The Secret to Great Slow Cooker Pulled Pork? Liquid Smoke!

Today is National Pulled Pork Day, and I can’t think of a better reason to celebrate! I am Kathey Raskin of Las Vegas, and I think pulled pork sandwiches are reason to throw a get-together any time of the year. This October the weather is all over the place across the US. Some of us are hot, some are cold, and some are drenched. This is a meal you can throw together in any circumstances, and you can adjust the sides to go with your situation. If it’s cold where you are, try serving with garlic mashed potatoes to warm your guests up. If it’s still warm, serve with a simple fruit salad. This is an incredibly versatile and easy meal with only one hard-and-fast rule, and that is this: if you want to get that smoky flavor in the slow cooker, don’t skip the Liquid Smoke!

To make pulled pork sandwiches in your Crock-Pot, you will need:

1 approximately 4 lb boneless or bone-in pork shoulder – be sure to remove the netting!

2 tsps salt, plus more as needed

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Cooking spray

1 tbsp chili powder – try ancho if you’re feeling adventurous, and stick to mild if you’re serving kids

2-3 tsps ground cumin, for taste

1 cup water

1 med finely chopped onion

2 tsps salt – add more as needed

3 tbsps apple cider vinegar

2 tbsps tomato paste

4 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce or A1 if you want a different twist

1-1/2 tsps Liquid Smoke, drizzled into the pot in ½ tsp increments

Buns – again, if you’re feeling adventurous serve with something fun like onion rolls or ciabatta bread, but for kids stick to old-fashioned hamburger buns


Be sure to offer these crowd-pleasing favorites to your guests:

  • Coleslaw – homemade or store-bought is fine
  • Pickles – sweet or dill
  • Your favorite barbecue sauce
  • Hot Sauce

To make this dish, simply combine the ingredients in your slow cooker, cook on low for 12 hours, and then serve on a bun with the garnishes and sides of your choice. Or, let’s be realistic here, of your kids’ choice! Due to the long cooking time, this is the perfect dish to throw into the slow cooker early in the morning. It’ll be hot and ready for your family and friends when you get home from work!

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