This succulent, sweet & spicy slow cooker pulled pork is cooked low and slow and then pulled into tender, juicy shreds and served up barbeque style on a buttery brioche bun.
I am always up for good bbq. And a sweet & spicy slow cooker pulled pork sandwich is quite possibly my favorite thing ever when it comes to bbq. I have made pulled pork many times and many ways, including on our smoker, but let me tell you, this version made in the slow cooker is the hands down winner.
Sweet & spicy slow cooker pulled pork is super easy to make and it is so, incredibly good. It’s one of my secret weapons when it comes to entertaining. You brine it overnight, then rub it in the morning with a perfect blend of spices and let it cook all day long in the slow cooker before shredding it into juicy, perfectly seasoned shreds. It’s excellent for when you are having people over because the bulk of the work is done long before guests arrive so you can have your kitchen clean during crunch time before the party starts.
Honestly, this sweet & spicy slow cooker pulled pork is so good that all you really need is a brioche bun and maybe a little bbq sauce and you will have an amazing sandwich. But if you really want to take it to the next level, you can build it up with some cold and tangy coleslaw, crispy onion strings, and maybe even some melty provolone or sharp cheddar if you want to get all crazy. Me? I’m a purist – just meat, bun, and a little sauce and I’m a happy girl.
Maybe the best part about this recipe is its versatility. Don’t just use your sweet & spicy slow cooker pulled pork in a sandwich. Try topping a salad or nachos with it, add it to a pizza or in burritos, or pile it up on baked sweet potatoes! Seriously, the possibilities go on and on. It’s a recipe that you really should have in your repertoire.
Oh, and you if you are looking for a recipe for the most amazing brioche buns you have ever tasted, you might want to check back here on Wednesday. Just sayin’.
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- 4-6 pound boneless pork shoulder or pork butt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 8 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons dry rub mix
Mix all dry rub ingredients together in an airtight container.
Combine all brine ingredients in large container or an extra-large Ziploc bag. Mix well to combine and dissolve the salt. Rinse the pork shoulder and carefully add it to the brine. Close the bag and refrigerate the pork and the brine for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Remove the pork shoulder from brine solution, pat dry with paper towels, and place in a crock pot or baking pan that is bigger than the shoulder by at least a inch in length and width and at least 3 inches deep. Sprinkle all of the dry rub onto the surface of the meat and rub it in well to coat all sides.
Position the pork shoulder with the fat-layer on top. If using a slow cooker, cook on high for 6-8 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, until tender and the meat shreds easily with a fork. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and discard juices. Shred with two fork, discarding any fat and returning the shredded meat to the slow cooker to stay warm. If using a roasting pan in the oven, cook uncovered on the middle rack at 225 degrees until the center of the shoulder reaches 200 degrees when probed with a meat thermometer, about 8-10 hours, then let the meat rest outside of the oven while it cools down enough to shred with forks.
Serve on brioche buns with barbeque sauce and coleslaw, if you want to get all fancy. I like to lightly butter the sliced side of my buns and toast them in a pan until barely golden brown before piling the pulled pork on them.
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