This slow cooker BBQ pulled pork recipe is so easy to prepare, cooks hands-free in the crockpot and is finished with a simple homemade BBQ sauce. This recipe relies heavily on pantry staples which makes it a great weeknight or meal prep recipe to add to your menu. It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free and can easily be made paleo and Whole30.
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Why This Recipe Works:
- This BBQ pulled pork is made with a quick homemade BBQ that utilizes the reserved cooking liquid from the slow cooker, so the end result is super saucy and full of flavor
- It’s gluten-free, dairy-free and can easily be made paleo and Whole30. It uses many pantry staple ingredients that will fit a wide variety of diets so everyone can enjoy!
- There’s no shortage of ways to serve BBQ pulled pork, which makes it a really versatile recipe. Serve it on buns with coleslaw, in tacos, wraps or burritos, on it’s own with veggie or salad sides or over baked or mashed potatoes.
Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Ingredients
One of the great things about this slow cooker pulled pork is that it heavily relies on staple pantry ingredients you likely already have on hand. This means it’s easy to throw together and you probably only need to add a few items to your grocery list!
For the pork:
You’ll need a boneless pork shoulder that’s 3 to 5 pounds. If you’re using one that has the bone in, account for that by using one that is a pound or two heavier. Then you’ll need broth, either chicken broth or beef broth works just fine.
The other liquid ingredients are red wine vinegar (or balsamic works also) and apple juice. The remaining items for the pork are minced garlic, two onions, light brown sugar, salt and pepper.
To make the BBQ sauce that the pulled pork will be mixed with you will need 1 cup of the liquid from the slow cooker, ketchup, red wine vinegar, mustard powder, chili powder, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. There’s an option to add brown sugar to the sauce, but you can also use coconut sugar or simply omit that for sugar-free sauce.
The ketchup I use and love is Primal Kitchen Ketchup, which is made without added sugar and with only very straightforward ingredients, and is organic, Keto Certified, paleo and Whole30 Approved. This best-selling ketchup is now available in larger, new squeeze bottles! You can grab Primal Kitchen Ketchup on their website, and using the code PALEOBAILEY gives you a discount at checkout!
Step By Step Instructions:
The first step is to add the broth, red wine vinegar and apple juice into the slow cooker. Then mix the garlic, brown sugar, salt and pepper together and rub it over the pork shoulder.
The next step is to add the seasoned pork shoulder into the slow cooker and arrange the sliced onions around it. Place the cover onto the slow cooker and cook it on high for 5 to 6 hours, or on low for about 10 hours, or until the pork is tender and easily falls apart and shreds with a fork. If it doesn’t, it’s not done cooking and still needs more time.
Next, transfer the pork shoulder to a large plate or bowl and shred the meat. Set it aside while you make the BBQ sauce.
To make the sauce, remove 1 cup of the liquid that remains in the slow cooker with a measuring cup and set aside. Discard the contents remaining in the slow cooker and return the 1 cup of reserved liquid. Turn the slow cooker to high and add in the remaining sauce ingredients. Whisk them together well, place the lid on the slow cooker and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
Stir the sauce and then return the shredded pulled pork back into the slow cooker. Replace the lid and let sit for a few more minutes to reheat the pork and let the sauce infuse with the meat. Once hot, serve the BBQ pulled pork as desired.
There is a huge variety of ways to enjoy BBQ pulled pork. Here are a few ideas:
- BBQ pulled pork bowls with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli
- Serve as pictured here on buns (gluten-free, if desired), with coleslaw or with cheese and pickles
- On its own with vegetable sides such as air fryer green beans, instant pot corn on the cob, maple bacon brussels or salad sides such as classic mustard potato salad, macaroni salad or broccoli salad
- Make BBQ pulled pork tacos, quesadillas, wraps or burritos
- Use in a breakfast skillet
- Over mashed potatoes or baked potatoes
Once your pulled pork is done cooking, transfer any leftovers into an airtight container and allow it to cool completely. Place the lid onto the container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To freeze, you will want to also place it in an airtight container or bag that is freezer safe and allow the pork to cool completely. Remove as much air as possible before covering or sealing and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What can be used in place of brown sugar? You can use coconut sugar in place of brown sugar, or it can be omitted completely.
Can this BBQ pulled pork be made paleo? Yes this slow cooker BBQ pulled pork can be made paleo by using coconut sugar in place of brown sugar.
Can this be made Whole30? Yes. To make this recipe Whole30, omit the brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.
What is the difference between a pork shoulder and pork butt? The terms pork shoulder and pork butt are interchangeable. They may be labeled as one or the other depending on where you purchase your meat, but they are the same cut of meat, so either can be used in this recipe.
Other Slow Cooker Recipes You’ll Love:
- Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
- Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
- Buffalo Chicken in the Slow Cooker
- Slow Cooker “Cheese”burger Soup
- Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli
For the pork:
- 3–5 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
- 1 cup broth (chicken or beef)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 white onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the Sauce:
- 1 cup cooking liquid from the slow cooker after pork has cooked
- 1/3 cup Primal Kitchen Ketchup
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- Add the broth, red wine vinegar and apple juice into the slow cooker
- Mix the minced garlic, light brown sugar, onion powder, salt and pepper together and rub it over the pork shoulder. Place the seasoned pork shoulder into the slow cooker
- Arrange the sliced onions around the pork and then cover the slow cooker. Cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or on low for about 8 to 10 hours, or until the pork easily shreds with a fork. If it doesn’t easily fall apart, it is not done cooking and needs additional time
- Once the pork shoulder is done, transfer it to a large plate or bowl and shred
- Reserve 1 cup of the liquid in the slow cooker and then discard the remaining liquid and onions. Mix the reserved liquid with the sauce ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl. Whisk until combined and then pour it into the slow cooker
- Put the slow cooker on high and let sit for 15 minutes. During this time, assemble your sides or what you’re serving your pork with
- Add the pork back into the slow cooker and mix with the sauce. Let it heat back up with the sauce, and serve as desired once hot
To make paleo: replace brown sugar with coconut sugar
To make Whole30: omit brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce
Keywords: slow cooker bbq pork, slow cooker bbq pulled pork, crockpot bbq pork, crockpot bbq pulled pork
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