Traditional pulled pork is barbecued, which gives it a smoky flavor. But the slow cooker happens to be the absolute easiest way to cook pulled pork--and you can get a hint of smoke by adding chipotle chile. Serve the pulled pork with potato salad, collard greens and grits. Or make it into a sandwich and serve it on a bun with coleslaw.

Judith Finlayson
Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2011


Recipe Summary

9 hrs


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 6 minutes. Add sugar and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes more. Add garlic, oregano, pepper and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add vinegar and bring to a boil. Cook until mostly evaporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in chili sauce and chipotle to taste.

  • Place pork in a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker and cover with the sauce. Cover and cook until the pork is almost falling apart, about 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low.

  • Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred using two forks. Stir back into the sauce.


To make ahead: Prepare through Step 1, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To finish, bring the sauce to a simmer and continue with Steps 2 and 3. The cooked pork can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Equipment: 4-quart or larger slow cooker

Notes: Raw cane sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw) is steam-cleaned, coarse-grained and light brown in color, with a slight molasses flavor. Find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets or at natural-foods stores.

Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with Mexican foods at large supermarkets. Once opened, they'll keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

Turn 3 cups leftover pulled pork into Pulled-Pork Torta.

For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.

Nutrition Facts

355 calories; protein 24.6g 49% DV; carbohydrates 20.4g 7% DV; exchange other carbs 1.5; dietary fiber 3.1g 13% DV; sugars 14g; fat 18.2g 28% DV; saturated fat 6.4g 32% DV; cholesterol 90.3mg 30% DV; vitamin a iu 244.2IU 5% DV; vitamin c 9.6mg 16% DV; folate 14.1mcg 4% DV; calcium 48.7mg 5% DV; iron 2.1mg 12% DV; magnesium 32.4mg 12% DV; potassium 504.4mg 14% DV; sodium 664mg 27% DV; thiamin 0.5mg 52% DV; added sugar 9g.

Reviews (22)

Read More Reviews
23 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 15
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
This recipe is fantastic! I had extra chipotle in adobo in there and served over nachos with cheddar. The guys used Hawaiian rolls to make sliders with the leftovers. I'd give it more than 5 stars if I could! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Love this recipe. This is a great healthy comfort food recipe. it's especially good with a sweet vinegary coleslaw like this old one from Eating Well. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
My favorite! This is officially my new go to recipe! What a great flavor!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Big hit for a potluck! I made this for a work potluck and it was a huge crowd pleaser! Everyone asked for the recipe! I made the sauce the night before started the crock pot in the morning for a lunchtime party and served it with Martin's potato rolls for make-your-own sliders. Like another reviewer said it took a bit longer to caramelize the onions than stated in the recipe so I ended up cooking most of the moisture out trying to give them good color (adding sugar during caramelization also pulls the moisture out); I had to add a little water back in to the sauce at the end of Step 1 to loosen it up. I used Demerara sugar rather than turbinado to give it a little more depth of flavor and the max suggested amount of chipotle. The sauce is not too sweet not too spicy and not too vinegary which is why everyone enjoyed it so much. Personally I like mine with a bit more smoke kick and vinegar so I'll probably increase the chipotle black pepper and vinegar when I make it for myself. Pros: Easy delicious Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Hi this recipe sounds awesome & I really want to try I am in Australia so chipotle chile in adobo sauce is not readily available- can anyone offer a good substitute? Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Made this pork to use for the pulled pork torta recipe also on this site. I love the flavor of the onions and the sauce though I'll add a little more chipotle when I make it again. I only had one problem with making this: after 4.5 hours on high in my slow cooker my pork didn't feel tender at all. I ended up putting in the oven for 1 hour on 300. Even after that it was still a lot harder to shred than I expected. Might have been the particular cut of meat I had. I used a pork shoulder butt that had the joint in it. Must be a tough part. I'll definitely be trying this again with an un-jointed portion of meat. Served this on King's Hawaiian sweet rolls...Amazing! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Make it Sweet! Accidentally purchased SWEET Chili Sauce (vs. regular); only used 2/3 cup and a moderate squeeze of Ketchup. Followed crock-pot recipe and it was outstanding! The sweet chili sauce plays well with the flavor of the caramelized onions. Served with brochen rolls and shredded sharp cheddar cheese.: ) Pros: EASY! delicious saves well Read More
Rating: 5 stars
flavourful and easy I've made pulled pork before but none of my earlier attempts matched this one for flavour. I don't have a slow-cooker so baked it for about four hours in a 300-degree oven. It turned out great. I will be making it again! Pros: taste Read More
Rating: 5 stars
A Crowd Pleaser and Easy to Make.. The first time I made this everyone went nuts for it. I'm making it again today for a party tomorrow. This time I'm offering medium-sized Pop'n Fresh biscuits and small sweet rolls as sliders for everyone to make for themselves. The coleslaw was a great accompaniment as were bread'n butter pickles. You can adjust the heat by adding more of the smoked jalapenos but the amount in the recipe was actually perfect for my crowd. Collards sounds like a good accompaniment. I make mine with red bell peppers onions garlic ham hock and chicken bouillon cube which I rarely otherwise use. But it adds the required salt as well as flavor and it seems to season it just right. What do I know...I'm a Yankee from the toes up! But I certainly do recommend this Pulled Pork recipe. Pros: Easy to make in the slow cooker. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Delicious Did not use a slow cooker and ended up cooking it in the oven a bit longer to get it to pull. Solid recipe will be making it again. Pros: low in calories Cons: none Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Fantastic Flavor I often find sauces in slow cooker recipes watered down due to the moisture retention or too strong if liquid ingredients were reduced (many recipes I have are adapted from stove top/oven recipes.) Not this one! The chili sauce with the chipotle really marry well and provide a really full flavor to the sauce. The caramelized onions adds to the depth of the flavor. Family loves this one and they're not fond of many of my slow cooker recipes. Even my picky 12 year old son likes this one! Not too spicy even with the chipotle. Pros: Easy to make Cons: None! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Make This This pulled pork is so easy to make. We cook the onions then place everything in the crock-pot in the fridge the night before. Perfect for large family gatherings. Just Make It! Pros: Everyone loves it. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
best pulled pork recipe I've tried Soo good I've made this recipe twice now even with all the chipotle's added both of my little boys (2 5) eat it without complaining that it's hot. I've tried several crock pot pulled pork recipes and this one is by far the best came out tender juicy saucy and delicious. Easy to shred too. Pros: absolutely delicious Cons: carmelizing the onions in the morning is a little time consuming. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
YUK! WAY too sweet! I made this with an amazing cut of local free range pork so I expected it to be amazing. I followed recipe even went out to buy chili sauce (splurged on heinz brand despite that both brands have high fructose corn syrup-YUK!) excluded the chipotles b/c too spicy for my kids. It was too much sauce too wet and WAY TOO SWEET. YUK! We can barely eat it. My daughter asked to have the sauce rinsed off (that helped) and my son didn't want seconds. This is unusual for both. Me if I put enough chipotle Tabasco on it i can tolerate it. I will admit being from Chapel Hill NC I'm not a fan of traditional sweet tomato-based BBQ sauce (though my son loves BBQ chips) we usually like vinegar-based sauces is that Lexington style? But this was WAY over the top. I'll have to try my own twist next time: NO added sugar and see what happens. Pros: Meat cooked nicely to shred Cons: Sickly sweet! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious! I made this according to the recipe but excluded the chipotle chile because I thought it might make it hot an my son is a girl when it comes to spicy food. I started it later than planned so cut up the roast into 8 big chunks instead of one large roast and it was done in 3 hours. It was amazing! And my son even wanted seconds! Next time I think I might add some spiciness though. Pros: Super easy and not time consuming Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Yummy I only used about a third of the chilli sauce because what I had on hand was super spicy. I rubbed the pork with smoked paprika and pored the sauce on. I didn't know if the roast would burn without adding water so about 3 1/2 hours into cooking I added two cups of water and a half hour before serving I poured 1/4 cup of country bob's sauce in. This was so good! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
So good! This recipe was awesome! I followed exactly how the recipe reads except I made my chili sauce because I didn't have any on hand. Great recipe! Pros: Super easy Cons: You have to smell it cook all day Read More
Rating: 5 stars
The smell of it cooking will have you craving it all day I made this with boneless pork chops and used a masher to break up the meat after it had cooked. When I added the sugar it brought out the water from the onions and getting them to carmelize took a lot longer than the recipe stated. Was very tasty. The pork had a nice heat to it. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Question If I'm doubling the recipe how long and on what setting should I put it in the slow cooker? Is it better to make in 2 batches or can I do it all at once? Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Excellent! This was the first time I had every made pulled pork. I am not a huge meat fan but my husband and kids are;-) This was a great and easy recipe and we all loved it! I worked from home during a snowstorm here in NY today took about 15-20 minutes to prepare threw it into the slow cooker for 8 hours and voila! dinner was served. I just served it with egg noodles and some green beans but was perfect even for my 15 year old picky eater! Pros: Easy to Make Great Payoff! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Amazingly good This. Is. Amazing. I barely had to "pull" this pork it was so tender at the end. Mine took only about 6.5-7 hours on low in the crock pot. I love the smoky flavor of the optional chipotles and the meat is just melty and tender. Prepping the sauce wasn't as fast as I thought it would be but nor was it difficult. I would highly recommend. Pros: Smoky and tender Cons: Preparing the sauce wasn't as quick as I expected Read More
Rating: 5 stars
The Best Pulled Pork I've Ever Had This was fantastic. Put it in the crock pot and just let it cook away. I used a boneless sirloin tip roast (very little fat on it) and brown sugar (I cut down on the brown sugar because I don't like it sweet). Served on a bun with my favorite BBQ sauce slathered on the bottom topped with cole slaw and ate away. Will never use another pulled pork recipe again. This is the best. Read More