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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs
Brining Time
12 hrs
Total Time
20 hrs 15 mins
Tender, juicy, and full of flavor are just a few ways to describe this perfect pulled pork. This recipe starts out with a pork shoulder brined overnight, then it’s covered in a delicious spice rub and seared for extra flavor. Toss it in your slow cooker and 8 hours later you’ll be eating the best meal ever!
For the Spice Rub:
  • ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Cumin
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper*
For the Brine:
  • 6 Cups Cold Water
  • ¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons Spice Rub
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, smashed
  • 1 Pork Shoulder, 4-5 lbs.
  • ¼ Cup Chicken Broth
For Serving:
  • Your Favorite Barbecue Sauce, if desired
  • Gluten-Free Rolls*, if desired, or your favorite rolls if you aren’t gluten-free
  • Coleslaw, if desired
For the Spice Rub:
  1. Combine all the spice rub ingredients in an airtight container; shake or stir well to combine.
For the Brine:
  1. Combine the water, vinegar, salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, the spice rub, and garlic cloves in a large pitcher. Stir well to combine.
  2. Place the pork shoulder in a gallon-size zip top bag. Pour the brine over the top and seal the bag. Double the bag for extra security!
  3. Place the bag upright in the refrigerator (I clear a spot on my refrigerator door for this).
  4. Allow the pork to brine overnight (at least 12 hours).
To Cook the Pork:
  1. In the morning, remove the pork from the bag and discard the brine. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and cover it with all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining spice rub.
  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat and 1 tablespoon of oil. Sear the pork on all sides until a lightly golden crust forms.
  3. Transfer the pork to your slow cooker and add ¼ cup of chicken broth (or even water). Place the lid on top and set the heat to low.
  4. Cook the pork for 8 hours on low, or until the meat pulls apart very easily.
To Serve
  1. When you’re ready to serve, transfer the pork to a large bowl and start pulling it into pieces with two forks. This process will be very effortless as the meat is very tender and will fall apart easily.
  2. You’ll have extra liquid left in the slow cooker. Pour it into a measuring cup and let the fat separate to the top. Skim it off and then add a little of the juice back into the pork to keep things nice and juicy. This also helps add moisture back to the leftovers, so don’t toss it!
  3. Serve the pork with your favorite barbecue sauce, on rolls, and with coleslaw. Or, just eat a big bowl of it! :)
Recipe Notes

*I like to buy Udi’s gluten-free hamburger buns, which you can find in most large grocery stores in the freezer section. Soften them up lightly in the microwave for 15 seconds for the perfect sandwich roll!