Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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 when I served them tacos with this slow cooked pulled pork.

Of course how could you not love tacos filled with spicy shredded pork?

Best thing is that it’s crazy easy to make, especially in a slow cooker. You just rub a pork shoulder roast with a blend of ground chiles and spices, let the roast sit in that rub for a while, brown the roast and then slow cook it until it’s fall apart tender.

Use a couple forks to pull it apart into tasty shreds and use the meat as a filling for tacos, tamales, or burritos.

Mexican Pulled Pork

Browning the roast first will help pull out wonderful flavor from the meat as well as intensifying the spice from the chiles and cumin. If you have the kind of slow cooker that allows you to do that in the cooker pan itself, great! Then you only need one pot.

Otherwise you can easily brown the pork roast on the stovetop. You can also skip the browning, though I don’t recommend it, it really does make a difference with the flavor.

Updated with new photos, first posted 2013.

Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 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.

You may be inclined to trim off the excess fat of the roast. I caution against trimming too much fat as it is needed for the flavor and the juicy tenderness of the pulled pork. You can always skim off some of the excess fat after the roast has cooked.

Ingredients

The Rub:

  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt (if using regular table salt, only use 2 teaspoons)
  • 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

Serve with:

  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced radishes
  • Thinly sliced cabbage
  • Warm tortillas, corn or flour
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Salsa

Method

1 Make the rub: Whisk together the rub ingredients in a small bowl.

2 Rub spice mix into roast: 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 Brown the roast: 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 Put in slow cooker, cook on low: 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 Shred pork, toss with meat juices: 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.

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Mexican Pulled Pork

Showing 4 of 197 Comments

  • Jocelyn Alldredge

    This recipe is delicious, BUT, next time I make it I will cut the salt a least by half. I used kosher salt thinking is would be less salty. I also trimmed the fat pad down so it wasn’t as thick, by about 1/2. After browning I put fat side up and poured the extra seasoning on top.

  • Jennifer

    Is there anyway to cook it faster. Would it matter if I put a lil water in the crock pot and turn it on high ?? I just don’t think I have a full 8 hr to cook it before the husband is home .. please helpppp!!!!

  • Don

    When I saw this I knew I was gonna have to try it. I like meat that is seasoned with clove and cinnamon. And who doesn’t love tacos with lime and habanero salsa. That’s what I’m using on mine

  • Amber Madsen

    I want to try this in my Pressure cooker, do you think it would work if I put 1/2 -1 cup of water in my pressure cooker?

  • Nicole

    Hi I made this on weekend & it was delicious thank you but I am just wondering if I cook a bigger bit of meat say double the size will I need to cook it for longer?
    Thanks
    Nicole

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