Flavored with apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, chipotle, and other natural seasonings, this smoky pulled pork tastes like it’s been cooked in a smoker, but it’s made in a slow cooker instead.
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It’s fall, y’all! I’ve put away the summer recipes and started experimenting with my favorite fall flavors AND my favorite fall appliance: my slow cooker. I use my slow cooker so much during the fall and winter months that I don’t even bother putting it back in the cabinet after washing it because I know it will be coming right back out again. :)
Of course I love all of the recipes I share here on the blog, but this smoky pulled pork has become my new favorite. When you make it for yourself, I think you’ll see why.
Pork shoulder is one of the best cuts of meat to slow cook because it becomes SO tender, and soaks up all of the flavor of whatever seasonings you use. The Smithfield All Natural Fresh Pork Shoulder Picnic Roast from Walmart is my go-to because it’s naturally tender without any added ingredients, preservatives, steroids, hormones OR artificial ingredients. (To find it, just look for the green Smithfield All Natural Pork label in the “Pork” section of your local Walmart.)
Apples paired with pork is a classic combination, but I gave these traditional fall flavors a little twist by adding a rub made from cinnamon, chipotle powder, garlic, cumin, and few other seasonings. I also created an easy apple cider vinegar slaw (made with pre-packaged cole slaw mix to keep things simple) which adds a satisfying crunch and a tangy bite to the pork.
This is the kind of recipe that makes the whole house smell amazing while it’s cooking, and makes you feel instantly comforted (and hungry) when you walk in the door at the end of a long day. The smoky pulled pork is SO flavorful, and the blend of ingredients is perfectly balanced. No specific flavor is overpowering — instead you get a perfect blend of sweet, spice, tang, and warmth that makes you want to keep eating it and eating it and eating it.
There’s no searing or prep required for this recipe, so it’s perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, yet it’s also totally worthy of serving to guests. This would be ideal to make for some weekend football viewing or a casual get together with friends.
The pork shoulder cooks all day in the slow cooker, and when it’s time to eat, you only need to spend a few minutes shredding the meat, straining the liquid, and quickly mixing your slaw. And the best thing about making sliders is that they’re small, so nobody will mind if you eat a lot of them. :)
Smoky Pulled Pork Sliders
You don't need a smoker to create deliciously smoky pulled pork. This easy recipe allows you to achieve smoky results in your slow cooker.
For the pork:
- 3 lb pork shoulder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chipotle powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt divided
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- slider rolls for serving
For the slaw:
- 3 cups pre-packaged cole slaw mix*
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- In a small bowl, combine the cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder, chipotle powder, and 1 tsp salt.
- Pour the applesauce into the bottom of a slow cooker. Using your hands, rub the spice mixture all over the pork, and place on top of the applesauce.
- Cook on high for 5-6 hours, or until pork shreds easily with a fork.
- Remove pork to a bowl and shred, removing any fat.
- Strain the liquid from the slow cooker into a gravy strainer or fat separator.
- Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, along with the strained liquid.
- Add additional kosher salt to taste (I use approx 1 tsp).
- To make the slaw, whisk together vinegar, oil, salt, sugar, and a small drizzle of honey until emulsified. Pour over slaw mixture and stir to combine.
- To serve, fill each roll with pork mixture, and top with a spoonful of slaw.
If you can't find pre-packaged cole slaw mix, or you want to make your own, just combine julienned white cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots.
For more easy and delicious recipes featuring Smithfield All Natural Pork, check out my recipe for Easy Baked Pork Chops with Panko Herb Topping.
If you make the pulled pork sliders, please come back and let me know what you think! This is truly one of my all-time favorite recipes, and I’m hoping you all will love it as much as we do.