Fork serving Carolina Style Slow Cooker Pulled Pork from white plate

Carolina Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Easy Carolina Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with rich spices and a tangy broth, made fork-tender in a slow cooker. 
Course Slow Cooker
Cuisine American
Keyword best southern pulled pork, north carolina pulled pork, pulled pork slow cooker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 266kcal
Author Plating Pixels


  • 3 pounds pork shoulder butt roast
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar separated
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard


  • If pork roast shoulder is frozen, put in the fridge to defrost 2-3 days before cooking. Trim off any large sections of fat and discard. 
  • In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Rub the mixture all over pork until it's soaked in and evenly coated.
  • Place onions in a layer on the bottom of slow cooker, place pork shoulder on top.
  • In a small bowl, stir together remaining ingredients from apple cider vinegar to ground mustard, plus the leftover tablespoon of brown sugar. Gently pour the liquid over roast. You should have about 2 inches of liquid on the bottom; if not add a bit of stock or water.
  • Cook covered on LOW for 8–10 hours or HIGH for 4 hours until pulled pork is fork tender. Important: Do not discard liquid after cooking.
  • Use a fork to shred the meat in the slow cooker or on a plate. Toss shredded pork with the liquid until well coated. Slow cook on HIGH for 15 minutes more to infuse flavors. 
  • Use tongs or a slotted spoon to serve as desired, or use it to make my slow cooker Pulled Pork Sliders.



  • Watch the recipe video within the post to learn just how easy this Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is
  • You can use bone-in pork shoulder butt for more juiciness and flavor, however boneless is totally fine as well.
  • Substitute extra brown mustard if you don't have mustard powder.
  • Cooking the full 10 hours on LOW, or 4 hours on HIGH, will yield the most tender pulled pork. A longer cooking time breaks down the protein in the meat, which creates the ideal fork-tender texture.
  • Cooking with liquid in a sealed slow cooker keeps the meat from drying out.
  • If you don't have a slow cooker, use a crock pot to make crockpot slow cooker pulled pork. Or use an Instant-pot on the slow-cooker setting for the recommended time.


Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 621mg | Potassium: 682mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 815IU | Vitamin C: 4.5mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2.9mg