Traditional pulled pork is barbecued, which gives it a smoky flavor. But the slow cooker happens to be the absolute easiest way to cook pulled pork—and you can get a hint of smoke by adding chipotle chili. Serve the pulled pork with potato salad, collard greens and grits. Or make it into a sandwich and serve it on a bun with coleslaw.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 1, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To finish, bring the sauce to a simmer and continue with Steps 2 & 3. The cooked pork can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. | Equipment: 4-quart or larger slow cooker
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or turbinado (see Notes)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup chili sauce, such as Heinz
- 1 1/2-3 teaspoons minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce (see Notes)
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or blade (butt) roast, trimmed
- Notes: Raw cane sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw) is steam-cleaned, coarse-grained and light brown in color, with a slight molasses flavor. Find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets or at natural-foods stores.
- Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with Mexican foods at large supermarkets. Once opened, they’ll keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3-6 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are golden brown, 6-8 minutes more. Add the garlic, oregano, pepper and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Cook until mostly evaporated, 30-60 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the chili sauce and chipotle to taste.
Place the pork in a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker and cover with the sauce. Cover and cook until the pork is almost falling apart, about 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred using two forks. Stir back into the sauce.
Variation: Turn 3 cups leftover pulled pork into Pulled-Pork Torta. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a deep-dish pie pan or other 9-inch round baking dish with cooking spray. Heat 3 cups finely shredded Pulled Pork with Caramelized Onions (including sauce) just until warm. Drain one 14-ounce can no-added-salt diced tomatoes (reserve juice); combine with 1/4 cup diced Spanish-style chorizo (see Note) or pepperoni in a bowl. Mix well.
Spread about 1/2 cup of the mixture in the prepared pan to cover the bottom. Top with one 8-inch flour tortilla (preferably whole-wheat). Spoon one-third of the remaining mixture over the tortilla. Top with another tortilla. Repeat twice, topping with a fourth tortilla. Drizzle the reserved tomato juice over the top and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil, sprinkle 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese on top and continue baking until the cheese is melted and the torta is bubbly, about 20 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with 1/4 cup each finely chopped scallions and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.
Note: Spanish-style chorizo is a seasoned, fully cooked smoked pork sausage. Find it near other cured sausages in well-stocked super markets or online at tienda.com.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
358 calories; 18g total fat; 6g total saturated fat; 90mg cholesterol; 664mg sodium; 21g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 25g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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