This easy crock pot pulled pork is not only a true dump and go slow cooker meal- it also creats meat that is fork tender and so full of flavor you don't even need bbq sauce.
I have a close friend who is- according to her- a terrible cook. But when she saw me make this she said "that's it? I could do that!" And to this day this easy crock pot pulled pork is one of the few dishes she makes.
In other words, this dish is so easy even beginner or non-cooks can make it. Pulled pork is one of those true dump and go slow cooker meals that are absolutely perfect for busy days.
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Why you'll love this slow cooker pulled pork
- Super fast to start- prep is just chopping (optional) onions and seasoning your roast.
- Minimal finishing time- all you need to do in the evening is fork shred the roast, and dinner is done.
- Flavor- you don't need to smother it in bbq sauce, though I won't stop you!
- Simple- you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry.
- Versatile- the leftovers can be easily turned into something else, like these carnitas-style tacos!
Let's get started! Here's what you'll need:
- Crock pot or slow cooker (which is like saying kleenex or tissue, crock pot is just a specific brand of slow cooker)
- Forks (for shredding)
- Knife and cutting board (if adding the optional vegetables)
- 1 3 lb Pork Roast (rump or shoulder work best, but leaner cuts are fine too)
- 1 lb Baby Carrots (optional)
- 2 medium Onions (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt (½ teaspoon per side)
- ½ teaspoon pepper (¼ teaspoon per side)
- 1.5 teaspoon paprika (¾ teaspoon per side)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (dash on each side or just season one side)
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder (1 teaspoon per side)
- 2 tablespoon cinnamon (1 tablespoon per side)
- ½ cup brown sugar (¼ cup per side)
Step 1: Prepare the vegetables if you're using them. Cut the onions into half, then each half into 3-4 segments. Layer them on the bottom of the crock pot, and top them with the baby carrots.
Step 2: Season one side of the roast with half the seasoning, starting with the salt and pepper and working up to the brown sugar. Then put the seasoned side down on top of the carrots (or on the bottom of the cooker if not using veggies). Add the apple cider vinegar to the bottom of the slow cooker as well. Season the other half which is now facing up right in the crock pot.
Step 3: If you skipped the vegetables, add a ½ cup of water to the crock pot. Turn on LOW for 8-10 hours. Below is a photo of the shoulder after cooking. With no liquid added (aside from the 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar) you can see there is plenty in the crock pot that released from the vegetables and the roast.
Step 4: Before serving, use 2 forks to shred the roast. I do this right in the crockpot, but if you've used a liner you may want to remove it to avoid piercing the liner with the forks.
What to serve with your slow cooker pulled pork
I love to make this with the carrots and onions right in it so that it's truly a one pot meal with the meat and vegetables all cooked and ready. My favorite side dish to go with it are Hawaiian rolls, or buns to make pulled pork sandwiches and have either the veggies or a salad on the side.
How to Reheat & Store Easy Crock Pot Pulled Pork
Best Way To Store Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
The best way to store easy crock pot pulled pork is in an airtight container in the fridge, where it is best consumed within 3 days.
Can I Freeze Pulled Pork?
Yes! You can absolutely freeze slow cooked pulled pork in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. To avoid thawing and refreezing, portion it into sizes you'll use before freezing. Ideally store it in a freezer safe ziplock or silicone bag so you can get as much air out as possible, and make sure to include the juices from the slow cooker to help the pork stay moist.
How to Reheat Your Pulled Pork
The best method for this depends on what you want to use the leftovers for. If you want to make pulled pork sandwiches, then reheating in your crock pot on warm for about 2 hours works great. If you want to use them for carnitas tacos, reheating them on the stovetop with some additional spices is a quick and easy way to transform them.
Questions about Easy Crock Pot Pulled Pork
My roast is larger (or smaller) than the 3 lbs in the recipe. Will that be ok?
Yes! A smaller roast is fine. A larger one is too, as long as the lid of your crock pot still rests fully on the ceramic insert. Just be sure to scale up your seasonings for a larger roast.
If you have a huge roast, you can cut it in half and freeze half before cooking- I do this a lot when shoulders go on sale at my local store. They're generally like 8-12 pound roasts which don't always fit in my slow cooker without being cut. Half gets made right away, and the freezer bound half I wrap in plastic wrap then put in a gallon ziplock for the next time I want to make pulled pork.
I only have a sirloin or tenderloin- can I still make this?
Yes, but tenderloin in particular may not "pull" the same way when it's time to shred. It will still be delicious though!
I don't have Apple Cider Vinegar- what else can I use?
You can use a ¼ cup of apple juice, or a teaspoon of regular vinegar. And add Apple Cider Vinegar to your grocery list. A small 16 oz bottle should be inexpensive and will come in handy a tablespoon or so at a time in a number of recipes.
Do you use a crockpot liner?
I generally don't. If you do, and choose not to add vegetables, I recommend shredding the roast on a plate and then putting it back in and mixing the juices back into it. Otherwise, it's reasonably likely your forks will pierce the liner and you'll need to clean the ceramic insert anyways. I learned that the hard way, and possibly more than once!
When do you skip the vegetables?
I love using carrots and onions in this dish to keep it as easy as possible come dinnertime. I use those vegetables because they're kid friendly and because they hold up well to long cook times. However, if I'm making this to take to a social event I'll just do the roast so I can fit as much meat as possible into the crock pot. If you're feeding a crowd or don't have enough space for both meat and veggies, that's when I'd skip them.
Is this dish gluten free? Dairy free?
Yes on both counts! If you add BBQ sauce be sure to check that, and of course most hawaiian rolls are not gluten free, but the crock pot dish itself absolutely is.
Other Crock Pot Recipes You'll Love
Don't Forget To Come Back and Let Me Know How Your Easy Crock Pot Pulled Pork Turned Out!
- 3 lb Pork Roast (rump or shoulder work best, but leaner cuts are fine too)
- 1 lb Baby Carrots (optional)
- 2 medium Onions (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1.5 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- If using vegetables, half onions and slice each half into 3-4 segments and layer on the bottom of the crock pot. Top with baby carrots.
- Add the apple cider vinegar to the bottom of the crockpot. Season top side of roast with half the seasonings. Place roast into crockpot seasoned side down. If not using vegetables, add ½ cup of water.
- Season the other side of the roast with remaining seasoning, and turn crockpot on LOW for 8-10 hours.
- Fork shred the roast, and enjoy!
Freeze any leftovers in smaller portions to avoid thawing more than you need for a meal.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 580Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 153mgSodium: 456mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 41g
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. It is recommended to use your preferred calculator with the actual ingredients you use for optimal accuracy.