Pulled Pork is serious business around here in Eastern North Carolina, and I think my Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork recipe does it justice. I make it in my Crockpot because I’m in an apartment with no option to cook outdoors, and it turns out almost as good as on a smoker.
If you don’t eat pork but enjoy or maybe just want to try Eastern NC BBQ, check out my Eastern NC BBQ Pulled Turkey recipe! It’s delicious!
Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork recipe:
- Pork butt: It’s actually the shoulder and it has just the right amount of marbling to make it the preferred cut for pulled pork, if you’re not doing a whole hog pig pickin’. I used a 5.5 lb Bone-In Pork Butt from Butcher Box.
- Eastern-North Carolina BBQ Sauce: Eastern NC BBQ is very specific: the sauce is vinegar based, with usually a touch of heat and pinch of sweetness. I make my own and it’ll be available to purchase when my product line launches (it’s one of the items I’m most excited about). In the meantime I highly suggest using Scott’s BBQ sauce.
- Liquid smoke: Since we’re not smoking it, we’re gonna fake the funk a little bit. Don’t use too much: it can overpower things quickly.
- Pulled Pork Dry Rub: I dropped two recipes today, and my dry rub was the other one. Check it out, mix up a batch, and keep it in the pantry! It’s perfect for this recipe, and a lot of other things too.
- Vegetable oil: Only for searing the pork, which is techinally optional but I like the final appearance it gives the pulled pork.
How to Make Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork recipe:
- Butt rubs!! Rub the pork butt down with the dry rub all over. Use more than you think you need, and make sure there are no bare spots of meat showing. Set it aside.
- Sear and slow-cook. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the pork butt. Let sear undisturbed for 2 minutes, then flip and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the seared pork butt to your slow-cooker and pour the BBQ sauce all over the top. It should come about 1/2 way up the sides of the meat. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 10 hours, flipping the pork butt over halfway through. Note: it’s important to not overcook the pork butt, or it’ll make the pork tough and stringy. If you’re using a smaller or boneless pork butt you’ll need to reduce the cooking time.
- Remove the bone. After 11 hours remove the lid and use tongs to remove the bone and shred the meat into large chunks. We’re not pulling it yet, so don’t worry about that. Cover and continue cooking for another hour. Now, use a strainer or slotted spoon to remove the meat from the slow-cooker, leaving behind the liquid. Add the meat to a large bowl, and use forks or a serrated food chopper to shred the pork into small pieces.
- Strain the liquid. Pork butts produce a lot of fat, and we don’t greasy BBQ! Pour the liquid from the slow-cooker into a separate large container and cover it with a lid. Pop this container into the freezer for about an hour. The fat from the liquid should rise to the top and solidify: remove this and toss it in the trash. Alternatively, you can use a fat separator to complete this step without freezing, the same way you would with pan drippings for gravy. Either way, once the fat has been filtered out, pour the remaining liquid into the bowl of pulled pork and stir together.
- Enjoy. Store the bowl in the fridge, and reheat and eat as desired for up to 5 days. Dassit!
How to Serve this Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
The classic way to serve Eastern NC style pulled pork is on a white bread bun with some Buttermilk Coleslaw on top, but do with it what you please!
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