Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

4.97 from 29 votes

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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.
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There’s something about pulled pork that warms the heart and the belly. It’s comfort food that doubles as a protein-packed, flavor-forward topping, filling, or accompaniment, depending on how you serve it.

There are other ways to make pulled pork, but the crockpot is by far the easiest method. Throwing everything into the slow cooker takes almost no time, and then in just a few hours, you have a delicious meal on your hands. (Not to mention, your home will smell amazing!)

I love this recipe for busy, on-the-go weeknights, as well as for low-key family and friends gatherings on the weekend. Everyone enjoys this pulled pork recipe!

tongs with bbq pulled pork.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Super simple meal with a few basic ingredients and cooked in the slow cooker
  • Easy enough for busy weeknights or family gatherings on the weekend
  • Absolutely a family favorite
  • Delicious all year round, no matter the season

Recipe Ingredients

  • Pork tenderloin – see notes below for other cuts of pork that can be substituted
  • Chicken broth – it’s okay to use bouillon cubes or powder
  • BBQ sauce – store-bought or homemade
  • Smoked paprika – don’t skip this, it must be smoked paprika, not regular!
  • Other seasonings – salt, garlic powder, onion powder

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

pulled pork ingredients.

What is the Best Cut of Meat for Pulled Pork?

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

Any of the following cuts of meat would work:

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

How to Make Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

bbq pulled pork how to collage image.

Making pulled pork in the crockpot couldn’t be any easier.

  1. Make a spice rub by combining the seasonings
  2. Rub the spice mixture all over the meat and place in the bottom of the slow cooker
  3. Add water around the edge of the meat
  4. Cook on high 4-5 hours, or until tender
  5. Remove the pork from the crock pot and shred
  6. Return to the slow cooker, add BBQ sauce, and mix the meat with the sauce and juices

Recipe FAQs

Can I make BBQ Pork Tenderloin in an Instant Pot?

A good rule of thumb for cooking pork tenderloin in the Instant Pot is to cook it on high pressure for 20 minutes per pound. A 2-pound tenderloin would need 40 minutes of cooking time on high pressure. To make it super, fall-apart tender, cook for 90 to 120 minutes and let it naturally release.

Can I double the recipe for a large group?

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

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. Adding it at the end safeguards it 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!

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

Expert Tips

  • Pulled pork is a great freezer food. Store it in an airtight container for up to six months.
  • Cutting up the pork, no matter how much you’re making, into 3 to 4 chubby pieces per tenderloin will reduce cook time. For busy days, this little trick is a lifesaver!
  • 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.
white casserole dish with barbecue pulled pork.

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, but here are some other creative ways to serve it.

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. It can even be served on fries or added to salads. It really is a very versatile main dish!

What to Serve With Pulled Pork

Some of my family’s favorite sides and foods to serve with pulled pork are:

How to Store & Reheat Leftover Pulled Pork

Store any leftover pulled pork in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. When you’re ready to eat it, warm up just the amount needed for that meal in a skillet. Add a small amount of olive oil or butter to the skillet and cook just until it’s heated through. In a pinch you can also reheat it in the microwave until just heated through.

More Slow Cooker Pork Recipes to Consider

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!
4.97 from 29 votes

BBQ Pork Tenderloin in the Crock Pot

This easy Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork recipe only needs a few simple ingredients, with practically no prep!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 -8

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)
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Instructions 

  • Remove the pork tenderloin from the package, and place it on a cutting board.
  • In a small bowl combine the salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix to combine.
  • Rub the spice mixture all over the tenderloin then place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • 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).
  • Add the lid and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until the tenderloin is easy to shred with a fork.
  • 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 the 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 the slow cooker at a time. The cooking time will increase as the pounds of pork increases.
  • To cook the pork tenderloin more quickly, cut the tenderloin into 3 or 4 chunks. When it’s cut up, it could take as few as 3 hours to cook until tender.
  • I like adding the BBQ sauce to the pork after cooking 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.
  • Please don’t substitute regular paprika for the smoked.  Smoked paprika is a must-have for this recipe’s amazing flavor!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 of 6 servings, Calories: 167kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 812mg, Potassium: 432mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 206IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 19mg, Iron: 1mg
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53 Comments

  1. kathy dinicola says:

    5 stars
    Really tasty! I had a tenderloin I had to use and was craving pulled pork. Most people will tell you pork tenderloin is not the ideal cut of meat for this dish, but the method worked and it wasn’t dry at all. After taking out of the slow cooker, I put into a cast iron pan and browned it a bit. Topped with a pineapple, cilantro slaw. Very good!

    1. Melissa says:

      Love the tip on browning it up a little, thanks for sharing!

  2. Terri Bills says:

    For a crowd is it ok to have warmed bbq sauce and let our guests decide if they want to put it on? I feel like in the past when I add to the pork in the crockpot it is too saucy.

    1. Melissa says:

      Yes! I have lots of little kids in my life I’m often serving and most of the time I leave it off because they don’t like it. It’ll be great!

  3. Jean says:

    This was the best recipe! I was skeptical at first, because there is so little fat in pork tenderloin, but it cooked to an internal temperature of 205 and shredded easily. So easy to prepare. I added sautΓ©ed, diced sweet onions with the barbeque sauce. I am curious if you think diced onions would break down too much or yield too much liquid if added with the meat at the beginning? We enjoyed it with mango cole slaw and roasted, chopped sweet potatoes.

    1. Melissa says:

      I think they’d cook down quite a bit but I think it would really good!

  4. Stoli says:

    Easy and delicious.

  5. Debbie says:

    I throw in a jar of whole pepperoncinis and half the juice while it cooks. Those that do not like the peppers they can easily avoid them. Adds a nice zip to the BBQ taste. Love your recipes Melissa. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  6. Kathleen Bifano says:

    Melissa, it is a 2.25 lb lean pork loin boneless roast.

    1. Melissa says:

      It’ll be perfect! Maybe just an extra 30-60 minutes!

  7. Kathleen Bifano says:

    I was planning on making this recipe today, but I realize I bought a lean pork loin, not a pork tenderloin. Do I need to adjust the recipe and if so, how? This is my first time using a crock pot and first time making pulled pork. I look forward to your reply.
    Thank you!

    1. Melissa says:

      How much does your pork loin weigh? It’ll work great but I bet it’s a bigger cut and is going to need longer to cook!

  8. Marissa says:

    5 stars
    I used a little bit of orange juice instead of water. The acid helps make it every tender and brings a little bit of flavor.

  9. Christina says:

    5 stars
    This turned out so delicious and very flavourful! Followed the recipe exactly without making any alterations. Saving this recipe so I can make it again.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

  10. Lainey H. says:

    5 stars
    I loved this! My daughter loves pulled pork, but I hate the hassle of cooking and freezing a giant pork butt for our small family. I was nervous this would come out dry given how lean this cut is, but it’s marvelous! THANK YOU! This will be my go-to method from now on. Finally, BBQ not for a crowd! πŸ™‚ Also, note for other readers–while tenderloin is safe to eat at 145 degrees, it has to go all the way up to 205 to be a pulling texture (to render the connective tissue, etc.). My crockpot’s low setting must be around 200, because I cooked this forever on low and couldn’t get it past 190 (still pretty firm), but once I switched it to high, it bumped up past 200 quickly and became moist and very pull-able. Crockpots can vary, so check the temperature of the meat, and you might have to finish on high or in the oven, depending on the preset temperatures of your crockpot.