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The Ultimate in Slow Cooked Pork » Simple and Healthy Recipe! ✅

How to make the best slow cooker pulled pork It is perfect for sandwiches, salads and tacos. For a quicker version, we also share how to make this pulled pork using a pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot). Go to Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe

How to make the best pulled pork using a slow cooker

Pulled pork is perfect for slow cooking. It is easy to make and is the last meal to be eaten beforehand. Our recipe makes the pork tender, full of flavor and juicy. It’s delicious served on its own or with the addition of a little of your favorite barbecue sauce. The slow cooker shines in this recipe. Let’s start with a pork tenderloin, also called a pork tenderloin or Boston tenderloin.

It is a relatively tough cut and is fine if cooked for a long time. It is also well marbled with fat, which prevents the pork from drying out during cooking. As pork cooks, the fat melts and self-packs during cooking.

Preparing pulled pork in a slow cooker or crock pot is easy, but we still have a few tips for you to make it your best. [If you love cooking with your slow cooker, try our Ultimate Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken, it’s delicious.]

INSTANT POT © UPDATE: Ever since we shared this recipe, we’ve been testing it using a pressure cooker (we have the Instant Pot). See the recipe notes section below for our method. Using a pressure cooker, you can make this pulled pork in under 2 hours.

Step 1: Season the meat

Seasoning the pork is essentialespecially when using a slow cooker. Once you’ve started, you won’t want to lift the lid, so it’s a good idea to take some time to think about flavors and seasonings beforehand.

We are pretty heavy on salt and pepper at first and like to rub the pork with it, putting salt in every nook and cranny of the meat. We also season for 15-20 minutes before adding it to the slow cooker.

Step 2: Bring the pork to a simmer and allow it to cook slowly

After seasoning the meat, we put together a mixture of cooked onions, garlic, tomato paste, and spices. This is poured over the pork and we are ready to cook.

When I said that the slow cooker shines in this recipe, I really meant it. It’s quite tricky to overcook pork shoulder. That is why we happily slow cook pork for many hours.

In our recipe below, we call for at least 8, but you can really go above and beyond. The pork should be so tender that you can cut it with a spoon. Doing all of this in a slow cooker makes it easy. Do it at night or while you are away from home.

Step 3: Remove the cooking liquid and then store it

When the pork is done, you will have juicy, tender pulled pork and a rich, flavorful broth.. It is pure gold. Remove cooking liquid from slow cooker and foam with as much fat as possible; remember, pork shoulder is well marbled with fat, so it will dissolve in the liquid. Trim off any excess fat (which will float to the top), then mix the liquid back into the pork to keep it even more moist and flavorful.

Another alternative is to refrigerate the pork in its cooking liquid. When cool, the fat will have solidified, making it easier to scrape off with a spoon.

Step 4: Grate the pork meat and add it to the skimmed cooking broth

After the cooking liquid is foamed, return it to the slow cooker. Then just cut the pork, I just use two forks to do it. Because it’s so tender, the pork will literally fall apart.

Return the ground pork to the slow cooker with the skimmed cooking liquid and serve.

What to serve with pulled pork

We love pulled pork because it’s perfect for so many occasions. Here are some of our favorite side dishes to accompany tender and flavorful pork:

Homemade Coleslaw: I love the crunch in pulled pork cole slaw. If you don’t like mayonnaise-based salads, try our Mayonnaise-Free Coleslaw.

Herbed Potato Salad – This mayo-free potato salad is great served hot or cold. Here’s our classic Creamy Potato Salad if that’s more your style.

Quick and Easy Pasta Salad – This fresh and easy pasta salad is packed with crisp vegetables, fresh mozzarella, and topped with a simple homemade dressing.

Ultra Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese – You are going to love this ultra creamy mac and cheese recipe! With the perfect ratio of milk, cheese, and sauce, these mac and cheese top my list of favorites!

More Easy Pork Recipes

Ultimate Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • PREPARATION 30 min
  • COOKING 8 hours
  • TOTAL 8 hours and 30 minutes

Pulled pork is perfect for slow cooking. Slow and very slow cooking of pork is the secret to the juiciest, most tender pulled pork. Serve the pork as-is or feel free to toss it with your favorite barbecue or other sauces after cooking.

Makes about 3 1/2 pounds, 10 servings

Watch us make the recipe

Will need

1 (4 1/2 to 5 lbs.) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pig’s head), without string or net

2 teaspoons salt, plus more if needed

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped small

4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon ancho or mild chili powder, see our homemade chili powder recipe

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 cup of water

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fish sauce or 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

To serve (optional)


Coleslaw, check out our recipe for coleslaw with mayonnaise or our recipe for coleslaw without mayonnaise


Barbecue Sauce, see our Bacon Bourbon Barbecue Sauce recipe

Hot sauce


  • prepare the pig
  • Rub the pork with salt and pepper, then set aside while you prepare the other ingredients. (See notes below if you plan on browning the pork first.)

    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, then cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet and golden around the edges. Combine tomato paste, chili powder, and cumin. Cook, stirring, until tomato paste turns bright red to orange; about 3 minutes. Add the water, apple cider vinegar, and fish sauce and cook for about 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

    • cook the pig
    • Place the seasoned pork in the bottom of a slow cooker, then pour the onion-spice mixture over it. Move the pork to the bottom of the slow cooker so some of the onion-spice mixture slides down. Cover with lid and cook until pork cuts easily; LOW from 6 to 8 hours or HIGH from 4 to 6.

      • To finalize
      • Turn off the slow cooker and transfer the pork to a cutting board. If the pork has a bone, remove it and discard. Use two forks to prick the meat, removing connective tissue and large lumps of fat.

        Remove the cooking liquid and remove most of the fat from its surface. Skim off the fat and reserve the cooking liquid.

        If using barbecue sauce, add it to the slow cooker and add the pulled pork. To add flavor, add some of the reserved cooking liquid. If you’re not using barbecue sauce, add the pulled pork and cooking liquid to the slow cooker. Taste and season with salt, more vinegar or hot sauce if needed.

Advice from Adam and Joanne

  • Can I make this pulled pork in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker? Yes! Cook onions, garlic, spices, tomato paste, water, vinegar, and fish sauce as directed in recipe above. If you have an Instant Pot, you can do this using the Sauté function. Add the seasoned pork-onion mixture to the pressure cooker/Instant Pot, close the lid, and cook on high for 1 hour. Let loose naturally (this takes 15-30 minutes), then chop the pork, then skim and remove any excess fat from the cooking liquid. To serve, combine skim broth and pulled pork.
  • Fish Sauce – Find fish sauce in the international aisle of most grocery stores, international markets, or online. It has a salty and tart flavor and is something we use to enhance flavors in savory dishes or dishes with long cooking times. At Inspired Taste, you can see us using it in our homemade Pho recipe. If you don’t have any, Worcestershire sauce is a good substitute.
  • Brown the pork: Some readers have asked why we don’t brown the pork first. We tried it and although it adds a little more flavor, in this case the difference is not overwhelming. Let’s skip the step. If you prefer, you can brown the outside of the pork in the same pan you plan to make the onion-garlic mixture in. Cooking will leave sticky bits on the bottom of the pan that you can scrape up when you add the water later.
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We use the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, take a photo and use the hashtag #RecetasLatinas – we love seeing your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1/10 of recipe (assumes 10 servings) / Calories 404 / Protein 28g / Carbohydrates 2g / Dietary Fiber 0g / Total Sugars 1g / Total Fat 31g / Saturated Fat 11g / Cholesterol 109 milligrams

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