This easy pulled pork recipe is cooked in a crock pot for convenience. Using cider vinegar gives it a great apple cider taste while keeping it low in carbs. Great for keto meal planning!
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I won’t go on record to say that crock pot pulled pork is better than oven pulled pork or smoked pulled pork. Pulled pork cooked in the oven gets a nice crust and smoked pulled pork is the epitome of righteous BBQ. Can we say burnt ends? Mmmm.
But cooking a nice pork butt in your crock pot or slow cooker is a an easy hands-off process. No heating the house with the oven in the summertime. No 16 hour overnight smoke with basting. In other words, you can fix-it-and-forget-it.
Easy pulled pork recipe
Pulled pork is super easy to make and perfect for low carb for keto diets. I love that I can make a large amount to use for meal planning during the week. I usually freeze half to use at another time.
Pulled pork cooked in a crock pot just needs a little dry rub and a small amount of liquid. I don’t worry too much about trying to season the meat it while it cooks because seasoning after cooking is what makes it good.
I love that I can season my pulled pork so many different ways. A good sugar-free BBQ sauce (either tomato based or Carolina style vinegar based) and some salt and pepper is all you need. But, sometimes, I use Italian dressing (either homemade or my favorite store bought) to give it a nice Italian flavor.
What’s the best cut of meat for pulled pork in a crock pot?
I buy pork butt or Boston butt for crock pot pulled pork, but I have used a pork shoulder, too. Pork shoulder is a longer piece of meat and a large one doesn’t fit in my crock pot. I sometimes use a pork shoulder when I make pulled pork in the oven. Pork shoulder leaner, the meat is whiter, it has a large bone running through it, and it can be a little dry. It’s my favorite for flavoring with Italian dressing.
Pork butt is a more compact cut of meat. It has has more fat marbling throughout and yields a more tender product. It contains both light and darker meat and has great flavor. Because it has so much interstitial fat, it’s best to remove the extra surface fat before cooking in the crock pot.
How to cook pulled pork in a crock pot
This easy pulled pork recipe starts with a pork butt. Since crock pots make liquid during the cooking process, it’s important to use less liquid. Make sure the liquid is very flavorful since it will dilute while cooking. I often reduce liquid by half before adding it to a crock pot.
Some people brown their pork butts in a pan before placing in the crock pot, but because the pork braises for such a long time, I find it unnecessary.
- Remove the fat cap and any other large pieces of fat from the exterior of the pork butt. There’s enough internal fat that it won’t be missed. Let the pork butt come to room temperature for about an hour.
- Mix the liquid for the pot and heat. Pour it into crock pot and preheat the crock pot on HIGH.
- Rub pork with oil. Salt and pepper. Season well with your dry rub.
- Place pork into the crock pot. Tuck a cut onion and garlic cloves around the sides.
- Cook on high for 4-8 hours or low for 8-12 or until fall-apart tender depending on the size of your pork butt. All of the connective tissues need to dissolve before it becomes tender. Low and slow is the rule.
Remove the pork from the crock pot and cool. Remove any weird pieces of fat or connective tissue. Shred with two forks or pulled pork shredder claws. Season with salt and pepper then flavor the pulled pork how you like.
What to do with the cooking liquid
Don’t throw away the pot liquor – it’s full of collagen and gelatin! It’s a great base for cooking southern green beans or to make green bean soup. Some people like to boil it down and mixed it back into the pulled pork. I find that it has so much collagen that it solidifies, so I use it for soups.
How to make Crock Pot Pulled Pork Crispy
To get it the pulled pork crispy for sandwiches, I sauté it in a frying pan with a little oil. It crisps right up. Then, I flavor it how I want.
How Much Pulled Pork Per Person?
If you’re wondering how much pulled pork to serve per person? I found this great blog post from Better Homesteading which talks about how to calculate pulled pork per person both cooked weight and pre-cooked weight. Steve mentions 6 ounces per person for a party. For those who following a low carb keto diet, plan on 3-4 ounces per person to help stay within your macros.
Easy Pulled Pork Recipe (Low Carb, Crock Pot)
- 4 pounds pork butt or Boston butt (a larger butt will have longer cooking time)
- 1 small onion, quartered (for the pot)
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed (for the pot)
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
Dry Rub (double if your pork butt is 8 pounds or more)
"Apple Cider" Soak
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup Low carb brown sugar (brown sugar substitute, coconut sugar, or brown sugar)
- Mix the ingredients for the "Apple Cider" Soak and warm in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. Pour into the crock pot and turn the crock pot to HIGH.
- Remove the fat cap from the pork and any other large deposits of fat from the exterior of the pork. Rub with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Apply rub to the entire exterior of the pork. Place in the crock pot.
- Nestle the onion and garlic cloves around the sides of the crock pot.
- Cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8-10 hours or until the meat is fall-apart tender. A larger pork butt will take longer.
- Remove the pork from the crock pot and cool for 20 minutes before shredding with forks or a claw. Discard any fat or connective tissue. Save the pot liquor to cook green beans or to make soup.
- Count on 6 ounces per portion (person) for a party. For those on a low carb/keto diet count on 3-4 ounces per serving for meal planning. Nutritional info reflects a 4 ounce portion.
- Freezes well. To reheat: MICROWAVE Place in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with cling film. OVEN Preheat oven to 350 F. Place pulled pork in an oven-safe container and cover with foil. Cook until hot. FRYING PAN Add a small amount of oil to a pan and cook the pulled pork until it is heated through and a little crispy.