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Perfect, Smoky Pulled Pork (Slow Cooker)

You can have smoky, tender pulled pork without a smoker. Your slow cooker can create the most flavorful pulled pork; just let it cook all day long for fork-tender pork

perfect smoky pulled pork
Perfect Pulled Pork hits the spot!

Smoky Pulled Pork, without a smoker

Years ago, I went through a slow cooker phase.  What’s not to love about such a good, old-fashioned appliance that delivers?  Especially when the “daily stuff of life” leaves little time for cooking, the crock pot is a dinner saver.  A few times, I’ve turned to said appliance for batches of various styles of pulled pork, which have all turned out tender and juicy.  But this recent rendition of pulled pork is, unquestionably, our family’s most favorite-est.

Nope, it doesn’t even require a smoker.  I know a few BBQ Guys who turn out deliciously smoky meats with their smokers.  I could subconsciously be a tad envious because I don’t own a smoker.  I don’t have a smoker and I refused to turn on the oven with the hot and humid weather.  Thankfully, my trusty crock pot was ready to go.  The neighbors might even have been envious of the great big BBQ aroma coming from my little kitchen 🙂

slow cooker pulled pork
Perfect Pulled Pork – smoky, sweet, and savory – all without a smoker.

Use Pork Shoulder for flavorful Pulled Pork

Actually, now that I think about it… it’s kind of funny that I’ve been posting about meat.  During my independence-seeking college years, I swore off red meat, among other things.  If I remember correctly, I adamantly refused beef and pork during that health nut phase (which my mama still scolds me for.)  Funny how pork has since had an image revamp and become the “other white meat” – yeah, okay, that probably doesn’t include pork shoulder/butt.  But still.  Pork has come a long way.

This pulled pork is full of flavor, with an awesome dry rub that sits on it overnight before cooking.  The only challenge is that you’ll need to plan for that night of marinading.

Perfect Pulled Pork
Tender Pulled Pork – cooks all day by itself

This Pulled Pork Recipe is Fork tender

The best part of this pulled pork is that you will get such big flavor and tender and  fall-off-the-bone-goodness, all with little effort once everything is in your slow cooker.  Just turn on that sweet little cooker early in the morning, and dinner is ready when you get home!

Oh, and everyone knows that BBQ sauces are not all alike.  My disclaimer is that I only use Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce because out of all the sauces I’ve tried, this is it.  I’m not doing some kind of sponsor-ad thing, and I didn’t get my recipe off the back of the sauce bottle.   I just want you to really like this meal.  You can certainly use something else, but it probably won’t end up tasting like the pork I’m bragging about 🙂

Here’s to delicious food that cooks on its own, slow cooker style.  Enjoy!

Try this Sheet Pan Pork Loin, Too:

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

perfect smoky pulled pork

Perfect, Smoky Pulled Pork

5 from 9 ratings
You can have smoky, tender pulled pork without a smoker. Your slow cooker can create the most flavorful pulled pork for dinner tonight.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 11 hours
Servings: 12
Author: Amy Dong


For Pulled Pork:

  • 4-5 lbs pork shoulder or butt
  • 2 cups cola or root beer
  • 3 TB liquid smoke
  • ¼ cup water
  • 18-36 oz your favorite honey BBQ sauce, depending on how saucy you want it (we like Sweet Baby Ray's)


  • Make dry rub by mixing first 7 ingredients together.  This can be made days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container.
  • Using paper towels, dry pork on all sides to remove all excess moisture. Press dry rub generously onto pork, on all sides.  Wrap pork tightly in double foil and let sit overnight in fridge.
  • Remove foil from pork and set evenly in slow cooker.  Pour in 2 cups cola or root beer and 3 TB liquid smoke.  Add 1/4 cup water.  Cover slow cooker and cook on low for about 10 hours.
  • Remove and shred pork.  Reserve cooked pork juices into separate bowl and skim off fat.  Put shredded pork back into slow cooker.  Mix in 1 bottle BBQ sauce.  Add as much of the reserved pork juices as desired.  I use maybe half or more.  Add more BBQ sauce if desired.  The meat will soak up a lot of the moisture, so this part is pretty much done by taste and by eye. Once it is to your liking, cook on low another 30 min to 1 hour.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.4g | Protein: 1.6g | Fat: 4.5g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Cholesterol: 7.4mg | Sodium: 207.2mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 6.5g
Course: Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Method: Slow Cooker

Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • Amanda Phair

    can it be diet coke? looking forward to trying the recipe asap.

      • Amy Dong

      Yes, you can try it with Diet Coke, though it may taste slightly different without the real sugar. Enjoy!

    • Joe Phibbs
    • 5 stars

    I like Mesquite or Hickory Liquid Smoke

    • ken
    • 5 stars

    This recipe is incredible, I’m going to try it with Dr. pepper tomorrow.

    • Garth

    Your recipe says “3 T liquid smoke”…is that 3 tablespoons or 3 teaspoons?

      • chewoutloud

      Hi, Garth…it’s TB (tablespoon)…updated, thanks and hope you enjoy! 🙂

    • Jessica

    Would it work in a roster?

      • chewoutloud

      Jessica, it should work in a roaster, too… just go with your manufacturer’s instructions for how long to cook, temp, etc. 🙂

    • Tom

    I see this post is a few years old but I just found it. My question is, I have about a 10lb. roast. Would I just double the other ingredients? (my assumption)

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, you got it, Tom! 🙂 hope you guys love it!!

        • Tom

        Will be in the crock pot tomorrow.

    • Bill M

    Did you use a bone-in pork shoulder or boneless?

    • Charito De Guzman
    • 5 stars

    Thanks sooooo much for your recipe. I made this tonight as our Thanksgiving Dinner (Canada). Turned out perfect and we loved it! Thanks again.

      • chewoutloud

      Oh, yay! I’m so happy you guys enjoyed it. Thanks for saying so 🙂

        • Charito De Guzman

        Oh Yay to you too…. You’re site will be my “To go To” whenever I need a recipe to impress my Honey!

    • Foodie Joanie

    This looks delicious! Thanks for visiting my blog. See you around.

    • locaholic
    • 5 stars

    This looks delicious! I have never made pulled pork, but you have inspired me to try! Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my post on groundcherry-apple pie 🙂

    • pattyabr

    I’m a sucker for pulled pork. I’m hungry for it now!

    • Victor Ho

    Thanks for visiting my blog. With my change in venue, I have been living on the good will of sandwich shoppes, restaurants, and fast food for the past three months. It’s been interesting to say that I have not cooked in all that time. Eating has been very up and down. No weight gain or loss. So far so good. The food you make looks so good, I’d almost think about cooking again… but not quite. All the best to you and the boys.

    • Erin’s DC Kitchen

    Oh my gosh, pulled pork is my weakness…. love love love it!

    • Simply Tia


    • myhealthyohana

    This looks delicious, we love pulled pork, but have never made it in the slow cooker. Do you think the liquid smoke is absolutely necessary or can I do without it?

      • chewoutloud

      You could go without. It just gives off the smoky flavor, so if you don’t care for smokiness, go without. We use liquid smoke for kahlua pork (hawaiian style) when we want the smokiness to shine through. 🙂

    • highschoolfoodie
    • 5 stars

    This looks incredible. I love pulled pork. Very interesting that you use cola but it sounds great! Also your photos are beautiful. Thanks for the recipe!

    • kyliecooks

    Your food is beautiful. What kind of camera are you using?

      • chewoutloud

      Canon EOS 5D Mark II

      • chewoutloud

      Thanks, Kylie! Must share Hubby’s fave saying: “It’s not all about the camera.” A good tool may need a good eye – but the tool helps, too. 😉

    • eatzybitzy
    • 5 stars

    Such a delicious meal to make on a sunday. Bet the onions and pickles bring out the flavour of the meat…..yumssssss~

    • mlspell

    This looks delicious!

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