5 from 10 votes
Overhead, landscape shot of Easy Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork on a small sheet pan with a ramekin of BBQ sauce and two forks; with two glasses of beer and a bottle cap opener off to the side of the pan.
Easy Carolina Pulled Pork Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs 5 mins
Optional Inactive time
8 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs 20 mins

This is the ONLY Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork recipe you will ever need!  Massaged with a flavorful rub, quickly browned for color, then braised in the slow cooker for ease and convenience, and finished with a sweet, tangy Carolina BBQ sauce, this Slow Cooker Easy Pulled Pork is outrageously tender and ultimately delicious! 

Course: entree
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ Sauce, Crock pot, Easy Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork, Slow Cooker, Summer
Servings: 6
Calories: 156 kcal
  • 1 Pork Butt (3 to 3 1/2 pounds if boneless, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds if bone-in)*
  • 1 TBS Vegetable Oil
  • 1 (12 Oz.) Bottle Beer - or you can substitute unsalted chicken or beef stock if desired (I used a lager)
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 TBS Liquid Smoke
  • 2 TBS Cumin
  • 2 TBS Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBS Kosher Salt
  • 1 TBS Paprika
  • 1 TBS Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cayenne
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  1. For the Dry Rub:  Combine all the dry rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl.  Remove 2 TBS of the rub and set aside. Pat Pork Butt dry and sprinkle ½ of the dry rub on top of the pork.  Massage the seasoning thoroughly into pork. Flip the pork butt over and repeat with remaining dry rub. OPTIONAL - Wrap the pork butt tightly in plastic wrap and place on a roasting pan, baking dish, or half sheet pan. Place in the refrigerator and allow to rest for an hour, or preferably overnight.  (If refrigerated, allow the pork to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before browning to remove the chill)

  2. Brown the Pork Butt:  Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 5-10 minutes total.  (The pork will brown fast because of the sugar in the dry rub.  Watch it carefully and do not let it burn.) . Remove the pork and transfer it to the slow cooker, fat cap facing UP.

  3. Slow Cook:  Add the beer, vinegar and liquid smoke to the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW, flipping the pork over 2-4 times during cooking, for 8-10 hours or until the pork is fork tender and an internal temperature of 195 degrees.

  4. When pork is done cooking, remove it from the slow cooker and transfer it to a clean work surface.  Loosely tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Using two forks, shred (“pull”) the pork.  Toss the pork with half or all of the reserved dry rub. 

  5. If using BBQ Sauce:  Add half of the BBQ sauce (or sauce to taste) to the pork and toss to coat.  Serve with the remaining BBQ sauce on the side.  Enjoy!

  6. Or, If NOT using BBQ Sauce:  Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer.  Skim off as much fat as possible from the surface and discard.  Add enough cooking liquid to the pork so that it is moistened.  Toss to coat.  Enjoy!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

*Serves 6-8

*Nutrition information based on 6 servings.

  1. Cut the pork in half or in thirds to make it easier to manage before browning in the skillet if necessary. 
  2. Wrapping the rubbed pork butt in plastic wrap and allowing it to rest in the refrigerator overnight is NOT required, but it is recommended for the most flavorful pulled pork.  As well, step 2, browning the pork before adding it to the slow cooker is NOT required, but it is recommended as it adds a great deal of flavor!
  3. If you don't like a lot of tang in your BBQ sauce, reduce the apple cider vinegar in the BBQ sauce to 2/3 of a cup.
  4. For the most flavor and to ensure moist, juicy pulled pork, I highly recommend straining the cooking liquid and using it AS WELL AS the BBQ sauce in the final step of the recipe.  I.E. Toss the pork with dry rub, toss again with a couple tablespoons of the strained cooking liquid, and then toss one last time with the BBQ sauce.  
Nutrition Facts
Easy Carolina Pulled Pork Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 156 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 45mg15%
Sodium 2401mg104%
Potassium 366mg10%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 15g30%
Vitamin A 975IU20%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 42mg4%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.