Slow Cooker Cider Pulled Pork


The centerpiece of our harvest party is always a heaping pile of this Cider Braised Pulled Pork. I make it in the slow cooker the day before the party, let it cool in its juices, then place the slow cooker in the fridge.

The next day, I make the sauce and shred the pork. It stays warm in the slow cooker and people can eat when they’re hungry, leaving me to enjoy the day with our friends and family.

If I’m making it for a smaller dinner party instead of a crowd, I shred the pork on a cookie sheet, cover the pork with foil, and keep it warm in a low oven. Just before I’m ready to serve it, I ladle the warm sauce over the top and bring it to the table simply because I like the presentation. (I’m not typically a fan of serving food out of cooking vessels, unless it’s a more informal backyard barbecue or something to that effect.)


When the guests leave, I either freeze the leftovers (if there are any!) or transform them into pork chili, tacos, or pork and potato hash, to feed my family throughout the week. I hope you love it as much as we do.

  • More Ideas! 6 Things to Make with Pulled Pork


Pork shoulder and Boston butt are the same cut of meat, so pick up either for this recipe.

If you only have sweet cider (as opposed to hard cider), that’s fine; just reduce the sugar in the rub to 1 tablespoon. If you only have hard cider, that’s okay, too. Leave the sugar as it is.

If the sauce is too vinegary for your taste, add a teaspoon of sugar at time until you reach your desired flavor. If it’s too salty, add a drop or so of vinegar.


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For the rub:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and a dash of nutmeg)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the pork:

  • 6 pound boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle hard apple cider
  • 2 cups apple cider

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown mustard
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 cups pork stock leftover from braising

Special equipment: