Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chops
When Ben and I were first married and I was still learning my way around the kitchen, he assured me that he would eat anything that I cooked, with one important exception: pork chops. So naturally, kind and obliging wife that I am, last week I cooked Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chops for dinner.
Guess who finished his entire plate? Recipe redemption!
I truly appreciate that Ben is not a picky eater and thus try to honor the few recipe requests he does make, but pork chops were one dish that I could not let go.
His reasoning for not liking pork chops wasn’t that he doesn’t enjoy pork (he can demolish a plate of Crockpot Ribs faster than than you can say “Sweet Baby Ray’s!”); it was that he didn’t believe pork chops could be anything besides bland, dry, and a general waste of stomach real estate.
To be fair, coming up with an easy bbq pork chops recipe that was fork-tender took more time and tries than I was hoping for, but I learned a lot along the way.
Here’s everything I know, turned into the best sticky pork chops slow cooker recipe!
How to Make Tasty, Tender Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chops
ONE: Choose Your Pork Chops Wisely
No Thin Cut Pork Chops Allowed in the Crock Pot
- This was my first mistake. I grabbed thin cut boneless chops thinking that I could just cook them for less time and they’d be fine, right? WRONG.
- By the time thin cut pork chops are finished cooking in the crock pot, they will be dry, no matter how carefully you check them. The low and slow cooking method of the slow cooker demands thicker, more marbled cuts of meat.
- If you’d like to use thin cut boneless pork chops, you are better off cooking them on the stove top, then topping them with BBQ sauce at the end.
Better Option: THICK CUT Slow Cooker Boneless Pork Chops
- I still wanted to make a slow cooker boneless pork chops recipe for convenience sake (my store doesn’t always carry bone-in pork chops), and I finally had decent success with THICK boneless chops (what you see in these photos).
- Be aware that thick cut boneless chops still cook super quickly—mine were done by the time I hit the 2-hour mark on low. If your slow cooker runs hot, you might want to check even earlier.
Best Option: Bone In Pork Chops for Slow Cooker Success
- Low and slow cooking works best with more marbled cuts of meat. There’s no way around this. The more marbled and fatty your pork chops are, the more tender they will be.
- Since I wanted to make this a healthier recipe and most pork chops are pretty lean anyway, a good compromise I found was to use a bone-in pork chop, but trim most the extra fat away. The bone helped insulate the meat and kept the Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chops more moist.
- Still, bone-in chops are harder to find, so if you do, stock up and freeze them. Otherwise, go with the thickest boneless chops you can find.
Whatever Cut You Choose: DO NOT OVERCOOK THE PORK CHOPS
- The FDA says that pork chops should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
- I live risky and pull my pork chops out of the slow cooker when they hit 140 degrees F, then cover them with foil let them rest 5-10 minutes. The carryover cooking finishes the job, and I have much tastier results.
- An instant read thermometer like this is a serious help when any kind of cooking meat or seafood (I even use mine for quick breads). It’s the best way to know when your food is ready.
TWO: Add a Veggie
- I loved making these Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chops with onions. The onions melt into the sauce and give the pork extra flavor.
- Next time, I plan to do Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chops and potatoes by adding a few large-diced Yukon gold potatoes to the bottom of the crock pot along with the onions.
THREE: BBQ Sauce is Boss
- Since this recipe is so few ingredients, every one of them matters, especially the BBQ sauce.
- I used my favorite homemade barbecue sauce, which is ready in 15 minutes and never fails to be worth the effort.
- If you are in a hurry, Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chops with Sweet Baby Ray’s or a similar store-bought BBQ sauce will not got unappreciated either.
A Few Final Recipe Notes for Slow Cooker Pork Chop Success
- No matter what, pork chops made in the slow cooker, while still fork tender, will be a little chewy. It’s because unlike slow cooker BBQ pulled pork, which is made with a fattier cut of meat (usually pork shoulder), pork chops are lean.
- My honest advice: adjust your expectations. As long as you don’t overcook them, these Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chops are deliciously tender, easy to cut, and a great option for a fast, filling meal.
If you love the convenience of the slow cooker as much as we do, don’t miss my list of the Best Crock Pot Recipes for every meal, which includes more slow cooker pork recipes (and plenty of other slow cooker recipes too!). If you love BBQ, this Crock Pot BBQ Chicken is an especially scrumptious place to start.
Are there any recipes or dishes your family says are off limits? I’m excited that thanks to these Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chops, we have one more recipe we can put back on our “YES” list!
- 2 pounds THICK CUT 1 1/4-to 1 1/2-inch-thick boneless pork chops or bone-in pork chops about 4 pork chops (Do not use thin cut boneless chops. Just don't.)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 recipe homemade bbq sauce or 2 cups other good-quality store-bought sauce
- 1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water to make a slurry
- For serving: chopped green onion optional
In a small bowl, stir together the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle on both sides of the pork chops.
Lightly coat a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. Spread a thin layer of BBQ sauce over the bottom, then scatter the onions over the sauce. Add the pork chops, overlapping somewhat as needed. Spoon the remaining sauce over and in between the chops so that each has a nice amount of sauce on top. Cover and cook on LOW (this recipe does not work well on high) for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours for boneless chops. (If using bone-in chops, your time could be up to 5 or 6 hours on LOW.) Pork chops can dry out easily, so be sure to check them early, especially if it is your first time making pork chops in the slow cooker. Remove the pork to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm while you thicken the sauce.
To thicken the sauce in the slow cooker: Add the slurry to the slow cooker with the remaining sauce. Whisk to combine, cover the slow cooker, and set to high. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 45 minutes to 1 hour depending upon your slow cooker.
To thicken the sauce more quickly: Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan. Whisk in the slurry, and then cook on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring often until the sauce thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. (If your slow cooker insert is stovetop safe, you can remove it from the slow cooker and place it directly on the burner. Do not do this unless you are POSITIVE your insert is stovetop safe or it may crack).
Serve the chops hot, topped with the thickened sauce and a sprinkle of green onion.
- Please, please DO NOT use ultra lean, thin-cut boneless pork chops in this recipe. Even if you check early, the meat will still be dry by the time it reaches a safe internal temperature. Learn from my mistakes and buy thick-cut!
- Your cooking time will vary based on your specific slow cooker, and the thickness and fat content of your pork chops and whether you are using bone-in or boneless chops. For your first batch, I recommend doing it on a day when you are home and can check on the chops more frequently. My thick (1 1/2-inch) boneless chops cooked in just under 2 hours. When in doubt, check the meat early to ensure it stays nice and tender.
- These are tricky to reheat, so I recommend cutting up leftovers into small pieces, then using them in new, tasty ways, such as in a quesadilla or mixed with black beans to create a BBQ burrito.
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