Whole30 Pulled Pork is an ultra simple meal-prep protein. You can prep the pork ahead of time, and then let your slow cooker do the rest of the work! Pulled pork can be topped with your favorite BBQ sauce and eaten a variety of ways!
Pulled pork is one of my absolute favorite proteins to cook in my slow cooker. It's virtually impossible to mess up and is usually a crowd-pleaser. Our favorite ways to eat slow cooker pulled pork always include a good BBQ sauce and a side of cornbread! I would also serve pulled pork with my Caesar Salad with Cornbread Croutons and my Sautéed Zucchini and Onions with Sweet Corn.
Keep your sides Whole30 compliant and serve Whole30 Pulled Pork with a compliant coleslaw or a whole roasted sweet potato!
- Easy slow cooker recipe.
- Can be prepped ahead of time so that all you have to do in the morning is turn the slow cooker on.
- Makes a large quantity.
- This recipe is paleo, Whole30, keto, gluten free, sugar free and dairy free!
- Produces a delicious fatty liquid that can be mixed back into the pulled pork to enhance the flavor and increase the moisture.
- Incredibly simple dinner option that will most-likely leave you with plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.
- Pork butt - Pork butt is actually not located on the rear end of the pig. The pork butt is a type of roast derived from the entire front leg and shoulder of the pig. The leg and pork shoulder are often cut into two different types of roasts - the pork butt roast (also called the Boston roast) and the picnic roast. Both types of roasts are ideal for making pulled pork. They both have intense fat marbling and both can be found either boneless or bone-in.
- Dry spice rub - The dry spices that I use for this Whole30 pulled pork recipe are paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. You'll find other pork roast spice rubs that also include cayenne, yellow mustard powder, smoked paprika and onion powder. The seasoning blend that I created is delicious, but if you enjoy the flavors of any of those additional spices, then try adding them in.
- Optional: Your favorite BBQ sauce - Take your Whole30 slow cooker pulled pork to the next level by turning it into a Whole30 BBQ pulled pork! The majority of BBQ sauces that you'll find on store shelves are NOT Whole30 compliant though. My two favorite Whole30 compliant BBQ sauces are Primal Kitchen Classic BBQ Sauce and Tessemae's Organic Sweet and Spicy BBQ. The Primal Kitchen BBQ sauce is mild in flavor but has a delicious peppery kick to it. The Tessemae's BBQ sauce is, as the name implies, sweet with a significant amount of spicy heat!
Kitchen equipment needed
- Slow cooker - Here's the exact slow cooker that I use. It's no frills with only the most basic of features. I bought this years ago and I am sure I picked this one because of the lower price compared to the slow cookers with more features like auto on/off and a locking lid.
- Measuring spoons
- Measure out your seasonings and mix them up in a small bowl.
- Rub the seasoning blend all over the entire roast. Make sure to season the top, bottom, sides and any nooks and crannies. Don't just sprinkle it on, rub it in!
- You can either let the roast sit for a while in the fridge or it can go straight into your Crock Pot.
- Cook your Whole30 Pulled Pork on LOW heat for 9-12 hours, depending on the size. You'll know it's done when every bit of the pork roast easily pulls apart with a fork.
Make ahead & storage tips
- You can prepare your pork roast up to 24 hours in advance! Simply season your roast and then store it covered in the refrigerator. If your slow cooker's removable stone insert will fit in your fridge, then I suggest storing it right in the insert. That way you won't have to handle the roast again when it's time to cook it.
- Store the shredded pork in an air-tight container in the refrigerator of up to 4 days. If you know you won't eat it all in 4 days then you can freeze for up to 6 months.
Recipe notes & expert tips
- You might be wondering what exactly makes this recipe Whole30 compliant. If you're following the Whole30 diet then you know that you need to avoid all processed food, dairy, gluten, sweeteners in all forms, grains and legumes. Many traditional pulled pork recipes include a sweetener like brown sugar and possibly processed additives in any bottled ingredients. This recipe is Whole30 compliant thanks to it's simplicity. It's just pork and dried spices!
- When serving pulled pork, you want to plan on ⅓ - ½ pound of cooked meat per person. I started with an 8 pound bone-in roast. The bone had some weight to it so I would have needed to estimate the weight of the bone if I was planning on serving this to a crowd.
- You'll see that your pork roast has lots of fat on it. Don't trim the fat! This adds to the flavor while it is cooking.
- Some pulled pork recipes direct you to add some liquid, like a cup chicken broth or apple cider vinegar, to your slow cooker. I opted not to do this and the results were perfect. The roast produces a significant amount of fatty meat drippings as it cooks. The drippings can be mixed back into the pork after it is done cooking. This will add to the flavor and moisture of the slow cooked meat. As I said though, the drippings are full of fat and fat solidifies. This means when you store your leftovers in the fridge, you will see the fat that has solidified. This will melt when you reheat it and easily mix back in.
- The cook time is based on the size of your roast. Many recipes call for a 6 pound roast to be cooked for 9 hours on low. The roast that I used was 8 pounds so it required extra cooking time. When I checked it after 9 hours, sections of the roast were not easily shredding for me. This is how I knew it needed to go back in the slow cooker for a couple more hours.
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Frequently Asked Questions
My favorite way to reheat pulled pork is to heat it up in a frying pan. You can also reheat it in the microwave. I would probably avoid reheating in the oven. I think an oven reheat could dry the meat out.
When making slow cooker pulled pork, you're not only waiting for the internal temperature to reach at least 145°F (USDA recommended temperature for cooked pork). You're also waiting for the meat to be tender and "fall apart." Once your pulled pork is "fall apart tender," it will likely have an internal temperature from anywhere between 180°F to 200°F.
If you're pork is tough, then you haven't cooked it long enough to let the collagen properly break down. Continue cooking your meat on low and consider adding some liquid if your pork roast doesn't seem to be producing many juices.