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Carolina-Style Pork Barbecue

I am originally from North Carolina (where swine is divine) and this recipe for the slow cooker is a family favorite. My husband swears my authentic Carolina ‘cue is the best BBQ he has ever eaten! —Kathryn Ransom Williams, Sparks, Nevada
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Cook: 6 hours
  • Makes
    14 servings


  • 1 boneless pork shoulder butt roast (4 to 5 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 14 hamburger buns, split
  • 1-3/4 pounds deli coleslaw


  • Cut roast into quarters. Mix brown sugar, salt, paprika and pepper; rub over meat. Place meat and onions in a 5-qt. slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and seasonings; pour over roast. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Remove roast; cool slightly. Reserve 1-1/2 cups cooking juices; discard remaining juices. Skim fat from reserved juices. Shred pork with two forks. Return pork and reserved juices to slow cooker; heat through. Serve on buns with coleslaw.
Test Kitchen Tip
  • Some like it hot but if you're not one of them consider reducing the crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper in this sauce by half.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 sandwich: 453 calories, 22g fat (6g saturated fat), 85mg cholesterol, 889mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 3g fiber), 27g protein.

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    Average Rating:
    • Barbara
      Dec 25, 2020

      I’m from N.C. and my husband is from Texas. I didn’t like it but he did. Not Carolina barbecue.

    • geewizkid1
      Oct 24, 2020

      This is my “go to” pulled pork recipe. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly and it was a bit too hot. I cut the pepper flakes and cayenne in half the next time and it was perfect. Someone told me it was the best pulled pork they ever had!

    • fhquilting
      Aug 27, 2020

      This is very, very good! After removing the pork from the cooking juices, I poured the juices and onions into a kettle. I reduced the juices to 1/2 which concentrated the wonderful flavors. After the shredding the meat, I strained the mixture into the meat. The next day it was even better.

    • Carolyn
      Aug 27, 2020

      I also prefer NC style BBQ, and this was really, really good! I saw some people felt it had too many ingredients but since you dump it all in the crockpot anyway, I did not find this to be a drawback. I was a little worried about the amount of pepper in it, but it had just the right amount of kick. I also saw some reviewers suggest liquid smoke. I thought the paprika gave the meat a nice smoky flavor on its own, but I might try that method the next time I make it. The recipe does not state this, but I did not throw away the onions at the end. They were delicious on their own, but I also served them as an alternate to the cole slaw.

    • Silvia
      Aug 19, 2020

      No comment left

    • Amy
      Aug 13, 2020

      Daughter and I LOVED it! It tastes just like what I grew up enjoying. It was definitely spicy, but I wouldn't reduce anything for our tastes. I definitely recommend this recipe! If you don't want it toooo spicy, reduce the pepper.

    • Rj
      Mar 21, 2020

      Really delicious NC BBQ recipe! I took the advice here and reduced the pepper by half and it was perfectly spicy. I also read here that the smoke flavor was missing so I added a ham hock to the pot for a smokey flavor and it delivered. I definitely recommend this recipe

    • Takako
      Mar 16, 2020

      This is an amazing recipe! I have tried various Pulled pork recipes but this one is my favorite. It tastes natural with all the ingredients well blended without one flavor being overpowering. My family liked it a lot and my husband asked to save the recipe. I used half portion to cook for 3 people but halving the recipe worked just fine:) I used the pressure cooker to cut time. Since used 2 pounds without cutting into pieces it took 1 hour to fully cook in the pressure cooker. Perhaps next time I should just cut the pound pork into 1/4s just like it says in the recipe! I’ll definitely repeat this recipe many times!??

    • bobry
      Jan 8, 2020

      This is BBQ the way one would fix it for dinner or supper in NC .. easy, and no fuss. The recipe as printed above is very heavy with the amt. of red pepper flakes I I'd cut back on those to about a teaspoon...

    • christmas1959
      May 20, 2019

      all i do is add liquid smoke and it makes a huge differance