slow cooker carolina style pulled pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This Christmas, Santa blessed me with two staples of every amazing kitchen: A Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and a slow cooker. Here I was, for years, mixing batters with an electric mixer, or by hand, like a sucker. Oh, and who knew I could just plop three pounds of meat into a metal pot, pour some broth and spices onto it, turn a switch, walk away, then have a meal six hours later?

Amazing times we live in.

I do have to laugh, because I am a person that adores cooking and going through the process, no matter how lengthy it may be. Trust me: I’ve spent 2+ hours on certain mornings just to make eight bagels. For years, I thought creating meals in a slow cooker was an easy way out. I’ve learned better. Just as I love to make soups en masse to freeze so I’ll have some lunches for the weeks ahead, I can use my slow cooker to make meals with purposeful leftovers at a low cost. For this recipe, the only items I needed to buy were the pork butt, apple cider vinegar, and tomato sauce. Those three items cost me $8.33, and with about six cups of pulled pork yielded, that knocks it down to about $1.38 a cup! (Note: In true NYC fashion, I got the vinegar and tomato sauce, both Goya, from my local bodega for $1.89 combined, the transaction completed while the new bodega cat weaved in and out of my legs.)

On the day I chose to take the ol’ girl out for a spin for the first time, this lil’ guy named Jonas came to visit, but he was kind of rude and made me spend a lot of my day inside.


Well, I really can’t complain about cooking this up, can I?

slow cooker carolina style pulled pork

slow cooker carolina style pulled pork

slow cooker carolina style pulled pork

slow cooker carolina style pulled pork

Props to my roommate Sally’s mother for sending along some ideas for rubs and sauces. This pig did not die in vain. Our stomachs gave it a very happy home.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
(Makes…a lot of servings [roughly 6 cups])


– 2 – 3 pounds pork butt (shoulder), bone-in or boneless

– 2 tablespoons chili powder
– 1 tablespoon ground cumin
– 2 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 tablespoon paprika
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1 teaspoon ground pepper


– 1 & 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
– 1/2 cup tomato sauce
– 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 tablespoon brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Before We Get Started…

– The measurements in this recipe can be adjusted; the measurements in this recipe are suited to accommodate those using a 3-quart slow cooker.

– The rub can be applied right before cooking, though I highly suggest applying the rub and letting the pork sit for at least four hours, preferably overnight.


1.) Place pork shoulder on cutting board; if using a bone-in pork shoulder and are planing to leave the fat layer on the pork, score with a knife. Otherwise, discard outer fat layer. If using boneless pork shoulder, cut into several large pieces, roughly fist-sized.

2.) Combine all dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Apply rub to pork, thoroughly covering the surface. Allow pork to sit for at least four hours before cooking. (See note in Before We Get Started… for rub suggestions.)

3.) In a large bowl, combine all sauce ingredients and whisk until incorporated.

4.) Place pork in slow cooker; pour sauce on top of pork. Cover with top. Turn slow cooker on high and cook for six to seven hours.

5.) Carefully remove pork from slow cooker and place into a large bowl; allow to cool for 15 minutes. Use two forks to shred pork apart; discard of any larger pieces of fat. Bone, if bone-in pork is being used, can be discarded or saved for other uses (bone broth, et al).

6.) Ladle 1 to 1 & 1/2 cups of the remaining sauce remaining in the slow cooker onto the pork and allow to sit.

7.) Serve pulled pork as you please!


5 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

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