This one’s a true American classic! I love to make Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork when we have friends over as it’s a great meal to share. You can be assured that this recipe has been through the taste test and I think it’s pretty darn delicious!
The BBQ smokehouse style of food originated in the American deep south around a century ago and it’s had a real culinary resurgence in the last decade. It’s easy to understand why, the concept is all about producing really tender flavourful meat and serving it simply. It’s a perfect match for the slow cooker!
What kind of meat should I buy?
What’s great here is that the best result is from the cheaper, fattier cuts of meat, so you’re ideally looking at pork shoulder. The upper part is the prime cut for this recipe, and is referred to as ‘Boston Butt’ in the US.
Pork shoulder has lots of fat and sinew which will break down gradually over the slow cooking time and get juicier rather than dry out, which is exactly the result you want. I often just go straight for a 1.5-2 kg piece of boned, skinless pork shoulder from the supermarket for ease – although you’ll get a great result buying from your butcher too!
How do I get that authentic BBQ pit flavour?
Before you start digging that fire pit outside, check your spice cupboard! It’s really all about creating the best dry rub which will gradually infuse into the meat over the cooking time.
The meat should be skinless so the flavours really permeate and create that delicious dark glaze on the outer parts of the meat. I like these bits a little crispy too, so I usually do a last blast in the oven once the meat has finished cooking in the slow cooker. This is entirely optional and there’s more about that in the recipe details!
Can I freeze Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork?
Yes, if you make a large batch of this and want to store some for another time, it will freeze well for up to 3 months. Just portion it up after you have ‘pulled’ the meat and defrost and reheat thoroughly when you want to use it.
What should I serve with BBQ Pulled Pork?
There’s no right or wrong answer and I’ve served this in sweet soft brioche buns, wraps and even lightly toasted ciabatta bread! Always with pickled vegetables and coleslaw which add a bit of sharpness and crunch to contrast with the soft sweet meat.
On the side, I like to make a big jug of BBQ Sauce and some home made lightly Spiced Cajun Chips.
Is BBQ Pulled Pork gluten free?
Yes, with some tweaks. Follow the instructions in the recipe card.
How to make Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
- 1.5 kg pork shoulder
- 1 tbsp paprika – ground
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt – flakes
- ½ tsp black pepper – ground
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp muscavado sugar – dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce – (use Kikkoman Tamari if gluten free)
- 150 ml chicken stock
- 30 ml cider vinegar
- 30 ml apple juice
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion – white
- 2 garlic cloves – crushed
- In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients for the rub.
- Take the joint of pork and cut into large chunks (so that the meat can be placed down flat in the slow cooker). Now take the pieces of pork and add to the mixing bowl coating well in the rub.
- Roughly slice the onion and crush the garlic and put in the slow cooker then drizzle over the cooking oil. Add the chicken stock, cider vinegar, apple juice and bay leaves into the pot.
- Place the coated pieces of pork into the pot gently to ensure that as much of the rub stays on the meat and is not washed off by the stock. The meat should be submerged in the liquid. Replace the lid and cook on high for 6 hours.
- After the cooking time, the pork will be cooked through and the meat tender. Finish this in the oven by pouring the meat and stock into a large roasting tray and loosely covering with foil for 45 minutes at 160°c fan oven (180°c conventional) to create the crispy and smokey texture on the outside of the meat.
- Remove from the oven, the meat will be tender and fall apart when pulled and the stock mixture will have reduced and be caramelising. Place the pork in a separate bowl or tray and pull apart using two forks. Serve in a bun with pickles and thick cut cajun spiced chips!
Gluten FreeIf you’re cooking gluten free, substitute the following ingredients:
- Soy Sauce – Kikkoman Tamari is a good alternative
- Buns – use a gluten free alternative