Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

This easy Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork recipe only needs a few simple ingredients, with practically no prep! Toss everything into your crockpot and enjoy a smoky, flavor-packed BBQ pork tenderloin just a few hours later. Perfect for sandwiches, tacos, baked potatoes, or anything else you love!

bbq pulled pork in a white bowl with stubbs barbecue sauce and pickles

Crockpot BBQ Pork Tenderloin

There’s something about pulled pork that warms the heart and the belly. It’s a comfort food that also doubles as a protein-packed, flavor-forward topping, filling, or accompaniment, depending on how you serve it. Speaking of serving it, this dish is great in tacos and sliders, or on top of a salad, fries, or nachos!

Barbecue always reminds me of warm, sunny summer days–can I get an amen? So, eating it in the spring is a fresh reminder that longer days filled with popsicles and patio sitting are on the horizon. And I can’t wait!

There are other ways to make pulled pork, but the crockpot is by far the easiest method. It takes almost no time to throw everything into the slow cooker, and then in just a few hours, you have a delicious meal on your hands. (Not to mention, your home will smell amaaazing!) I love this recipe for busy, on-the-go weeknights, as well as for low-key family and friends gatherings on the weekend. Everyone loves this pulled pork recipe.

tongs with bbq pulled pork

What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?

Pork shoulder or pork butt are often used for pulled pork. You can also use pork tenderloin (like this recipe) for a leaner cut of meat!

Really any of the following cuts of meat would work:

  • shoulder butt roast
  • pork shoulder
  • pork butt (aka boston butt)
  • picnic roast
  • pork tenderloin

bbq pulled pork how to collage image

How to Make Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

Making pulled pork in the crockpot couldn’t be any easier. To make this recipe follow these steps:

  • Make a spice rub: In a small bowl combine the salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Rub it on the pork meat: Rub your spice mixture all over the tenderloin, and then place it in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • Add water to your crockpot: Pour it around your pork meat, not on top of it. You don’t want to wash off that spice rub you just did!
  • Cook. Add the lid and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until the tenderloin is tender.
  • Shred: Remove the pork from the crock pot, and shred with 2 forks. Return it to the slow cooker, and mix it with any liquid that might have remained in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Add BBQ Sauce: Add your favorite store bought or homemade BBQ sauce.
  • Dig in!

white casserole dish with barbecue pulled pork tongs and bowl of green beans

How to Serve BBQ Pulled Pork

There are so many delicious ways to eat pulled pork. I personally love to eat it on a kaiser roll with a big helping of coleslaw or potato salad on the side. You can also serve it in tacos, burritos or on top of nachos. Layer it between gooey cheese in quesadillas, or even add it to grilled cheese sandwiches. Or serve it on fries and add it to salads! The possibilities are truly endless.

How to Store & Reheat Leftover Pulled Pork

Store any leftover pulled pork in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. When you’re ready to eat it, I like to warm up just the amount I’m going to enjoy in a skillet. I add a small amount of olive oil or butter to my skillet and then cook the leftover BBQ pulled pork just until it’s heated through. In a pinch you can also reheat it in the microwave until just heated through.

Can I Freeze Pulled Pork?

Absolutely! Pulled pork is a great freezer food. Store it in an airtight container for up to six months.

white casserole dish with barbecue pulled pork

BBQ Pulled Pork FAQs

Can I make BBQ Pork Tenderloin in an Instant Pot?

Absolutely! I love an Instant Pot hack, and this miracle machine makes my simple BBQ Pork Tenderloin recipe even simpler and more efficient if you’re really crunched for time. (Hey, I’ve been there!) A good rule of thumb for cooking your tenderloin in the Instant Pot is to cook it on high pressure for 20 minutes per pound of pork. So, a 2-pound tenderloin would need 40 minutes of cook time on high pressure. But to get it to really fall apart I like to leave it a LOT longer (it’ll cook though in 40 minutes), but for it to be fall apart tender I normally cook it for 90 to 120 minutes.

Can I double the recipe for a large group?

This is an excellent recipe for a crowd because you can easily fit 3 to 4 tenderloins in most slow cookers. That’s my kind of party! Just be sure to pay attention to the cooking time; as the pounds of pork go up, so should the amount of time cooked.

Another pro tip? Cutting up the pork, no matter how much you’re making, into 3 to 4 chubby pieces per tenderloin will reduce cook time, big time. For busy days, this little trick is a lifesaver!

Why do you add the BBQ sauce at the end?

I’m a big fan of adding the BBQ sauce after the pork has been cooked. Some people prefer to do it before as a sort of marinade, but adding it at the end safeguards you from overcooking or even burning the sauce. Plus, if you have BBQ sauce-naysayers in your home like I do, you can remove some of the meat before mixing in the sauce to save some plain pork for those who want it.

When is Pulled Pork Done Cooking?

Cook the pork on high for 4 to 5 hours, until it’s easy to shred with a fork. The internal temperature should read 145 degrees F when it’s done!

Can Pulled Pork Be Overcooked?

It’s difficult to overcook pork in a slow cooker because you’re maintaining the moisture inside the Crock Pot — but once the meat is fork tender, keep an eye on it. Cooking it way too long can cause it to get a little mushy.

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This classic barbecue pulled pork recipe is about to amplify your kitchen game. With a few simple ingredients tossed into the Crock Pot, you'll have smoky, indulgent BBQ Pork Tenderloin in just about 4 hours--or less!

BBQ Pork Tenderloin in the Crock Pot


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 1x

Description

This easy Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork recipe only needs a few simple ingredients, with practically no prep!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin (1.2 to 2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (store bought or homemade)

Instructions

  1. Remove the pork tenderloin from the package, and place it on a cutting board.
  2. In a small bowl combine the salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix to combine.
  3. Rub your spice mixture all over the tenderloin, and then place it in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  4. Add the water or chicken stock to the bottom of the slow cooker (don’t pour it over the pork, though, so that you don’t wash off your spice rub).
  5. Add the lid and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until the tenderloin is easy to shred with a fork.
  6. Remove the pork from the crock pot, and shred with 2 forks. Return it to the slow cooker, and mix it with any liquid that might have remained in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  7. Add your BBQ sauce, and stir to combine. Adjust salt and BBQ amounts to your liking, serve warm.

Notes

  • This recipe is really easy to scale up. If you are feeding a crowd, you can put up to 3 or 4 tenderloins in your slow cooker at a time. Your cooking time will increase as the pounds of pork increases.
  • I like adding the BBQ sauce after the pork as cooked for a few reasons. It doesn’t overcook the sauce or “burn” it. Not everyone likes BBQ in my house, so I’ll pull some of the meat out before adding the sauce for those who don’t like it.
  • If you want your pork tenderloin to cook quicker, feel free to cut your tenderloin into 3 or 4 chubby pieces. When it’s cut up, it could take as few as 3 hours to cook until tender.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Crockpot
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216.3 Fat: 3.3g Cholesterol: 61.6mg Sodium: 956.8mg Carbohydrates: 22.9g Sugars: 18.7g Protein: 22.6g Vitamin A: 16.2µg Vitamin C: 7mg

Keywords: pork tenderloin recipe, bbq pulled pork, easy pulled pork, crockpot pulled pork

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This classic barbecue pulled pork recipe is about to amplify your kitchen game. With a few simple ingredients tossed into the Crock Pot, you'll have smoky, indulgent BBQ Pork Tenderloin in just about 4 hours--or less!

 

white casserole dish filled with bbq pulled pork tongs holding bbq pulled pork

Other slow cooker pork recipe you might love:

Recipe you  might want to serve with BBQ Pork Tenderloin in the Crock Pot:

This post was originally published in Aril 2019, and has been updated and rephotographed in February 2020.

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About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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I add a can of Rotell diced tomatoes and habaneros and use Sweet Baby Rays Sweet and Spicy bbq sauce. Add both after pulling the finished loins. Also, Hormel pork loins are the absolute best loins for this recipe. I use 3 for this recipe. Adding the sauce at the end gives you pork with sauce. Cooking in the sauce gives you bbq flavored pork loin with no differentiation between the sauce and pork. Throw in a sauteed onion AFTER cooking too. It’ll add taste and texture.

I’m sorry to say I just cooked the pork tenderloin in the instant pot and it came out really hard and dry, even though it was swimming in the coke and BBQ mixture.. Don’t think We’ll be able to eat it.

Does cooking on low make any difference?

The taste was great — I added 1 cup of Stubbs Spicy Legendary BBQ sauce, and just 1/3 cup of the leftover liquid. I had just slightly over 1 cup of leftover liquid in my slow cooker. I await to see if I was wrong since your instructions
said to use all of the leftover liquid. I will be reheating my portions during the week and that’s when I should find out if it’s too dry without all of the liquid. 4 stars for now until I experience the leftovers. Thank you for the recipe!

Leftovers held up perfectly. Definitely will be making again this way!

How long would I need to cook 4 lbs? Would I double the amount of time to 8 hours? Should it still cook on high?

By the way My family LOVED this recipe!

Good morning! Do you think I can put the pork in frozen and simply cook it longer, or would you defrost it first?

Could I use just a pork roast? This sounds delish but I think I only have 1 tenderloin in the freezer but lots of roasts. We butcher once a year. Next year I will tell him I want more tenderloins instead of roasts because most of the roasts have a bone in them.

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.