There are lots of pulled pork recipes out there. I stumbled across this spiced and slathered pulled pork recipe long ago and have used it hundreds of times. I love how it’s a bit spicy and also how the vinegar gives it a nice tangy-ness, too. And, of course, it HAS to be cooked until it’s falling-apart-good – that’s just what good pulled pork is all about.
Spiced and Slathered Pulled Pork is Meal-Planning Perfection
This recipe is the best for cooking up on a Sunday and then using all week. You can see some of my favorite pulled pork recipes ideas in this post. My family loves it when I use pulled pork in many common beef dishes like chili, tacos, casseroles, and sliders. And since pork butt is less expensive than beef, it’s an economical choice, too. Rock on!
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Pulled Pork Secrets
This recipe is even easier and more delicious when made in the Instant Pot, but I’ve provided instructions for a slow cooker as well. Any way you make it, here are a few helpful tips:
1. Don’t Skip the Red Wine Vinegar
It might seem like a strange thing in pulled pork, but I promise you won’t even taste it, but you will miss it if you exclude it! The tanginess just adds a little something that rounds out the sweet, spicy, perfect pulled pork.
2. Cut Your Meat Into Chunks Before Browning (and you MUST brown)
I don’t even have to tell you the importance of browning your meat off before you put the lid on, do I? DO I??? That one step makes ALL the difference in anything you cook, because brown is where all the flavor is. Don’t skip it! Also, to get more flavor on more sides of your meat (and to maximize your cooking time) it is important to cut your pork butt into medium-sized chunks 2 inches or so should be fine. Brown these in batches on all sides to gather all of that delicious flavor before adding your sauce and turning on the heat!
3. Shred Pulled Pork and Enjoy!
When your pork is done, you can test for melt-in-your-mouth goodness by inserting a fork and twisting gently. If it twists easily and the meat begins to tear then it’s ready to shred. I have found a foley fork to the be the coolest tool when shredding any meat! It makers
Spiced and Slathered Pulled Pork
- 4-5 lbs. pork butt or pork shoulder cut into chunks
- 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 3 Tbs. paprika
- 2 Tbs. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 - 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 onion peeled and sliced
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the spices, then rub the spice blend into the pork chunks using your fingers.
Electric Pressure Cooker Method: Add oil to pressure cooker pot; when oil is hot, add seasoned pork chunks, a few at a time, browning off on all sides, then removing to a plate to repeat with remaining pork chunks.
Stir in chicken broth to deglaze pot: add honey and vinegar, stirring to combine; add sliced onions, then top onions with browned pork chunks.
Cover pressure cooker and lock lid into place. Choose high pressure setting for 55 minutes. When time is up, use the natural release method. When pressure is gone from pressure cooker, carefully open the lid, testing to make sure the pork is very fork-tender and shreds easily. (If pork isn't as tender as you'd like, bring to up to temperature under high pressure again and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.)
Slow Cooker Method: Place onion slices across the bottom of the slow cooker; top with pork halves, then slather the pork on all sides with the prepared spice paste.
Turn slow cooker to low and cover. Cook pork on low for 7-8 hours, or until pork is very fork-tender and can be easily shredded with a fork.
Serve pork warm as the main course along side baked beans and cole slaw.
I usually make a big batch of this pork and then freeze the extra pork in meal-size portions to have for use later in our favorite dishes, such as Pulled Pork Walking Tacos, Pulled Pork and Pineapple BBQ Quesadillas, or Pulled Pork Parfaits.
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