ladle, skim off enough fat and liquid in the slow cooker to measure 1 cup—discard. Transfer the shredded pork back into the slow cooker with the remaining liquid and onions, and add barbecue sauce to taste. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

Serve

  • Pile the pulled pork into buns and serve with additional barbecue sauce on the side for drizzling. If you'd like, serve the sandwiches with this Red Cabbage and Sweet Corn Coleslaw!

Notes

Do Ahead: The spice rubbed pork shoulder can be refrigerated for up to 1 day before cooking. The cooked pulled pork can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Tips:
  • You'll need a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker for this recipe. (I love this 6-quart KitchenAid model.)
  • The recipe calls for a 4-5 pound boneless pork shoulder (also called pork butt). You can use a bone-in shoulder, but it will take longer to cook (and will yield a bit less meat).
  • Trim off most of the fat (and any skin) from the pork shoulder before cooking.
  • To make bbq pulled pork, toss the cooked pork with your favorite barbecue sauce to taste.
  • I love to serve bbq pulled pork sandwiches with this Red Cabbage Coleslaw!
  • Find a SLEW of other slow cooker recipes in my book, Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker!