This Easy Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork takes about 10 minutes of prep time then leaves the rest of the work to your crock pot. The perfect recipe if you’re craving a tender, smoky pulled pork sandwich.
By the time you’re reading this, we’ll likely be blazing a trail through the middle of Pennsylvania. And by we, I mean the Mr. I will most likely be reading magazines, nodding off every 10 minutes, and generally being the worst navigator of all time. If all went to plan, we left at 5 AM this morning. But since nothing with us every seems to go according to the plan, we probably left on the dot of 8:30. *le sigh* I seem to have inherited my parent’s penchant for late starts. Ah well.
Planning for a week of vacation meant this week’s meals revolve around a single goal: cleaning out the fridge. I’m sure you’re familiar with these pre-vacation rituals. It normally involves a hodgepodge of meals thrown together with a completely ill-fitting assortment of just-barely-still-edible produce, on-the-verge-of-stale-breads, and caught-it-right-before-it-molded cheeses. Of course, the goal of this venture is to clear the fridge and cabinets of any perishable substances so we won’t return home to a house that smells like the wrong kind of stinky cheeses.
I find challenges like this oddly exciting. They give me an opportunity to really flex my cooking muscles and see if I can make something out of nothing. Or, in this case, if I can make something out of 3 beets, a bag of celery, a carton of eggs, and 2 limes. I’ve got my work cut out for me, clearly.
Luckily, we weren’t forced to eat beet and celery stew (<<<I’m not even going to pretend that would be good) all week. I made a giant slow cooker full of this Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork last week, and happened to have a little left over in the freezer to pull out when we were desperate.
Last summer, I made a Peachy BBQ Pulled Pork, and it was exactly what I wanted for an ultra saucy, messy, sweet feast, but this recipe is what I more typically think of when I think of pulled pork. This pork really stands on its own. It’s smoky with a nice amount of heat and a hint of sweet. It’s also crazy, ridiculously, abundantly tender. After 8 hours in the crockpot, it practically falls apart when you look at. It doesn’t really need BBQ sauce, but it benefits from a small drizzle of your favorite sauce before you slap a bun around it.
This might be the ultimate summer party meal, if for no other reason than that it’s super easy to make and can easily feed a crowd. A single 3-4 pound pork shoulder or pork butt roast (yes, it’s really called a butt roast. Try not to be disturbed), will feed around 8 people, but I was actually able to double the recipe and squeeze in another 3 lb. roast and get about 16 servings in one crock pot. I call that a win.
And the process couldn’t be simpler. Place a quartered onion in the bottom of the crockpot then lay the pork on top. Mix together the seasonings, then whisk in some honey and cider vinegar. Pour it over the roast, set the crock pot to high then let it go. 8 hours later you’ll have a bubbling cauldron of sweet and spicy pulled pork.
I love using my stand mixer to shred the pork, especially if I have a lot to shred. You simply put the pork in the mixer fitted with the beater blade, and set the speed to medium low. It’ll be in perfect shreds in seconds. But if you’d rather do it by hand, the pork will easily shred with a fork.
I served this pulled pork with Copy Cat KFC coleslaw (it’s my husband’s favorite and is a cinch to make), and crushed tortilla chips. I love putting chips on my sandwiches to add a little crunch. I definitely recommend making enough pork to save for leftovers because this stuff would be awesome in nachos, quesadillas, grilled cheese, or in a pizza. The possibilities really are endless.
This wonderful pork also pairs perfectly with a Cucumber and Tomato Salad, Creamy Mac and Cheese, or an Easy Garden Salad.
Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork
- 3 Tablespoons paprika
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 3 to 3 ½ pounds pork shoulder, cut in half
Recipe adapted from 100 Days of Real Food
For more great Pork Recipes, check out my Air Fryer Pork Chops, Skillet Pork Chops with Pan Tomato Shallot Sauce, or my delectable Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Tenderloin.
For larger cookers, do you think you should add water or anything?
I have a 6 quart so it’s pretty large and I don’t ever add water.
I’m just about finished with making the pulled pork but I just lifted the lid of the slow cooker and it looks like some of the meat is still raw. I cooked it on high for 3 hours and low for 4 hours. Any thoughts?
It definitely shouldn’t still be raw. Was the pork loin frozen or whole instead of halved? Every crock pot is different so there may be some variation in temperature. If you’d like to speed up the cooking, you could cut the pork into smaller pieces and turn back up to high. Sorry it’s taking so long for you! I hope the taste makes it worth it. 🙂
Would smoked paprika would just as well with this recipe?
Smoked paprika would be awesome!
What a creative way to shred pork! I”m SO doing that. I hate wasting my time with a fork!
Wish I could say I came up with it, but I actually read it online somewhere. It works great for shredding chicken breasts too!
My mouth is watering. I did a fridge clean out last week before we went on vacation. This is the yummiest fridge clean out I’ve ever seen. Pinned. Enjoy your vacay!
Thanks so much Jennie! We had a fabulous time!
It look so yummy. I am going to enjoy my weekend with this recipe. Thanks for sharing 🙂
I hope you loved this pulled pork as much as we do!
This looks wonderful, have a great trip!
Cleaning out the fridge makes for both the best AND the worst meals, I think. This would be of the best variety. Hope you guys have a safe and happy trip!
Love this Courtney! And I especially love the chips on top. It’s not a sandwich without chips :)Have so much fun on your vacation Courtney, you deserve it!!
Such a good way to prepare for your holiday. It looks delicious! Have a great time!