Best Pulled Pork is fall apart tender, juicy, and packed with flavor from the perfect seasoning! This pulled pork can be made in the slow cooker or oven!
I am beyond thrilled to finally be sharing my good old pulled pork recipe with you guys! You know I've said it before, Kansas girl, I know BBQ, and I am biased but this is really the only pulled pork you ever need. I've shared by Bacon Bourbon Pulled Pork and an easy Instant Pot Pulled Pork too. But, this is my tried and true oven or slow cooker method that I have used for many many years and perfected. You guys asked for it, and I hope you love it as much as we do! What makes this the best? It's the combo of seasonings in just the right amounts which I've played around with for along time to get it just right. It's cooking it in the right liquid for the perfect amount of time until it just falls apart and melts in your mouth! It's amazing!
Pulled Pork Seasoning:
The seasoning is super simple, it's more about that perfect blend in just the right amounts. We use brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, a good amount of salt & pepper, and a pinch of cayenne! Make sure you use all of the seasoning! Also, really rub it into the pulled pork, get all of the nooks and crannies! After seasoning, I recommend if possible, to wrap the pork in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight. This step is optional and the pork is great either way even if you don't have time for that.
What is the Best Cut of Pork for Pulled Pork?
You will want a good sized, 3-5 pound cut of pork for this recipe! I almost always use a pork shoulder and that's what I'd recommend you use too. Note that pork shoulder is also sometimes called "pork butt" and they're the same thing. This is a really easy cut of meat to find at your grocery store. The pork shoulder is higher in fat (which does NOT make this fatty the fat cooks down) but it adds a ton of great flavor to your pulled pork. If necessary, you can use a pork loin (not tenderloin) for this recipe as well.
What Goes Well With Pulled Pork?
We always serve this on oven toasted buns! Well, almost always. It's also great made into some pulled pork nachos on top of your favorite chips with cheese and whatever toppings you love. It's great stuffed into baked potatoes or served with Mashed Potatoes! We also really enjoy a big pan of Green Beans to get a green veggie in. A couple of my personal favorites are this easy One Pot Mac and Cheese, there's something nostalgic for me about a big bowl of cheesy noodles with my pulled pork! Last but not least, the very perfect Potato Salad or our tired and true family fave Macaroni Salad because this pork reminds be of spring and summer bbq's!
Best Pulled Pork Recipe Notes:
- Noting again on chill time. You don't have to chill the roast at all after seasoning if you need to get it cooking right away. I promise it's amazing either way. For the best flavor though, it's nice to let it refrigerate and marinate in the spice blend for 2-12 hours.
- Seasoning blend! Don't leave anything out. I've tested this blend so many times and it is perfect. You can eat this meat shredded right out of the crockpot even without BBQ sauce if you want. It's that flavorful!
- Smoked paprika is worth getting if you can. Every grocery store I've seen carries it and it's easy to find with the other spices. It' lends a nice smoky flavor to the pork without actually having to smoke it. Regular paprika will do if absolutely necessary.
- MUST cook this pork low and slow! In the slow cooker it will take anywhere from 10-12 hours total, and in the oven it will take around 6-7 hours at 300 degrees. It's worth the wait, but plan ahead! Don't be tempted to cook this on high in the slow cooker or raise the oven temp. This will boil the meat and it won't be nearly as tender.
Best Pulled Pork
- 3-4 Pound Boneless Pork Shoulder
- ⅓ Cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- ½ Cup Beef Broth
- ⅓ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Lay the pulled pork out on a large cutting board lined with plastic wrap.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne.
- Evenly season the pork with the seasoning mixture and use your hands to massage the rub into all sides of the meat.
- OPTIONAL: Wrap in plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator and chill for 2-12 hours.
SLOW COOKER METHOD:
- When ready to cook, pour the broth, vinegar, and worcestershire sauce in the bottom of your slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Place the pork into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours until fork tender and falling apart. Remove the pork to a large plate, tent with foil and allow the pork to sit for 10 minutes. Shred the pork and serve with buns and bbq sauce if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Season the pork as directed above, and chill if desired.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Pour the beef broth, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce into the bottom of a large dutch oven and stir. Then, add the pork to the pot.
- Cover the pork with the lid of your dutch oven and roast in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Remove the lid and continue cooking for 3-4 more hours until the pork is tender and falling apart.
- Remove the pork from the oven and place on a large serving platter. Tent the pork with foil and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before shredding and serving.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, and frozen for up to 2 months.
We chose this recipe for my son’s grad party last weekend. I had six crockpots going in my home and the oven so we used both cooking methods. Our guests were raving about how well it turned out. Most of our guests ate the meat without BBQ sauce because it didn’t need it. I had several people ask for the recipe! Thank you!
Holy moly!!! This is an awesome recipe! Thank you so much for perfecting and sharing. The whole family is happy!
Patsy Smith says
Did the cayenne pepper make this pork too hot when finished cooking? I tasted the rub after mixing & it seemed hot. Haven’t begun cooking yet.
Lauren Wilkinson says
Hi there, I was wondering if it would be okay to use a bigger (6-8 pounds) bone-in pork butt instead?
If so how would I adjust the seasonings and liquids?
Also, I normally put some foil balls at the bottom of the crock pot to avoid letting the meat get too wet.....would you advise against this method? I only ask because I don't know if the boneless pork shoulder that you have for your recipe creates as much/more juice than the pork butt.
Sorry for all the questions......I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. I am eager to try this recipe. 🙂
What do I do with the leftover juices?
Leighann Willson says
I have made this so many times for 2 picky eaters. They like it so much they request it specifically one hates bbq sauce so this is perfect as we can each add the type we like or skip it completely. My kids love it on Hawaiian bread and this is one leftover meal they actually enjoy! We’ve used the leftovers in tacos and baked potatoes! Thank you for sharing!!
Charlene Keck says
I made this for our Easter dinner yesterday. Wow, just WOW! I used a plastic spatula that went right through the roast, it was so, so tender. My daughter kept sneaking bites from the moment she arrived. It was amazing!
I doubled the recipe, yes, doubled everything, including the brown sugar. Cooked for 12 hours in the crockpot. This recipe is definitely a keeper. My daughter is already talking about how to serve it next time. Yeah, she went home with a great big doggie bag. 😊
Charlene Keck says
I also done the chilling with the rub for about 8 hours. Can't wait to make this again. We're served it with naan bread, potato salad, and baked beans. Might make tacos next time.
I braised the roast on each side before putting it in the slow cooker. This seem to take it up a notch in both texture and flavor. Hands down my favorite pull pork recipe!
Michael Martins says
Is the pork supposed to be covered by the liquids in the slow cooker? Mine never is and always seems like it does not cook all the way for 12hrs
I have made pulled pork slow roasted in the oven and this recipe by far exceeds in ease of preparing and taste/texture. It really is the best recipe. Thank you for sharing.
christine s says
This is by far the best pulled pork recipe and I love making it in the crockpot. I had less time today so I tried the Dutch oven method however not as successful 🙁
I lost all the delicious juice.
Again crockpot method makes THE BEST pulled pork you’ll ever have (and my family is split - some add sauce, others skip it and enjoy the flavor all on its own).
Terri Landon says
Would this work for nachos? I wouldn't be using bbq sauce on the meat.
Yes! We love using leftover pulled pork for nachos 🙂
Well, this is a testament to how good This recipe actually tastes. I put the pork in the slow cooker in the middle of the night because I couldn't do it in the morning. I completely forgot all of the liquid (ACV, Worcestershire and broth) and it still came out amazing! I can't wait to try it again and do it correctly.
This is the best pulled pork I have ever had!!!!
So flavorful, tender and delicious!
Best crockpot recipe we have found. Made about a month ago and we are making again this weekend. I agree, no bbq sauce needed.
How would you recreate this in a pellet smoker? 225 degrees on a rack or pan? Put the liquid mixture in a pan or set on a rack and baste it every hour? Thanks!
Hi! We always refer to Hey Grill Hey for our smoker! You can find her site here: https://heygrillhey.com/category/pork/pulled-pork/ she has several pulled pork recipes to look at. You can of course adjust your time according to how many pounds of meat you have.
I made this the only change was the beef broth. I had pork broth in the freezer so used that. Absolutely delicious. Would make this again.. thank you for a great recipe!
I’ve made this before but from a different recipe. I’m anxious to try yours! I’m making tamales for the first time and thought this would be great inside of them….I’ll let you know how it goes!
Bruna Dessena says
I have made this my signiture dish, its the best recipe ever!! Thankyou
So yummy you don't need BBQ sauce . My new favorite pulled pork recipe. The rub is so good I'm going to try it on my pork chops ...
I just loved this recipe. It really was the best pulled pork I have ever had and no bbq sauce needed! I added in some of the remaining juice to keep it extra flavorful and moist. I’d like to speed up the process by using the instapot, but I notice the ingredients vary for your instapot version. How could I make this recipe go into the instapot. Or is the instapot version just as good? I’m just curious why the ingredient quantities differ.