This slow cooker pulled pork recipe has a very different end product from a grilled pork butt recipe. Both will result in pulled pork, but this version is cooked in a liquid. It’s basically braised for hours and hours. It gets a lot of its flavor from the liquid, while the grilled version gets its flavor from a rub and the natural fats in the pork. Have no fear, though; you can still use this pulled pork as you would any other. Just be sure to follow the step about removing all the liquid from the slow cooker and adding only a part of it back in, so your pork isn’t too soupy. Serve with toasted buns, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw for a classic meal.–Nick Evans
LC Buying Pork Butt Note
We’re quite drawn to the rather no-nonsense approach that the author, Nick Evans, takes to pork butt at large, and to this pork butt recipe in particular. For example, here’s what he has to say about buying pork butt: “Buying a pork shoulder (or pork butt—the same cut of pork) in the store can be intimidating, but cooking it couldn’t be easier. Whether you do it on the grill, in the oven, or in the slow cooker, it’s hard to screw it up. When buying pork shoulder, look for one around 8 to 10 pounds. You can find them trimmed down to 5 or 6 pounds, but normally they trim off a lot of fat to make that weight. And fat isn’t a bad thing, especially if you’re grilling or roasting it. Also, try to get butt with the bone in (sometimes labeled a picnic butt). Regardless of the method used, the bone gives the meat more flavor. Keep it in if you can.” There you have it. Also, we just like saying pork butt. Forgive us. It’s merely that our inner Beavis and Butthead escapes once in a while. Heh.
Special Equipment: 6-quart or larger slow cooker
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 10 H, 15 M
- Makes lots (about 12 cups)
- 8-pound pork butt (aka pork shoulder)
- 1 large onion, grated
- One 12-ounce bottle beer (any good lager works)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 6 ounces store-bought or homemade tomato paste
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1. Cut the pork butt into 4 or 5 large pieces that will fit in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Cut off any large hunks of fat. (You don’t need that much fat since the pork is cooking in liquid.)
- 2. Mix together the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker so they are well combined. Add the pork to the liquid, cover, and cook on low for 10 to 10 1/2 hours.
- 3. Remove the pork pieces and let them cool for a few minutes. Pour the cooking liquid into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup.
- 4. Remove and discard any remaining visible hunks of fat from the pork. Shred the pork pieces using 2 forks. The pork should shred very easily. Return the shredded pork to the empty slow cooker.
- 5. Pour the cooking liquid back into the slow cooker in 1-cup increments until the pork is moist but not soupy. You will probably need 2 to 3 cups of liquid, but feel free to add more or less to taste. Just remember that if your pork is too wet, it will be soggy later.
- 6. Keep the pulled pork warm while serving. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week or freeze in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to a few months.