Easy, freezable, make ahead BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker or Instant Pot.

This slow cooker pulled pork is one of my family’s favourite meals! Tender, shredded pork that is full of flavour makes the perfect easy dinner!

Easy to make BBQ pulled pork

It’s fall and I’m loving my slow cooker. Although really, I use my slow cooker all year long, but probably more often in the fall and winter months.

Those just tend to be our busiest months, and slow cooker meals are perfect on those crazy busy days.

Easy BBQ pulled pork

This slow cooker pulled pork is one of our favourites. The recipe even makes enough for leftovers for lunch.

In my house that really just means fighting over who gets to have them.  

Everyone loves this slow cooker pulled pork recipe.

Easy pulled pork in the Instant Pot or the slow cooker

I love that it can be prepped ahead of time and thrown in the freezer, so when I want to cook it, all I have to do is defrost it and throw it in the slow cooker with the sauce.

Easiest meal ever.

Pick up some dinner rolls and throw together some coleslaw, and dinner is served.

That’s my kind of meal.

Easy to make, slow cooker pulled pork

Can you freeze pulled pork?

Yes you can freeze pulled pork. I do this all the time.

Making a larger batch is no harder then a smaller one, so as long as your slow cooker is big enough you can double the recipe and freeze half for a future meal.

Or if you are only cooking for 1-2 people instead of 4-6, make the full recipe anyways and freeze half.

Instant Pot BBQ pulled pork

To freeze pulled pork, prepare the recipe as directed, let the meat cool completely, and then transfer it to a large freezer bag or an airtight container to freeze for up to 3 months.

To reheat it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on low in the slow cooker for 1-2 hours, or on low heat in the microwave.

Easy BBQ pulled pork

What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork? 

A pork shoulder (also called pork butt) is the best cut of meat to use for making pulled pork.

I wouldn’t recommend using a leaner cut of meat such as a pork loin roast, as the pulled pork won’t be as tender, and will likely be a bit dry when cooked this way. 

Slow cooker pulled pork recipe

What is the best bottled BBQ sauce for pulled pork?

Use your favourite bottled BBQ sauce here!

We like PC’s Gourmet BBQ sauce, but whatever sauce is your favourite, use that.

I’ve also tried this homemade BBQ sauce recipe and it’s fantastic if you feel like making your own. 

Easy, freezable, make ahead BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker or Instant Pot.

How to make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork:

  • You can prep this slow cooker pulled pork a little bit ahead. I like to buy the pack of two pork shoulder roasts at Costco, prepare both of them with the rub, and freeze one for later. This way the next time we feel like pulled pork, I can skip the first step and just thaw out the seasoned pork shoulder to cook the next day. If you want to cook it from frozen instead of defrosting first, use this Instant Pot Pulled Pork version of the recipe instead.
  • I use a 5 quart slow cooker for this recipe. If your slow cooker is bigger that’s fine, but I think it would not fit very well in a smaller slow cooker.
  • We like this pulled pork served on dinner rolls with this homemade coleslaw.
  • The leftovers can be frozen for another night, or kept in the fridge for 4-5 days. They reheat very well on low in the microwave. My kids also like it as a cold sandwich for their lunch the next day.

Here are some more great slow cooker recipes for you:

Yield: serves 8

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Easy pulled pork on a bun with coleslaw

This slow cooker pulled pork is one of my family's favourite meals! Tender, shredded pork that is full of flavour makes the perfect easy dinner!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Chilling Time 12 hours
Total Time 20 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pound (1.5-2 kg) pork shoulder roast
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup root beer, coke, or pepsi
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (plus another 1 - 1 1/2 cups for tossing with the meat and serving)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Cut the pork shoulder roast into 3-4 inch chunks, trimming any large pieces of fat off.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, salt, paprika, black pepper, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Rub this spice mixture into the pork, coating the pieces on all sides.
  4. Place the seasoned meat in the crock of the slow cooker, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next day, pour the root beer (or Coke or Pepsi) over top of the pork in the slow cooker.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of BBQ sauce, the apple cider vinegar, and the brown sugar.
  7. Pour this sauce over top of the pork in the slow cooker.
  8. Put the lid on and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  9. Remove the meat to a cutting board and shred it with two forks, removing any large pieces of fat. It should shred very easily.
  10. Add about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid to the shredded meat, along with 1/2 - 1 cup more BBQ sauce and toss it to combine everything. Add more cooking liquid or BBQ sauce until the pulled pork is as saucy as you like.
  11. Serve the pulled pork on dinner rolls with coleslaw.

Notes

You can prep this pulled pork ahead of time by cutting up the pork shoulder and coating it in the rub, and then freezing it until you want to use it. When you go to cook it, defrost it in the fridge for 1-2 days and then proceed with the recipe.

Source: Adapted from my cousin's recipe (thanks Steve and Danae!).

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 297Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 2384mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 38gProtein: 13g

Nutrition Information is estimated based on ingredients used and may not be exact.

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