Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork

Do you know what a cook lives for? The look in friends’ eyes when they’ve bitten into something you’ve made, and they’re deliriously happy about what they’re eating. Their wide-eyed smiley faces would say, “OMG, WOW,” if they weren’t so busy eating, and wanting to be polite and not talk with their mouths full.

That’s the response I got from my friends last night when I served them tacos with this slow cooked pulled pork.

A pork shoulder roast is rubbed with a spice mix of traditional Mexican spices, marinated in the rub an hour to overnight, seared, and then slow cooked until the meat is falling apart tender. It’s a great filling for tacos, tamales, and burritos.

Mexican Pulled Pork

We’ve cooked this pull pork in a slow cooker, because it’s really easy this way. We do sear the roast first. I have a slow cooker that allows you to do that in the cooker pan itself, but if you don’t have that kind of slow cooker, you can sear it on the stovetop, or skip the step altogether.

Searing helps on two counts, it browns the meat on the outside adding a little more of that wonderful browned flavor to the dish. It also toasts the chili and the cumin in the spice mix, helping their flavors to deepen as well.

  • Prep: 10 minutes
  • Cook: 8 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

We are using a boneless pork roast. If you use bone-in, you may need to cook the roast a little longer.


The Rub:

  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Scant pinch of ground cloves

The roast:

  • 3 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil


1 Whisk together the rub ingredients in a small bowl.

2 If the roast is tied up with butcher string, untie it. Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mix into the roast all over, reserving any leftover spice mix for later. Let sit at room temperature at least one hour or chill overnight.

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3 Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. (If you are using a slow cooker with a removable container that can be used on the stovetop, use that, otherwise use a separate pan.) Place the roast in the pan and brown on all sides.

4 Place the roast in a slow cooker, and add any reserved spice rub. Cook on the low setting for 6 to 10 hours, until the pork is fall apart tender.

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5 Remove the roast from the slow cooker and place on a cutting board. Cut into large chunks. Then use two forks to pull the meat apart into bite sized shreds. Return the shreds to the slow cooker and toss to coat with the juice from the roast. (Alternatively you can just shred the roast with two forks in the slow cooker itself.)

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Serve with warm tortillas, avocados, shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, cilantro, and a splash of lime juice or salsa.

Mexican Pulled Pork

Main Ingredients