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Pulled Pork & Paleo BBQ Sauce (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

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by Angela Gallardo in Lunch & Dinner, Recipes

There is NOTHING better for a cool November evening than a slow-cooker meal.   A recent change in Jorge’s work situation has allowed him to be home at a decent hour every night, meaning we can actually sit down for dinner’s together on a regular basis.

It’s so refreshing.  And it’s led to more preparation of actual meals on weeknights.  Where-as before, I might’ve eaten well before he got home and his dinner was a hodge-podge of maybe what I ate but more often than not, various leftovers scrapped together.

I grew up eating family meals together on most nights and it’s probably one of the most important traditions I hope to carry on in our home.  His previous getting home at 8 pm (or later!) most nights made this tradition really difficult.  So now I’m relishing his being home earlier-sometimes when it’s still light out-and sitting down for dinners together more often.

Slow-cooker meals are frequently undervalued these days.  It’s more difficult to get good textures and not overcook things.  So I love a good pork shoulder roast for a crock pot meal.  A good dose of (healthy) fatty tissue helps keep the meat fork tender with long hours of cooking.  Add in flavorful spices and a bit of moisture from some tomato sauce and you’ll find a thick homemade BBQ comes together with little work on your part.

This BBQ sauce is free of chemical additives and preservatives.  It’s also free of ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and modified food starch (frequently made from GMO corn), which are both commonly used in commercial BBQ sauces.  Like I’ve said before, sauces are one of the best and easiest ways to eliminate nasty toxins from your diet.

So throw out that jar of BBQ (that’s been in your fridge for who knows how long), break out the slow cooker, and pull up a chair for a warm homemade family meal.

pulled pork

pulled pork

Pulled Pork with Paleo BBQ Sauce

Yields:  4-6 servings

3-4 lb. boneless pork shoulder

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 15-oz. can organic tomato sauce

2 T. organic tomato paste

1/2 c. organic apple cider vinegar

2 T. raw honey

2 T. blackstrap molasses

1 t. sweet paprika

1 t. smoked paprika

1 t. ground mustard

1/2 t. chipotle powder (omit for a non-spicy sauce)

2 t. sea salt, plus more for seasoning

1 t. ground pepper, plus more for seasoning


Rinse and pat dry pork shoulder.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Place the pork shoulder in a large slow cooker (5 qt minimum).  Cover with the chopped onion and minced garlic.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.  Pour into the slow cooker and cover the pork completely.  Cook on high for 6 hours, or until the pork is tender enough to pull apart.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred with two forks.  Skim as much fat from the surface of the sauce as possible.  Whisk sauce well and incorporate into the shredded pork.  Serve warm over mashed red potatoes or root veggies or mixed into a breakfast skillet.

UPDATE April 2016: While a slow cooker works really well on a pork shoulder, I now prefer to pressure cook it with my Instant Pot!  Same flavor, much less time.  The prep is the same as listed above.  Just add to the Instant Pot, set to “Manual” on high pressure.  Keep the vent on “Sealing” and set the time to 75 minutes (note: if you cut the pork shoulder into chunks, you can shorten this time to about 60 minutes).  Once cooked, remove the meat to shred.  Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” to reduce the sauce until thick enough to match your BBQ sauce preference.  

1 Comment
  1. Rebecca Ratliff says:

    Loved this recipe! So easy and delicious and I had food for days. One thing though–do you have a particularly effective method for skimming the fat from the BBQ sauce when the pork is taken out? There was definitely a lot of fat left but I had a hard time removing it without taking a ton of the sauce as well.

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