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Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork – Recipe from a Born and Raised Texan

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.

A hamburger bun with coleslaw and juicy, Texas pulled pork.

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

A plate of Texas pulled pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw and sweet potato fries.

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.

A juicy and tender slow cooker Texas pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw.

For the Meat

  • Pork shoulder (or butt)


For the Texas-Style Dry Rub

  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper


For the Cooking Liquid

  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Brown sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Paprika
  • Ground mustard
  • Salt
  • 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.

Two Texas pulled pork sandwiches on hamburger buns with coleslaw.

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!

Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork

Yield: 8 servings (sandwiches)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

Texas-style pulled pork slow-cooked until it is juicy, tender, and packed with flavor!

Ingredients

For the Meat

  • 3 pounds pork shoulder (or butt)

For the Dry Rub

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 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

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the Texas dry rub ingredients together.
  2. 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.
  3. In another bowl, mix all of the cooking liquid ingredients together. Pour the cooking liquid into the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low heat for at least 8 hours or until tender.
  5. 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!
  6. Serve with hamburger buns, over nachos, on a baked potato, and more.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, when you click on the link you will have the option to purchase a product at no extra cost to you, but I would receive a small commission. I want to thank everyone for following and supporting us on all of “Our Sweet Adventures” and for cooking with my recipes on "Christina's Culinary Creations".

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30 COMMENTS

  • debra giorgini

    This is the best pulled pork recipe I’ve made yet and it was so easy!!

    thanks!

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Aww thank you so much. I greatly appreciate your kind words and the feedback 🙂

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      The sauce is flavor for the pork and helps with the cooking process. If you are making sandwiches with the pulled pork, you can always add your BBQ sauce to it then 🙂 I hope this helps. Enjoy!

  • Debbie N-W

    So yummy! I couldn’t find a pork shoulder small enough so I had a sixi pounder. I doubled the recipe and cooked it on high for six hours (checking it for shred-ability) and it turned out perfectly! So incredibly good! A definite keeper!

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I hope you enjoy more of my recipes 🙂

  • David ruberti

    If I double the recipe would I need to cook it for 16 hours?

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Hi David, to answer your question – no. If you double the recipe it will take longer but not double the time. Probably at least 30 more mins, maybe 60 mins, but I would check after 30 first to see if it’s tender. Also, be a careful to not put too much in your slow cooker. Too much liquid will create too much steam which turns into condensation and will affect the flavor to be more watery.

  • Ryan Renner

    If I want to use my own bbq sauce do I not do the sauce part? Or still do that for cooking liquid?

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      The sauce is flavor for the pork and helps with the cooking process. If you are making sandwiches with the pulled pork, you can always add your BBQ sauce to it then ? I hope this helps. Enjoy!

  • Geraldine Thompson

    Holy salt bomb! I knew I should have lowered the amount of salt, but didn’t. It’s barely edible now….such a waste of good piece of pork. 1/4 cup is way toooooo much salt.

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Hi, thanks for sharing your input. I’m sorry to hear that. The salt is for the dry rub and you should only be applying what you need of the dry rub to the pork. Usually, there is leftover but it depends on how much every person uses. I apologize if my instructions were not more thorough on that.

      • Nancy

        I need to cook this in my oven, what would be the recommended temperature for the 8 hr cook?

        • oursweetadventures
          AUTHOR

          Hi, you can try 325 F for 3 hrs. I would check to see if it’s cooked and tender at 3 hrs and adjust from there.

  • Ali

    Hello,

    Do you pour the cooking liquid over the pork while in the crock pot or baste during cook?

    I don’t have enough time to cook in low so I have it on high so would you say 5-6 hours?

    Thanks!

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Hi! You pour the cooking liquid over the pork while in the crockpot. Then cook it 🙂 I think 5 – 6 hours is enough. Definitely check it at 5 hours to see if the pork is tender (when using a fork it should fall apart). If it’s not ready at 5 hours keep checking every 30 mins.

      • Ali

        Perfect thank you!

      • Ali

        Was like 5.5 hours total cook time on high, came out awesome, everyone loved it and didn’t even need bbq sauce ??

        • oursweetadventures
          AUTHOR

          Aww yay! Thank you for updating and sharing this with me. It just made my day! I am so happy it turned out well and everyone enjoyed it.

  • Chyvonda Carlos

    This is the best recipe I have tried. It’s so good. I put it in my crockpot overnight and it’s was so tender. Gonna make this more often.

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Aww thank you so much for your kind words. I am so HAPPY to hear that!

  • Sadaf

    Hi, I’m not the fan of sweet meat. I understand that there is apple cider vinegar to balance the sugar, I just need to know the outcome is more to sweet side or not?!
    Thank you .

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      I do not think it is but you can certainly add less sugar to your taste.

  • Joaney

    Do you put the pulled pork back into the liquid after shredding?

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      I don’t, but sometimes I’ll reserve the juice and mix a little at a time to the pork if needed. It’s usually juicy and flavorful without it though!

  • Melissa

    Hi! This sounds incredible and I’m making it tomorrow! My question is do you have your pork shoulder thawed or do you cook it from frozen??

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Hi, I’m so glad to hear you are making this recipe tomorrow 🙂 You will want the pork shoulder thawed! I hope you enjoy it!

  • Stephanie

    Hi is there something I can substitute for the liquid smoke?

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Not that I know of but you can omit it and it will still taste great! It just won’t have a Smokey flavor. The liquid smoke is to replicate the flavor and hours spent on a bbq smoker.

  • kathryn clark

    Do you pour the sauce over the meat after putting the rub on? Thank you! Can’t wait to make this week!

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Hi, yes! You can pour the sauce over the meat or around it, it doesn’t matter, all the flavor will be there 🙂 I hope you enjoy this recipe!

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