Let me start by saying that there is a difference between traditional pulled pork and this Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. The recipe is delicious, but the process is very different from traditional pulled pork.
Pulled pork is one of those dishes that normally takes a full day of slow and low on the grill. Low heat, plenty of smoke from pieces of hickory and/or apple wood, and anywhere from 6 to 12 hours in the barbecue. It’s not difficult, necessarily, but it takes some attention to ensure your grill temperature is fairly steady and you’re getting plenty of wood smoke and steam.
Even then, there are a multitude of variations on pulled pork recipes, famously based on regional preferences. In some areas, you’ll find pulled pork made with a dry rub and little else. Some regions prefer a vinegar-based sauce, while others use a ketchup-based sauce for the meat. In parts of South Carolina, pulled pork is made with a mustard-based sauce. Sauces may be on the sweeter side, with molasses and brown sugar, or tangy and spicy, made with apple juice, paprika, and hot sauce.
With this Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe, we’ve tried to take the best parts of those recipes and create something that’s flavorful, but with less sugar. Similarly, since a good smoker or barbecue set up requires the time and attention that’s becoming more challenging to come by, using a slow cooker lets you get your recipe together and then leave it alone for the day.
You get some of the tanginess of traditional pulled pork dishes with the cider vinegar and tomato paste. Chili powder adds a touch of spice, and the maple syrup brings in some sweetness and some of the depth of flavor that you would get from a smoker. And if you’re really feeling the need for some smokiness, you can always add a few drops of Liquid Smoke.Print
Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
You don’t have to spend all day in front of the grill. This Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe has all the flavor with a lot more ease.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: Serves 8-10 1x
- Category: Entrées
- 1 (4- to 6-pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- 8–10 whole wheat buns
- Prepared coleslaw, for serving
- Use paper towels to pat the pork shoulder dry. Place the shoulder into an 8.5-quart slow cooker. Add the onion and garlic. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, maple syrup, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours on Low or until the meat is very tender and easily shreds.
- Use two forks to pull the meat apart, then stir it into the cooking juices.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve on a whole wheat bun with coleslaw.
Keywords: slow cooker, pulled pork, pork
Have you tried this Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe? What did you think? Is there anything you would add or change?