Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork

Slow cooker + pork loin worked out pretty darn well.

autumn, barbecue, easy slow cooker meals, pork, pork slow cooker dinner, Pulled Pork, sandwich, slow cooker, slow cooker pork, slow cooker pulled pork
Serves 8 to 10
Serving Size: 8

It’s 8:00 a.m.  We leave for South Africa tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. Normal people would be packing now, maybe refilling prescriptions, suspending newspaper subscriptions.  That is what normal people would be doing.

I am making pulled pork.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork

Because I had a pork loin in the fridge, and there was no way in hell I was tossing that baby out. Freeze it?  Reasonable thought.  But there were actually two pork loins in the fridge (don’t ask), so one got frozen, and the other was to become dinner.  Also, I had already brined it earlier in the week.  And after all, one last home cooked meal for two weeks seemed like the right thing to do.

I know.   We all try to consider these deprssion era-esque impulses part of my charm.

I was getting ready to roast it, and then a package of hamburger buns revealed themselves, and after that all I could think about was pulled pork. But pork loin is a much more lean cut of pork that the shoulder or butt usually used for pulled pork or carnitas, so I figured maybe the slow cooker could help work some magic, and if the meat – which would be already more tender from the brining process (see Notes) — was cooked in the barbecue sauce itself, in a low and slow environment it would become as tender as a fattier cut of meat.

While the pork was doing its thing we ran around packing and doing last minute errands, and pretty much yelling at each other —  I hope my household isn’t the only one that feels like it’s going to erupt into flames before a big trip.

If you ask my kids, I’m not right that much at all.  In fact, it’s more like a lunar eclipse, the frequency of my rightness. But my little peanut gallery conceded that this time, I got it right.

P.S. Use jarred barbecue sauce if you want it make it stupidly easy.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork


For the Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard mustard
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Kosher or coarse salt to taste
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

For the Pork

  • 1 3-pound pork loin, brined (see Notes), and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 6 to 8 hamburger rolls to serve
  • Salsa of your choice to serve (we had fresh tomato salsa and a mixed tropical fruit salsa)

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the ketchup, water, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, onion powder, chili powder, pepper, salt, cloves, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently, so the flavors meld nicely.

2. Place the pork in the slow cooker, and add the carrots, onion and garlic, then pour in 1 ½ cups of the sauce and stir to combine. Cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours.

3. Take two fork and use them to pull apart the meat right in the cooking liquid.  This should be very, very easy.   Toss the meat so it gets well coated with the sauce and juices.  Remove it with a slotted spoon.

4. Pile the meat on the buns and serve with the salsa of your choice.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwich

Brining Pork

In a large container add 1/2 cup salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons peppercorns. Add 1 cup of boiling or very hot water, and stir until the salt and sugar are mostly dissolved. Add another 6 or 7 cups of very cold water, maybe a few ice cubes. Place the pork in the brine, adding more water if necessary so that the pork is completely submerged, and refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours, but not longer or the pork may start to get mushy and too salty.

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4 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork”

  1. Mary says:

    So where are the “Notes”, …about the brining? Maybe there’s a Notes section on the web site? I’ll keep looking

  2. Margaret Rakas says:

    Please please add the Notes you refer to.. They are still missing! How long do I brine this baby??!! I HATE winging it with food for dinner!!!!

    1. Katie Workman says:

      Margaret, I don’t know why the brining info kept falling off! It’s on there now — sorry for the hiccup.

  3. Barbara says:

    Hmmm. No notes, no sides… little extra tidbits can be found on any your recipes. Is it because we readers are on our tablets? Haven’t all we kitchen kaptives discovered how lovely it is that we can take our recipes into our kitchen space now that we have extreme portability! Methinks it is time for the webmaster to rethink the code, most likely. Because everyone knows you have to take sides!

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