Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce


Close up of Pulled pork with BBQ Sauce

This Pulled Pork made in a slow cooker may well be the most tender, moist, and flavourful youve ever had in your life!High returnsforminimal effort,pork is rubbed with a secret spice mix, slow cooked until the meat pulls apart effortlessly then tossed in a simple-yet-flavour-loaded homemade BBQ Sauce.

Super economical, makesloads, freezes 100% perfectly and insanely moreish.Make sliders or a big Southern BBQ dinner plate complete with classic sides like Mac and Cheese, Cornbread and Coleslaw!

Close up of Pulled pork with BBQ Sauce

Pulled Pork

No self respecting BBQ Shack would cook pulled pork in a slow cooker. They do an overnight stoke, with a pork babysitter on dutyall through the night to stoke the coals, monitor and maintain the temperature, and occasionally give the pork a good spray with their secret-formula spritzer.

I do not do that.

I need my beauty sleep.

(Also, I dont have a smoker).

So heres how I make pulled pork in a slow cooker. Simple. Totally hands off. Makes loads, super economical.Amazing result for minimum effort!

Pour homemade barbecue sauce over pulled pork

Pulled Pork sliders and pulled pork dinner plate

What you need for pulled pork

Heres what you need for pulled pork made in a slow cooker a spice rub and some kind of liquid for a braising liquid to infuse with flavour, add a touch of sweetness and keep everything nice and moist.

I like to use beer any beer other than dark brown beers like stout or Guinness. Apple cider alcoholic or non alcoholic or similar fruit ciders (like pear) are also terrific. For non alcoholic, apple juice works really well.Emergency fallback: water!

Slow cooker pulled pork ingredients

Best pork for pulled pork?

The best pork for pulled pork is bone in Pork Butt also known as Boston Butt or pork shoulder. Its well marbled with fat so its juicy, and its a tough cut of pork so it needs the long cook time to become tender enough to shred which means more flavour infusion time!

Difference between pork butt and pork shoulder

While both are cut from the shoulder of pig, the pork shoulder comes from the lower end (upper leg) whereas pork butt is the upper part near the back which is why the shape is more rectangle block-like. Heres an excellent diagram from Cooks Illustrated!

Homemade barbecue sauce

And heres what you need for the homemade Barbecue Sauce. Its my base recipe for all things barbecue sauced from pork ribs to chicken (yes, yes, coming soon!), to brisket.

Sometimes I change it up a bit depends on the protein and purpose of the dish, but fundamentally the same ingredients!

What you need for homemade Barbecue Sauce for pulled pork

How to make pulled pork

Were bypassing the step to sit by a smoker through the whole night, and just opting for a simple home version here. So all I need you to do is:

  • rub pork with spice mix;
  • plonk in slow cooker with beer, set and forget;
  • brown in oven optional step, but totally worth it for that extra little edge of flavour (besides, you need to use a pan for shredding anyway, so you may as well throw it in the oven for a bit!);
  • shred, douse with BBQ sauce, devour.

How to make pulled pork in slow cooker

PS I slow cook itwith the thick layer of fat on it so it look blubbery and unappetising when you pull it out of the slow cooker but it does all sorts of wonderful things to the pork as it slow cooks imagine the spice rubbed layer of fat slooooowly dripping down the pork and basting it for hours!

Pulled pork should be tenderbut not mushy!

When I see pork being shredded with a food processor and vigorously mixed with sauce until it resembles baby food, it makes me want to cry.

We wanttender, juicy pork that can be pulled apart effortlessly, but we dont want mush! To achieve that, you just need to cook it for the right length of time (10 hours on low is long enough) and toss with the sauce gently rather than vigorously stirring it like its a pot of soup!

Large pan filled with Slow Cooker Pulled pork with BBQ Sauce

How to serve pulled pork

The two classic ways to serve pulled pork are:

1. Sliders stuffed in soft rolls with Coleslaw. Terrific way to serve loads of people this recipe will make around 20 sliders;

Platter of Pulled pork sliders with BBQ Sauce

2. Southern BBQ Dinner Plate complete with classic sides like Baked Mac and Cheese, Corn Bread, steamed corn slathered with butter, Coleslaw and a side of something green (pictured: simple steamed greens drizzled with butter, salt and pepper).

Dinner plate with Pulled pork with BBQ Sauce with side dishes - Mac and Cheese, steamed greens, cornbread and steamed corn

This recipe makes loads of pulled pork. Pork butts are BIUT so theres no getting around that!

If you use shoulder you can get smaller pieces. But actually, you dont want to make this with much less than 2kg / 4 lb because otherwise the pork will cook too quickly and lack the time it needs for the flavour to infuse.

Besides, it freezes 100% perfectly. And imagine how smug youll feel knowing youve got a stash of this in your freezer??? Shove it in a bread roll for a quick meal anytime! Nagi x

Watch how to make it

Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce

Recipe video above. This may well be the juiciest, most flavourful pulled pork you ever have in your life! Homemade BBQ Sauce totally makes it. And there's no denying that using a slow cooker yields the juiciest pulled pork!

  • 3.5-4.5kg/ 5-7lb pork butt / pork shoulder (, bone in, fat cap on (Note 1))
  • 1 cup (250ml) beer (, apple cider or apple juice (Note 2))


  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup (250ml) apple cider vinegar ((Note 3))
  • 3 cups (775g) tomato ketchup ((or Aussie tomato sauce))
  • 1 cup (250ml) water ((or use remaining beer!))
  • 3 tbsp (85g) molasses (, orginal (not blackstrap, Note 4))
  • 2/3 cup (140g) brown sugar
  • 4 tsp mustard powder
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp Tabasco ( or cayenne pepper (optional, for spiciness))
  1. Mix the Rub together, then rub all over the pork.
  2. Place in a slow cooker, pour over beer. Slow cook on low for 10 hours. Pork should be tender enough to easily shred.

Browning in oven (optional, recommended):

  1. Preheat oven to 180C / 350F.
  2. Transfer from slow cooker into a roasting pan (reserve liquid).
  3. Scoop fat off surface of juices in slow cooker and drizzle over pork (about 1/3 cup), then roast pork for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, cut thick layer of fat off top and discard. Spoon over 1/4 cup fat from slow cooker juices, then roast 15 minutes.


  1. Shred pork using 2 forks. Pour over BBQ sauce, toss gently. Serve!

Barbecue Sauce:

  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until thickened.
  2. Add 3/4 1 cup of juices from slow cooker until sauce is syrup consistency.
  3. Adjust to taste: sweetness with brown sugar / honey, salt and sour with vinegar. Use per recipe.

1. Pork Pork Butt (aka Boston Butt) or pork shoulder are the best for this recipe. They are nicely marbled with fat and need to be slow cooked in order to become tender enough to shred with little effort. Get bone in (pork butt almost always is, shoulder is sometimes not). Leave the thick layer of fat because it does all sorts of wonderful things to the meat as it slow cooks (it self bastes!).

If its got skin, best to remove if you can (so spice can infuse better) BUT not the tend of the world if you dont.

Will also work well with pork scotch fillet roast (aka pork neck) 8 hours slow cook on low. Recipe will also work for leaner cuts of pork like loin and tenderloin but will require shorter cook times and end result not as juicy (because the meat isnt fatty enough).

2. Liquid Braising liquid for flavour infusion. Any beer other than dark beers like stout and Guinness. Hard or non alcoholic cider is also terrific (or pear cider). For non alcoholic, apple juice is my favourite. Emergency fallback: just use water!

3. Vinegar white wine or champagne vinegar also works well here. Plain white vinegar can also be used but reduce by 1 tbsp as it is a bit sharper.

4. Molasses adds an extra richness to the Barbecue Sauce and also deepens the sauce colour to the dark brown we know and love about barbecue sauce!

5. Other cook methods:

  • Pressure cooker / instant pot With a slightly smaller pork (2 kg/4lb), I make this in my pressure cooker, 1 hr 20 minutes on high.
  • Oven 7 hours at 130C/270F, covered with double foil in a roasting pan with 2 cups of water (plus the beer per recipe). I rarely do this simply because of logistics I dont like to leave the house or sleep with the oven on! But by roasting, you do get an amazing crust which I compensate for by roasting the pork briefly after slow cooker.

6. Servings This recipe makes a LOT! Partly because pork butts are BIG anyway, also because if you make this with a smaller piece, it cooks faster = less flavour.

A 3.5kg/7lb bone in pork shoulder will comfortably feed 10 12 people if making a plate with sides.

If making sliders, it will easily make 20.

7. Storage freezes brilliantly, even after tossing with sauce. Or keeps in fridge for 4 days. Best reheated in microwave to keep things juicy and moist!

8. Nutrition per serving,pork and sauce only. Calories arequite overstated. A lot of fat gets discarded with the slow cooker juices you dont use. But I have no way of calculating how much! So just know that the actual calories is less than shown below.

Life of Dozer

This is how my post-trip reunions with Dozer go down..

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