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This is not so much a recipe as it is a no-frills technique for making delicious, moist, and tender pulled pork that you can use for a number of different dishes. You can add your favorite barbecue sauce for sandwiches or add the pork to casseroles, nachos, tacos, etc. When I’m having trouble thinking of dinner ideas, I’ll often throw a pork shoulder onto my shopping list with a few different veggies, some kind of bread, and figure out what to do with it all later (haha). It always works out!
I know we’re living in an Instant Pot-obsessed world, but I’m still holding onto my slow cooker for dear life. I love cooking pork low and slow for most of the day, which results in fork-tender fall-aparty pulled pork.
What Type of Pork Makes the Best Pulled Pork?
I always use a pork shoulder (sometimes labeled as pork butt – confusing, yes) for pulled pork and find that it yields the most tender pulled pork. You can find boneless and bone-in versions and both will work great. You’ll want to avoid the super lean cuts of pork (like tenderloin) as those will dry out easily and won’t yield a nice juicy pulled pork.
I don’t really measure when seasoning the pork. I just give it a generous coating of salt and pepper and then a few good shakes of onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. You can use real minced garlic and onion if you want. You could even saute the onion and garlic on the stove before adding it to the slow cooker.
When I’m trying to save time, though, I’ll just reach for the bottles in my spice cabinet and call it a day.
Wait, you don’t sear the pork first?
Nope, I don’t! I’ve tried it both ways and haven’t been able to tell a huge difference in how tender the final product is, so I just skip that step now to save time. If you want to sear it, though, you absolutely can!
Whatever dishes you use with this perfect pulled pork, this is a technique that will never let you down. Enjoy!
How To Make Tender Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
|Simple and Tender Slow Cooker Pulled Pork|| |
- 3 or 4 pound pork shoulder/butt OR pork loin
- Salt and pepper
- 1 big pinch smoked paprika
- 1 big pinch onion powder
- 1 big pinch garlic powder
- Season pork shoulder or loin generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Place pork in slow cooker and season with smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Slow cookers vary wildly, so check it at 6 hours to see how long you'll need to cook. When the pork is done, it should fall apart very easily when pulled at with a fork.
- When the pork is done, remove it from the slow cooker onto a cutting board (careful - it will be hot and may come apart into pieces). Use two forks to shred the pork, discarding any large pieces of fat as well as the bone, if using bone-in.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Use hot mitts and pour the juices left in the slow cooker through the strainer to remove any large bits of fat. Return the pork to the slow cooker, reduce to the "warm" setting, and pour the strained juice over the pork.
- Use pork however you desire - add barbecue sauce for sandwiches, add to casseroles, nachos, tacos, etc.
You can use bone-in or boneless, just discard the bone when shredding the pork.
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