Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Low and slow. It truly is the secret to the best pulled pork. This slow cooker pulled pork recipe requires a little planning, but the results are so worth it!

If you’re a pulled pork fan, like I am, you’re going to love this recipe! I’ve made it two times in the past two weeks. Once for a dinner party and then for a picnic and both times it received rave reviews.

I feel like we’re working our way through all of the cooking implements in the kitchen with pulled pork. In the past couple of months, we have explored an oven braised pulled pork and an Instant Pot pulled pork. The slow cooker just seems like the next cooking implement to showcase this tasty dish.

The secret to the amazing flavor in this pulled pork recipe is dry brining. We’re using a very simple mixture of salt and pepper just like we did for the Perfect Roast Beef recipe to dry brine the pork shoulder. If you would like to learn more about dry brining, Real Simple has a great article explaining the difference between wet and dry brining and the science behind it. Though, I might argue there is a little bit of magic in there too.

After the pork shoulder has been dry brined, it’s braised in the slow cooker in a tangy broth that has been flavored with vinegar, spices, garlic, and onion. As the meat steeps in the cooking liquid, all of those flavors are infused into the meat.

I only wish that I had some leftovers to make a pulled pork poutine or pulled pork nachos. I may consider a double batch next time.


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 hours
  • Total Time: 18 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


Low and slow. It truly is the secret to the best pulled pork. This slow cooker pulled pork recipe requires a little planning, but the results are so worth it!


  • 1 (4-lb.) boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges

Serving Suggestions:

  • Buns
  • Coleslaw
  • Tortillas
  • Salsa


  1. In a small bowl combine the salt and pepper. Sprinkle the mixture on all sides of the pork, and pat into the meat. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, add the water, vinegar, tomato paste, sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard, and cumin in a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  3. Remove the pork from the refrigerator, unwrap and place the pork, along with any juices that may have accumulated during the dry brining, in the slow cooker. Scatter the garlic and onions around the pork.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours. The meat should be tender and pull apart easily with a fork.
  5. Transfer the pork to a large bowl and shred with 2 forks.
  6. Remove and discard the solids with a slotted spoon.
  7. Pour 2 cups of the cooking liquid over the pork. You can save any remaining liquid to add the leftovers to keep them moist.
  8. Serve on grilled buns with barbecue sauce and coleslaw or on warm tortillas with cilantro and salsa.