How to Make Pulled Pork in a Slow Cooker—Plus 6 Things to Do With It

Pulled pork tacos never disappoint.

Pulled pork sandwiches

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Pulled pork is one of the most luxurious and pleasing meats out there, but it can be so intimidating to make. Luckily, with just a slow cooker, two forks, and some salt and pepper, you can make this tasty and versatile protein in a batch big enough to turn into meals for a week. The trick to pulled pork is that it cooks slowly, and as the fats break down, it infuses flavor and juiciness into the tender meat that works perfectly in so many dishes. And it’s mostly hands off to prepare! Here’s how to do it:

How to Make Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

Ready for a pulled pork slow cooker recipe? Follow the easy steps below.

Start with a nice piece of pork

You’ll want about 1 ½ pounds of pork shoulder or pork butt, trimmed of excess fat and cut into two or three pieces. This is so the pork can fit in the slow cooker, where it will braise in its own fats and juices.

Season the pork

The flavor profile you want for your pulled pork is up to you, but you’ll want to have some seasoning to infuse it with flavor. You’ll want to sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of your pork, and then add more seasonings, if you choose.

For a barbecue style pulled pork, mix together ¼ cup tomato paste, ¼ cup packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, and 8 tablespoons cider vinegar

For a Mexican-style pulled pork, mix together 2 tablespoons chili powder, 2 tablespoons dried oregano, and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus two cups of your favorite jarred salsa. 

For more Italian style pulled pork, add an Italian seasoning blend, or make your own combo of oregano, basil, parsley, and rosemary, and add some balsamic vinegar or red wine for the braise.

Slow-cook the pork

Once you’ve decided on your flavor profile, add the seasoned pork and the marinade to a slow cooker. Cover and set it on low for seven to eight hours, or on high for four to five hours.

Pull the pork

Once a fork can puncture through the pork, it’s fully cooked. Remove it from the slow cooker and set it on a large cutting board (with a rim to catch juices) or in a large bowl. Allow it to cool slightly. Using two forks, shred the meat. Toss in reserved liquid from the slow cooker and season to taste. And you’re ready to go! The pulled pork will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to five days, or in the freezer for up to six months. Portion it into small containers to easily defrost for meal prep

Pulled Pork Recipes

Perhaps the best thing about slow cooker pulled pork is its versatility! It can be used in breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and one batch can stretch to create multiple dishes or a fabulous feast. Go ham with these pulled pork recipes.

01 of 06

Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwich

Slow-Cooker Barbecue Pork Sandwiches With Crunchy Coleslaw
Romulo Yanes

Coleslaw, barbecue sauce, and soft rolls make this pulled pork sandwich come together in minutes! It can be served straight out of the slow cooker to keep it warm, or wrapped in tin foil to tote along on a picnic.

02 of 06

Crockpot Pulled Pork Tacos

Kan Kanbayashi

Spice up that pulled pork and go for taco night! The assembly comes together easily, with corn or flour tortillas, plus toppings like cilantro, diced onion, and radish. Add some pineapple for an al pastor flare.

03 of 06

Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps

pork and peanut lettuce wraps
Antonis Achilleos

Swap out ground pork crumbles for slow-cooked pulled pork in these Southeast Asian-inspired lettuce wraps. Clean Boston lettuce works well, and you can top the wraps with homemade peanut sauce, plus peanuts and fresh mint.

04 of 06

Pork and Black Bean Posole

Slow Cooker Black Bean Posole
Victor Protasio

This slow cooker black bean posole could definitely handle some tender meat. Stir in some pulled pork to add protein and flavor to this excellent Mexican soup.

05 of 06

Pulled Pork and Poblano Bake

Pulled Pork and Poblano Bake
Antonis Achilleos

This twist on chile rellenos combined with jalapeño poppers fills poblano peppers with pulled pork, corn, beans, and cheese, for a gooey, savory baked dish that’s excellent as an entree or even a party starter. Serve with tortillas or rice.

06 of 06

Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese

Make-Ahead Mac and Cheese
Marcus Nilsson

Add a Southern flair to your classic mac and cheese by topping it with pulled pork or stirring pulled pork into the noodles and sauce. You won’t regret it.

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