Unfortunately, we don’t currently own a smoker, so making traditional pulled pork is a little difficult. But with a Crock Pot and a little love, we can still accomplish that tender, juicy result generally achieved by an all-day smoke. (Pictured Below: Pulled Pork on a cornbread pancake, topped with coleslaw, then smothered in BBQ sauce, aka the Redneck Taco)
Crock Pot Pulled Pork is super simple and only has 5 ingredients: pork, onion, garlic, Wham’s, and Hickory Smoked Sea Salt. Wham’s is an all-purpose BBQ rub that I have only ever seen in Piggly Wiggly and Star Market here in Alabama. It’s full name is Willingham’s World Champion Wham Seasoning and I’m sorry to say I have no idea if they sell it anywhere else. In the event you can’t find this little jar of magic, you can use your favorite rub instead. I buy the Hickory Smoked Sea Salt at Williams Sonoma. I don’t know if anyone else makes an equivalent, but let me tell you, this stuff is worth it’s weight in gold. It gives any dish a delightfully smoky flavor, worlds above and beyond liquid smoke, which can taste a little… off… sometimes.
I make this pretty frequently because it’s easy, tasty, and it makes a lot, which means leftovers. A warm and yummy pulled pork sandwich, deliciously buttery stuffed baked potato, piled on a crazy awesome redneck taco, or crispy fresh pulled pork salad – all equally tantalizing options. However you choose to enjoy this, I assure you, it will be scrumptious!
Peel and cut 1 large or 2 medium onions into 6th’s or 8th’s (wedges) and toss into the bottom of your slow cooker. Now peel 4-6 cloves of garlic, cut in half and toss in with the onions. Try to evenly disperse the veggies on the bottom; you want to create a little veggie rack for your pork to sit on. If the amount of onion called for isn’t enough, feel free to add another. I use a 2-3 pound roast so 2 usually does it for me, but for a large or longer roast, you might need the extra.
You can use any type of pork roast you’d like; I usually buy the giant, untrimmed pork loin from Sam’s or Costco and cut it down myself. It’s not difficult to do, it’s way more cost effective, and you can cut it down into whatever size roast or chops you need. However you buy your pork, I would definitely go with boneless for this recipe. It will cook faster than pork with the bone-on. Also, I usually trim most of the fat off the bottom of the roast. Since you’re covering this roast halfway up with water, you don’t need the fat for moisture or tenderizing. Rinse the pork off and pat dry with paper towels.
Lay your pork on the cutting board that you just chopped the veggies on so the excess seasoning doesn’t get all over your counter. You want to generously sprinkle on the BBQ seasoning. I’m sorry this picture is a little blurry, but I wanted you to see how much Wham’s I start with, adding more if this doesn’t cover the roast.
You’re going for a nice, even coverage on all sides of the meat. When you open the jar of Hickory Smoked Sea Salt, that smokey scent will pop out to say hello. It can be too strong if you use too much of it, so a light sprinkling will do. Plus, chances are the BBQ seasoning already contains salt, so you don’t want to make your pork too salty. And don’t just sprinkle on the seasoning, really massage it into the meat – give little piggy the royal treatment! Now, all you do is set your seasoned roast on the veggies in the slow cooker, and fill with water, to about halfway up the sides of the roast. It’s OK that the onions not directly under the roast are swimming.
You can cook for 4-5 hours on high heat if you need it done faster, but low and slow is the way to go. At least 7-8 hours on low for a 2-3 pound roast. When I made this for my daughter’s first birthday (I made cute little pulled pork sliders!), I put it in the crockpot late the night before, and let it cook all night and into the morning. If your slow cooker has a “warm” setting, it should automatically come on after your timer goes off. This is super handy in case you get home late from work, or can’t get to it first thing in the morning. And since you’ve added water, it won’t dry out. This is what it looks like after an 8 hour bath in the Crock Pot.
When it’s done, it should fall apart when you stick a fork in it and twist. It’s easiest to get the pork out of Slow Cooker using tongs. Transfer it to a bowl and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. This resting time will allow the meat to reabsorb it’s juices, hopefully keeping it from drying out. Use 2 forks or your fingers to shred.
Save a little of the cooking liquid in case the pork isn’t as moist as you’d like or dries out a little during shredding. And now, you can serve it anyway you like! I like making pulled pork sandwiches, redneck tacos, or stuffed baked potatoes the first night, and then using the leftovers to top a yummy salad for lunch the next day.
Crock Pot Pulled Pork
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8-9 hours
2-3 pound pork sirloin roast
2 medium onions
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed and cut in half
Wham’s, or other BBQ rub
Hickory Smoked Sea Salt
Step 1: Peel the garlic and cut each into 2 or 3 pieces. Peel the onions and cut into 6th’s or 8th’s (wedges). Spread them out on the bottom of your Crock Pot.
Step 2: Rinse your meat in cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle your BBQ seasoning very generously on the pork. Add a little of the hickory smoked sea salt. Then, using your fingers, massage your seasonings into the meat. Work it into every side evenly.
Step 3: Place your seasoned meat on top of the bed of onions and garlic. Add water to the Crock Pot until it comes about halfway up the sides of the meat.
Step 4: Set your Crock Pot on Low for 8 to 9 hours.
Step 5: When the pork is fully cooked, remove from Crock Pot with tongs and put in a bowl. Let rest for 5-10 minutes, then shred using two forks or your fingers. It should fall apart.
Step 6: Serve anyway you like! On a salad, baked potato, or try our homemade buns!