I am making pulled pork in my slow cooker this week. I am going to use a pork shoulder and am planning on cooking it on low for 8-10 hours while at work.

How much liquid should I put in the slow cooker? Should the liquid cover the pork or should there just be a little liquid in the bottom?

If the pork isn't fully submerged, will the parts of the meat that are not submerged cook? If so, how?

 \                                         /
  \         ********************          /  <-- Should liquid cover the meat? 
   \        ********************         /
    \       ********************        /  <-- Or go half way up the meat?
     \      ********************       /
      \     ********************      /  <-- Or should I just have a little liquid in the bottom?
  • I'd be surprised if 8-10 hours on low was enough for pulled pork. I haven't made it myself but this is based on cooking pork joints, gammon etc. Also my slow cooker book said to avoid cooking pork joints on low for safety (presumably the centre temperature, but possibly the time to reach temperature.
    – Chris H
    Mar 8, 2016 at 6:54

1 Answer 1


For pulled pork, there is good reason to only use a small amount of liquid. Use only enough liquid to come nearly half way up the side of the pork.

The pork that is sticking out of the liquid will brown, much like a sear. The mechanism is different, but result is the same. The exposed meat will develop color and that extra meaty flavor that gives good BBQ its character.

Since you're planning on an 8-10 hour cook, you can flip the meat halfway through to get that effect all around.

Flavor your added liquid generously, and be prepared to de-fat it when the pork is done, it will make for a great sauce.

  • If he's at work and the slow cooker is at home, it's kind of hard to flip the meat halfway through...
    – Marti
    Mar 8, 2016 at 3:20
  • @Marti That's one of those things to fudge as much as you can. It's not critical.
    – Jolenealaska
    Mar 8, 2016 at 3:48

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