Slow cooker pulled pork sliders are the perfect comfort food meal, without all of the work! Pork is dry rubbed with spicy, smoky flavors, then cooked and topped with homemade BBQ sauce and creamy coleslaw.
I’m a California girl, therefore definitely not a barbecue expert by any means. A recent poll on my Facebook page about everyone’s favorite kind of BBQ sauce made me want to try a sauce that was a little bit different from the traditional bottled sauce. Every state, and even region, has different ideas about how to make pulled pork, and what sauce to serve it with.
For more research, I dug out my very old, (1997) copy of Cook’s Illustrated about how to make the best pulled pork. Cook’s gave one recipe for a spicy chili rub, and three, very different types of Carolina sauces. After sampling two, our family decided we prefer the Western South-Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce over the mustard sauce from Mid-South Carolina.
Heat oil in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, except ketchup.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then add ketchup.
Cook stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.
Mix bbq sauce with shredded pork and serve on buns.
The sauces are different, just a hundred miles apart. Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for pulled pork is meant for slow and low cooking over wood chips and charcoal.
Since I have a gas grill, and lack the patience for a 3-5 hour cooking time, I adapted this recipe to make it slow cooker pulled pork.
I used the rub, wrapping the pork tightly in plastic wrap to let the spices really work their magic on the pork. Anywhere from 3 to 72 hours is recommended. I settled somewhere in the middle with an over-night rest in the fridge. To cook the pork, I simply put the shoulder in the slow-cooker with 1 cup of my favorite IPA beer and left it alone for 8 hours.
Here’s the recipe to make the slow cooker pulled pork:
- 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground oregano
- 4 Tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground white pepper
- 1 bone-in pork roast 6 to 8 pounds, (shoulder or butt)
- 1 cup of good quality beer such as an IPA beer
Mix all 9 spices, from black pepper through white pepper in a small bowl. Lay pork shoulder on a large piece of plastic wrap and use rub to cover all sides of pork, massaging the rub into the meat. Seal tightly with two layers of wrap and refrigerate for 3 and up to 72 hours.
Remove roast from plastic wrap. Place roast in slow-cooker. Add beer and cover. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until pork is cooked through and pulls apart easily. Discard cooking liquid.
Let pork rest until cook enough to tear into thin shreds. Remove fat if desired.
Toss with BBQ sauce and serve on buns with cole slaw.
The slow cooker pulled pork recipe produces absolutely perfect pork! The slightly tangy and spicy BBQ sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the flavorful pork. Serve the sliders with this crispy, Creamy coleslaw for the right amount of crunch!