Looking for a simple yet flavorful way to cook pork? This slow cooker pulled pork combines a homemade rub with a cheap cut of pork, a pork butt, and cooks it slowly in the Crock-pot for the best pulled pork recipe you ever tasted.
Versatile and freezer-friendly, the pulled pork is delicious on its own, in BBQ sandwiches, or in tacos and burritos. It’s the perfect protein for busy nights!
When you sit down to meal plan, do you crave fun food that is easy to make and prime for the season? Fun food is what we want when we go out to eat or invite folks over, right?
I’ve got you covered for fun as well as delicious frugality with the Best Pulled Pork Recipe you’ve ever made. Trust me!
Why Make This
It’s very make ahead. This slow cooker pork butt recipe can be made in advance so you can go play at the beach, park, or lake — or go to work on a regular day — and not worry about what’s for dinner. Come home to supper all ready to go.
It’s easy. Between being a fantastic filling for tacos or sandwiches and good for eating as a main dish, this pulled pork proves to be a perfect busy night or company dinner. Since the slow cooker does the cooking, you can take it easy either way!
It’s easy on the budget. It’s simple to make a very large batch of this pulled pork, depending on what size roast you buy. Pork butt or shoulder roasts are extremely affordable, so don’t hesitate to stock up when you see a sale.
It’s versatile. The custom spice blend is versatile so that it complements Mexican food (think tacos, burritos, enchiladas) just as well as it does classic barbecue sandwiches. It’s out of this world on Everything Hamburger Buns with this homemade BBQ sauce.
Leftovers can take a new identity the next day without tasting like they’re out of place. Bonus: This pork fits a variety of diets so all your meat eaters can enjoy it.
You don’t need much for this recipe except a pork butt roast and a handful of spices.
Using a blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, onion flakes, chili powder, ground cumin, cayenne, and cloves will give your pulled pork great flavor without a lot of work.
All the ingredients are gluten-free, making this a great addition to a Whole 30 meal plan, paleo, and other gf diets. Just be sure to check your chile powder package. Sometimes they add funky stuff to chile powder.
The roasts I buy are huge, making for two meals for our family of 8. I love cooking once and feeding my family multiple times. However, if your roast is significantly less than 8 pounds, use less of the spice mix. Store it in an airtight container in the pantry until you’re ready to make this again.
Trust me, you will want to!
This recipe is super simple.
- Measure out the spices and mix them together.
- Place the roast in the slow cooker and coat it generously with the spice mixture. Cover and cook for 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
- When the meat is cooked, it will easily shred. You can shred the cooked pork in the slow cooker or remove it to a dish. Simply pull the meat apart with a fork or tongs. Moisten the meat with some of the drippings if you like.
- Serve chunks of meat as a main protein or in sandwiches or tacos.
This pulled pork will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for about 4 days. Reheat in the microwave, oven, or stovetop before serving.
For longer storage, stash this in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. Just be sure to chill the meat completely before placing in the freezer compartment. This helps it freeze quickly and prevents freezer burn.
I purposely developed the spice mix to go with BBQ as well as Mexican flavors, so the possibilities of how to serve the final product are truly endless. Make a big batch and divided it into meal-size packages to stash in the freezer.
Be sure to watch our video to see how easy it is to make this slow cooker pulled pork.
Use the savory pulled pork in tacos, burritos, taquitos, chimichangas, lettuce wraps, salads, and sandwiches.
We love serving this piled high on a kaiser roll and you can drizzle on some of your favorite barbeque sauce. You can even add a scoop of this Simple Coleslaw Recipe. Or maybe some Homemade Dill Pickles!
By nature, pulled pork needs to be made from a cut of pork that will become tender and basically fall apart after cooking. Pork butt and pork shoulder roasts fit the bill perfectly. These might also be labeled Boston butt or picnic shoulder.
Pork butt and pork shoulder roasts are perfect all year-round. Roasts cook up super well in the slow-cooker which is an ideal tool to use in the summer time as well as in the busy winter months. Not only do they save you from heating up the oven, but they can also sit for awhile cooking dinner while you finish your daily business.
Both cuts are from the shoulder of the pig, but pork butt is just higher up on the foreleg. Generally these are tough, fatty cuts which means they are cheaper in price.
They benefit from a slow cooking method like this recipe that utilizes your crockpot! The slow cooker will help to break down this tough, fatty meat into a juicy pulled pork you will want to pile high on a bun with barbecue sauce.
It is possible to overcook the pork on the high setting. If you are worried about overcooking the pork then I recommend using the low setting.
I don’t bother with browning the meat before putting it in the slow cooker. The long, slow cooking process will break down the meat and create a juicy, shredded pork.
However, that being said, you can by all means brown the meat on all sides before adding it to the slow cooker. Doing so, will just add a bit more flavor.
Surprisingly, no. You don’t need to add water to the roast and spices in the slow cooker. This cut of pork is naturally juicy, and yes, fatty. In just a few minutes it will juice up in the pot. At the end of the cooking time, you should have a decent ½ to 1 cup of drippings. You can use these to moisten the meat, make soup or chili, or discard.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- pork butt roast $1.99/lb x 8 pounds = $16
- spices $0.50
When you make an 8-pound pork butt, you should have enough for 24 servings of pulled pork for tacos or sandwich filling. At $16.50/batch, this works out to 69 cents a serving!
Save even more.
Pulled pork is already a very affordable dish, thanks to the fact that pork roast is a cheap cut of meat. However, there are a few other things you can do to lower your costs even more:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When you see a good price on pork roasts, buy a few extra to stash in the freezer for later. You know you’ll use them — especially when you make this pulled pork. Stocking up can save you money.
- Buy spices in bulk. I regularly buy larger containers of spices I use frequently, like pepper, sea salt, garlic powder, and chili powder. I store excess dried herbs and ground spices in the freezer if I know it will be awhile before I go through the large container.
More Great Pork Recipes
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Best Ever Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- 8 lb bone-in pork butt or shoulder roast
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dry onion flakes
- 1 tablespoon chile powder or ground chile
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or more to taste
- Remove the roast from the packaging and place in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
- In a small bowl combine the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, onion flakes, chili powder, black pepper, cumin, cloves, and cayenne pepper. Spread this all over the roast, turning the meat to coat all sides.
- Cook in the slow cooker for 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low. The meat will be so tender that it will easily shred with tongs or two forks. Remove the bones and fat, and shred the meat.
- Serve the meat as a filling for tacos, sandwiches, lettuce wraps, burritos, salads, or taquitos.
This post was originally published on May 26, 2015. It has been updated for content and clarity.