Ask Chef Mike: Slow-cooker Pulled Pork

In Cooking Guide, Recipes by Mike StinesLeave a Comment

Q: I just got a new slow-cooker with a temperature probe. How could I use it to make pulled pork?

A: I’ve never used a slow-cooker with a temperature probe but I’ve done slow-cooker pulled pork a number of times when the weather didn’t cooperate for outdoor cooking.

While there is no doubt that pork shoulder slow-smoked over hickory and apple wood for up to 14 hours creates delicious barbecue, not everyone has the time to tend a smoker for that long. This recipe – which barbecue purists would call heresy and an affront to the Gods of BBQ – makes it possible to have flavorful pulled pork during a busy work week by using a slow cooker.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
1 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder

Pork Dry Rub (recipe follows)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 jalapeño chiles (or 1/2 habanero chile), seeded and minced
1 (12-ounce) bottle chili sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon Colman’s Dry Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian smoked hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon Wright’s Hickory Seasoning (liquid smoke)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Coarse kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Rub the pork with the dry rub and bring to room temperature.

Add the remaining ingredients to a large slow cooker, cover, and cook on high for 30 minutes. (I use a Rival 6-quart programmable crockpot but any 4- or 6-quart crockpot is suitable.) Add the pork and continue cooking on high for six to eight hours or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees F. (The pork could also be cooked on low for eight to ten hours.)

Remove the pork from the crockpot and allow it to cool until it can be handled. Using your fingers shred the pork discarding any fat. Return the pork to the crockpot, stir well, cover and cook another hour. (Or transfer the mixture to a saucepan and reheat on the stovetop for about 30 minutes.)

Pork Dry Rub
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons hot Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons celery seed
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Colman’s Dry Mustard
2 teaspoons sage
2 California Bay leaves, crumbled

Mix the ingredients in small bowl to blend. Use a spice grinder to pulse the mixture in batches until smooth. (Makes one cup of rub that will keep in an air tight container for up to six months.)


Mike Stines is a professional chef and the Grilling and Gadgets Editor for the Burn! Blog. Mike holds a “Doctorate of Barbeque Philosophy” (Ph.B) degree from the Kansas City Barbeque society. His book—Mastering Barbecue (Ten Speed Press, 2005)—has been called the “go-to” book for BBQ knowledge.

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Grilling & BBQ Editor | Mike holds a “Doctorate of Barbeque Philosophy” (Ph.B.) degree from the Kansas City Barbeque Society. His book Mastering Barbecue has been called the “go-to” book for BBQ knowledge.

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