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Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder with Mustard BBQ Sauce

4.7 stars (7 ratings)

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This slow cooker pork shoulder is simmered in a homemade sweet and tangy mustard BBQ sauce until tender enough to fall off the bone. Shred it into pulled pork and reduce the remaining liquid to a delicious tangy sauce for a truly tasty treat. Serve it with classic BBQ sides or pile it on a soft roll for pulled pork sandwiches.

A serving of slow cooker pork shoulder on a plate topped with mustard bbq sauce.

A Delicious Recipe for Bone In Pork Shoulder

One of my favorite recipes to serve at a large family gathering is this pulled pork shoulder with a tangy mustard based bbq sauce.

Instead of the classic combination of apple cider vinegar, yellow mustard, and brown sugar, this bbq sauce recipe calls on balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and honey. It makes for a delicious mustard sauce that you’ll use on pork, chicken breasts, and even salmon.

Serve it with some of your classic recipes for barbecue sides for a meal you won’t forget.

What You’ll Need

This version of slow cooker pork shoulder is fairly easy to make and many of the ingredients for the mustard BBQ sauce may be found in a well stocked pantry or are easy to find in an average grocery store.

  • 6 Pound bone in pork shoulder, trimmed – This is half of a full pork shoulder. It may be labeled as a pork butt, Boston butt, or a picnic shoulder.
  • Kosher salt – Turns on the flavors of all the other ingredients. Adjust to taste as needed.
  • Black pepper – I like mine fresh ground. Like the salt, adjust for taste.
  • Onion – Used as an aromatic to flavor the pork and the resulting BBQ sauce.
  • Garlic – I like garlic. If you love garlic, feel free to add a couple more cloves.
  • Balsamic vinegar – Adds the tangy element of the tangy BBQ sauce.
  • Dijon mustard – Instead of ketchup, this BBQ sauce is mustard based and I like dijon best in this recipe.
  • Honey – Adds a sweet element without overpowering the other flavors.
  • Worcestershire sauce – My (not so secret) secret ingredient to making this sauce delicious.
  • Cornstarch and cold water – Combined together to create a slurry, which will thicken the sauce without altering the flavors.

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How To Make Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder

  • Prepare the ingredients and load into the slow cooker. Chop the onion, peel and crush the garlic. Pat the pork shoulder dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, and worcestershire sauce. Pour over the pork shoulder, cover.
  • Cook the pork shoulder. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 6 – 8 hours, or until fall apart tender.
  • Shred the pork shoulder into pulled pork. Carefully transfer the pork shoulder from the slow cooker onto a large cutting board. Allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes then shred the pork into eat to eat pieces and return to the empty slow cooker insert.
  • Make the mustard barbecue sauce. Strain remaining liquid from the slow cooker into a medium sized saucepan. Discard the removed solids. Bring liquid to a boil over medium high heat then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by half. In a small bowl or ramekin combine cornstarch and water, mixing thoroughly, then slowly add to the reduced sauce while whisking constantly. Bring back to a boil for 3 minutes until thickened and a glossy brown color.
  • Serve. The mustard bbq sauce can be mixed with the pulled pork prior to serving or served as a sauce on the side.

Pulled Pork Shoulder in the Slow Cooker

One of my favorite ways to use a slow cooker is for cooking large cuts of meat like this bone-in pork shoulder, the ideal pulled pork meat cut. Weighing in at 12 – 18 pounds, a pork shoulder is often sold in two sections, a pork butt and a picnic shoulder. Either of which works for this recipe.

As with most large cuts of meat, I recommend using a bone-in pork shoulder. It’s a huge cut of tough, fatty meat that needs to be cooked low and slow to give the meat time to tenderize and allow the fat to render (a fancy word for melt). You’ll know it’s done when it is fall apart tender and shreds easily into pulled pork.

Unlike braising on the stovetop or in the oven, the slow cooker allows you to set it and forget it. You simply load the slow cooker up, set it to cook on low, and walk away for 6 – 8 hours. You’ll come back to a fully cooked pork roast and a house that smells good enough to eat. If you are looking for a version for the smoker, check out this Smoked Pork Butt.

Tips for Success

As with any new recipe it’s always helpful to know a few tips beyond the recipe to help you get it done right the first time. Here are a couple of my favorites.

  • Short on cook time? While the meat is usually a bit more tender when cooked low and slow for 8 – 10 hours, you can speed it up a bit and cook on high for 6 – 8 hours instead.
  • How to know the meat is done? It will be fall apart tender. If you can easily lift and maneuver the pork shoulder as one piece, let it cook a little longer.
  • Make your meat claws do double duty. I lived for a long time without meat claws, but now that I have them I love them. In addition to being great at shredding meat, they are also great for picking up and move large cuts of meat. They feel much more secure than using forks, spoons, or a pair of tongs.
  • Remove fat and gristle as your shred the pork. In a large cut of meat, finding chunks of fat and gristle as you shred the pork is totally normal. I keep a trash bowl handy and set them in there as I shred through the pork.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry slowly. The cornstarch slurry will thicken the sauce and give it a shiny appearance, but if you add it all at once it can turn into a gelatinous glob. Use one hand to pour the slurry in slowly, while using the other hand to continuously whisk the sauce.
Pouring mustard bbq sauce over pulled pork shoulder.

Recipe Variations

While the only other cut of meat that I would recommend for this recipe is to use a boneless roast instead of bone in, there are multiple variations you can make in the mustard based barbecue sauce recipe and still get delicious results.

  • Swap the vinegar. Instead of balsamic vinegar you can swap for apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
  • Trade the mustard. While I like dijon mustard in this recipe, you can also use yellow mustard or whole grain mustard or even brown mustard.
  • Try a different kind of sweet. Honey is my choice of sweet for this sauce, but you can also use brown sugar, maple syrup, or even molasses for a rich sweet flavor.
  • Spice it up. Add a little heat to your barbecue sauce with a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce, a pinch of chili powder, or a splash of liquid smoke to fire up the flavor mustard bbq sauce.

Serving Suggestions

This pulled pork with a slightly sweet and tangy BBQ sauce is a great recipe to serve for a family meal. I like to serve it over mashed potatoes or polenta with classic bbq sides like corn on the cob, southern baked mac and cheese, potato salad, and cornbread. It’s also great piled on a soft roll for pulled pork sandwiches or stuffed into a tortilla with some coleslaw and slices of fresh avocado for pork tacos.

You can mix the sauce with the pork shoulder prior to serving or you can serve it with the sauce on the side. You can also do both, by mixing in part of it and serving the rest on the side. The choice is really up to you.

A serving of slow cooker pork shoulder on a plate topped with mustard bbq sauce.

How to Store and Reheat

This pulled pork shoulder can be kept in the fridge for 3 – 5 days when stored in an airtight container. For longer storage, up to 3 months, store in the freezer.

If you are planning to save the pork for later, I recommend waiting and mixing with the barbecue sauce just prior to serving. In this case, store the bbq sauce in it’s own airtight container.

If you like this recipe, please give it a FIVE-STAR rating and share it on your favorite social channel!

A serving of slow cooker pork shoulder on a plate topped with mustard bbq sauce.

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder with Mustard BBQ Sauce

Slow cooker pork shoulder is simmered in a homemade sweet & tangy mustard BBQ sauce until fall off the bone tender. Serve with BBQ sides or on a soft roll for a tasty take on pulled pork shoulder.
4.7 stars (7 ratings)
prep: 20 minutes
cook: 8 hours
total: 8 hours 20 minutes
servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

For the pork:

  • 6 pound bone-in pork shoulder – trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 – 8 cloves garlic

For the sauce:

  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce

Cornstarch Slurry:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup cold water

Instructions

  • Chop the onion, peel and crush the garlic, and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Pat the pork shoulder dry and season liberally with salt and pepper, adjusting the amount as needed. Place pork shoulder in slow cooker on top of the onions and garlic with the fat cap facing upwards.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, and worcestershire sauce. Pour over the pork shoulder, cover. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 8 – 10 hours, or until fall apart tender.
  • Once the pork shoulder is cooked through, carefully transfer it from the slow cooker onto a large cutting board. You may wish to transfer it in chunks, as it's easier to manage this way. Allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Turn the slow cooker to warm then strain remaining liquid into a medium sized saucepan. Discard the removed solids and return insert to the slow cooker. Bring liquid to a boil over medium high heat then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by half.
  • Meanwhile shred the pork using 2 forks or meat claws. Return the pulled pork to the now empty slow cooker insert and cover to keep warm.
  • IN a small bowl or ramekin combine cornstarch and water, mixing thoroughly, then slowly add to the reduced sauce while whisking constantly. Bring back to a boil for 3 minutes until thickened and a glossy brown color.
  • The sauce can be mixed with the pulled pork prior to serving or served as a sauce on the side.

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Nutrition

Calories: 291kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

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About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

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12 Comments on “Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder with Mustard BBQ Sauce”

  1. I agree the slow cooker is for every time of year! These would make such good summer sliders…love, love this recipe!

    Reply

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