Savory Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is a delicious meal that we like to enjoy with Sweet Potatoes Mashed with Cumin Sage Butter. A little effort up front, then the rest of the yummy magic takes place in the slow cooker over 8 plus hours. Note this calls for 8 hours of marinating the pork so does require some advance planning. Read on for some of the backstory and tasty photos, or click here to jump down to the recipe.
I love pulled pork, so not sure why it took so long for me to get around to coming up with a good slow cooker pulled pork recipe to share here. Perhaps it is because I hadn’t had the best results trying to slow cook pork shoulder in the oven. But when our 10 year old came up with the request that I make “pork three ways”, I figured it was time to try making pulled pork again.
I have now made this Slow Cooker Pulled Pork three times, and am quite pleased with the results! With 8 hours marinating time and 8 plus hours in the slow cooker, the recipe does require some advance planning. That said, it doesn’t take a lot of active time. A little prep before the night you want to have this pulled pork for dinner, let it marinate overnight, and slow cook through the next day. Boom, you’ve got a delicious, savory pulled pork waiting in the Crock-Pot slow cooker to enjoy.
When I’m cooking something new I haven’t made before, that requires a new method, I like to find a recipe that I can refer to as my baseline. I typically will change the flavors up to my liking, but having something to look at for basic ideas of quantity, cook times and so forth is a big help. For our version of slow cooker pulled pork, I referenced this Chipotle Sweet Pulled Pork Recipe from Carlsbad Cravings. Though our pulled pork has more of a BBQ flavor, the basic method described by Carlsbad Cravings was a good starting point for us.
I typically think of pulled pork for sandwiches, but each time I’ve made this, I’ve served the pulled pork plated along with Sweet Potatoes with Cumin Sage Butter and Sautéed Leek Greens with Bacon. And as mentioned earlier, we also featured it as part of a pork three ways dinner that we will share about soon.
- SPICE BLEND
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp garlic
- 1tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- PORK MARINADE
- 2½ lbs pork shoulder or pork butt, trimmed of any large pieces of fat on the outside of the meat
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp of the spice blend
- PHASE 1 INGREDIENTS
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ an onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp spice blend
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 8 ozs chicken broth
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp smoked maple syrup (optional)
- Reserved marinade
- PHASE 2 INGREDIENTS
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp spice mix
- MAKE THE SPICE BLEND: Combine the spice blend ingredients, from the cumin through the paprika, in a bowl. Set aside.
- MAKE THE MARINADE: In a bowl, combine the pork marinade ingredients from the soy sauce through the tablespoon of spice blend.
- Rinse and pat dry the pork, then place it in a large sealable plastic bag. Pour in the marinade, seal, and toss the pork gently a few times to make sure all the meat is well coated with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight or at least 8 hours.
- PREPARE FOR SLOW COOKING (PHASE 1): Have your slow cooker at the ready. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions, and cook on medium for 5 minutes. Take the pork out of the marinade, reserving the marinade. Add the pork to the skillet, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, turning the meat occasionally to brown it on all sides.
- Transfer the pork and onions to the slow cooker. Add the remaining Phase 1 ingredients to the slow cooker: tablespoon of spice blend, sugar, chicken broth, 2 tablespoons ketchup, smoked maple syrup if using and reserved marinade.
- Cover the slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to low, and cook for 8 hours.
- After the 8 hours of slow cooking, the meat will be fall apart tender. Remove the meat to a platter, and give it a few minutes to cool. Then use two forks to shred the pork, breaking it into bite sized pieces.
- Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker along with the Phase 2 ingredients: ¼ cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, tablespoon maple syrup and 1 tsp of spice mix.
- Cook on low another 30 to 60 minutes. The longer cook time will allow for more of the liquid to be absorbed by the pork.
- Scoop and serve the pork out of the slow cooker with a slotted spoon. Enjoy!
Tools to use: Don’t have a slow cooker yet? You’ll need it for Slow Cooker Pulled Pork! We have enjoyed our Crock-Pot, so sharing an Amazon affiliate link below and earlier in the post to the latest version of the model we have.
Looking for another delicious meal to make in your slow cooker? Try our Slow Cooker Irish Lamb Stew!