This Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork recipe is perfect for anyone wanting to get the same delicious smokey barbecue taste without all the hard labor.
I might be born and raised in Texas, but unfortunately, I do not know the first thing about smoking or grilling barbecue. However, I do know a lot about cooking for a family and how easy it is to put food on the table by using a slow cooker. So if you are in the same shoes, this recipe is for you!
My Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork recipe is inspired by one of the best Texas barbecue pitmasters, Aaron Franklin. I start with a Texas-style dry rub then incorporate ingredients inspired by Franklin’s original barbecue sauce for my cooking liquid in the slow cooker.
The end result is a flavorful, smokey, tender, and juicy Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork that is easy and stress-free. There is no need to get up early and tend to the grill for all hours of the day. Just make the rub, smother it on the pork shoulder, add your cooking liquid, and press start on the slow cooker. Dinner will be ready before you know it!
What is Texas Barbecue?
Texas is well known for its mouthwatering, finger-licking, tender barbecue. Like most barbecue joints, pork and sausage are crowd favorites. However, the brisket is the real king of Texas barbecue.
The Lone Star State has four different types of barbecue – Central, South, East, and West. Every region has amazing Texas-style barbecue, but the term “Texas barbecue” typically refers to the Central Texas-style. Central Texas-style barbecue consists of cooking brisket low and slow over indirect heat.
Additionally, Texas barbecue meats – brisket, ribs, and pulled pork all start with a basic dry rub. A Texas-Style dry rub starts with equal parts of salt and pepper. Traditionally, you leave it at that, but nowadays you will find more barbecue pit masters incorporating more flavor to the dry rubs. With that said, as long as you start with equal parts of salt and pepper, your Texas-style barbecue is on the right track.
Lastly, Texas barbecue does not need sauce! But…. it is still commonly served on the side as an option. Also served with Texas barbecue are pickles, onions, and a slice of white bread.
What Makes it Texas Style Pulled Pork?
To make my pulled pork recipe authentic to Texas barbecue (without a grill or oven), I slow cook my meat and stay true to the Texas dry rub and no barbecue sauce. I smother the pork shoulder with a Texas-style dry rub. Add my liquid ingredients (NO BBQ SAUCE), then cook it low and slow in the crockpot until it is tender, juicy, and delicious.
Additionally, I still want to achieve a beautiful smokey flavor without cooking the pork shoulder over a pit with wood. To achieve that, I add a few dashes of liquid smoke.
There you have it, Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork.
Enjoying Texas Pulled Pork in Dallas
If you are visiting Dallas, Texas you MUST try barbecue at one of the many amazing BBQ joints. Of course, you need to order brisket, but as previously stated, another local-favorite is pulled pork. Whether you order 1/2 pound of pulled pork or a pulled pork sandwich, you will not be disappointed with the Texas-style.
As a born and raised Dallas, Texan I enjoy pulled pork at the award-winning restaurants, Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum, and Hutchins BBQ in McKinney and Frisco. Truthfully, there are plenty more great barbecue restaurants in Dallas, but these are two of my favorites.
List of Ingredients for Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork
Here is a list of ingredients needed to make Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork.
For the Meat
- Pork shoulder (or butt)
For the Texas-Style Dry Rub
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Cayenne pepper
For the Cooking Liquid
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Brown sugar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Ground mustard
- Black pepper
- Liquid smoke
How to Make Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork
Making Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork is SUPER EASY! The prep time takes only 10 minutes, then you program your slow cooker, walk away, and come back 8 hours later to serve your delicious meal.
The first step is to make the Texas dry rub. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
Before you apply the dry rub, cut any excess fat from the pork shoulder. Then smother the dry rub on all sides of the pork shoulder. Place the pork into the slow cooker.
In another bowl, mix together the minced garlic cloves, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, paprika, ground mustard, and liquid smoke. Pour the cooking liquid into the slow cooker.
Program the slow cooker to low heat and cook for 8 hours or until tender. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred it using a fork. That’s it!
Serve the Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork with hamburger buns, over nachos, on a baked potato, anything you want!
For the Meat
- 3 pounds pork shoulder (or butt)
For the Dry Rub
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Cooking Liquid
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- In a small bowl, mix the Texas dry rub ingredients together.
- Cut any excess fat from the pork shoulder. Apply the Texas dry rub on all sides of the pork shoulder. You do not need to use all of the dry rub - only use enough to cover the pork. Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker.
- In another bowl, mix all of the cooking liquid ingredients together. Pour the cooking liquid into the slow cooker.
- Cook on low heat for at least 8 hours or until tender.
- Once the pork is finished cooking, remove it from the slow cooker and shred it using forks. Should be easy when it is nice and tender!
- Serve with hamburger buns, over nachos, on a baked potato, and more.
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