Save Time with This Easy + Delicious + Versatile Slow Cooker Sweet Pork Recipe

Whether tucked into burritos or served over rice, this slow cooker sweet pork is tender, flavorful, and irresistibly sweet with a hint of smokiness. The key to success? Don’t skip the dry rub and sear; these steps infuse the meat with deep flavors and enhance the texture, ensuring every bite is as delightful as the last.

A close-up view of a bowl filled with shredded sweet pork over rice, topped with melted cheese, diced tomatoes, and onions.

Slow Cooker Sweet Pork Recipe

This recipe is enriched with a homemade dry rub and a touch of sweet and smoky enchilada sauce, offers a succulent filling for burritos, enchiladas, or salads, making it a versatile centerpiece for any gathering.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Serving Size 8 small burritos


Dry rub for pork:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper

Shredded pork ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
  • cup water
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 15 ounce can of green chile enchilada sauce

To make burritos (Optional):

  • 3-4 burrito-sized flour tortillas or 6-8 flour tortillas for tacos/enchiladas
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans of black beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 ½ cups cooked rice see note
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of green chile enchilada sauce
  • additional toppings or sides if desired: cilantro, avocado, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheddar/monterey jack cheese, scallions, lime wedges, cilantro ranch dressing, black beans, pinto beans, rice


  • Mix together. Mix the dry rub ingredients for the pork in a small bowl and rub the mixture onto all sides of the pork.
  • Heat. Heat oil in a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Careful sear the pork and brown on each side for 1-2 minutes, using tongs to turn. Transfer the pork roast to the slow cooker.
    A pork shoulder seasoned with spices being seared in a skillet, tongs at the ready.
  • Cook in slow cooker. Pour water and liquid smoke into the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-4½ hours or low for 8 hours.
    Before and after: the seasoned pork shoulder placed in a white slow cooker, followed by the addition of cooking liquid.
  • Remove roast from the slow cooker. Carefully remove the roast from the slow cooker and place it on a cutting board. It should be very tender and may break into chunks when removing it from the slow cooker. Using two forks, shred the pork into bite-size pieces. Remove and discard any fatty pieces.
    Shredded sweet pork displayed on a wooden cutting board, with forks alongside.
  • Place shredded pork into a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper and mix with tongs until evenly coated.
    Shredded sweet pork in a glass bowl, sprinkled with additional spices.
  • Make sauce. Whisk together brown sugar with ¾ cup green chili enchilada sauce in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Mix and heat through until the sugar is dissolved. Pour sauce over the shredded pork and gently mix with tongs until evenly coated. Reserve the remaining enchilada sauce if desired to make enchiladas or burritos with the pork.
    A saucepan with a whisk, containing a dark, simmered sauce.
  • Serve immediately. The pork is delicious in tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, or in bowls or salads. (See notes below for serving ideas and how we prep the rice and beans)
    A close-up of tender shredded sweet pork being served with a silver serving spoon, garnished with herbs.


Rice: Follow the package directions to make rice with one cup of uncooked rice. For cilantro-lime rice, add 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, the juice and zest of 1 lime and ¼ teaspoon of cumin.
Beans: In a medium pot,  heat canned black beans and 2 teaspoons of dry rub from the pork  (set aside before using)
For restaurant-sized burritos. Warm burrito-sized tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. I like to wrap them in damp paper towels to warm them in the microwave. At the edge of one tortilla, spread ¾ cup of rice in a line lengthwise, then on top of the rice, place ¾ cup of shredded pork. On the pork, spread ½ cup black beans. Roll it up burrito style, folding the ends in and over the filling. Then roll the tortilla over the filling, tightening as you roll to keep the filling in the tortilla until done. For smaller flour tortillas, use about ¼ cup each of rice, pork, and beans. Cut in half and serve with optional toppings and sides.
To serve enchilada style. Grease a 9×13 pan and place about ½ cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom. Top with additional green chile sauce and shredded cheese if desired. Warm under the broiler for 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted or in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Top with desired toppings or serve with optional sides listed above.
I have used larger roasts with the bone in and they are such a pain to separate the fat from the meat, but you can. I prefer the boneless pork shoulder picnic roast they sell at Walmart and sometimes cook two for a large crowd or to freeze some for later.
Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 1805mg | Potassium: 684mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 858IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 4mg

Oh, how we adore this Slow Cooker Shredded Sweet Pork at our house! It’s a real lifesaver when I’m looking to whip up something hearty but don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. Plus, it’s such a hit with everyone—no complaints ever, and that’s a rare win in my book! I love dishing it up in tacos or alongside rice, and watching it disappear is just the best feeling.

A large bowl of shredded sweet pork ready to be served, with a side of cilantro-lime rice and small bowls of green sauce.

Hope it becomes a favorite in your home too!

Slow Cooker Shredded Sweet Pork Recipe Tips

  • Choosing the Right Cut: Opt for a pork shoulder with a good amount of marbling. This fat melts during slow cooking, making the meat juicier and more flavorful.
  • Searing Secrets: Don’t rush the searing process. A thorough sear not only locks in juices but also builds a rich flavor foundation. Make sure the skillet is really hot before you add the pork.
  • Liquid Smoke Layering: If you’re new to using liquid smoke, start with a smaller amount and adjust according to your taste preference. It’s potent, so a little goes a long way in adding that smoked aroma.
  • Slow Cooker Temperature: Each slow cooker heats differently. If this is your first time making the recipe, monitor the pork towards the end of the cooking time to ensure it doesn’t overcook.

Key Ingredients and Tools

To make this dish a standout, some key tools and ingredients play pivotal roles. Here’s a look at a few essentials and why they’re crucial:

Ingredients for sweet pork recipe laid out on a white surface, including a pork shoulder and bowls with various spices and liquids.
  • Boneless Pork Shoulder. The ideal cut for this recipe is due to its fat content, which melts and flavors the meat during slow cooking. Available at most meat counters.
  • Liquid Smoke. Adds a deep, smoky flavor that mimics grilling. A little goes a long way, so use it sparingly to suit your taste.
  • Slow Cooker. Essential for this recipe, it cooks the pork evenly and slowly, allowing flavors to meld beautifully.
  • Green Chile Enchilada Sauce. This sauce brings a mild heat and tangy flavor, enhancing the pork’s sweetness. It can be found in the Hispanic food aisle.
  • Smoked Paprika. Offers a subtle smokiness that complements the liquid smoke. If you can’t find it, regular paprika can work in a pinch but won’t provide the same depth of flavor.

These items not only contribute to the dish’s flavor and texture but also ensure the cooking process is as smooth as possible. Keep these in mind while prepping, and you’re sure to create a dish that’s both delicious and memorable.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with cilantro lime rice, refried beans, corn salad, tortilla chips with salsa or pico de gallo, avocado salad, and cabbage slaw.

Troubleshooting and Help

Can I use a different cut of pork?

Absolutely! While pork shoulder is perfect for this recipe because of its fat content and tenderness, you can use other cuts like pork butt or even a tenderloin if you prefer something leaner. Just keep in mind that leaner cuts may be a bit less tender.

What if I don’t have a slow cooker?

No worries! You can also cook this in the oven. Place the pork in a roasting pan, cover it tightly with foil, and bake at 300°F until tender, which usually takes about 4 to 5 hours.

Is there a way to make this less spicy?

Yes, you can easily adjust the heat level. Just reduce or skip the cayenne pepper in the recipe, and make sure to choose a mild green chile enchilada sauce. That way, you’ll keep all the flavor without the kick!

How can I thicken the sauce if it’s too runny?

If you find the sauce too thin after cooking, you can thicken it by simmering it in a saucepan for a few minutes until it reduces to your desired consistency. Alternatively, mixing a little cornstarch with water and adding it to the sauce can also help thicken it quickly.

Can I freeze the leftover pork?

Definitely! This recipe freezes well. Just make sure to store it in airtight containers or freezer bags. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently to keep the pork nice and moist.

I hope these answers help you feel more confident about making this delicious dish! If you have any other questions, just ask, I’m here to help!

Storing Leftovers

Storing this is simple and it freezes well, making it perfect for future meals. Here’s how to do it:


  • Let the pork cool to room temperature after cooking.
  • Place the shredded pork in an airtight container, and pour some of the cooking juices over it to keep it moist.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.


  • For freezing, cool the pork as above.
  • Transfer the pork into freezer-safe bags or containers. Again, add some of the cooking juices to help maintain moisture and flavor.
  • Label the containers with the date, and freeze for up to 2-3 months.

To Thaw and Reheat:

  • Thaw the frozen pork in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat it on the stove over low heat, adding a splash of water or broth if needed to keep it moist.

This method ensures your shredded pork stays delicious and ready for a quick meal anytime!

So, give it a try and see just how easy and satisfying cooking with your slow cooker can be. Enjoy your cooking adventure and the wonderful meal you’ll make!

Enchiladas topped with green sauce and fresh pico de gallo, accompanied by sides of guacamole, salsa, chips, and a bowl of rice.
Save Time with This Easy + Delicious + Versatile Slow Cooker Sweet Pork Recipe
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