Boneless Pork Shoulder – Or Pork Butt/Boston Butt. You can also use bone-in, but keep in mind that it will release a significant amount of liquid and the bone adds a lot of weight.
Apple Juice – A surprising ingredient that adds a little bit of sweetness.
Onion and Garlic Cloves – for flavor.
For the Dry Rub – Smoked Paprika, Chili Powder, Brown Sugar (light or dark), Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Ground Mustard Powder, Salt, Black Pepper. If you want some heat, add a little cayenne pepper.
How To Make Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker
Get a detailed list of ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below.
It takes only minutes to prep this recipe and then the crock pot does all the work!
Dry Rub – Start by mixing up the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels and rub the whole roast with the dry rub. Make sure to get the rub on all sides. Place in the slow cooker.
Add Remaining Ingredients – Pour the apple juice around the roast (be sure not to pour directly onto the pork or it will wash off the dry rub). Then scatter around the onion and garlic.
Slow Cook – Cover the crockpot and cook on LOW (preferred) for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 6-7 hours.
Shred and Serve – The roast should be super tender when done cooking. Transfer the pork to a large bowl, shred with two forks, and serve!
Do you need liquid in the slow cooker for pulled pork?
Adding liquid to the slow cooker helps make the pork become extra tender and it also adds flavor!
What is the best cut of pork for pulled pork?
The best cut of meat to use is a pork shoulder. But it can go by other names such as butt roast, shoulder roast, pork butt, and boston butt. I like to use boneless, but you can use bone-in (although the cook-time may take longer). I do not recommend using pork chops or pork tenderloin.
When cooking meat in the slow cooker, it’s best to use a cut that has more fat marbled throughout vs a leaner cut.
Nachos – Turn this recipe into nachos for a fun appetizer or game day snack.
Sandwiches – Heap onto buns and serve as sliders or sandwiches. This is one of our most common ways to serve it!
Instant Pot Sliders – If you’re short on time, you can make it in the Instant Pot instead of the Slow Cooker.
Barbecue Sauce – While this shredded pork without barbecue sauce is super flavorful on its own, we also love tossing it with some of this sweet, homemade sauce.
Dr. Pepper – Instead of the apple juice, try swapping in Dr. Pepper or Root Beer. It adds a subtle tang and slight sweetness.
Storage and Freezing – Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Reheating – If you have the time, you can reheat the leftovers in the crockpot on LOW for 1-2 hours until warmed. Or for faster reheating, you can spread it out on a sheet pan, add a little liquid (like apple juice), cover with foil and reheat in a 300 degree F oven until warmed (about 20-30 minutes).
Cook on LOW – For the most tender results, I highly recommend cooking on LOW vs HIGH.
Shreds Easily When Done – The pork is done when it easily shreds and practically melts in your mouth. To tell if the pork is done, use a fork and pull off a small piece. It should be easy to remove and melt in your mouth tender. If the pork isn’t fall-apart tender, it’s not quite done yet so cook it a bit longer!
Remove excess juices – Depending on your roast, there may be a lot of excess juice in the bottom of the crockpot. I like to shred it out of the crockpot so I can control how much of the liquid I toss into the shredded meat.
Keep warm in the crockpot – For serving, you can add the shredded pork (after removing excess liquid) to the crockpot and keep on the WARM setting.
Apple Juice – If you would prefer a more tangy than sweet flavor, replace the juice with chicken broth and add a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the dry rub.
Pat the pork roast dry with paper towels and rub all over with the spice rub. Set into the crock pot.
Pour juice into the pot around the roast, careful not to pour onto the roast and wash off the seasonings. Scatter onion and garlic around the roast.
Cover the pot and cook on LOW (recommended) for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 6-7 hours.
Transfer meat to a bowl and shred with two forks. At this point you can serve as is, or add a bbq sauce of your choice then serve as desired.
Storage and Freezing – Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.Reheating – If you have the time, you can reheat the leftovers in the crockpot on LOW for 1-2 hours until warmed. Or for faster reheating, you can spread it out on a sheet pan, add a little liquid (like apple juice), cover with foil and reheat in a 300 degree F oven until warmed (about 20-30 minutes).
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.