This easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork brings every flavor to your plate: smoky, sweet, salty, savory, and a little spicy. Throw it on a bun with some crunchy tangy apple slaw for the perfect sandwich.

Serving tray with pulled pork sandwiches topped with apple slaw.

This slow cooker pulled pork sets a new bar.

In our social circle, we’re known for smoked pulled pork. My husband prepares *the best* smoked pork butt I’ve ever had. (And I’ve visited my share of BBQ shacks here in the South, thanks to him.) His dry rub and mop are *chef’s kiss*, and the meat is always so smoky and melt-in-your-mouth tender. But for those who don’t have a smoker or simply want to make pulled pork on a whim, the slow cooker is a fantastic option. This recipe is great for both lazy Sundays and entertaining—especially on game day.

What cut of pork to use for slow cooker pulled pork.

Whether you’re smoking or slow cooking your pork, you want to get yourself a pork shoulder—sometimes seen as a pork butt or Boston butt. Bone-in or boneless doesn’t matter, because your meat will easily fall off the bone when you go to shred it.

Pork shoulders will typically come with a thick fat cap. Keep it on, because as the pork cooks, the fat cap protects the top from drying out. Additionally, the juices from the fat will melt and drip into the meat for extra tenderness, richness, and flavor. Once the pork is cooked, you can discard the fat cap. It’ll come off very easily. 

Overhead shot of pork butt in butcher's paper.

A dry rub and mop you don’t want to skip out on.

This dry rub and mop combo is everything. They’re sweet, salty, savory, and a little spicy. The flavors are complex—but the ingredients are totally unfussy. The purpose of a dry rub is to enhance the flavor of the meat and give it a nice crust as it cooks. The mop enhances the flavor even more, and it adds a juiciness that just cannot be matched. The pulled pork soaks up the mop and it’s incredible. You could technically make pulled pork with one and not the other, but that would be considered blasphemy in this house. Both the rub and the mop serve a purpose, and we don’t cut corners over here. I definitely encourage the use of both.

For the dry rub, you need is the following:

  • Brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Cayenne powder

It almost sounds too simple. But mixed together, these spices create a powerhouse of flavor.

A bowl of dry rub with a spoon in it.

Here’s what you need for the mop:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Apple cider
  • Liquid smoke (I wouldn’t add this if we were smoking the pork, but this gives slow cooker pork a nice smoky essence).
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Garlic
  • Brown sugar

Clay pottery bowl filled with apple cider mop blend and a basting brush.

Add crunch with a tangy apple slaw.

What’s a pulled pork sandwich without a crunchy slaw? And what’s a fall-inspired pork recipe without apples? This addition to the sandwich was a no-brainer. Can you skip it? Yes. I wouldn’t, but you do you. The pork is the star; the slaw plays an important supporting role.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Apple
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

What you’ll do:

Shred your cabbage, veggies, and apples, and set them aside. In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients, whisking until everything is well blended. Drizzle this over the veggies and apples, toss to coat, et voilà.

White serving bowl full of tangy apple slaw.

Close up of serving dish filled with tender pulled pork.

Serving tray with pulled pork sandwiches topped with apple slaw.

Hope you love it!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme.

Other lazy day slow cooker meals:

Serving tray with pulled pork sandwiches topped with apple slaw.

Get the Recipe:

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Tangy Apple Slaw

This easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork brings every flavor to your plate: smoky, sweet, salty, savory, and a little spicy. Throw it on a bun with some crunchy tangy apple slaw for the perfect sandwich!


  • 4-5 lb pork butt (bone-in or boneless, doesn't matter)

Dry rub.

  • 3 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1.5 TBSP kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Mop (wet dressing).

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBSP liquid smoke

Tangy Apple Slaw.

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 large apple, peeled and shredded, You can use Royal Gala, Honey Crisp, or anything on the sweet and juicy side. Avoid Delicious apples. (Because they aren't.)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp quality maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper


  • Slow cooker


  • Mix all of the ingredients for the mop in a bowl, whisking until well combined. Pour about 1/4 of the mop into the slow cooker.
  • Mix all of the ingredients for the dry rub in a small bowl.
  • Place the pork, fat cap side up, into the slow cooker. Sprinkle the dry rub over the pork and rub it all over the pork, ensuring to get every side except the bottom half, which is sitting in the wet mop.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until it reaches a temperature of 190º F.
  • Once the pork is ready, transfer it to a large serving dish and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the fat cap and discard it. Then, with two forks, shred the pork until it's completely pulled. Transfer the pulled pork back to the slow cooker, and drizzle it with the rest of the mop; stir to coat.
  • Serve with fresh buns and tangy apple slaw.

Tangy apple slaw.

  • Place the shredded cabbage, carrots, and apple in a mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients for the slaw. Once mixed, drizzle it over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Serve with pulled pork sandwiches.


Note: The pulled park is also delicious served on it's own with the slaw—no buns necessary!