Slow-Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

IMG_4312This was a bit of an experiment. I wanted to see how little work I could actually do to make something so incredibly yummy. Seriously – the only thing you have to do is season a huge hunk of pork and toss it in the slow cooker with some garlic, onions and maybe some fennel if you’re feeling fancy. Cook on low for 10 hours, which to me is the perfect length of time for a slow-cooker recipe because that’s how long I am usually out of the house on a work day. What’s up with those 4-hour slow-cooker recipes? If I could slow-cook something in 4 hours, then I could real-cook that same thing in probably 30-45 minutes, which would probably be less work in the planning department. I digress. This pork is amazing and will be the only way I make pulled pork in the future. I served it on some whole wheat buns with some greek yogurt coleslaw on top. YUM.

Slow-Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
Just the Tip / Inspired by Chow

What I used:

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 (4 1/2- to 5-pound) pork shoulder
  • 1-2 cups barbecue sauce
  • Bulky rolls, coleslaw, corn bread, and baked beans recommended for serving.

What I did:

  1. Place the garlic, onion, and fennel (you could omit the fennel and use 2 onions instead) in the bottom of the slow cooker basin with the chicken broth.
  2. Mix together the brown sugar, chili powder, salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small dish. Put the pork on a work surface and sprinkle the seasoning blend over ever inch. Be loving.
  3. Set the pork on top of the onions, etc., and set to LOW for 10 hours. Once the meat is super tender, take a taste and season with salt as needed.
  4. Remove the pork and onions/fennel to a dish or cutting board. Drain the liquid to a fat separator or measuring cup and allow any fat to surface so you can scoop it off. Shred the meat and return to the slow cooker on warm setting. Pour in a little bit of the liquid (1/2 cup?) and the BBQ sauce and stir until you’ve reached your chosen level of sauciness. Taste again for seasoning and devour.


  • Don’t even worry about trimming the fat on the meat ahead of time. You can easily remove it after it’s been cooked before you shred the meat.
  • This is a very flexible recipe. It would probably be fine at 8 hours (might need to use 2 forks to shred, as opposed to the one fork I needed at the 10 hour mark) and probably even ok for 12 hours. This is seriously the best recipe.

3 thoughts on “Slow-Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

  1. I made this last night and it was so amazing! I had to use onions because my grocery store didn’t have fennel, but it was still awesome. And I agree with you on the coleslaw. So so good!

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