Of all things barbecue, I’d have to say pulled pork is my absolute favorite. I especially love it on nachos at Busch stadium during a Cardinals game. Pulled pork is actually really, really easy to make and the crock pot is the perfect method of cooking. Since it cooks low and slow all day, it comes out so tender and literally falls apart. This is a great recipe, and the pork turns out perfectly flavorful and tender every time.
When I make my pulled pork, I make a dry rub and I brine the meat a day before cooking. I’ve never brined anything before this because I was always very intimidated by this process. I always thought it would be a big pain. Turns out, it’s incredibly simple. You only need water, salt, sugar, and your rub, which you have to make anyway. The brine keeps the meat extremely moist during the long cooking process. But, if you don’t feel like brining, just make the rub and put the meat right in the crock pot. I’ve done it this way too and it turns out fine. Just be sure you don’t open the crock pot during cooking because that would release some of the precious liquid through the steam that escapes. I’ve also heard that for every time you open a crock pot during cooking, it adds 30 minutes of cooking time. Just try it though; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I would highly recommend making this rub rather than using premade ones. With this, you can control the flavors and amount of salt and spice. I’ve used rubs before that were so salty I literally couldn’t eat the finished product.
Now, for the meat. The size of your roast depends on how many people you’ll be feeding. They say to allow about 1/3 lb. of cooked meat per person, but you lose 40% of the weight as it cooks. So keep that in mind when you’re picking out your roast. This is great leftover, so I always overshoot. If my roast is large (takes up almost the whole crock pot), I cut it in half. For this, you want to use a shoulder roast, which might also be known as a Boston butt. I’ve used Boston butt roasts that have the bone in them, and I’ve also used the kind with no bone that are wrapped in twine, like a ham sometimes is. I’ve read that Boston butt is the number one choice, so if you can find that, look for one that has a layer of fat on the bottom, and you’ll be good to go.
Now all that’s left is to mix up the wonderful spice blend for your rub, slather it on the meat, get it in the brine, wait overnight, and then get it going in the crock pot. By the time you come home from work, you’ll walk into a house that smells so deliciously of this tender, juicy, mouth wateringly flavorful meat, you’ll hardly be able to wait to dig in!
Crock Pot Pulled Pork
- Whole Boston butt pork roast
For the rub:
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
For the brine:
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 quarts cold water
- 3 Tbsp dry rub mix
- 2 dried bay leaves
Mix all of the spices for the rub together in a small bowl. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel and spread the rub generously on each side of the meat, rubbing it into the meat as you go.
In a pitcher, stir salt into water until well dissolved. Stir in brown sugar, dry rub, and bay leaves.
Place the meat in a large (2 gallon) zip top bag or a very large bowl and pour in the brine. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours overnight.
Remove the meat from the brine solution and place in crock pot. If you have any rub leftover, you can put more on at this point. (Leftover rub can be stored in an airtight container on the counter.) Cook on low for 6-8 hours (do not remove lid during cooking!). Remove meat from the crock pot and shred with a fork. Add barbecue sauce if desired. Serve immediately or return to crock pot set to warm.
5 thoughts on “Crock Pot Pulled Pork”
I have always wondered why you would brine? Does it change the taste or make the meat more tender?
It makes the meat tender and juicy. But meat cooked in the crock pot ends up tender and juicy anyway, as long as it’s not overcooked. 🙂