Southern-Style Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork (GF)


There’s nothing like a big heaping spoonful of homemade coleslaw on a good Southern-style pulled pork sandwich! All that’s missing is a nice frosty glass of sweet tea – sweetened with honey, of course!

This super easy Southern-style BBQ pork recipe freezes great! So if you’re into the
Cook Once, Eat Twice or More” mindset, then simply follow the recipe notes below to double this. Then place half in the freezer for an even easier and quicker future meal.

I like to use 100% pure unfiltered organic apple juice, because it adds a nice sweet undertone to the pulled pork. However, you can certainly substitute with filtered water.

Southern-Style Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork (GF)

Yield: 4-5 servings

Southern-Style Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork (GF)


  • 2 lbs pork shoulder roast (also called pork butt roast, see note below)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pure unfiltered organic apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce


  1. Place half of the thinly sliced onions in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Then add the pork shoulder and top with the remaining onion slices.
  2. Pour the apple juice over the roast and onions.
  3. Cover and cook on low approximately 6-7 hours.
  4. When cooking time is completed, remove the meat and place on a large platter. With two forks, shred the meat, discarding any remaining fat or bones.
  5. Strain the cooking liquid and onions into a bowl. Then rinse and wipe out the crockpot. Reserve 1/4 cup of the strained cooking liquid and discard the remaining liquid and onions.
  6. Place the shredded pork back into the crockpot with the reserved 1/4 cup of strained cooking liquid. Add just enough barbecue sauce to well coat the pork (usually about 1 ½ cups).
  7. Cover and continue to cook on low for approximately 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Serve the pulled pork on warm gluten-free rolls with a side of homemade coleslaw and extra BBQ sauce, if desired.


Note about Pork Shoulder/Butt: Pork shoulder roast (also called pork butt) contains much more fat than pork tenderloin and also costs significantly less (bonus). The extra fat in pork shoulder leads to heightened flavor and a moister quality of meat. So please do not substitute with pork loin in this recipe, or the results will be less than satisfying.

Cook Once, Eat Twice: To get two or more meals from this recipe, I recommend purchasing a 4-pound pork shoulder roast (or two 2-pound roasts placed side-by-side in your crockpot). Then add 2 sliced onions and 1 cup of apple juice. Then cook as directed. (Be prepared that cooking time will take a bit longer with one large or two smaller roasts – usually about 8-10 hours.)

After shredding the pork, put half of the meat in a freezer-safe container and freeze for a future meal. Use the other half to complete your pulled pork meal. (If you decide to make double the pulled pork all at one time, make sure to double the reserved cooking liquid and BBQ sauce.)

The plain shredded pork can be thawed at a later date and used to make more BBQ pulled pork, or simply use it as a topping for baked sweet potatoes for a quick and delicious meal!

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  1. Linda says

    I had already thawed two Costco-size pork chops for today when I saw this. My crock pot has been put away since spring, but you inspired me to get it out. I’m not sure how a chop will work, but we’ll see! Also found the only apple juice I had was in kids’ juice boxes, so I cut one open and used that – lol.

    • Kelly says

      I love the crockpot when it’s hot because it doesn’t heat up the kitchen and back-to-school time is such an adjustment, so it’s nice to be able to have a meal in the crockpot during busy afternoons of homework, sports, church actitives, etc. I am not sure about a pork chop for this recipe, as the meat is an entirely different cut/different texture. Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork really does best with pork shoulder due to the high fat content, so watch the cooking time closely if you opt to sub with another cut of pork. Lots of blessings, Kelly :)

  2. Amber says

    Kelly to the rescue once again!! I just love your meal plans!!
    Ok, so I want to know how in the world you got that pork shoulder with almost no fat! Did you trim it all off yourself or do you have a super nice butcher that does it for you?
    I had to trim off a ton of fat on mine…me and un-cooked meat….well, we don’t mix! :-)

    • Kelly says

      Yes to both – you can trim the excess off yourself, or ask your butcher to do it. The butcher at whole foods is pretty nice about doing it with his much handier knife skills and tools! So never hesitate to ask your butcher to do the work for you, especially when you’re paying a premium price for grassfed pork :) And thanks for your kind words, Amber! Blessings to you, Kelly

  3. Eneyra Rodriguez says

    This recipe is soooooo goood , thank you for sharing it. After trying the barbecue (my son love it!!!), I made another batch for mexican “carnitas”, instead of barbecue I cooked the meat in a little different way adding to the apple juice and onions thyme, marjoram, bay leaves, garlic powder and sea salt and cooked the same way for 8 hours. After that I shredded the meat and serve in tacos with corn tortillas, pico de gallo, guacamole and black beans. LOVE IT!!!! Specially my husband!!!

    • Kelly says

      Awesome! So glad you all enjoyed this! Mmm, your version for carnitas sounds wonderful! :) Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Kelly

  4. Nina says

    This was so good. Again, one of your recipes that my 6-year old who doesn’t really like meat ate. We got plenty of it left. I might try to make a pulled pork pizza.

    • Kelly says

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a kind note, Nina. So glad you all enjoyed this. What a great idea to use the leftovers to make a pizza! Hope you enjoy it! Blessings, Kelly :)

  5. Stephanie Moss says

    Do I need to prep the pork at all before putting it into the crockpot? Like sprinkle some salt/pepper or tenderize it? I’ve never cooked this meat before so I need help :) Thanks!

    • says

      No prep needed, just toss in crockpot with the ingredients as outlined. Since you’ll be adding BBQ sauce to this, it will be perfectly seasoned with just the apple juice and onion. :)

  6. Janet says

    I am prepping this recipe for tomorrow night’s dinner. I am tempted to add more unfiltered apple juice since it doesn’t seem like enough liquid in the crock pot. I am doubling the recipe since I have an almost 4 pound piece of pork. So will the 1 cup really be enough? I have tried 3 of your recipes so far and every one of them has been a hit with our family! Thank you so much!

    • says

      Hi, Janet. Thanks for your kind words. If you’re using pork shoulder roast as called for, it has a nice amount of fat in it so it doesn’t require much liquid. You will be surprised to actually see how much liquid is in the bottom of the crockpot when this finishes cooking. Between the onion cooking down, the meat and the liquid from the apple cider, it will be more than enough. Also, if you have one large piece of meat, I would recommend cutting it in half. And you may need to extend the cook time a bit, perhaps by an extra hour. I’d check it at the 7 hour mark and that should give you a good idea of about how much longer is needed. (You can always keep re-checking it every half-hour.)
      Enjoy! So glad you and your family are enjoying the recipes here. yay! :) Blessings, Kelly

      • Janet says

        HI Kelly, Thanks so much for the insight! You were absolutely right about the amount of liquid and cutting the pork butt roast in 1/2 really helped. It was delicious! Everyone loved it. I will definitely be making this one again. It was so simple to assemble, too. I appreciate you and all your hard work! Thank you.

  7. JPColtwr says

    The pulled pork is under seasoned but not bad. The apple juice is a great idea. The second time I made this I had to add some salt, vinegar, pepper, brown sugar, and tomato paste before cooking. Then it was awesome. Different palate I guess. Also, I hate every gluten free anything I’ve ever tried so I go with sourdough rolls instead.

    • says

      Hi, JP. Did you include BBQ sauce as directed in the recipe? If not, it will most definitely be underseasoned. Of course, if you did include BBQ sauce and it still needed doctoring-up, then I think it must depend on the BBQ sauce used. When I add my homemade BBQ sauce (you can find the recipe in my Sides, Condiments section), it works just fine since my BBQ sauce is very flavorful. As far as gluten-free goes, homemade GF foods are far better from a taste and nutritional standpoint than purchased packaged GF foods. However, if you don’t have to be GF due to health issues, then there is absolutely no need to follow my instructions to use GF rolls. I am GF due to health issues, so thus my sharing how I serve this dish. Blessings, Kelly

  8. JPColter says

    Hi, thanks for the follow-up. I did use my favorite BBQ sauce both times I’ve made it but felt that some seasoning was needed during the cooking process to help infuse the pork. I may try it again using a Carolina style BBQ sauce next time.

    Luckily I don’t need to eat GF but friends do so I have to eat GF buns sometimes. Haven’t found a good one yet. One of these days I’ll try making some home made ones. Not sure how that will go as I’m not known for baking. ;-)

    • says

      I was thinking that it would probably be good to use a rub (like is common with real BBQ) on the pork prior to placing in crockpot. You’ve inspired me to check that out. I’ve been wanting to create a good rub for grilling. And that’s great you don’t have to be GF, consider yourself blessed. It’s so much easier to bake using gluten flours :) Blessings to you!


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