This slow cooker Texas pulled pork recipe is the perfect dinner on a chilly fall night!
Pulled pork has to be one of man’s greatest inventions. Sure, we have solar power and electric cars, but have you ever tried a soft bun filled with slow cooker Texas pulled pork? *chef’s kiss*
As we speak, I have a Dutch oven on the stove with a big pork shoulder smothered in brown sugar, BBQ sauce, and some heavenly spices.
The worst part has to be the wait!
But it’s so worth it. After five to six long hours, I’ll have melting pork that is jam-packed with BBQ flavor.
Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is one of those recipes that goes with anything.
I’ve had it in tacos, on pizza, with salad, on nachos, and even as a burger topping. When cooked right, the pork is so tender. With lashings of BBQ sauce, it’s irresistible.
This recipe uses a slow cooker, which is a great way to gently cook your pork shoulder. Although I use a Dutch Oven, and it always comes out amazing.
The seasoning includes BBQ sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, chicken stock, yellow mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, to name a few.
It sounds like a lot, but you probably have most of these at home already.
The beauty here is that everything gets thrown into the pot together and left to cook. That’s it.
You’ll love the end result, which is made sweeter by all that free time it gives you!
The ingredient list is a little long, but I promise they all play a crucial part in how amazing your pulled pork will taste.
Pork Shoulder Roast. Pork shoulder is an inexpensive and beautifully marbled cut. When cooked low and slow, everything melts together for a truly tender bite.
When buying your cut, be sure to get a piece that will fit into your slow cooker. Using the slow cooker means you can leave the cut whole, rather than having to cut it down.
BBQ Sauce. Here’s the fun part, you can amp up your flavors with a great sauce. I personally love a bourbon BBQ sauce. I like it a little sweeter, but with plenty of tang.
I would suggest getting a few different options so you can experiment. Something spicy would be a nice change!
Apple Cider Vinegar. This will not only add to that tangy flavor, but the vinegar also helps to tenderize the meat.
Chicken Broth. Beef broth would be a little overwhelming in this recipe. Using chicken stock will impart flavor without taking away from the pork.
Brown Sugar. Adding in brown sugar will add to that great BBQ sweetness. It will also help the meat to caramelize slightly, which adds even more flavor.
Yellow Mustard. You can use any mustard here. The idea is to add a touch of spice.
Worcestershire Sauce. Pronounced ‘wus-ter-sher’, this will add a salty, savory note to the pork, balancing out that sweetness.
Seasonings. This recipe uses a combination of chili powder, thyme, and garlic. When mixed with everything else, you’ll be left with a well-rounded dish.
But if you want to get adventurous, try out some fun rubs for exciting new flavors.
Onion. Onions add an undeniable amount of flavor to any dish. They’re the base onto which we create almost everything and are essential.
You can use a large white onion for just the right amount of flavor. Or maybe you want to be a little fancy and try using some shallots for something more subtle.
Either way, they are vital to the overall flavor of your pork.
Garlic. You can use garlic powder if you prefer. I like the smell of fresh garlic and a little goes a long way.
Burger Buns. If you’re anything like me, you take your bread seriously. Not all burger buns are created equal.
The good news is, this pork is so full of flavor that any bun will work a treat. I’m partial to a brioche bun, but anything soft will work well.
Tips for Making Crockpot Pulled Pork
As mentioned before, it’s important to find a cut of meat that will fit into your slow cooker. Even if you are going to cut it down, overfilling the pot will affect how it cooks.
You may find that it needs longer to work through all that meat.
For the absolute best pulled pork, try out some of these tips and tricks:
- Although you can safely remove your pork once it reaches 165°F/75°C, you’ll want to leave it until at least 195°F/90°C for it to be fork-tender.
- Pork shoulder is the ideal cut for pulled pork. However, pork neck will work just as well, and even pork loin in a pinch. The only thing about using pork loin is the lack of marbling, so it won’t be as tender.
- If using a larger cut, trim off excess fat. The inner marbling will melt into the meat, but larger chunks of fat will become mushy and unpleasant.
- For maximum flavor, rub your pork with the seasonings the night before.
- Leave your pork to rest for at least 15 minutes after cooking to allow the juices to seep in.
- For something indulgent, try adding these cipollini onions with balsamic glaze. Naturally sweet and tender, when roasted in balsamic, they will caramelize into something ridiculously tasty. Stir them through after pulling the pork for pops of sweet onion flavor.
- Serve with a good slaw! Between the soft bun and tender pork, I sometimes find it’s missing a little crunch. That’s where a good, crisp slaw comes in. You can make it nice and easy with a slaw mix and dressing. This Honey Lime Jalapeño Vinaigrette would be delicious.
- In general, one pound will feed three adults. However, your pork is likely to reduce in weight as it cooks, so you need to account for that. If you are looking to bring this to a party, a good guide is to multiply the number of guests by 0.33, (eg. 20 people x 0.33 = 6.6 lbs) then times that number by two (6.6 x 2 = 13.2 lbs needed).
- If you really want to get serious, try these meat claws for faster shredding!
How to Use Leftover Pulled Pork
Making a big batch of pulled pork is not only easy, but it will also feed you for days to come. After enjoying a dinner with soft buns and spicy slaw, why not try out something different?
- Mac and Cheese Pulled Pork. Creamy and cheesy mac and cheese topped with pulled pork. Grill for a few minutes to add some crunch.
- Pueblan-style Mexican pulled pork sandwich. This spicy sandwich is loaded with tomatoes, avocado, and chipotle peppers.
- Pulled Pork Ragu. Adding your pork to a tomato sauce is such an easy way to jazz up a weeknight pasta bake.
- Pulled Pork Tacos. Before adding to your guacamole, salsa and cheese stuffed shells, pan fry your pork in a skillet with a touch of orange juice.
- Loaded Nachos. Make up your favorite nachos, adding on as much cheese, sides, and chillis as you like. Before you put it to grill, with a generous helping of pulled pork.
Making Ahead and Freezing the Recipe
As with many recipes like this, letting the dish sit overnight will only add to the flavor. The longer the pork sits in the juices and sauce, the more flavor you get.
Not only does the pork reheat perfectly, but it will also freeze and thaw just right. I recommend thawing in the fridge overnight. Always be sure to reheat it thoroughly.
When freezing, be sure to store in an airtight container and use it within two to three months.
If you want to prep this the night before, you can add everything into the slow cooker, cover, and keep in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
This will give the pork time to marinate, and you can set it to cook while you make your morning coffee.
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