do I need to brown it before putting it the crock pot?
Sooo good! I am just loving these meal plans. We slow cooked for 6 hours and then had to pressure cook for an hour as I had a pretty large roast. This meal was gone in a flash.
Can I make this with pork tenderloin? I have 2 totaling 2.5 lbs and I’d love to make this. Should I add some extra liquid or fat to keep it moist?
Hello Ruth, no, I do not recommend attempting this with pork tenderloin. For pulled pork you need fat marbling within the muscle, which pork tenderloin does not have.
Just made this and it is perfection! Halved the chili powder and cayenne for my Littles but there is still a bit of a kick to it. Will use this blend of spices in other dishes! A friend said to use leftovers in an omelette (must try!) – can you think of others?
Make a hash with leftover rice?
In step 4, do you add any liquid? In one of the photos there is liquid. Or is that natural juices post cooking?
Hi Mia, those are just natural juices that come out of the pork while it cooks.
Hi! I loooooove all of your recipes including this one! I am planning to make it for a big family get together- I would so love your suggestions for a side dish or two! Thank you!
How about cilantro lime rice (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/cilantro_lime_rice/) and Mexican 3 bean salad (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/mexican_three_bean_salad/)?
This is a fantastic spice blend. I make tacos one night, then use the left over pork and cabbage to make barbecue sliders and coleslaw the next night. Never disappoints!
So glad you like it Elizabeth!
This was great! After it was finished cooking in the crock pot I took the meat out and crisped it up in a skillet – like you would for carnitas.
Loved it like that!
It’s my first timing making this recipe and I accidentally put in 2 tablespoons of salt!!!! Instead of teaspoons. Help me! How can I fix it????
Hi Jade, oh, I hate it when that happens!
If you haven’t cooked the pork yet, it’s easy to fix. Just rinse off the marinade rub. Then make a new rub with the proper amount of salt and cook the pork.
If you’ve already cooked the pork, it really is so hard to save. Here are a couple of ideas. 1) add potatoes. Potatoes soak up salt. Chop up peeled raw potatoes and add them to the pot with the pork and cook until the potatoes are done. 2) Make a pasta or rice dish with the oversalted pork. For example, with rice, try this– put 2 cups of plain white raw rice and 3 cups of water into a pot, put 2 cups of the cooked salted pork on top, heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Take off heat let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. The rice should absorb some of the salt and you’ll have a nice pork rice dish. Good luck!
Made this a few times and it really is great. Thinking of trying it with chicken instead of pork. Any suggestions?
Hi Chad, I recommend our slow cooker Mexican pulled chicken.
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.
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!!!!
Hi Jennifer, it may cook faster if you use the high setting. I haven’t tried it that way yet though, so if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!
Well Im sorry it took so long to get back to you. But it turned out great .. thanks for the recipe
We just made this and it was delicious! We made it in an electric pressure cooker and it took just 55 minutes total cooking time! It was fall apart tender and delicious!
We’ve cooked this in a shorter amount of time by cutting the roast into smaller pieces. You’ll just need to keep a closer eye on it, keeping up with basting.
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
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?
No idea. If anyone else out there is experienced with cooking with pressure cookers, please feel free to weigh in.
This comment was left months ago, but I frequently make this in my pressure cooker. I chop the meat into chunks or use country style ribs, brown on all sides, (or sear on the grill) and then add a little bit of stock or beer to the bottom of the pressure cooker pan, Cook for 45 minutes on medium pressure (I use an instant pot) and then shred and enjoy. :)
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?
Hi Nicole, it depends on how chilled the meat is when you put it in the slow cooker. You may need to add an extra hour or two to the slow cooking time.
Hi, I was wondering if this is possible to do in a regular crock pot in the oven? I don’t own a slow cooker, but would love to try this reciepe!
Hi Asa, if you have a good Dutch oven (thick bottomed oven-proof pot with a tight fitting lid), then you should be able to make it work in the oven. Use 250°F.
I made this tonight as my husband loves pulled pork but I don’t really enjoy sweet meat. It was delicious and not at all sweet. I reduced the amount of cayenne a bit. I left the meat in the rub overnight in the fridge, and it was in the slow cooker for about 7-8 hours (I cut it in half so it would fit in my small slow cooker). Very easy! It’s now on the “make frequently” list.
Do you need to add any water or other liquid? Thanks.
Hi Connie, you shouldn’t need to add any liquid because the pork roast releases its own liquid as it slowly cooks in the slow cooker.
Just about to put my rub on the pork. It must be the 5th time I’ve followed this fantastic receipe and it never…. Ever fails to deliver, thank you so much.
Is the pork truly spicy or more medium? Just asking b/c I have the little crowd and as well as the big crowd to feed:-). Thanks for sharing!
Hi Tandra, I would say more medium. You can moderate the amount of spice by reducing or increasing the amount of chili powder and cayenne you add to it. If sensitive to spice I would leave out the cayenne all together.
Why would you bother using kosher salt on pork that is very much not kosher? :)
Kosher salt is a name we give to a type of salt that is larger grain than regular table salt. It is popular in cooking. If you use table salt, you will need to reduce the quantities. The name comes from the salt’s original purpose, which was to kosher meat, or to remove the blood from the meat. More accurately the salt should be called “koshering salt”, but it is labeled kosher salt instead. It has nothing to do with Jewish dietary guidelines.
This is a great recipe! Have made it over the years in the slow cooker with pork and the whole family loves it! Thinking of trying it tonight in my new pressure cooker (Instant Pot) with beef. Has anyone tried this recipe in a pressure cooker?
Hey. Used this recepie for 2 cooked med well pork chops i had left over in the fridge. Sliced the chop and filet off the bone into strip and dialed the ounceage and coated the strip fully seared off the stripwith the 2 tsp and an ounce of butter and used for tacos. Came out awesome. Had to substitute 2 ingredients but the lime juice shot at the end pulled all together. Thanks!
It’s hard to find Mexican food over here, so I made this in Thailand with a rice cooker with garlic cloves and Thai chilies in the pot (and a splash of homemade kahlua from the week before). I topped the tacos with a mango “pico” made from local fruits and veggies. I even made some flour tortillas to go with it. Aroi mak! Thank you very much for the recipe!
Just made this tonight. The flavor is Sooooooo good. I use these seasonings all the time, minus the cloves and cinnamon, and I still didnt use the clove because I forgot, but I did include the cinnamon and I cant believe what a difference it made. So so good, had a hard time making myself stop eating.
Made this yesterday and it was delicious. Always great recipes and we thank you for providing them :0).
I’m a big fan of yours. Tried many of your recipes. I’m hosting a mexican food dinner for 14 people. I have 14lbs of pork butt. I was going to make your carnitas verde recipe, but now I’m wondering if I should try this one instead. Any recommendation? They both look delicious.
Hi M.R. I love them both!
Hi Elise! I just made this yesterday for some friends and everyone loved it! The meat was perfectly tender and “pull able.” The only problem was the saltiness, which was pretty extreme. I read through the comments and saw that apparently table salt, which I used, is much “saltier” than Kosher salt. Do you think that’s where I got myself into trouble? I’m wondering if you’d be so kind as to include a tip about this in the actual recipe, so that I don’t make the same mistake again! I can see myself forgetting the importance of using the right salt, or at least adjusting the amount if I’m using a different kind. Thanks for your wonderful recipes–I recommend your website all the time!
Hi Sarah, thank you for the feedback on the salt! I’ve clarified the recipe about kosher versus table salt.
By “chili powder” do you mean ground chili? I have varying ground chili powders in my kitchen and here in California you can find a million different chilis in powder form; however, when I shop for “chili powder”, I find all sorts of additives such as salt and other flavors so I never know what each recipe is really calling for.
I used 1 T Chipotle chili powder and 3 T California chili powder. I’m hoping you meant straight ground/powdered chilis. The house smells amazing!
Hi Kim, I get an organic ground chili from Whole Foods which works well. Use whatever works best for you!
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve made this. My young adult daughters like to make it, too. It is just SO good and perfect for a fun dinner party. I’ve got 5.25 pounds in my slow cooker right now for our Father’s Day dinner. Thanks so much for this and all of your other recipes, too.
P.S. Happy Father’s Day to your dad! I love his potato salad. :)
I have made this countless time and it is divine! I always make a huge roast so I can freeze the leftovers for another meal…comes in handy on a hot summer day!
I always use a bone in roast and I always let the rub sit overnight. It is the easiest thing…and everyone in my household loves it!
I always go to your site when I need a recipe…I have made many of your recipes and none have failed me yet! I made the Picnic Salad tonight and it is always a winner! (I add chicken when it is dinner).
Thanks so much for cooking the way I like to eat!
Hi Leslie, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m delighted that you like this recipe and are finding the site useful. Makes my day!
I made this recipe and loved it. I did triple the rub and put it in a large jar so I can have it on hand for use in the near future. Thanks.
I have made this and always to rave reviews! It is so delicious. And I plan on making it this summer at a big family reunion. I know I’m gonna blow away my extended family! Thanks Elise for making me a hero
You’re welcome Ruthie, I’m so glad you liked it!
Hello, thank you for the recipe. I have a bunch of pork tenderloin on hand, do you think I could use this instead of the pork shoulder roast?
Hi Marco, no not for this recipe. Pork tenderloin is a very tender, lean cut. It doesn’t need slow cooking and if you cook it in a slow cooker you’ll end up with something overcooked and dry.
Hi Elise, I did use the tenderloin as I didn’t see the response in time. Although it was slightly dry, it was still fantastic and everybody loved it. Thanks again
Thank you so much for posting this recipe. You were not exaggerating when you said people would say, “OMG! This is delicious!”. That’s exactly what they said. I served mine with my strawberry mango salsa. The flavors blend so well together with the pork. Everybody asked for the recipe, so I reposted it on Face book. Again, thank you.
wow wow wow I made this Sunday and it’s still so moist and tender 4 days later. I mistakenly used chipotle powder instead of chile powder but it has the great smoky flavor and the house smells so good while it’s in the crockpot. it really doesn’t need anything else with it except a tortilla, but I have sauteed bell peppers and portobello mushrooms and thrown it in. thank you !!!
I’ve made this several times. It’s our favorite!
I tried this recipe for the first time. I marinated it overnight, then seared it put in crock pot on low for ten hours. It came out very dry, I put back in the juices but there was no more than a cup and it was still dry. Any suggestions how to make it moist? besides adding a bottle of barbacue sauce. Thanks, Mary
Hi Mary, it may have overcooked in that long cooking time which would have dried out the meat. When I say 6 to 10 hours, it is a range. What you want is to cook it until it is tender, and that can take from 6 to 10 hours. Another thing that could have affected the results is your slow cooker. It could be that the heat was uneven in it, the low setting on that particular cooker is too high, or the lid allows too much steam to escape. It could also be that the shoulder roast you used didn’t have enough fat marbling. Fat is needed to help keep the meat from drying out. As to how to fix it now that it’s dry? Perhaps add a cup or two of water to it, let it chill overnight, and then reheat in the microwave the next day? Good luck!
I’m making this tomorrow with topside beef (already have it marinating in the fridge. Would you recommend adding in half a cup of liquid with the beef or should it be okay without liquid?
Hi Lily, it won’t hurt it to add a half a cup of liquid. I don’t feel it is needed though. 60% of beef is water! That said, every slow cooker model is different and perhaps your roast will work better with the added liquid.
This is my all time favorite pulled pork recipe. I’ve made it twice in two weeks!
I made this for a dinner party and it was AMAZING! Followed the recipe and it worked perfectly- thank you!
This looks like a fabulous recipe! Could I used this pulled pork for enchiladas?
Sure, it would be great in enchiladas!
I made this last week and I have to say it was AMAZING. I didn’t have onion or garlic powder so I finely chopped them to make a paste, a squirted 2 limes on top and let it cook for 10 hours. I must admit, I was skeptical that there wasn’t any liquid added in but it came out juicy and delicious. Plus it made so much that we had two meals and then I used the last of the pork and incorporated it into a chili. Thank you!
I’m so glad you liked it Kristin!
Elise – I have to confess that I’m terrible at going back and commenting on recipies I love (pretty lame since I have my own blog and I’m always so happy when someone comments). I had to tell you, though…I made this yesterday and the resident foodies LOVED it – it is absolutely dead-on perfect in every way. I knew I wanted something “pork” and “slow cooker”, so when I searched on that and your site popped up I knew it would be great. It was better than great, and I can’t wait to go home and have more tonight !! THANK YOU !!
Hi Elise — do you think I could get away with searing the pork the night before I slow cook it, putting it in the fridge overnight, and then putting it in the slow cooker the next morning?
I just don’t want to have to wake up and sear my pork in the early AM in my pajamas before leaving for work/having coffee etc. :)
Hi Kate, sure! The reason for the browning is just the extra flavor it provides.
I’m going to try this too, so I can get that pan cleaned up. Did you put the rub on the raw meat or the browned meat?
I just made this for the second time, and again it was delicious!
I want you to know that before I found your website I had a phobia of cooking meat. About the only thing I did was grill chicken tenderloins, it was that bad, but now my husband thinks I am an awesome cook because of you. Thank you so much for sharing your family recipes and cooking adventures in such a clear manner, complete with pictures. You have helped me become not only an adventurous, but a successful cook!
Thank you Rebecca, and I’m so glad the recipe worked well for you!
Best pulled pork “EVER” together with Mark Sergeant’s home-made relish, a bit of salad & wraps….. ABSOLUTE HEAVEN !!!
This was amazing!!!!!! We served it with a yogurt sauce we threw together with adobo, cumin, and garlic. We followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfectly. This will definitely become part of our routine recipes. Thanks for a great post!
Just made this today. It was delicious!!!! I even forgot to sear it first as I got up early to get it in the crockpot in time for Sunday lunch. Will have to sear next time and might cut down on the cayenne & chili powder per my 9 year old’s request. Another keeper recipe! Thank you Elise!!!
I made this recipe verbatim about a month back, and I’ve got to say I think it’s the best crock pot pork roast recipe ever! I used a 3.5 pound boneless roast. I have a family of 3. The pulled pork only lasted in our house about 2 days! I’ll be making this one again tomorrow – rubbing the roast with the spice blend tonight of course for maximum deliciousness. This one is a winner!
I marinated overnight. Absolutely delicious. Love it. Sent it to my sister, and her family raved about it. Making it again this week. Can’t wait.
I have my pork tenderloin marinating over night. I hope it turns out well. I saw a viewer on “The Chew”, make a tenderloin like this, and it was very tender, & everyone raved about it. I could not find that recipe, so i decided to try this one. I wanted to use the tenderloin for calorie savings. Hope it works out. But I did want to interject, that if you are not using slow cooker liners, you are truly missing out. They work wonderful, & I’m using to marinate, and will save me from having to wash slow cooker. Winner winner chicken dinner!
It’s been a while since you have posted this recipe, but I simply must comment –it is OUTSTANDING! This is on my regular rotation of recipes from now on. Thank you so much, Elise!
Making this now and can’t wait! I’m searing it on the grill before crock potting it, and I can already tell it’s going to be great! Thanks for the recipe!
I used Aussie pork – had the same problem as amy but cut the bone out. Absolutely delicious – thank you!!
Just tried this recipe tonight with some great New Zealand pork roast (with bone in) couldnt find one at the supermarket without.. but it was still amazing when pulled the pork out after about 8 hours it all fell off the bone and tasted amazing! I made a hand cut salsa of red onion, tomato, with cilantro & lime juice to top it in the tortilla. This recipe is defiantly a winner!
I know the recipe says cook on low for 6 to 10 hours… what if I need it to be ready in closer to 6 hours- should I put it on high for less time?
I would start it on high for 2 hours, then lower the heat to low and cook it for 4 more hours. The meat needs to be cooked at a low temperature to work. That said, sometimes you get a particular piece of meat that is ready in 6 hours, sometimes it’s more tough to begin with and it takes longer. Give it as much time as it takes to get tender. It stores perfectly well, so just make it ahead of time.
You may not see this for a while but it would be nice to know what finished temperature we should be looking for?
Thanks for your great site.
I don’t know. I just put it in the slow cooker and cook it until it’s tender.
Thanks for fixing my spelling gaffe…d;^)
I cooked a 9lb bone-in shoulder @ High temp for 8 hours in beer/soda with chipotles, onions, and garlic. It was over 180 degrees at this point. I’ll have to use the skimmed fat to crisp them up a bit, but they are very tender and tasty!
Sorry for the bold font I used…d;^(
I’m very excited to try out your recipe, especially because I’m on a tight budget and this only required me to buy the meat! It is marinading right now. I realized when I pulled out my cut of meat that I bought a bone-in instead of a boneless cut (3 lbs). Will this change the cook time at all? I just started marinading my pork and hour ago and am torn between letting it marinade longer or getting it in the crockpot to cook in case it takes closer to 10 hours than 6. Thanks! -Megan
Bones tend to act like insulators so a bone-in roast will typically take a little longer to cook. How much so? Your guess is as good as mine.
I made this yesterday and it was absolutely amazing! I definitely got the “Wow” reaction around my dining room table. Besides the avocado and cilantro, we passed pickled onions and sliced radishes to add to the tacos. And your Mexican Three Bean Salad made the perfect side dish! Thank you!
This is a great recipe. I’ve tried it several times and have found the following changes make it even better!
Instead of 4 tablespoons of chilli power, I use about 2. I then add about 2 tablespoons of achiote paste, which is a Yucatecan paste made with annatto seed and other spices. I also add about 1 tablespoon of paprika too. The achiote paste sends this dish off the charts!
Would this work with fully cooked pulled pork?.. If so what time modifications would u make??
You mean re-cooking pulled pork? No, I don’t think so. You could sprinkle some of the seasoning over pulled pork to give it a Southwestern flavor if you want though.
Could I freeze this after it’s cooked, and then reheat for the party?
I haven’t tried freezing and reheating, but if you do, please let us know how it works out for you.
I made this about a month or so ago, put the left overs in the freezer after being vacuum packed with our Food Saver, and just reheated in the microwave tonight. No work involved! Opened the package, popped it in a glass bowl, and 4 minutes later, dinner was ready (and as delicious as it was the first day)! Would definitely recommend making it and freezing, especially if you’re able to vacuum pack it.
Was wondering if this could be made ahead? Having a taco party and want to prepare as much beforehand as possible.
You can make ahead, it will last several days in the fridge.
Follow up report: This was so good the first time that we made it again yesterday… why mess with a GREAT thing!
I scooped the meat out of the pot and into a bowl very gently to shred so that it was still a fully intact roast, and called my son into the room to “help me shred this meat, it’s tough…”
One pass of the fork through the meat and it was a done deal… he was amazed. So so tender and moist.
I did use the comment someone posted to pull some of the salt out of the rub and “pre-rub” the roast with it and let it sit for a few minutes before the final rub is applied, and I only used half of the prescribed Cayenne Pepper (wifey is sensitive to spice overload) and it was absolutely fantastic.
Thinking about starting this tonight to cook tomorrow. Has anybody tried cooking this with some veggies in the pot? Perhaps forgoing the onion powder to put in some diced onion? Or would it be better to add in onion after shredding for a quick cook?
I just got a crockpot and I have never made pulled pork before, but it looked easy to make, so I decided to give this a try. Unfortunately I didn’t know that American chili powder is less spicy than chili powder in my country. 4 tbsp of chili powder is a lot! I did reduce it, but not enough, so it ended up so spicy that noone could eat it.
Made this last night. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Followed the recipe to the letter and it had wonderful flavor. I love spicy heat so of course after I shredded it I upped the Cayenne and let it sit on warm a little longer before serving. I added some lime zest to sour cream to accompany the tacos. with the avocado oh my, YUMMY!
I have a two questions really; first I have a slow cooker with a removable pot (no manual) how do know if I can sear the pork in it? Second should I lock the lid on or just place in on? Does it make a difference?
Hamilton Beach #33254H “Stay or Go”
I just looked up that model in Google. The product specs say nothing about being able to cook directly on the insert, so no, I would infer that you should not attempt to sear the pork in it. As for locking the lid? That’s an interesting feature. I don’t see a need for it with this recipe.
Nothing exceeds like excess, so I got 2 roasts, and will do one in the slow cooker, one outside in smoke, tomorrow. Both 5-7 hrs or so, long & slow.
On your ‘making corn tortillas’ post, you had several people in Western Europe saying they can’t get masa harina. The CoolChile.Co.Uk ships to the UK and Western Europe, but not to Eastern Europe, where I am now. I order and have it sent to UK relatives, and bring it back. If I go to the states, of course, it’s no problem to get in Tucson to bring back!
We made this tonight and it was a hit with all in the family. The pork was so flavorful and moist (I did add about a cup of water to the crock pot at the start since ours tends to dry things out even on low). Thanks for the recipe!
My family loves this recipe! We’ve made it several times :) Thank you!
My question is about the fat on the pork shoulder. I could only find pork shoulder with a lot of fat on it (when roasted it would be the crackling)….should I leave all this fat on when I roast it? Also I have seen recipes that call for you to dice the boneless pork, is that necessary? This is my first time making pulled pork using a slow cooker so I’m not sure if leaving all the fat on would make the meat to greasy….? Any suggestions would be great!
You might want to trim some of the excess fat, but not all of it. It’s needed for the flavor.
Two words: Ridiculously good. Now because of this recipe, I stock my freezer up on pork shoulder when on sale for a beyond-easy-to-prepare, insanely-delicious, can-feed-an-army dinner, that EVERYONE I have served it to loves. I serve it with mini corn tortillas, classic topping of chopped cilantro and onions with lime juice, with lime wedges on the side. Perfect “street taco” dinner. I use bone-in shoulder and it comes out great! Meat is so tender bones pull right out without fuss. Note: The first time I made it, it was a little too juicy for our liking, leaving our tacos dripping down our hands. Therefore, I do pour the juices into a fat separator and let that settle while I shred the pork. Then I discard some of the fat and put only some of the juice in for the first serving, then any leftovers get the rest of the juice for storage. A++ recipe!
Amazing!!!! I just posted on your refried black beans recipe (to die for!) and had to post here. These tacos were so amazing! Thank you for your recipe! Again, you ruined the fast food place I would get pulled pork burritos from! Ha!
I only could find the half picnic pork shoulder bone in. But let me tell you, after 10 hours slow cooking I just basically pulled the bone out, it was so tender and moist and delicious!
Only thing I did different was after I seared the meat and put it in the slow cooker, I poured a 12 oz bottle of beer (didn’t have Dos Equis, wah) and the juice of one ripe orange in the bottom of the cast iron pot I used and scraped up the bits and reduced it down a bit and then poured it over the meat before putting the remaining rub. AWESOME! I want to make this once a week now!
Note: I apologize for all the exclamation marks in my review but it was that good. :-)
Is there any harm if it cooks for longer than 10 hours? I need it to be ready 13 hours after I can start cooking it…
Should be okay, if you cook it on the lowest setting possible.
This was amazing! Just bought a slow cooker, and this was one of my first recipes used in it. Pork was moist, tender, and flavorful. All other recipes I’d looked at added liquid so i was worried it might be dry, but it was far from it. I’m so happy I came across your website and can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Thank you, Elise!
Hi Camilla, I’m so glad you liked it!
The first time I made this, I used a pork shoulder roast and it was fantastic! The other night I made this again but used a two pound-ish piece of pork tenderloin that I had in the freezer. I used only a portion of the rub, added about a cup of water to the slow cooker, and cooked it on low for about 5 hours. Not as rich or as easy to shred as the shoulder roast but pretty darn good!
This is a great recipe, it took me 2 times to get it right as I didnt cook it long enough the first time. You need to get the pork up to like 190 for it to be ‘pullable’. My crock pot would get that hot on low, so I had to turn it up to high for the last hour or so. I’ve since been making it with chicken breasts as well. My wife and I love it, a little too spicy for the kids. I found a mayo based sauce to use with it that I love.
I made this at the weekend and all I can say is…WOW! Absolutely delicious. Served with homemade guacamole, sour cream and coriander in tortillas and was incredible. My boyfriend has not stopped raving about it :-)
I’ve got this in my crock pot now and can’t wait to eat tonight. I just wanted to say how appreciative I am of the fact that you actually respond to your readers’ questions. This is sooooo helpful and not everyone in the world of blogging isn’t always as responsive. Thanks for that.
I love this, especially because I can put it in tacos, quesadillas, and burritos! The possibilities are endless!
I added one ingredient prior to serving and it was delicious.
When you put the shreds back in the slow cooker and cubes of Pinapple. Mix so the pinapple gets warm and coated.
It adds a nice flavor to the overal dish. (I served it on a soft taco shell with a wedge of lime)
Great idea to add pineapple, thanks Frank!
I made this recipe last night using a hunk of shoulder roast I had in the freezer. I only let it marinate for 1 hour but it turned out really nicely! The meat is tender and flavorful- I will definitely make this one again!
I used a pork tenderloin as I wanted a leaner cut of meat and added 3/4 cup of water to make up for the lack of fat. I would say this isn’t a good substitute :). Even with the added water it was just too dry. I did find the flavor blend really interested and added salsa to give it some more moisture.
Hi Noelle, I once slow-cooked a pork loin roast, not doing that again! Too dry.
I needed to say I’m making this again. It is so delicious. I have never been a fan of pulled meat — but this pork is so tasty and versatile. Well done you!!!!
looks yummy! What is the liquid shown in the crockpot with the roast for step 4?
That is the liquid that is released by the pork roast as it cooks. There is no added liquid in this recipe.
Quick warning for those attempting to sear the meat in their Crock Pot ceramic bowl – don’t do it! I’m afraid I followed that step and it resulted in cracking and ruining my Crock Pot. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize the damage until after I cooked the meat, which resulted in the juices running all over the table and burning to the bottom of the metal Crock Pot. So…sear in another pan, people! Are those inserts easy to replace?
But the flavors were nice – I’m using leftovers in a tamale pie!
Hi Anna, I’m so sorry that happened! Yes, if using the insert of your slow cooker, it must be designed for cooking directly on the stovetop.
I made this for my family today. We all loved it! It will now be part of regular dinner repertoire. Thanks!
I made this yesterday with a 5 lb. boneless pork shoulder picnic roast. After it was done (in about 6 hours), I let it rest for about an hour, then shredded it. I decided to put the meat in burrito-size tortiallas with a little shredded monterey jack cheese and salsa verde. I rolled them up and put in a casserole dish, covered them with more salsa verde and shredded jack cheese. I baked them for 20 minutes until the cheese melted and the sauce was bubbly. My family absolutely LOVED it! Best pulled pork I’ve ever made. I plan to tweak the rub ingredients and make BBQ pulled pork next!!!
What great flavor. Our roast was over 4 # and it was very salty for our taste. Will make it again with 3/4 tablespoon of salt. Thanks for all the great recipes. After retiring I have taken a much bigger role in making meals and you make me look good.
Did you use table salt rather than Kosher salt? Table salt is about twice as salty per spoonful, so that might be your problem.
The chili powder I make already has quite a bit of cumin, oregano, and garlic powder in it. Would there be a good substitute for those, or just add a smaller amount of each?
I am making this in the oven today. The pork has released a lot of grease even though I trimmed it. Should I remove the grease as it is cooking? Anyone? Thanks!
Hi Julie, you can skim away some of the rendered pork fat if you want, but I recommend that you leave some for flavor. ~Elise
This recipe is amazing. I cooked it as instructed. I served it on tortillas with radishes, onions, cilantro, and a little jalapeño hot sauce. My husband couldn’t get enough. I can’t wait until my parents come over so I can cook this for them.
Made this tonight to the letter of your recipe, and it is delicious. I love the rub on the pork. Its great, thank you!
Terrific! I made this yesterday with a 4.4 pound shoulder roast and it took about 7 1/2 hours. The meat was absolutely falling apart – beautiful! Everyone loved it. My jar of cayenne is kind of wimpy, and the meat wasn’t very spicy. Instead, I roasted a jalapeno, and we topped the tacos with it.
Got a rice cooker for Xmas with slow cooking options and this is the first recipe we tried. Didn’t have garlic or onion powder on hand so added roasted garlic instead. Set it off before I went off to bed and woke up to this amazing pork roast that just crumbles under the fork.
I agree that adding water is not necessary (although I did since the machine recommends it… but I won’t next time).
Thanks for this wonderful recipe.
I find myself without any garlic powder or onion powder!
I have garlic salt, garlic pepper, “garlic gold nuggets” granules, fresh garlic and fresh onion.
Are any of those acceptable substitutes?
Hi Tara, sure, though your guess is as good as mine on the proportions.
I make a different version of this; my rub consists of 2TBS Kosher salt, 1TBS chipotle powder, 1TBS dried cilantro, 4-6 cloves minced garlic. Serve with white onions, cilantro on white corn tortillas. Great for a potluck; it’s the only thing I’m allowed to bring to work potlucks. :)
I made this yesterday and had it with the Spanish rice recipe on your website. It was absolutely delicious and definitely a keeper. I omitted the cayenne altogether as my chili powder had some kick to it.
Thank you, Elise! We had this for dinner tonight and even though I’ve never made pulled pork of any sort before, it might well be one of the best things I’ve ever made. My husband kept saying, “give it 5 stars!”. This is definitely going on the keeper list. I can’t wait to share it with my family and friends.
Hi Heather, I’m so glad you and your husband liked it!
Pulled Pork looks sooo yummy, but I’m allergic to pork, is there a good tasting alt?
It works with beef–get a cut like skirt or chuck.
I’m curious why the brown sugar was felt to be needed, although at least it’s a relatively modest amount.
I’ve noticed more and more of today’s main dish recipes have sugar added. Quite a few meatloaf recipes I’ve seen recently add up to as much as a 1/4 cup of brown sugar to the meat mixture.
Even restaurant foods have been sweetened up. Asian food that isn’t overwhelmingly sweet can no longer be found where we live. We’ve stopped eating at Asian restaurants because of that.
Given this trend to throw sugar into every prepared dish, is it a surprise to anyone that America is experiencing an obesity and diabetes epidemic?
Just made this tonight and it was perfect. I cooked half a roast (since I just cook for one) so I would end up with fewer servings, and it cooked beautifully. I topped mine with some avocado, queso fresco and salsa from a local taco shop. It couldn’t have been tastier!
How spicy is this? It looks great and I’d love to try it, but want to know which spices I need to reduce. We are on the low end of the spice scale – Hormel canned chili is about all we can handle :-)
Cindy – I have this marinating right now to go in the crock pot in the morning and I’ll try to report back on the spice level because I’m a bit afraid myself. :) My husband loves spicy food but I’m a bit more of a wuss. I plan to reserve some of the pulled pork for myself and not put it back in the juice -I think that will help keep the fire level manageable.
Hi again, Cindy. First, this is absolutely delicious. As for the spiciness level, I think you will be just fine with the shredded pork if you don’t put it back in the juice in the cooker. It has great flavor, but isn’t really hot at all. I would really hope you try it with some of the juice though, even if just a bite, because Holy Wow…what a treat. I had one taco without juice and one with, and neither one was blow-your-head-off spicy. Try it, you’ll like it! :)
Heather – thank you so much for the helpful advice. I now plan on making this yummy recipe.
The photos for the directions do not show that the slow cooker is covered with it’s lid. Do you do this roast uncovered?
You cook the roast in the slow cooker covered.
I made this in the oven yesterday and it was really good. I had a 5 lb. bone-in pork shoulder roast that I seasoned like you posted and put it in the refrigerator for 5 hours. I would highly recommend letting it sit over night to let the seasonings penetrate more.
I put it in the oven at 275 F for 5 hours, but the time is just a guide since it need to have an internal temp of at least 270 F…I let it get to 280 F +.
I let it sit for about 15 minutes and then shred with two forks. Served with pico de gallo, avocado, limes, sour cream …excellent.
Thanks for the recipe
Hi Elise, I just made this and the flavor was great but it did come out a little dry. I trimmed a lot of the fat off first. Do you think that’s why? I set to slow cooker for 8 hours–perhaps that was too long? Would love your advice–thanks!
Hi Cindy, Yes, this is why I don’t trim too much of the fat. If too much renders out, you can always skim it at the end. 8 hours in the slow cooker should not have been to long if it was on the low setting. Did you have plenty of liquid at the end of cooking? If so, then the temperature was correct, the lid secure, and the cooking time fine. If the meat was dry, it was either a lean roast to begin with (I always look for a lot of fat marbling when purchasing a shoulder roast) or you may have trimmed off too much of the fat.
This looks great. I would also tag or file this under “low carb” many of us still use your low carb lists first published 5+ years ago! :)
A small bone in picnic or other bone in shoulder should also work and may even impart deeper flavor. The way we do it is to cut 4-5 deep slices in the shoulder before slow cooking or braising and then make sure some of the rub gets in the cuts too – these are all great suggestions — now just a post on homemade good gluten free flour or Masa tortillas where you concentrate on technique would be a fine companion to this post :-)
Here you go! http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_corn_tortillas/
I made this for Sunday lunch, it was delicious. Loved the flavors!
I was going to your website Saturday for your pulled pork recipe, when the Mexican pulled pork recipe popped up. Change of plans/ingredients! It did indeed make its own juices and was delicious with corn tortillas, beans, avacado and lettuce. We used an extra savory/spicy chile mix we recently received, here in Arizona. Yummy!!
My recipe is very similar with one small difference- add a can of beer to the crock pot when cooking, then shred the meat and return to the oven to caramelize and reduce the sauce. It’s heavenly!
My oven goes down to 175 degrees, would this be too low to cook the roast? Also, could you use a nice boneless chuck roast for “pulled-beef” instead of pork?
Yes, I think that would be too low. Somewhere between 250 and 300 is probably the right temp. Yes you could make this with chuck, or brisket, much like a pot roast, but I haven’t done it with these seasonings yet. I recommend reading all of the comments to see what others have suggested for cooking the roast in the oven.
A great way to do this in the oven is sear first, then wrap tightly in foil and put it in the oven on low, low and let it go. It will retain moisture and juice and come out falling apart.
Would this recipe work with beef (brisket)? We don’t eat pork, but this recipe looks amazing!
Yes, I think it would be good with beef brisket. I haven’t tried it though, so if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!
Can I use my rice-cooker in lieu of a slow-cooker? (I live in Japan.)
There’s so much different information on the web I can’t seem to find anyone in agreement on this question.
I don’t know what what temperature your rice cooker cooks, as to whether it would be comparable to a low slow cooker setting or a high setting. So it may take some experimentation to sort out how to use it as a slow cooker.
I don;t know how it well it will work but apparently you can use a rice cooker as a slow cooker using the warming setting only. You may have to juice it on the high setting periodically to keep the temperature up. I have no idea if long slow cooking would damage the rice cooker after a while but in a pinch it can certainly do the job.
I don’t know about using the rice cooker as a slow cooker, but I have kept the warm setting on for days and days and it is fine (Korean brand rice cooker called Cuckoo).
I wonder… if you chunked it instead of shredding, then tossed the chunks into a greased skillet, would it make good carnitas?
Yes, I’m guessing you could easily do this for carnitas.
I cook my pork shoulder in the oven in a cooking plastic bag and it come out very soft if you cook at 325, the time depend on the weight of the shoulder
Great suggestion Martha!
Hi Elise, I don’t have a slow cooker; in the oven @ 200-250, ~4 hours ok for this? If not, what is your recommendation? Thanks – love your site!
Hi Heather, great question. I would put it in an oven proof pot, like a Dutch oven, covered into the oven. Make sure the roast is at room temp before cooking. Sear it first. Cook it at 300°F for the first half hour, then drop the temp to 225°F, for 3 1/2 hours, or whatever it takes to get it to fall apart. It may take longer than 4 hours. The risk is that the heat is too high and whatever moisture gets released, evaporates, leaving you with a rather dry roast. I’m afraid I do not have a definitive answer for this. If I were making it without a slow cooker, I would add half a cup of water to the pot, bring it to a simmer, cover the pot, and then lower the heat to the lowest possible simmer setting on my burner to maintain a very low simmer. And then cook it as long as it takes. Good luck!
Thanks for this comment! I have only had pulled pork a few times and loved it. May one day try making it, but I don’t have a slow cooker either! Silly question, why would cooking it in the oven be different to a low heat saucepan on the stovetop – it’d be easier to check moisture level that way I’d think.
It would be easier to maintain a very low simmer on the stovetop. With the oven, you would have to take the pot out of the oven to check.
I just tried your suggested directions for a Dutch oven in the oven (with the 1/2 cup of water) and it turned out great! With the oven set at 225°F the liquid read a steady 180°F on my infrared thermometer. After 4 hours the shoulder was falling apart all by itself.
Great! Thanks for letting us know.
Years ago I read that low in a slow cooker would be 200°F in the oven and high would be 300°F in the oven. I’ve used those when cooking a slow cooker recipe in the oven and it has worked well. It’s just oven braising instead of braising on the cook top.
A trimmed smaller Boston Butt would work well too, but would definitely want to trim a good bit of the fat cap off to keep the finished pot from being too greasy. A leaner pick of country ribs would be good too, have used them many times for a pulled pork like dish. The price is usually great on them, especially anyone in the southeast with a FL close by as it’s a staple ad item
I highly recommend an Instant Pot. Its an all in one rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker. You can sear in it. It has a stainless steel pot. My new favorite kitchen tool
The Instant Pot looks like it would work great.
Do you think this would work with chicken thighs? Maybe if we added some liquid? We don’t eat much pork.
Yes, though I would pull the skin off first, and maybe add half a cup of water to the pot (not too much, the meat will give off its own liquid as it cooks), and leave the bone in while it cooks. It will be easier to pull the meat off the bone after it’s cooked, and you’ll get all the goodness and flavor from the bone if you cook it bone in. That all said, I haven’t made this with chicken, but I do believe it’s worth a try.
I think the chicken would work, I would use thighs, I think the breast meat would be overwhelmed. I would also opt for a shorter cooking time, probably 6 hours or less. Boneless, skinless thighs would make it very easy.
Marinate in what? Seems to me that the marinade flavor is integral to the recipe.
In the rub. Just put the rub on the roast, wrap it, put it in the fridge.
Come now, don’t be coy. Tell us more about your slow cooker that sears. I, for one, am very interested.
The slow cooker is an All-Clad slow cooker. I think this model from Williams-Sonoma. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/all-clad-deluxe-slow-cooker-with-aluminum-insert/ It’s sort of the Cadillac of slow cookers. I love it. Got it for myself for Christmas a year ago and finally started using it!
Thanks for the link to the All-Clad slow cooker. This addresses my main gripe with slow cookers.
The Cooks Essentials line of pressure cookers on QVC can also be used as a slow cooker as I do mine because they have the browning function needed to sear a roast.
People in rural areas that have “blips” in the power service should be aware that the digital program will be lost when the power fails (even briefly. Not a great thing to come home to.
you can also use a dutch oven, even on a low heat, may want to add a little liquid. I will take a few hours, but when it is tender enough, it is done. Yummy still the same.
I have this Hamilton Beach slow cooker that lets me sear. I love it.
I also saw an ad for a new Ninja slow cooker/skillet/roaster that will sear right in the pot.
This sounds and looks so yummy. Do you add any liquid to the roast while it slow cooks?
No need to add any liquid to the pot. If cooked on low, the pork will cook slowly enough to release its own liquid.
I had the same concern about liquid. I added a can of roasted green chiles to the crockpot after settling the browned meat in. I will let you know later how it came out! I also used a “picnic” roast with a lot of bone (skin removed). I try to avoid “picnic”s for smoking, which led me to this recipe. Sale prices dictate my meat selection these days.
Boneless or Bone-In?
Hi George, thanks for asking! We’re using boneless but you could use bone-in if you wanted. It might take a little longer to cook (bones act as insulators).
Bone-in yields a tremendous amount of flavor that’s kinda vital to a good authentic carnitas or “Mexican Pulled Pork”. Since you are shedding in the end, the bone really poses little hindrance to a deliciously easy meal, and it’s well worth what little money you may save w/ boneless!
Also, I highly recommend not adding the kosher salt to the rub, but rather sprinkle liberally and rub in the roast FIRST, let sit a few minutes, then apply the rub. It will not make the pork too salty, and the difference in the tenderness is remarkable- that’s also why it’s always so much better in a restaurant!
Finally, let’s just get one thing straight- giving this roast a mere one hour to absorb the rub is like not waiting for the champagne to chill!
For all the effort you will have put in to making this dish, giving it less the 12 hours in the fridge w/ the rub will impress no one! This dish is too much labor to just cut the most important step! 12 to 24 hours and people will be amazed and you cooking!
This recipe is otherwise quite authentic! (Don’t forget a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the shredded pork before serving!)
So if I wanted to prepare this to freeze and cook later, how would you suggest doing the rub? Would I apply and then freeze or would I apply and wait 12-24 hours to freeze?
I would like to disagree with Chef Ira just a little. If you can cook a pork roast in a crock pot all day and fail to achieve either remarkable tenderness or thorough permeation of flavors, you’re using techniques foreign to me!
He means the bone itself adds extra flavour to the meat. This is why you use pork or beef bones in stock/broths rather than just the meat.
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