How to Make the Best Pulled Pork in Your Slow Cooker

Nothing beats slow cooker pulled pork. The spicy, saucy and oh-so-tender meat is nothing short of perfection. We'll show you how to make melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork for piling on sandwiches, tacos, nachos and more.

Whether you’re hosting a family barbecue or cooking a hearty meal for your friends, pulled pork is always a winner. And, when cooked low and slow, it’s perfect for busy days. Give our slow cooker pulled pork a shot and we promise it’ll become an instant hit!

(Looking for the perfect slow cooker? Check out our buying guide to select your new favorite kitchen appliance.)

How Do You Sear a Roast Before Slow Cooking?

Before you pop your pork in the slow cooker, consider searing it first. Searing a roast before cooking has several benefits. Some say the meat is more flavorful if it’s seared beforehand—and science supports this theory. The sugars and fats in the meat caramelize, yielding a richer taste and heartier texture when the roast is finished cooking. (Don’t care for pulled pork? Try these satisfying pork loin recipes, instead.)

If you want to sear your meat, here’s how:

Step 1: Rinse and Dry

Rinse the roast with cold water and place the meat on a cutting board. Pat it dry with paper towels, pressing to absorb as much water as possible.

Step 2: Trim the Fat

Trim any excess fat off the meat. Cut the roast into small pieces to ensure it will fit nicely in your slow cooker.

Step 3: Brown the Meat

Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Sprinkle and rub salt and pepper all over the meat. Brown the meat in the hot oil for several minutes on each side. Be sure to rotate it carefully so that the grease doesn’t splash onto your skin. Remove the seared meat and place it in the slow cooker.

Take note of these helpful tips to avoid dry or tough meat in the slow cooker.

How Do I Make Pulled Pork in a Slow Cooker?

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin (1 pound)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 rolls or buns, split and toasted
  • Coleslaw, optional

Step 1: Prep and Pour

Pre-sear the meat, or cut the tenderloin in half and place it in a 3-qt. slow cooker. Then combine the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and pepper. Pour this mixture over the pork.

Psst! Here are more yummy recipes to make in a 3-qt. slow cooker.

Step 2: Cook Low and Slow

Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until the meat is tender. Then, remove the meat and shred it with two forks. Return to slow cooker and heat through.

Step 3: Serve and Enjoy

Serve pork on toasted rolls or buns, with coleslaw, if desired. Enjoy!

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Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.