I’m aware that probably every food blogger, and especially every food blogger from Texas, is convinced that their pulled pork recipe is the best. But ya’ll, this one is GOOD. Honestly I think it’s about as good as you can get without investing in a fancy smoker and you can do it right in your little old slow cooker. Hoorah!
While you do not HAVE to sear your spiced pork shoulder before slow cooking, I highly recommend that you do. If you don’t have the time you can certainly rub the pork with the spices and throw it straight into the slow cooker (and it will still be delicious) but searing it is definitely going to give this pulled pork a deeper flavor.
I think the secret to this recipe is in the homemade BBQ sauce which incorporates some of the cooking liquid giving it a rich, almost smokey flavor without adding any smoke extract, something I’m personally not a fan of. And the slightly sweet and tangy cole slaw really takes this one home.
It’s great to feed a hungry crowd and if you have a giant slow cooker by all means feel free to double the recipe. It’s absolutely perfect for a summer BBQ or a Game Day Party so get to cooking!
For the Pulled Pork:
- 4-6 lb boneless or bone in pork shoulder
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- ½ tsp oregano, dried
- ½ tsp thyme, dried
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4th cup brown sugar
- 1/4th cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ onion, chopped (Red, white or yellow onion all work)
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- Brioche buns (or any bun of choice)
- Homemade BBQ sauce (see below)
- Homemade Cole slaw (see below)
- Dill pickle slices
- Sliced white onions
- Take pork shoulder out of the fridge and, if necessary, cut it into a few big pieces that will fit in your slow cooker.
- Combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, mustard powder, oregano, thyme, cumin and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
- Rub spice mixture over all sides of the pork shoulder and sear in the skillet, about 2 minutes per side over medium high heat, until you achieve a nice golden-brown color.
- Repeat on all sides and move browned pork to a slow cooker.
- Whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and beef or chicken broth.
- Add chopped onions, garlic and bay leaf and stir together.
- Pour over the pork shoulder.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 5-6 hours, until the pork is falling apart.
- Once finished cooking, remove pork to a rimmed baking sheet and use 2 forks to pull the meat apart.
- After shredding, pour about a cup of the reserved liquid over the meat to keep it moist and flavorful. (Be sure to reserve another cup of the liquid to mix with your BBQ sauce.)
- Serve on Brioche buns with homemade BBQ sauce, cole slaw, pickles and onions.
For the BBQ Sauce:
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ – 1 cup of the pork braising liquid
- Whisk all ingredients (except the braising liquid) together until well combined. You can do this ahead of time and store in the fridge while the pork cooks if desired.
- About 30 minutes before the pork is finished cooking, scoop ½ to 1 cup of the piping hot braising liquid out of the slow cooker and mix with the sauce.
- Serve on top of the pulled pork, and everything else in your kitchen. (This stuff is good.)
For the Cole Slaw:
- 12 ounce cole slaw mix
- 1/4th cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp milk (I prefer whole)
- 2 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp celery seeds
- Whisk together all ingredients except the cole slaw mix.
- Once well combined, pour over the cole slaw and stir.
- Allow to set at least 15-30 minutes before serving, or make ahead and store in the fridge.
*Note* This stuff is delicious so if you love a LOT of cole slaw on your sandwich or prefer eating it just as a side you may want to consider doubling the recipe.