Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

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The absolute BEST honey BBQ pulled pork sandwiches made simple in the CROCKPOT! Recipe via chelseasmessyarpon.com

Just serve these spice-rubbed Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches with a delicious sweet honey chipotle sauce and a simple coleslaw. Add a toasted bun with a side of this Corn Salad for the ultimate summer meal!

Crockpot BBQ pulled pork sandwich on a plate, overflowing with delicious ingredients, ready to be enjoyed.

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

There’s nothing like smoked pork butt, but if you lack a smoker or don’t want to spend 15-20 hours monitoring it, this recipe is ideal.

You’ll get succulent, tender pork for your summer barbecue in less time and with minimal effort. Just fit the pork butt into a crockpot and let it slow cook all day without the need for constant attention, unlike in a smoker. It also fills your home with a wonderful aroma and lets you stay cool indoors.

Making the sauce is easy too. While store-bought BBQ sauce is an option, our homemade chipotle barbecue sauce is highly recommended for its flavorful, sweet, smoky, and customizable spicy taste. Let’s begin with the sauce!

Assembling savory sauce ingredients in a blender and blending them together to create a delicious sauce.

Ingredients In BBQ Pulled Pork In Crockpot

For the Pork in the Crockpot:

  • Yellow Onions & Minced Garlic: These aromatics add depth and a subtle sweetness to the pork.
  • Apple Juice or Chicken Broth: This liquid creates a moist environment in the slow cooker, enhancing the pork’s tenderness and imparting a slight fruity or savory flavor.
  • Bone-in Pork Butt Shoulder Roast: The main ingredient, it becomes tender and flavorful during slow cooking.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness and helps in caramelizing the outer layer of the pork.
  • Spices (Chili Powder, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dry Mustard Powder, Ground Cumin, Salt, Pepper): This blend provides a complex flavor profile, combining heat, sweetness, and earthiness.

For the Chipotle Honey Sauce:

  • Ketchup & Brown Sugar: They form the base of the sauce, offering a sweet and tangy flavor.
  • Honey: Adds a rich sweetness and smooth texture.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar & Worcestershire Sauce: These ingredients introduce acidity and a slight umami depth.
  • Minced Garlic: Provides a sharp, aromatic flavor.
  • Chipotle Chilies and Adobo Sauce: Adds a smoky heat and depth of flavor. Be sure to read this chicken tinga tacos post for how to save and store leftover chipotles.

Preparing seasoning rub for pork, adding onions and apple juice to crockpot, seasoned pork added, cooking all day, then shredded and covered in BBQ sauce.

How To Make BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches In The Crockpot

  1. Crockpot Prep: Spray with nonstick spray, add sliced onions, apple juice, and minced garlic.
  2. Season Pork: Combine brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Rub over a pork butt shoulder roast.
  3. Cook: Place pork in crockpot, fat side up. Cook on low for 8-11 hours, then shred.
  4. Sauce: Blend ketchup, brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and chipotle chili and adobo sauce to taste.
  5. Combine: Pour sauce over shredded pork and mix.
  6. Serve: Butter and brown brioche buns, add pork, top with coleslaw, and assemble the sandwich.

QUICK TIP

Adjust the sauce to your liking; chipotles balance its sweetness. Add them gradually to avoid excess spiciness. The bun and coleslaw will also help tame the heat.

Chipotle Amounts:

  • Little/no spice: 1-2 tbsp of sauce from canned chipotles.
  • Light spice: 2 tbsp sauce, 1 tbsp peppers.
  • Medium spice: 2 tbsp sauce, 2 tbsp peppers.
  • Spicy: 2 tbsp sauce, 3 tbsp peppers.

Making coleslaw dressing and pouring it over shredded vegetables.

Side Dish Suggestions

  • Grilled Corn on the Cob: A classic barbecue accompaniment, corn on the cob can be grilled for a smoky flavor, then brushed with butter and sprinkled with a little salt.
  • Baked Beans: A hearty and flavorful side, baked beans pair well with the savory, smoky taste of pulled pork.
  • Macaroni and Cheese: Creamy and comforting, macaroni and cheese offers a rich contrast to the spicy and tangy pork.
  • Potato Salad: A cool and creamy potato salad balances the heat from the chipotle in the pork.
  • Cornbread: A sweet and buttery cornbread complements the spicy and savory flavors of the BBQ pork.
  • Cucumber Salad: A refreshing cucumber salad with a vinegar-based dressing can cleanse the palate between bites of the rich pork.
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes: Their natural sweetness pairs well with the smoky and spicy flavors of the pork.
  • Coleslaw: An additional helping of coleslaw on the side can add more crunch and freshness to the meal.
  • Watermelon Slices: For a light and refreshing end to the meal, watermelon slices are a great choice, especially for summer barbecues.

Finished BBQ pulled pork in crockpot served on a bun atop coleslaw, creating a delicious sandwich.

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Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

5 from 6 votes
Spice-rubbed Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches with a delicious sweet honey-chipotle sauce and a simple coleslaw.
Crockpot BBQ pulled pork sandwich on a plate, overflowing with delicious ingredients, ready to be enjoyed.
Print Recipe

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

Crockpot BBQ pulled pork sandwich on a plate, overflowing with delicious ingredients, ready to be enjoyed.
5 from 6 votes
Spice-rubbed Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches with a delicious sweet honey-chipotle sauce and a simple coleslaw.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine American
Keyword crockpot BBQ pulled pork
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 9 hours
Total Time 9 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10 -12 sandwiches
Chelsea Lords
Calories 357kcal
Cost $11.12

Ingredients

Pork in the crockpot

  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup 100% apple juice (or chicken broth works)
  • 4.5-6.5 pounds bone-in pork butt shoulder roast (or Boston butt) (See Note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon EACH: chili powder, paprika (sweet), garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons EACH: onion powder, dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper

Chipotle Honey Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons canned chipotle chilies and surrounding adobo sauce (+ 2 tablespoons sauce surrounding chipotles) (See Note 2)
  • salt and pepper

For Serving

  • brioche buns and softened butter
  • coleslaw for serving, (See Note 3)

Instructions

Into the Slow Cooker

  • Coat a large 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with the thinly sliced onions (2 medium or 1 very large). Pour in the apple juice and minced garlic.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, ground cumin, salt, and pepper (I add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 heaping teaspoon cracked pepper). Remove pork from packaging and dab all over with a paper towel. Rub the spices into the pork -- all sides.
  • Place the pork on top of the onions; if there is a white layer of fat, place that facing up (the fat will render down and make the pork more tender).
  • Cover, and cook for 8-11 hours on low setting (a 5.5 pound pork is always done around 9 hours for me); I don't recommend cooking on high.
  • Once the meat is completely cooked through and shreds easily, drain the liquid. Pull off the layer of fat on top (it should easily pull off), and pull out the bone and discard both (or save the bone and the drained liquid to make homemade stock!)
  • Using two forks, shred the pork.

Sauce

  • In a blender, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste).
  • Add in 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce surrounding the chipotle chilis and then 1 tablespoon of an actual chipotle chili (cut chili if needed). If concerned about heat, add chilies and sauce gradually tasting after additions. (Add VERY slowly because it's always easy to increase if you want more heat. If you are very sensitive to heat just add the sauce around the chilies in small quantities.) Blend sauce until smooth.
  • Pour the sauce over the pork (you may not use it all if using a smaller pork roast) and gently mix until pork is well coated and saucy.

Coleslaw And Buns

  • Spread butter on the insides of the buns. Add to a skillet or griddle and lightly brown the buns over medium heat.
  • Top the bottom bun with a generous amount of the BBQ pulled pork and a big spoonful of coleslaw (See Note 2). Add top bun and serve right away.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Pork: I've tried all kinds of pork and all different weights in my slow cooker. I've gotten the best results from using a 5-5.5 pound bone-in pork shoulder or butt roast. Some of the different labels you might see: butt roast, Boston butt, shoulder roast, picnic shoulder, or a pork shoulder butt blade roast. (There is a difference between butt and shoulder pork roasts, but sometimes the names are confused or misleadingly named; check out the differences here). My personal favorite is a Boston Butt, but without going to a butcher, I typically can only find a pork shoulder butt roast in regular grocery stores.
Note 2: Chipotles: Chipotle peppers can vary, but below is generally what I'd add to the BBQ sauce depending on how spicy (or not spicy) I'd like it to be. If not adding a lot of spice, you'll want to reduce the honey.
  • Little to no spice: Use 1-2 tablespoons  adobo sauce surrounding the chipotle peppers.
  • Light spice: Use 2 tablespoons adobo sauce  and 1 tablespoon peppers.
  • Medium spicy: Use 2 tablespoons adobo sauce and 2 tablespoon peppers.
  • Spicy: Use 2 tablespoons adobo sauce and 3 tablespoons peppers.
Note 3: Coleslaw: Here's a homemade coleslaw recipe. For a quicker coleslaw, grab a bag of coleslaw mix and some fresh (refrigerated) coleslaw dressing (I like Marie’s® best) and toss the two together until the coleslaw mix is sufficiently mixed.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 359mg | Potassium: 626mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 573IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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Recipe Rating




21 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    i didn’t make the coleslaw, but the pulled pork is delicious. The bbq sauce has the perfect amount of sweetness and slight kick from the chipotle. I’m sure i’ll be making this again…and sharing it!

    1. I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed the pork and the sauce! 🙂 Thanks so much for the comment Lisa!

    1. I’m sorry Whitney, I’ve never tried freezing this particular dish so I have no idea how it does after being frozen. Wish I could be of more help!

  2. Sounds delish. I think if I were to make a big batch of this I would buy some pork shoulder and cut it into 2″ pieces, then brown it on the grill first. I love to brown the meat first as it adds an extra layer of flavor. I also like a dash of molasses in the cooking sauce! Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  3. I was a little worried, as the sauce was so sweet, but it all worked together wonderfully! I wanted to let you know that you forgot to add the season salt to the rub ingredients list. You have it in the written instructions – but not in the listed ingredients – so I almost missed it!
    Thanks for a great recipe !

    1. I’m so happy you liked it! Thank you for pointing that out; I updated the recipe. Appreciate the help 🙂

  4. Chelsea a picture of crockpot pepper steak is attached to your crockpot pulled pork on pintetest. Can you please post your recipe for crockpot pepper steak? It is delicious and would like to make it.

  5. 5 stars
    This is my go to favourite pulled port recipe which all my family loves. The sauce is simply amazing and this recipe turns out each time

  6. 5 stars
    This is a great pulled pork recipe, EXCEPT for the barbeque sauce part. It’s so super sweet, it ruins it for me. I cut the brown sugar and honey in half the second time I made it, and it was much better!

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