How to make pulled pork in your slow cooker [Recipe]


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It's not often in life that minimal work reaps big rewards. Pulled pork defies this unfortunate principle. Though it takes basically all day to cook, it requires surprisingly little effort.

You don't need a grill, and you don't need to make your apartment unnecessarily hot. All you need is a slow cooker — any size and make will do — and the below ingredients.

The smallest Crock-Pots can be a bit trickier, but it's completely manageable. Use as much of the pork as you can fit, and adjust the amount of ingredients you use based on how much pork you're able to use. One problem we've experienced with the super-small slow cookers is that the juices can get dangerously high — keep a baster nearby and check every couple of hours. If the juices are approaching the slow cooker's lid, use the baster to remove some of the liquid. 

Makes 6 servings


  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced

  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 pork shoulder (about 5 pounds)

  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce (optional)


For the rub:

  • 1 tablespoon of paprika

  • 1 tablespoon of salt

  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

  • 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder

  • 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon of cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne



  1. Add the sliced garlic and onions to the slow cooker in one even layer. Pour in the broth. 

  2. If you'd like to, trim off the excess fat on the pork shoulder. Mix all of the rub ingredients together in a bowl and work the mixture into the meat.

  3. Place the pork on top of the garlic and onions, cover and cook for about 8 hours. 

  4. Place the pork on a cutting board, and strain the liquid in the slow cooker into a bowl. 

  5. Remove any large pieces of fat from the pork. Using two forks, pull apart the meat into bite-sized pieces.

  6. Return the meat to the slow cooker and mix with the onions and garlic at the bottom. 

  7. If you want to add barbecue sauce, now is the time. If not, slowly add in a little of the strained liquid at a time until the meat is just slightly moist. 


We recommend toasting some whole-wheat buns on a grill pan and using them to sandwich together the pulled pork and some cilantro-lime cole slaw, like this one from Daydream Kitchen. (Just use Greek yogurt instead of the mayo.)

We went wild and also paired it with crispy baked avocado fries (via Closet Cooking) and this sriracha-lime yogurt dipping sauce