North Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ From a Slow Cooker

We know this recipe will draw ire from diehard BBQ enthusiasts who insist true North Carolina BBQ must be cooked over coals, but this recipe is for those of us who now live north of North Carolina where the winters are much colder and for those without a BBQ pit.  This recipe calls for a pork butt, but it also works well with a pork shoulder for those who like a bit of skin in their BBQ. 

For an 8-11 pound roast, you’l need a 6-quart slow cooker.  A 5-quart smoker can usually hold a 8-8 pound roast (it’s okay to cut out the bone if you need to).


6-11 pound Pork Butt, Boston Butt, of Pork Blade Roast (all names for the same cut)
¼ cup Tar River Seasonings Central North Carolina Style Seasoning, Rub & Sauce Mix
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (3/4 cup for a 5-qt cooker)
1 cup Distilled White Vinegar (3/4 cup for a 5-qt cooker)



1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 Tbl. Tar River Central North Carolina Style Seasoning, Rub & Sauce Mix



1.  Rinse the roast and pat it dry with paper towels.


2.  Trim as much fat as possible off the pork roast.  This includes trimming off the fat-cap and any  internal fat you can see from the sides of the roast.


3.  Set the down in the slow cooker with the side originally containing the fat-cap facing down.

4.  Liberally coat the exposed side of the roast with our seasoning and gently knead it into the meat.  While it may have been easier to coat the meat with the rub before placing it in the slow cooker, this method keeps the excess rub in slow cooker.


5.  Turn the roast over, being careful that any excess rub stays in the pot.

6.  Coat the exposed side of the roast with rub.

7.  Combine the two vinegars and slowly add them to the slow cooker. Gently lift the meat up about ½ inch to allow the vinegar to get under the roast.  Be sure to leave at least ½ inch of space between the top of the liquid and the top of the pot.

8.  Put a lid on the slow cooker, turn the cooker on to low, and let the meat cook for 9-12 hours, until it reaches a temperature of 195-205°.

9.  Gently remove the meat from the slow cooker and set it aside for about 15 minutes to rest.  Discard the liquid remaining in the cooker.


10.  Once the meat has rested, cut it into 2-inch cubes or something resembling 2-inch cubes.

11.  Working on one cube at a time, with a normal fork in each hand, separate the meat fibers (pull the pork).


12.  Return the pulled pork to the slow cooker as it is pulled.

13.  Set the slow cooker to low to keep the meat warm.

14.  When all of the meat has been pulled, add the sauce ingredients and add to the meat to taste or serve on the side.  (If needed, microwave the sauce mixture on high for one minute or heat it in a saucepan to help the seasonings dissolve in the vinegar.)

15.  As soon as the meat has warmed back up it is ready to serve.

Any leftover pulled port can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to 6 months.


Reduce the vinegar added in Step 7 by half and add 1 cup of beer or ale.

For a spicier BBQ, stir in crushed red pepper to taste and an additional 1-2 tablespoons of our seasoning.

Add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke for a slightly smoked flavor.

Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and add it to the pulled pork.