The whole point of using a slow cooker is to get the ingredients into the cooker quickly and then be able to walk away. For this easy pulled pork recipe, just coat the pork shoulder with a spice rub of dark brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon, then cook it on a bed of garlic and onions covered with chicken broth. When you come back six to ten hours later, you’ll have juicy pork that’s ready to be shredded and served atop nachos, alongside cornbread, or in a sandwich with your favorite barbecue sauce. This no-fuss, versatile recipe makes enough to feed a crowd, and the leftovers—should you have any—freeze well.
Click below to watch the CHOW Test Kitchen’s Christine Gallary make this simple pulled pork in an episode of our Easiest Way video series.
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoonchili powder
1 tablespoonkosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoonground cumin
1/4 teaspoonground cinnamon
1 (4-1/2- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed
2 cupsbarbecue sauce (optional)
Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth. Combine the sugar, chili powder, measured salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside.
If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, if using, and mix to combine. If you’re not using barbecue sauce, use a spoon to skim and discard the fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid, and then add 1/4 cup of the liquid at a time to the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened. Taste and season with salt as needed.