This BEST Pulled Pork Recipe is made by slowly cooking pork shoulder (or pork butt) with simple seasonings and Dr. Pepper to help tenderize and soften the meat and add extra flavor. Guaranteed tender, melt-in-your-mouth delicious pulled pork, perfect for sandwiches, tacos, nachos, and more!
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe
This amazing pulled pork recipe is so easy to make! A guaranteed crowd favorite, it’s also one of my most-loved slow cooker weeknight dinners. There’s no planning ahead or day-long brining required; simply season your meat and dump it in your slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. Serve it with bbq sauce and all of your favorite side dishes like coleslaw, salad, mac and cheese, and cornbread, or enjoy it served on your favorite sandwich bun.
How much pulled pork per person?
A good estimate is 1/3 pound of cooked pulled pork per adult and 1/4 pound of cooked pulled pork per child. Converting this into raw estimates, you’ll need to purchase about 2/3 pounds of raw meat per adult and 1/2 pound of raw meat per child.
For example, to feed 5 adults, you will need to purchase a 3 1/3 pound raw pork shoulder.
- Brown sugar
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Salt and Black pepper
- Pork shoulder (or Pork Butt)
- Dr. Pepper (or Coke)
- Barbeque sauce
What can I use instead of Dr. Pepper?
If you prefer not to add sugary soda, add ½ cup apple cider vinegar and ½ cup apple juice instead. Do not use diet soda.
How to Get Tender Pulled Pork
There are two key elements in achieving tender, juicy, buttery pulled pork. The first is the cut of pork you use to make your pulled pork. The best cut is Boston Butt, or pork butt, with “pork shoulder” coming in as a close second. Pork butt, despite its name, is actually a shoulder cut and comes with lots of delicious and flavorful fat marbling. The second is cook time (and temperature!) Like my Mississippi Pot Roast, pulled pork requires low and slow cooking. This means cooking it on the low setting in the Crockpot for at least 8 hours or at 300 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven until it registers 200 degrees F with a digital meat thermometer.
How to Make Pulled Pork
1. Trim any excess fat from the pork shoulder and pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Rub the spice rub all over the entire surface of the pork shoulder so that it is evenly coated.
3. Place the peeled and quartered onions in the bottom of a large Crockpot. Add one (12-ounce) can of Dr. Pepper to the slow cooker and place the pork shoulder directly on top.
4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
5. After the time is complete, remove the cooked pork from the slow cooker and transfer it to a large bowl or serving platter. Use two forks to shred the pork (this should happen easily, if not, you may need to cook the pork for longer).
6. Transfer the remaining liquid to a saucepot. (Optional – gently simmer the broth over medium-low heat until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups)
7. Return the shredded pork back to the bowl of the slow cooker. Combine with your favorite barbecue sauce, if desired, thinning the barbecue sauce with some of the cooking liquid, if needed. Keep covered and set to “warm” until ready to serve.
What to Serve with Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is delicious served with sides like mac and cheese, coleslaw, macaroni salad, potato salad, and cornbread. You can also use it to make pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, nachos, burritos, and quesadillas!
Storage and Reheating
Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze for up to 3 months, making sure to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Reheat in a medium skillet set over medium-low heat or in the microwave until heated through.
More Delicious Pork Recipes,
- Carnitas Recipe (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork)
- Smothered Pork Chops Recipe
- Cream of Mushroom Pork Chops (Dad’s Recipe)
- Garlic Butter Pork Chop Recipe (Ready in Just 15 Minutes!)
- Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork Recipe
If you try making this Pulled Pork Recipe, please leave me a comment below! I always love to read your thoughts and feedback!
Pulled Pork Recipe
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 pounds pork butt - or pork shoulder
- 2 medium onions - peeled and quartered
- 1 (12-ounce) can Dr. Pepper - or Coke or ½ cup apple cider vinegar and ½ cup apple juice
- barbecue sauce - of your choosing, optional
- Trim any excess fat from the pork butt or pork shoulder and pat dry with paper towels (please leave most of the fat, but often large sections of pork butt come with thick sections of fat that are easily removed).
- In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, sugar, and black pepper. Rub the dry rub over the entire surface and on all sides of the pork.
- Place the peeled and quartered onions in the bottom of a large 7-8 quart slow cooker. Add one (12-ounce) can of Dr. Pepper and place the pork shoulder directly on top.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Remove the cooked pork from the slow cooker and transfer it to a large bowl or serving platter. Use two forks to shred the pork (this should happen easily, if not, you may need to cook the pork for longer).
- Transfer the remaining liquid to a saucepot. (Optional – gently simmer the broth on the stovetop over medium-low heat until it is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups)
- Return the shredded pork back to the slow cooker. Combine with your favorite barbecue sauce, if desired, thinning the barbecue sauce with some of the cooking liquid, if needed. Keep covered and set to “warm” until ready to serve.
- Use a bone-in butt or shoulder if available (I usually can’t find one), but boneless is fine, too. Choose one that is well-marbled with white fat.
- The ideal temperature for pulled pork is 200 degrees F. So even though it will be “fully cooked” at 170 degrees F, absolutely let it cook for longer for the best results.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)