The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

4.93 Mitt(s) 16 Rating(s)16 votes, average: 4.93 out of 516 votes, average: 4.93 out of 516 votes, average: 4.93 out of 516 votes, average: 4.93 out of 516 votes, average: 4.93 out of 5

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Level: Easy

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Description

If you like barbecued pork, you’ll love this recipe! It’s easy to prepare and is SO good. If you’re planning a party soon (such as a Superbowl Party), this would be a great way to feed a crowd.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole 6-lb Pork Shoulder
  • 2 whole Medium Onions, Chopped
  • 1 head Garlic (the Entire Head!), Minced
  • Hamburger Buns (12 To 16)
  • ______
  • WET RUB:
  • ¼ cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 4 teaspoons Table Salt
  • 1-½ Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Mustard Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • ½ cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar Or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ cups Olive Oil
  • _______
  • SWEET BARBECUE SAUCE:
  • 1 whole Large Onion Roughly Chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 3 cups Ketchup
  • ¼ cups Water
  • 2-¼ cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1-½ Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
  • ¼ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper (Optional)

Preparation

The day before cooking:
Make the wet rub by whisking all of the ingredients together. Set aside while you prepare the pork shoulder. The wet rub will thicken slightly as it sits.

Trim as much exterior fat from the pork shoulder as possible. Cut the shoulder into 3 pieces of roughly equal size. One side will likely have a bone, so it may be a little bigger than the other 2 pieces – which is no big deal. Add 1/3 of the wet rub to each piece and rub it in on all sides. Add the pieces of pork to a large dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Early on the day of serving:
The shoulder needs to cook for 11 to 12 hours so plan accordingly. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, chop the onions and garlic. After the pork has rested for 1 hour, add about 3/4 of the chopped onions and about 3/4 of the chopped garlic to the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the pork then top with the remaining onions and garlic. If any liquids have come out of the pork while it was marinating, tilt the pan and spoon the liquid on top of the meat. Cook on low for 11 to 12 hours (or on high for 6 to 7 hours).

You will be shocked by the amount of liquid that comes out of the shoulder even though you did not add any extra water or broth to the slow cooker. When the pork is done, it will pull apart without any effort. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork and onions/garlic from the juices in the slow cooker. Place the meat and onion mixture on a sided sheet pan and cover with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Discard the juices. The pork will taste great at this point and will be slightly sweet. You may serve the pulled pork after it has rested with (or without) a store-bought barbecue sauce.

I, however, like to go one extra step when making this pork. When the pork is almost done, start making the barbecue sauce by adding the roughly chopped onion and garlic to a food processor. Puree the onions and garlic and transfer the mixture to a medium sauce pan. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir to combine.

When the pork is resting after it has been removed from the slower cooker, preheat the oven to 350F. In addition, start heating the sauce ingredients over medium heat. Stir the sauce often as it heats so that it does not burn on the bottom of the sauce pan. It may splatter when it begins to simmer so feel free to use a splatter screen or a lid that is kept slightly ajar to allow excess moisture to escape. Simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes (about the length of time you are resting the pork). The sauce will darken considerably as it cooks.

Remove the foil from the pork. Use a couple of forks to shred the meat into smaller pieces. Add about 1/3 of the sauce to the pork and stir to combine. Then, spoon another third of the sauce on top of the meat but do not stir it in. Add the sheet pan to the oven and cook for about 1 hour or until the sauce is very thickened on top and beginning to char in a few places. After I add the pork to the oven, I continue to slowly cook the remaining third of the sauce over medium-low to medium heat until it has thickened (about 10 minutes longer or so). Transfer the extra sauce to a serving bowl.

When you take the pork out of the oven, stir it and serve immediately on hamburger buns. Pass around the extra sauce for those who prefer a wetter/sweeter barbecue sandwich.

Notes:
1) Don’t be tempted to buy a pork shoulder that is significantly bigger than 6 lbs. A 7 lb pork shoulder is a very tight fit in most slow cookers so 6 to 6 1/2 lbs is a better choice.
2) This tastes even better as leftovers. In fact, I rarely serve it on the day I make it. I prefer to make it a day or two in advance then just heat it up in the microwave. In this respect, it’s perfect party food.

13 Comments

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Avatar of stellap

stellap on 5.16.2010

I marinated the pork all day yesterday (I substituted smoked paprika for paprika and left out the liquid smoke), and cooked it all night in the slow cooker (12 hours).

Guess what I had for a late breakfast? Canteloupe, then a bowl of the slow cooker pulled pork. Strange choice, but delicious!

This pork is great plain, with nothing else but the juice it was cooked in. My house smells strongly of garlic, though.

Avatar of mixedlovers

mixedlovers on 5.16.2010

Hey, this was amazingly great! I made it for my son’s bday party and everyone raved about it. Seriously. Thanks so much for posting this! Totally worth the 24 hour wait on this one….

Avatar of hoxiesgirl

hoxiesgirl on 3.19.2010

I’m making this tomorrow for the second time. It’s so easy, so good, so hard to not make it every week! Added benefit? … the aroma – ahhh… all day…. ahhhh…

Avatar of Courtney

Courtney on 3.17.2010

I also wanted to mention that the wet rub on its own was a perfect spice combination. My parents always over salted their pork, this rub created a spicy (perfect amount of black pepper) and sweet crust on the pork.

Avatar of Courtney

Courtney on 3.17.2010

I always find your recipes tasty and intriguing. I didn’t have any apple cider vinegar and my hubby wanted apple flavor, so we cut up an apple with the onions and garlic. I liked putting the onions whole in the bottom of the slow cooker because they are the best part when it is all finished. We bought a seven pound pork butt and it barely fit in the crock pot. we’ll be eating on this for a good while.

please keep sending us these delicious recipes

16 Reviews

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Avatar of jimikemike

jimikemike on 10.26.2012

I skipped the whole “let it come to room temp” thing – I just threw it in the crockpot in the morning on top of the onion/garlic I had cut the night before. And I used jar sauce for the easy/quick factor. Even with all of that cheating, it was still the best pulled pork I have ever made!!

Avatar of Kelly

Kelly on 10.5.2012

Very good. Love the added liquid smoke!

Avatar of Heather Lowe

Heather Lowe on 6.14.2012

Beyond AMAZING!!!! Although a bit time consuming it is well worth it!!!

Avatar of JillyBean

JillyBean on 2.14.2012

O.M.G. So I made this for my Valentine’s Day dinner this year & it was a huge success! I didn’t get a chance to use the wet rub the night before – I woke up really early & did it this morning . . . I also didn’t have liquid smoke so I used Worcestershire sauce instead. It was so wonderful that I passed my husband’s critique (who was born & bred on bbq) – he liked it so much that he asked for me not to add all of the bbq sauce on it. He’d take care of saucing it up. :P

Avatar of Marie

Marie on 10.13.2011

So worth the effort because the flavor is outstanding! I cut the sauce by about 1/3 because it seemed like too much, but next time I will do the full amount.

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