Out of all the recipes I’ve ever posted on this blog, sweet pulled pork has to be my absolute, hands down, do-or-die favorite.
I originally posted this recipe almost a year ago, inspired by the food my previous employer had catered on my last day in the office (not on my behalf, sadly, but for another event that same day) and I think I’ve probably made it at least 10 times since.
Okay, maybe 12 times.
Or 16 23 if I’m being honest.
Over time, it’s become my official go-to “make food for everyone” dish when we have our friends over for a movie night or a day-long gaming marathon (because, yes, we are that nerdy). Most of the time I like to serve this with tortillas, chopped tomatoes, and butter corn, so everyone can wrap their own pulled pork enchiladas.
But in the honor of this uber delicious recipe, I’m doing a bit of a “recipe rehash” by preparing it in a different (but more classic) way:
On a hamburger bun with coleslaw.
Because I firmly believe that every sandwich tastes better with coleslaw.
What kind of BBQ sauce should you use?
I love when people ask me this question because the answer is the simplest (and, in my opinion, the best) part about this recipe:
You should use a “standard” BBQ sauce (mild or spicy, with no other flavoring) that you already love.
And because you already love your favorite sauce, you’re almost guaranteed to love this recipe. All that’s left is adding a few ingredients to sweeten the BBQ flavor, transforming something familiar into something deliciously new.
As for an old friend of mine and I, we’re big fans of Can’t Stop Smokin’ BBQ, a small chain in New Mexico and Arizona that’s really starting to grow, and I usually keep a few bottles of their house sauce in my cabinets… just in case.
Because you never know when a BBQ emergency will happen, amirite?!
For me, a “BBQ emergency” means I’m having (yet another) pulled pork craving and (hopefully) there just happens to be a good sale on pork. And I’m not picky – riblets, bone in, pork chops, you name it – I’ve thrown all cuts of pork in the crock pot and slathered it with this sauce and it always been heaven.
The only challenge I have is waiting until the pork is done, because while four hours doesn’t seem like that long, it’s near torture when the house is smelling so amazingly good.
I’m not even kidding here.
You’re going to want to eat the air in your house while this cooks.
You have been warned.
What cut of meat should you use for pulled pork?
The answer to this question can really depend on your tastes or your guests, but some of the most popular options are:
- Pork shoulder. Typically what restaurants use but can be harder to find at your local grocery store.
- Pork riblets. Readily available and great for flavor, but can be a lot of bones to worry about.
- Pork chops. Not “ideal” but great if you don’t want to worry about bones (assuming you get boneless chops) and totally fine to use if it’s what you have on hand.
How do you serve pulled pork?
There are numerous ways to serve pulled pork, but these are my two favorites that have always gone over well with our guests:
On a bun: Use any flavor of bun you like and layer the sweet pulled pork with fresh coleslaw.
Enchilada style: Serve with spicy rice, beans, chopped tomatoes, and corn. Place all ingredients in the center of a tortilla, top with pulled pork, and wrap it up tight.
How do you freeze pulled pork?
When freezing your leftovers, allow them to cool to room temperature first.
Scoop pork and sauce in a strong Ziploc bag. Leave at least one inch of space at the top of the bag, as the pork may expand while freezing. Seal the bag tightly.
Store pulled pork in the freezer for up to two to three months.
Notes & tips for this sweet pulled pork recipe
- One of the best things about this recipe is that it uses your favorite BBQ sauce as a base, so you’re guaranteed to love it! I’ve yet to find a brand of standard BBQ sauce that didn’t work with this recipe.
- I recently upgraded my crock pot to one that comes with bowls for 2.5 Quart, 4 Quart, and 6 Quart and I highly recommend it! It’s so nice to have one unit that can make fabulous dinners and heat up party dips. You can pick one up here: Choose-A-Crock Programmable Slow Cooker, 6 quart/4 quart/2 x 1.5 quart.
More tasty crock pot recipes
How do you make pulled pork in a crock pot?
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – In a mixing bowl add brown sugar, ground mustard, garlic powder, and your favorite classic (mild or not – nothing too flavorful) and mix together until blended.
Step 2 – In a 6 quart crock pot, add the pork and pour the sweet BBQ mixture on top. Move and flip the pork so that it’s covered in sauce.
Step 3 – Cover and cook the pork on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
Step 4 – Uncover the crock pot. If necessary, use a pair of tongs to remove any bones from the meat. Use either two forks or a whisk or break apart and shred the pork.
Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!
This post was originally published on September 21, 2015. It was updated March 7, 2018.
Sweet Crock Pot Pulled Pork
Transform your favorite BBQ sauce into deliciously sweet crock pot pulled pork that goes perfectly with just about any sandwich or taco topping.
Arrange the pork in the bottom of a 6 quart crock pot. Pour the BBQ mixture on top of the pork, covering it evenly. No need to stir or toss pork.
Cover crock pot and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 8 hours.
When pork is ready, use a fork or a whisk to pull meat apart.
Serve immediately on your choice of bread with added sides.