Crock Pot Pulled Pork

This Pulled Pork recipe is wonderfully tender, tangy, sweet and smoky with the perfect kick, smothered in the best homemade barbecue sauce – and so easy in the slow cooker, instant pot or oven!

This BBQ Pulled Pork is a set-it-and-forget-it recipe, ideal for large gatherings, prep-ahead meals, freezer meals or whenever you’re craving melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork with hardly any cleanup!  This easy Pulled Pork recipe is made with pork shoulder (Boston pork butt), pantry spices and Cherry Coke to tenderize the meat and then cooked in the oven, slow cooker or instant pot.  The resulting pork is fall apart tender, succulently juicy and begging to be bathed in sweet, tangy, spicy, smoky homemade barbecue sauce.  Serve the spoon tender BBQ Pulled Pork in sandwiches, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, on pizza etc. with a side of potato salad and Italian pasta salad for a complete summer feast!

Pork recipes from slow roasted to quick skillet dinners are some of my favorites! Don’t miss kalua pork, lechon asado (Mojo marinated pork), pork carnitas, garlic butter pork tenderloin, grilled pork tenderloin, brown sugar pork chops, Pork Loin with Sweet and Spicy Apricot Sauce and the best pork chop marinade.

HOW TO MAKE PulLed Pork Recipe VIDEo

up close of BBQ Pulled Pork in the slow cooker showing how juicy and tender it is


 
showing how to serve BBQ Pulled Pork recipe by adding to a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with coleslaw

What you will need for this Pulled Pork Recipe

Rub for this Pulled Pork Crock Pot Recipe

The Pulled Pork Rub is earthy, smoky, salty with a ginger, garlic zing.  It manages to be flavorful but not overpowering, so you can still smother the Pulled Pork with barbecue sauce.  You will need:

  • Chili powder:  made from a blend chili peppers and other spices including cumin, onion, garlic powder. Please note American chili powder is NOT hot cayenne pepper, it has a fraction of the spice level because it’s mixed with other seasonings.
  • Smoked paprika: rich, mild, sweet, and smoky made from smoked pimento peppers dried over oak fires then crushed.  It is not spicy, just flavorful. You can find smoked paprika with the rest of the spices at your grocery store. I use it in ALL my barbecue and Mexican recipes, so I promise your purchase will not go to waste.
  • Onion powder:  is dehydrated, ground onion that infuses our BBQ Pulled Pork with aromatic, earthy, minty notes.
  • Garlic: a favorite ingredient for its punch flavor. 
  • Ground ginger: I know it sounds like an odd addition, but I promise the pungent, spiciness of the ginger compliments the other spices beautifully.
  • Cayenne Pepper:  finely ground red chili peppers – the same peppers red chili flakes are from!  Don’t worry, the cayenne pepper will not make the pork spicy, but is needed to cut through the sweetness.
  • Pepper:  finely ground black pepper please for another layer of peppery flavor without all the heat.
  • Salt: 1 tablespoon regular table salt or 2 tablespoons kosher salt.
showing how to make BBQ Pulled Pork recipe by shredding the pork and allowing it to braise in the juices

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Braising Liquid

Braising the pork in a few inches of seasoned liquid helps to transform the tough pork shoulder into a tender, succulent, fall-apart masterpiece.  The moist environment gently cooks the pork while the liquid continuously infuses the pork with moisture and flavor.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cherry Coke:  Use regular Cherry Coke, NOT diet!  The Coke not only adds flavor (contains flavoring approximates of dark spices like cinnamon, clove, allspice, cardamom, pipal, nutmeg, citrus zest, etc.) and caramelized sugar but is also highly acidic which balances the flavor and most importantly, tenderizes the meat.  Cola is such a great tenderizer because it typically has a pH of about 2.7—for comparison, lemon juice has a pH of 2—making it acidic enough to break down the tough proteins without dissolving your meat.
  • Liquid smoke: If you aren’t familiar with liquid smoke, it really is liquid smoke! It mimics the smokiness of smoking the pork all day with just a few teaspoons.  Liquid smoke is created by capturing smoke as it rises through a combustion chamber filled with wood chips to a condenser.  In the condenser, the smoke cools and forms a liquid, thus liquid smoke.  (Thank you Wikipedia).  It is a very common ingredient and should be easy to find next to the barbecue sauces in your grocery store. You can use mesquite or hickory, but I prefer mesquite in this recipe.  
  • Chopped green chiles: These mild chilies come from a can and add a subtle tang to cut through the earthy richness and sweetness.  Take care you choose MILD chopped green chiles because the hot can is HOT.
  • Brown sugar:  Use ⅓ to ½ cup brown sugar which balances the acidic Coke and imparts hints of molasses.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Adds the balancing tang to offset the sweetness.
  • Orange zest: The bright tanginess cuts through the sweetness and perks up the rest of the ingredients.
  • BBQ sauce: Use your favorite store-bought brand or I HIGHLY recommend my Homemade BBQ Sauce, which I’ve outlined below.

This Homemade Barbecue Sauce will take your Pulled Pork to the next level

My homemade BBQ Sauce recipe is an intoxicating blend of sweet, tangy, spicy, smoky and ready in less than 20 minutes – 15 of those minutes are hands-off simmering!  You can whip it up weeks in advance so it doesn’t require any extra time when making the Pulled Pork and I promise it is worthy every second of the 15 minutes!  

The homemade barbecue sauce is made by simmering simple pantry staples of ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, seasonings and my secret ingredient of blackberry preserves to create the best barbecue sauce you ever tasted! 

So, while it’s easier and more convenient to squeeze a bunch of store-bought barbecue sauce, I promise the homemade BBQ Sauce will make your BBQ Pulled Pork recipe 1000X better!

BARBECUE SAUCE INGREDIENTS

This homemade BBQ Sauce recipe comes together very quickly with just a handful of ingredients. You will need (measurements included in the full recipe below):

  • Ketchup. 2 cups of your favorite ketchup will be the base in this barbecue sauce recipe. Look for organic ketchup or one that isn’t sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup if possible.
  • Apple cider vinegar:  adds the balancing tang to offset the sweetness.
  • Molasses:  adds rich, thick smoky-sweet undertones and is a BBQ Sauce must!  Make sure you are using unsulfured molasses and NOT blackstrap molasses.  Unsulfured molasses is the finest quality and only a small amount of sugar has been removed from the first boiling (sugar content around 70%).  Blackstrap, on the other hand, has been boiled further resulting in a thick, bitter, salty sludge with a sugar content of only 45%.   Blackstrap molasses is never an acceptable substitute for true molasses.
  • Brown Sugar:  sweetens the sauce and helps deepen the molasses flavor. This BBQ Sauce recipe is on the sweeter side like Sweet Baby Rays.  If you would like less sweet barbecue sauce, simply use less sugar.  You can always add more to taste at the end of simmering. 
  • Liquid smoke:   imparts a wonderfully smoky flavor that elevates the BBQ Sauce to another realm.  Plus, you already need it for the Pulled Pork recipe!
  • Seasonings: smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, ground chipotle pepper, onion powder, ground mustard, dried thyme, salt, and pepper infuse the barbecue sauce with classic flavor with hints of smokiness and heat.  You can use more or less chipotle chili powder depending on how spicy you like it.

Barbecue sauce substitutions

  • Cherry Coke:  The closest to Cherry Coke is Dr. Pepper, otherwise regular coke will also work.
  • Blackberry preserves:  If you can’t find blackberry preserves, I’ve had readers comment they have also used strawberry preserves, raspberry preserves, fig preserves, mango preserves and apple jam with success. 
  • Sugar:  You can use any brown sugar you have on hand – light, medium or dark, but be aware that anything other than light will add stronger molasses tones.  You can use honey or maple if that’s all you have on hand. You can also use a blend of sweeteners.
  • Chipotle powder:  If you don’t have chipotle chili powder, then you can add a pinch-¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.   You will need much less because cayenne pepper is much spicier.  In the future, I suggest you keep chipotle chili powder stocked – it adds a sublime smoky heat.

How to make Crock Pot Pulled Pork

BBQ Pulled Pork is the epitome of a minimal prep and maximum flavor recipe!  Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, it’s a simple season, sear and cook until fall-apart tender. While the pork is cooking, I whip up an easy batch of barbecue sauce. Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Braising liquid. Combine the Coke, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, orange zest and green chilies in a lightly greased slow cooker; set aside.   You want to prep these ingredients first so you can transfer the pork directly to the crockpot after searing.
showing how to make BBQ pulled pork by adding braising liquid to the slow cooker
  • Step 2:  Spice rub the pork.  Whisk all the seasonings together in a small bowl.  Lightly drizzle the pork with vegetable oil, then rub it on the top and sides of the pork, then coat all over with seasonings, pressing to adhere.  Flip the pork over, drizzle oil over the top and finish rubbing in the spices.
showing how to make BBQ pulled pork by rubbing spices all over the pork

  • Step 3:   Sear the pork.  Wait until the vegetable oil is smoking hot before you add the pork.  I find two forks the easiest to rotate the pork to sear it on all sides.
showing how to make BBQ pulled pork by searing pork butt in a cast iron skillet
  • Step 4:  Cook the pork until fall apart tender.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours or on LOW for 8 to 12 hours OR until the pork easily shreds with a fork. Make sure to check the pork at the early part of the cooking window and continue to cook if needed.
showing how to make BBQ pulled pork by cooking pork in a slow cooker until tender
  • Step 5:  Shred and braise.   You can either shred the pork directly in the crockpot or it’s a little easier to remove any excess fat by shredding it on a cutting board.  Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker and allow to cook for 20 minutes on LOW to soak up the juices. 
showing how to make BBQ pulled pork by shredding pork in the crockpot
  • Step 6:  Add barbecue sauce.  Add the pork to a colander over a large bowl and strain all but about ½ cup broth from the pork.  Return the pork to the slow cooker/pot and stir in the desired amount of barbecue sauce.  Serve on sandwiches, pizza, sandwiches, etc. See lots of ideas below!
showing how to make pulled pork recipe by pouring barbecue sauce over the pulled pork and stirring to combine

Crockpot Pulled Pork Recipe variations

The most important (and best!) part of making BBQ Pulled Pork is how adaptable the homemade barbecue sauce is. Like a sweet sauce? Add more sugar.  Like a tangier sauce?  Add more vinegar.  Like a spicy BBQ Sauce? Add more chipotle.  Here’s how:

  • Make it sweeter:  add more brown sugar.  I suggest you simmer the sauce for 10 minutes, taste and add additional sugar at this time if desired (and not right off the bat); continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  
  • Make it tangier:  add additional apple cider vinegar at the end of simmering.
  • Make it smokier:  add additional liquid smoke, ½ teaspoon at a time.  
  • Make it spicier:  add additional chipotle chili powder for smoky heat or cayenne pepper for penetrating heat. 
  • Make the seasonings your own.  Like more garlic?  Use more garlic.  Like more mustard?  Use more mustard.   You can adjust all of the seasonings to suit your tastes and even add additional seasonings such as oregano or parsley.
  • Make it thicker:  simmer the sauce for upwards of 15 minutes until it reaches your desired consistency, however, it is already gorgeously thick after 15 minutes so I don’t think you’ll find this necessary. 
  • Make it gluten-free:  double check your ingredients to ensure they are gluten free.
  • Homemade Maple BBQ Sauce: substitute half of the brown sugar for pure maple syrup – not the breakfast imitation kind!  
  • Homemade Honey BBQ Sauce: substitute the brown sugar for honey.    
showing how to serve BBQ Pulled Pork recipe by picking up the shredded pork with tongs

How to serve Crock Pot Pulled Pork

This Pulled Pork recipe is extremely versatile and can be served a number of ways – what’s your favorite?  Here are just a few ideas: 

  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches:  Stuff brioche buns with pulled pork, coleslaw and optional toppings such as fried onions, pickles, etc. 
  • Pulled Pork Pizza:  Use my barbecue chicken pizza recipe as a guide.  Top homemade or store-bought uncooked pizza dough with ⅓ cup barbecue sauce, followed with desired amount of Pulled Pork, 1 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese (low moisture), 1 cup shredded smoked Gouda and ¼ thinly sliced red onion.  Bake at 475 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.
  • Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese:  Stir leftover Pulled Pork into your favorite Stovetop Mac and Cheese or Baked Mac and Cheese.
  • Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese:   Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on each side of each slice of bread, then top half of the bread with cheese, then Pulled Pork and then another layer of cheese.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 sandwiches, cover, and grill until the bottom of the bread is toasted, about 5-7 minutes and the cheese starts to melt, checking often to see that the bread is cooking nicely and doesn’t burn. Flip and continue to cook, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and the bottom bread is toasted.
  • Pulled Pork Hash: Use this recipe as a guide and swap in the Pulled Pork. 
  • Pulled Pork Baked Potatoes:  Poke holes in washed, dried potatoes. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and lightly brush with oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender and the skin is crispy.  Slice open the potatoes, top with BBQ Pulled Pork and cheddar then place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. Top with sour cream, green onions, etc.
  • Pulled Pork Baked Tacos:  Line stand-up taco shells in a 9×13 baking dish.  Sprinkle some cheese on the bottom of each taco shell and bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes (baking crisps up the shells and the cheese prevents the shell from becoming soggy). Add the BBQ Pulled Pork, top with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-18 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.  Top with your favorite toppings such as lettuce, pico de galloblack bean corn salsaavocado corn salsa, etc.
  • Pulled Pork Nachos:  Pile thick restaurant style tortilla chips with cheese and beans and bake until the cheese is melted or use homemade queso.  Top with BBQ Pulled Pork and toppings such as jalapenos, pineapple salsa and guacamole.
  • Pulled Pork Fries:  Similar to pork nachos but with French Fries!  Pile French fries with cheese and bake or smother in queso or store-bought nacho sauce. Top with BBQ Pulled Pork and toppings such as jalapenos and guacamole.
  • Pulled Pork Taquitos:  Combine 3 cups pork with 2 ounces softened cream cheese, ¼ cup sour cream and 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese.  Add a heaping ¼ cup pork mixture to each flour tortilla and roll up tightly. Place filled tortillas seam side down on a baking sheet. Lightly brush each tortilla with olive oil and bake at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until golden or pan fry until crispy.
  • Pulled Pork Burrito Bowls:  Pile cilantro lime rice with shredded pork, black beans, corn, cabbage, chopped pineapple or pineapple salsa etc. and your favorite creamy topping such as sour cream/Greek yogurt or I highly recommend either Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
  • Pulled Pork Quesadillas: Sandwich pork, cheese and optional black beans in between two flour tortillas and toast in a skillet to golden, cheesy perfection. Serve with pineapple salsa, mango salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo and/or avocada crema.
  • Pulled Pork Burritos:  Layer a burrito size tortilla with cilantro lime rice, black beans, pork, cheese, guacamole, pineapple salsa and lettuce. 

showing how to serve BBQ pulled pork by making BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw and fried onion rings

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showing how to make BBQ pulled pork sandwiches by topping buns with pulled pork, with coleslaw and fried onion rings

Crockpot Pulled Pork

This Pulled Pork Sandwich recipe is fall apart tender, tangy, sweet and smoky with the perfect kick, smothered in the best homemade barbecue sauce- and so easy in the slow cooker, instant pot or oven!  Top them off with creamy, crunchy, light coleslaw and crispy fried onion rings and you’re in for the best BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches EVER.  This recipe is simple to make, easily customizable and a brilliant standby for meal prep, large gatherings or freezer meals.  Serve them up with strawberry broccoli salad, bacon ranch potato salad or Italian pasta salad for everyone’s favorite summer meal!
Servings: 12 -15 servings
Total Time: 9 hours 25 minutes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours

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Ingredients

FOR THE PORK

  • 4-6 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston Butt roast)
  • 1 12 oz. can Cherry Coke (1 ½ cups)
  • 2 4 oz. cans mild diced green chilies
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 TBS EACH garlic powder, chili powder, salt
  • 2 tsps EACH onion powder, smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp EACH pepper, ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • vegetable oil

ADD LATER

FOR THE SANDWICHES

FOR THE FRIED ONION RINGS (Optional)

Instructions

PORK

  • Lightly spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the Coke through the orange zest in the slow cooker; set aside.
  • Whisk all the seasonings together in a small bowl (garlic powder through cayenne pepper). Lightly coat pork with vegetable oil, then rub seasonings all over the pork.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Using tongs or 2 forks, sear pork on all sides until lightly browned. Place pork in prepared slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 8-12 hours or on HIGH for 4-6 hours, UNTIL the pork is very tender. (Check pork at early end of cooking window and add more time as needed). Use this time to prep toppings such as coleslaw and onion strings.
  • Remove pork to a cutting board and shred – don’t discard slow cooker juices. Return shredded pork to the slow cooker and cook for 20 minutes on LOW to soak up the juices.
  • Strain all but about ½ cup broth from the pork. Stir in the desired amount of barbecue sauce until evenly coated, adding more or less as desired. Taste and add hot sauce/salt/pepper/brown sugar to taste.

COLESLAW

  • Prepare Coleslaw according to recipe directions. Don't make the coleslaw too sweet if your barbecue sauce is on the sweeter side. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, best if 1-2 hours after combining. If making ahead, keep dressing and vegetables separate and then combine a little before serving.

FRIED ONION STRINGS

  • Whisk buttermilk and egg together. Add onions to a shallow baking dish and pour buttermilk/egg mixture over top. Press the onions down so they're submerged as much as possible. Let them soak at room temperature for 15 minutes up to an hour, stirring and pushing down occasionally. Cover and refrigerate if soaking longer.
  • When ready to fry onions, fill a heavy duty fry pot (this is the exact one I use) or large Dutch oven with approximately 2 inches of oil. Heat to 375 degrees F.
  • While heating, combine flour, panko, salt and pepper in a large bowl; set aside. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels; set aside.
  • Test the oil with a small pinch of panko; if it bubbles and fries, then it is hot enough. If it turns black right a way, it is too hot. Using tongs, transfer a handful of onions from the buttermilk to the flour/panko mixture. Toss to coat, pressing to adhere, shake off any excess flour, then carefully transfer to the hot oil. (The coating will be thin but will crisp up.)
  • Fry onions until lightly golden brown (just 1-2 minutes), watch closely! – they will continue to darken after they're removed from the oil. Remove fried onions with a spider fry strainer or fine mesh sieve to paper towels. Repeat with the remaining onion slices.

TOAST BUNS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Working in batches as needed, line top and bottom buns on a baking sheet, cut side up. Bake until warmed and lightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Don’t over bake or they can become dry – we don’t want croutons!

Assemble

  • When ready to eat, pile toasted buns with pulled pork, coleslaw, fried onion rings and/or any desired toppings. Dig in!

Video

Notes

Tips

  • Cherry Coke:  Use regular Cherry Coke, NOT diet!  Dr. Pepper is the closest substitute for Cherry Coke.  The Coke not only adds flavor (contains flavoring approximates of dark spices like cinnamon, clove, allspice, cardamom, pipal, nutmeg, citrus zest, etc.) and caramelized sugar but is also highly acidic which balances the flavor and most importantly, tenderizes the meat.  Cola is such a great tenderizer because it typically has a pH of about 2.7—for comparison, lemon juice has a pH of 2—making it acidic enough to break down the tough proteins without dissolving your meat.
  • Liquid smoke: If you aren’t familiar with liquid smoke, it really is liquid smoke!  It is a very common ingredient and should be easy to find next to the barbecue sauces in your grocery store. You can use mesquite or hickory, but I prefer mesquite in this recipe.  
  • Pulled Pork in the Oven:   Cover and cook the pork roast at 325 degrees for about 6 hours or until very tender.  
  • Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot: Cut the pork into large chunks if needed to fit into the instant pot.  Cook on high pressure for 70-80 minutes (depending on size). Once time is up, let pressure release naturally for 25 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure and open. 
  • *DIY Buttermilk:  Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar to a 3 cup+ measuring cup.  Add enough milk to equal 2 cups.  Give it a stir then wait 10-15 minutes for it to curdle, then give it another stir before using.   If you only have 1% milk, then add a splash of heavy cream before filling the rest of the measuring cup with milk.

Make Ahead

  • BBQ Pulled Pork: Cook the pulled pork all the way through adding the barbecue sauce.  Transfer the pork to the refrigerator directly in the ceramic crockpot insert or Dutch oven. The next day, warm the pork in the crockpot on LOW for 1-2 hours or gently warm on the stove. Add a splash or additional barbecue sauce or water if it seems dry after it’s warmed through (it will release juices as it heats up).
  • BBQ Sauce: Transfer the cooled barbecue sauce to an air-tight container. Store for up to two weeks in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 3 months. 
  • Coleslaw: Homemade coleslaw will last about 3 to 4 days in the fridge, but is at peak freshness within the first few hours of combining.
    To make ahead further in advance, thinly slice the cabbage, shred the carrots, and slice the green onions. Store in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.  The dressing can be whisked together and refrigerated up to 5 days in advance. Combine when ready to use.
  • Onion Strings.  You can slice the onions a day ahead of time and refrigerate in an airtight bag if you aren’t ready to fry right away.  This will cut down on the onion prep significantly. For fried onions, let them cool COMPLETELY before transferring to an airtight container. Store onions at ROOM TEMPERATURE for up to three days.

HOW TO STORE 

  • Pulled pork: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The buns can be refrigerated or frozen to prolong their shelf life.  The pork can be frozen for up to three months. 
  • Onion Strings:  Let onions cool COMPLETELY before transferring to an airtight container. Store onions at ROOM TEMPERATURE for up to three days.
  • Coleslaw: Homemade coleslaw will last about 3 to 4 days in the fridge, but is at peak freshness within the first few hours of combining. The cabbage will soften over time and the dressing will become runnier. The carrots and red cabbage will also alter the color of the dressing the longer it sits.

To Reheat

  • To reheat in the microwave:  Warm the pork in the microwave for 1 minute then at 20 second intervals until warmed through.
  • To reheat on the stove:  Rewarm the pork gently over medium-low heat, adding a splash of water if the pork seems a little dry after warmed through.
  • To reheat in the slow cooker:  Reheat in the slow cooker for 1-2 hours on low.

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110 Comments

  1. Nicole says

    I LOVE ALL YOUR RECIPES!!! I can’t wait to try this one!! What BBQ sauce(s) do you use or would you recommend?

    • Jen says

      Hi Nicole! I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you as I was out of the country for over a week without internet and am still catching up! First of all, THANK YOU for letting me know you love my recipes, that makes me so happy! As far as BBQ Sauces I like KC Masterpiece and Sweet Baby Rays. I actually used half and half for this recipe. Hope you love this recipe as well!

      • Nicole says

        Thanks so much!! (And don’t worry about the delay-it’s no problem at all!!). My fiancé and I literally have the same taste buds as you because we are IN LOVE with all of the recipes that we’ve tried of yours and I make a different one (or two) of yours a week! So thank you for all of your recipes! I feel like we are your biggest fans! Haha! 🙂

        I do have another question though… I tried making your breadsticks twice. The first time I don’t think the water was warm enough for the yeast so it didn’t work. But I ended up using the seasoning on crescent rolls and it was amazing! But the second time I ran into a similar problem as the first, that the dough was so sticky I couldn’t work with it at all and couldn’t roll it into breadsticks. I ended up making them anyways and they looked like blobs… But they were delicious blobs lol!! I would love to keep making them but Do you know what I’m doing wrong? I don’t have a stand mixer so I was doing it by hand… Maybe that’s the problem? Or do I need more flour? I greased my hands and that didn’t help either. I do live in AZ so maybe it’s the weather and water 🙁
        (Sorry for the long comment/question)

        • Jen says

          Hi Nicole, so nice to meet my biggest fans!!! 🙂 As far as my breadsticks go, I am sorry you are having problems. If you are kneading by hand, it will require a good 6+ minutes of kneading.
          At first the dough will be really sticky and difficult to gather but as you work with it and incorporate the flour, it should become less sticky. If the dough doesn’t seem to be losing its stickiness, sprinkle more flour over the top and work it into the dough. As soon as your dough is smooth and it bounces back when you press a finger into it, you’ve added enough. Thats all I can think to tell you – just keep adding flour. I hope you can get them to turn out!

          • Nicole says

            Thanks for the tips!!! I’m determined to make these work because they were so good!
            I’m not giving up!! And I’m hoping to be able to get a stand mixer because I’ve always wanted one! Then I can make these amazing recipes with a little more ease! 🙂

  2. Dwayne says

    Made this for dinner last Sunday. It was great I like how the green chili’s add a little kick. All of your recipes look and sound great. Can’t wait to try more! I am taking my nieces and nephews on vacation soon and am thinking they might like to wake up to your angle food cake French toast for breakfast one morning. I will let you know how it goes.

    • Jen says

      Hi Dwayne, so happy you enjoyed the pork and excited for you to try more recipes – thank you! I love a sweet and spicy kick – kind of my favorite flavor combo ever 🙂 Your nieces and nephews would love you forever if you make the angel food cake French toast for breakfast! – so fun! Thanks for taking time to comment and welcome to Carlsbad Cravings!

  3. Amy @ Chew Out Loud says

    Jen, thanks for that BBQ glory right now! Where I’m at, it’s gloomy April rain and (gasp) maybe snow (please no)… I am SO ready for some BBQ! Love all your slow cooker inspiration right along with it. Good timing. And I’m officially growling in the tummy 🙂

    • Jen says

      Hi Amy! I hope it brightens up soon where you are! Thank you so much for reaching out so I could discover your blog – your photos are stunning and I am loving your recipes! Can’t wait to try that carnita bowl! I am now following you everywhere 🙂

  4. Victor J. says

    Wow that BBQ chicken chile looks insane. I came here to find a pulled pork recipe, but thanks to you, I’ve got some new ideas that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Hi Victor, welcome to Carlsbad Cravings! I am so glad you are finding more recipes to try! I hope you love them!

  5. Cat says

    I’m not much of a pop drinker …. not actually sure we have cherry coke here – can I use regular coke? Or Dr. Pepper? I’m also wondering if you could use something else other than pop, too. I take it Diet Drinks don’t work? Why not?

    Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Hi Cat, you can certainly use regular Coke or Dr. Pepper but you are right Diet doesn’t work because the artificial sweeteners break down with the heat into something not very appetizing… Best of luck!

  6. Diane says

    Oh my goodness this is sooooo good!!! I made it with boneless chicken breasts and thighs instead of the pork and everyone loved it!!! Thank you for a great recipe! It’s definitely a keeper!

    • Jen says

      Hi Diane, I am thrilled you loved it and that it was so delish with chicken – I am going to have to try that soon! Thanks so much!

  7. Jen says

    Hi there! So excited to try this! Do you know if Cherry Pepsi will work instead of Cherry coke? My husband bought the wrong one!

    • Jen says

      Hi Jen, I haven’t tried it with Cherry Pepsi but I am sure it will still taste great! Let me know how it turns out – enjoy!

  8. Kara says

    This pork is AWESOME! I used a four pound roast (it’s what I had)…doubled the other ingredients and cooked on low for 8 hours. It was perfect! Thanks so much for another scrumptious recipe!!!! 5+ Stars!!!

    • Jen says

      5+ stars – wahoo! Thank you so much Kara and thanks for sharing that it works so well doubling the recipe! Love your comments!

  9. Raya says

    I’m a college student and just received my first slow cooker for Christmas this year. I think this will have to be the first recipe I try, because it looks amazing!

    • Jen says

      That is so nice of you Raya! I am excited for you and your new slow cooker – they are so easy and deliver such delicious food! Hope you love this recipe!

  10. Mr_Mojo_Risin says

    Fantastic Flavor!!! I’ve used this recipe 3 times now. Dr. Pepper is my favorite drink and is the best substitute for Cherry Coke. It’s tough to try and top this pulled pork recipe, especially when using Kings Hawaiian rolls.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much, I am thrilled you love this so much and have made it so many times! Thanks also for the tip on using Dr. Pepper as a substitute!

  11. roxy says

    is there anything else i can use besides coke

    • Jen says

      Hi Roxy, you can use Root Beer of Pepsi 🙂

  12. Sara says

    I love it!! I’ve cooked it so many times and everyone loves it. I love the taste and how easy it is to cook for a biggish group of people. I always use the leftovers on homemade pizza!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Sara! And the leftovers on homemade pizza sounds absolutely divine!

  13. Simona says

    Hi, there. I can’t find any canned chillies here in Italy. Only diced chillies in a jar, but they are immersed in a liquid (a mixture of water and vinegar). Will they do? Or do I need to adjust the recipe somehow?
    Btw: finding a cherry cola was tough, too… yet I made it. It’s an expensive imported “exotic item” here, so I guess next time I’ll go for a regular coke.

    • Jen says

      Hi Simona, I think the diced chilies in the jar should be just fine as long as they are hatch chilies – I would just be sure to drain them off the liquid first. And I am so sorry about the Cherry Cola! I agree, regular Coke will work next time! I hope you enjoy this recipe all the way from Italy!

      • Simona says

        This recipe is awesome. Reading the ingredient list I was quite skeptical, but the outcome was sooooo good. I had to prepare it two times in a week, to satisfy my friends’ requests. Pulled pork has always been a favourite, I’m so glad I can cook it on my own now. THANK YOU.

        • Jen says

          You are so welcome Simona, I’m thrilled you love this recipe!

  14. Rachel says

    Delicious! I added some of the sauce from the slow cooker to the shredded pork before the bbq sauce. And I didn’t think it needed much more than half a cup of bbq sauce, either. I wish I had known about not using pop with artificial sweeteners before I cooked this though. I used Cherry Coke Zero, which uses aspartame, so now I’m wondering if it could have turned out even better!

    • Jen says

      Hi Rachel, I’m so glad you loved it! And I’ll add a note about the artificial sweeteners in the recipe. It’s not something I’ve personally tried but have researched. Glad it was still a hit!

  15. Renate says

    I just got a slow cooker and this sound like a great recipe to start with. However what is liquid smoke?

    • Jen says

      Hi Renate, I am excited for your new slow cooker adventures! Liquid smoke adds a wonderfully smokey flavor and can be found by the barbecue sauces at your grocery store.

  16. Simona from Italy says

    Dear Jen,
    I need to cook a slightly larger chunk of meat, of course within the available volume inside the slow cooker (I have a 6 quart one, so I think it should handle it fine). Say, up to three pounds of pork. Do I need to proportionally increase the other ingredients? Will 10 hours on low still be OK, in your opinion?

    • Jen says

      Hi Simona, I would just do “heaping” amounts of the ingredients but otherwise I on’t think you need to increase the ingredients. I also think 10 hours should still be fine. If it’s missing a little something after it’s cooked then you can add dashes of seasoning. I hope this helps!

      • Simona from Italy says

        Thank you, Jen. You confirm my hypothesis, as I do think that the liquid part with seasonings does not need to proportionally increase. In the closed environment of the cooker, vapours and flavours should work just fine if they reach the proper level around the meat.
        I’ll just try. I have to cook two batches, in order to feed 18 hungry colleagues, and I’m sure they’ll love your recipe as I do.

        • Jen says

          I hope it is a huge hit Simona! You are so great to cook for your coworkers!

  17. Heather Gallagher says

    Hello! Thank you for all of the wonderful recipes. A lot of people think I’m a good cook, but it’s actually because I use a number of your recipes. Do you think this recipe could be altered to use an instant pot, in order to reduce the cooking time? If so, what would you suggest?

    • Jen says

      Thank you for your kind words Heather! I’m so happy you are enjoying my recipes! I am sure this could be made in an instant pot but unfortunately I don’t have one so I can’t help you with that – sorry!

  18. Jeanette says

    Do you use any kind of dressing for the broccoli slaw?

  19. Stephanie says

    Hi Jen! I was just curious what is the purpose of the cherry coke? I don’t typically cook with things like that so I’m wondering what my pork would be lacking if I skipped it or if I should just suck it up and add it?

    • Jen says

      Hi Stephanie! It not only adds flavor (contain flavoring approximates that were once derived from dark spices like: cinnamon, clove, allspice, cardamom, pipal, nutmeg, citrus zest, etc) and caramelized sugar but also contains a lot of acid which provides flavor balance and most importantly tenderizes the meat.

  20. sarah says

    What size slow cooker is being used for this dish? I have a 4.5 quart, smaller than most, trying to make the proper adjustments to serving size.

    • Jen says

      I used a 6 qt slow cooker. Best!

  21. Shante says

    Hi I was wondering if the pork you used was frozen or fresh?

    • Jen says

      Hi Shante, you should always start with thawed, fresh pork or other proteins in recipes unless it specifically says otherwise. Enjoy!

    • Tina says

      My grocery store only had a 5.15 pound pork shoulder boston butt roast. there is a bone in it. Can I use this recipe? Do I need to double the ingredients? Do I need to lengthen the cooking time. Is there a temperature to know when the pork is done?

      • Jen says

        Hi Tina, yes you can use that pork shoulder instead and yes I would double the ingredients. The cook time will be longer by 1-2 hours. The pork is done when it easily shreds, this is usually around 185 degrees F. Good luck!

  22. Simona Righini says

    Many months after my first attempt at this tecipe, it is the one that relatives, friends and colleagues keep asking for. Super delicious, and so effortless. THANK YOU. Hope you are well.

    • Jen says

      I love hearing that, thank you so much Simona!

  23. Kristi says

    I didn’t have cherry Coke so I just added Cook. Do you think that will work?

    • Jen says

      Yes, it will still be delicious and tenderize the meat. Enjoy!

  24. Teri Rosa says

    Can you recommend a bbq sauce? I seem to struggle to find a good one. I like sweet tangy.

    • Jen says

      Hi Teri, for sweet we like Sweet Baby Rays. I also have a killer homemade barbecue recipe coming soon!

      • Jennifer says

        I’ve made your barbecue sauce and OMG, it’s AMAZING! And so easy to throw together!

        • Jen says

          Thank you Jennifer! I love hearing it’s such a hit!

  25. Cindy says

    Good grief this is crazy good and it’s not even halfway done cooking yet! I haven’t even gotten to the part where you add the BBQ sauce!

    • Jen says

      That is awesome Cindy, I hope it was even better with the BBQ sauce!

  26. KB says

    Having a bbq tomorrow and want to prep it all today. Would it be ok to put it all in crockpot today to marinate and when just turn it on tomorrow? Or would the marinade mess it up?

  27. jenny says

    hi I was wanting to make this serve 15. Can you please clarify the amount of brown sugar needed. A serving of 4 is 2/9 cup brown sugar. when I change it to a serving size of 15 it is 5/6 cup brown sugar. Is that 5 to 6 cups of brown sugar? And I’m sorry but I’m not sure what the 2/9 amount is? if you wouldn’t mind clarifying this that would be great. Thankyou.
    I think your recipes are sensational by the way…. they taste soooo good.

    • Jen says

      Hi Jenny! It is referring to fractions of a cup. 1/3 cup brown sugar is needed for 6 servings and 15 servings is just over double – so it is 5/6ths of a cup or 83% of one cup. You could use a heaping 3/4 up and add additional sugar to taste at the end if needed. I hope that helps!

    • Diane says

      I made this 2 days ago and my family went wild! I heard more than once that it was the I had ever made. I ended up using a boneless pork and one with the bone to add up and it all worked so well. Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe; you never let me down!

      • Jen says

        Awesome Diane, I’m thrilled this recipe was a huge hit! Thank you for making my day!

  28. Debi says

    I made this as sliders, along with the bacon broccoli slaw for a work party for about 30 people. It was AWESOME! Everyone loved them. I used 17 lbs of pork butt and multiplied the recipe x8 (though I would cut that in half if I were to make that big of a batch again. I had a lot of leftover liquid that I didn’t even use in the cooking.) Only changes I made were that I used less of the sweet baby rays (and had some on the side if people wanted it) and I used cabbage in the slaw instead of broccoli, and a little more mayo and dijon to cut the tang slightly and added sliced green onion. I made half of the recipe in the instant pot and half in a slow cooker, then mixed them together. I think I liked the slow cooker results better as the instant pot broke down the meat too much. This is about the 15-20th recipe that I’ve made of yours and EVERY one has been a winner! I don’t know how you do it, but please keep doing it!!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Debi, thank you so much for your awesome comment! I’m thrilled these BBQ Pork Sliders were such a hit. You’re a champ to take on such a huge job of 17 lbs of pork – bravo! Thank you for making my recipes and for taking the time to comment – I’m honored they have all been winners! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! xo

  29. Cindy says

    Do you think this could be made ahead and frozen? If so, what do think think would be the best way to reheat and would you wait to add the barbecue sauce?

    • Jen says

      Hi Cindy, I would freeze it with the sauce, defrost in the refrigerator completely then you can reheat on the stove or in the crockpot on low for 2 hours or so.

  30. Therese says

    HI Jen, I only have a Boneless Pork loin on hand. would it work for this recipe? With meat being limited and prices high i’m trying to use what I have. Definitely going to use your AMAZING homemade BBQ sauce. I make batches and freeze it. It’s our permanent go to for BBQ sauce!!

    • Jen says

      I definitely understand using what you have on hand! Pork loin will work – it is not as juicy when shredded but with the barbecue sauce I still think it will taste great.

  31. Brian says

    Your recipes are AWESOME. I have a bone-in shoulder. Will the soda do weird things or is that a viable sustitute?

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Brian! The soda will still be great. Enjoy!

  32. Grace says

    This is hands down the BEST pulled pork I ever had. I did make 3 minor changes reduced the amount of liquid smoke, reduced the red pepper flakes and slightly reduced the sugar, these changes are my preference and absolutely had nothing to do with the pulled pork!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Grace, I’m so pleased you loved it!

  33. Heather says

    I’ve made this once so far and we loved it, (we knew we would, all of your recipes have been keepers in this house). I was curious though… I made you BBQ chicken with the homemade sauce. would that homemade sauce be good in this recipe?

    • Jen says

      Thank you Heather and YES! I posted this recipe my firs year of blogging and hadn’t posted my homemade barbecue sauce yet – I think it would be amazing with it!

  34. Erica says

    My boyfriend is a pulled pork fiend and we have been trying like crazy to recreate his favorite bar’s pulled pork at home, especially during a pandemic. This was so good and the closest we have gotten yet. Juicy and full of flavor. I also marinated the pork in everything except for the barbecue sauce over night and wow! Thank you so much.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for the awesome review Erica! I’m thrilled this came close to your favorite BBQ place!

  35. Marian says

    Hi Jen, I made this recipe yesterday, for dinner tonight. Deeeelicious. We are in Texas, so anything BBQ bodes well for my hubby. I also made your BBQ sauce. Both recipes are awesome.

    On a humorous note, I had all the ingredients in place and as we are moving house in a month, it suddenly dawned on me that I had already packed up and stored my two slow cookers. Emergency!!!!

    I set the oven to 300°, popped the pork butt with all of the additional ingredients into the oven and covered with foil. Removed it after 6 hours. IT WAS PERFECT. You rock.

    I have made so many of your recipes, and wanted to finally let you know how much you’re appreciated for your culinary gift.

    Wishing you well, every single day.
    Marian

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for your kind words Marian, I’m honored you’re enjoying my recipes! Your comment on this BBQ recipe is high praise coming from a Texan! I’m so pleased you were able to make it in the oven and it turned amazing. Thanks again for following along!

  36. Stefani says

    In case this is helpful to others:

    Just made this recipe in the pressure cooker with great results. I doubled the recipe, put it on high for 80 minutes, and it turned out perfectly! 🙂

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for sharing Stefani!

  37. Belinda says

    Hi, Do you think I could do this in the instapot?

      • Belinda says

        Any recommendations how long and what setting? Thx

        • Jen says

          Sear the pork, then close the lid and set to sealing. Cook on manual high pressure for 40 minutes. Once the cooking time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release. Good luck!

  38. Michelle Silveri says

    Do you recommend using boneless pork and pork with bone to make this dish?
    I have purchased Bone sun Shoulder Picnic Roast and thought of making pulled pork…actually craving it!!

    • Jen says

      I usually boneless because it’s so easy to shred, but either will absolutely work!

  39. Teri Giese says

    SOOOO happy you posted this!Craving this ALL summer!And since it is your recipe?I KNOW it will be absolutely BOMB!!!!Much love to you and your fam!!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Teri, I’m excited for you to try it! Much love to you and yours as well!

  40. Fern says

    Do you have a recipe for the slaw in the picture on top of the pulled pork sandwich? Every recipe of yours that I have tried (and that’s a lot!) has been soooo good!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Fern! The slaw recipe is coming soon!

  41. Dave says

    I made this in the oven and it turned out great, onl needed about 4 hours at 325. After it’s done cooking, I like to lay the pork out on a sheet pan and put it under the broiler for 5 minutes in order to crisp it up. If you have BBQ sauce with a higher sugar content, do this before saucing.

    • Jen says

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed it Dave! Great tip on crisping up the pork, thank you!

  42. Carole C says

    *****
    Made this recipe for dinner party with friends. It was a big hit! The porc was moist and had just the right amount of smokiness. The BBQ sauce is amazing. It has that dark colour that good BBQ sauce has and just the right amount of sweetness. I used ciabatta buns so the sandwiches wouldn’t fall apart. Everyone raved about the pulled porc sandwiches. I will serve them again.

    • Jen says

      Yay! Thank you so much, Carole, I’m thrilled this was such a hit with everyone! I am so happy this recipe will be a repeat!

  43. Jill says

    Hey! I made this recipe years ago and it was a hit so I’m at it again. This time, however, I was only able to find bone-in pork shoulder butt. Will this alter the cook time?

    • Jen says

      Hi Jill, bone-in will cook more slowly because there is more connective tissue, but I would still check it per recipe and cook on as needed. Enjoy!

  44. Jenny says

    I’m looking for the original pulled pork recipe. Is there a link to that?

    • Jen says

      This recipe replaced it as the new and improved! I don’t have the other one, but I hope you like this even more!

  45. Lisa says

    I need some help. I’ve never cooked Boston pork but before. Never made pulled pork. The butcher said he would get me 6 lbs. He did, however it says rolled and is wrapped in twine. I don’t understand. Do I take the twine off, then season and sear? Do I do everything with twine on? Is it supposed to cook with twine? Making tomorrow morning so hoping I could get advice. It would be greatly appreciated!

    • Jen says

      Hi Lisa, I’m not sure why it came in twine, it’s not a common practice for this cut of meat. I would remove the twine, season and sear. If the twine is holding its shape, it won’t be a problem because it’s slow cooking and being shred anyway. Hope this helps!

      • Lisa says

        Thank you Jen. I appreciate your quick response. You saved the day! I want to thank you also for your site as I believe it to be the best site for no fail amazing recipes. I don’t know anyone else who masters seasonings like you. My coworkers beg for your slow cooker Mexican chicken. I think God gave you a gift and you are blessIng others with it. Praise God for that.

        • Jen says

          Thank you so much for this sweet review! I am so glad that you are loving the recipes! Hope you are well!

  46. Alicia says

    I like to serve pulled pork on a thick slice of a cornbread loaf as an open face sandwich. Then pile on the coleslaw. The sauce soaks into the cornbread – so yummy.

    • Jen says

      Yum, I’ve never tried that! Sounds amazing!