Pulled pork is one of my go-to recipes for something that’s really simple to make but tastes complex. Also, my kids love it. Sometimes I spice it Mexican style, for pork carnitas, but for American week I decided to do it with barbecue sauce for sloppy, delicious pulled pork sandwiches that taste like a sunny day drinking beer and listening to the blues (perhaps at Kitchener Blues Festival).
I know, slow cooker pulled pork isn’t quite the same as pulled pork smoked over a wood fire. But I don’t have a fire pit. Here in our temporary home in England, I very sadly don’t even have a barbecue. However, pulled pork in a slow cooker is not only super easy, it’s really, truly, delicious. With the right sauce it’s honestly hard to tell the difference between this and something cooked by an award-winning barbecue chef who used three kinds of wood chips in just the right proportions.
Barbecue sauce is another thing I used to love but now don’t get to enjoy off the shelf because most kinds contain gluten and/or high-FODMAP ingredients such as onion and garlic. I used to think it would be hard to make my own barbecue sauce. Now I know better. My version is easy, tangy, sweet, and authentic-tasting.
- 1 good-sized pork roast, preferably with crackling
- Oil spray
- Salt and pepper
- Season pork with salt and pepper. Spray a pan with oil and sear pork roast all over until well browned.
- Spray inside of slow cooker with oil spray too. Put in the seared pork roast. Leave the crackling on even if you don’t plan to eat it (I never do), because it will help keep the meat moist.
- Cook on high for about 4 hours or on low for about 8 hours. You don’t need anything else. The pork will produce enough of its own liquid that it won’t dry out.
- Remove crackling and discard. Pull apart the meat with a fork. You’re done.
This will make more than enough barbecue sauce for your pulled pork; you may want to freeze some if you’re not planning to use it again soon, as your homemade barbecue sauce isn’t going to be full of preservatives like the stuff you buy.
- 500 grams plain passata/crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- Liquid from slow cooking your pork roast
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
- 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika (or more if you’re not trying to cater to a picky four-year-old)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (or more, as above)
- Salt to taste
- Pour the liquid generated by your slow cooker pork roast into a saucepan. You can strain if you want but I don’t mind a few chunky bits in my barbecue sauce so I didn’t.
- Mix in all other ingredients well.
- Boil at a roiling boil until liquid level has reduced significantly (by at least about a third) and you have a thick, slightly sticky, tangy sauce.
Pulled pork sandwiches
- Pulled pork (see above)
- Barbecue sauce (see above)
- Gluten-free buns
- Cheese, optional (I used cheddar)