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Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork

Spice-rubbed Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches with a delicious sweet honey-chipotle sauce and a simple coleslaw.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine American
Keyword crockpot BBQ pulled pork
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 9 hours
Total Time 9 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10 -12 sandwiches
Calories 651kcal
Cost $11.12

Ingredients

Pork in the crockpot

  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup 100% apple juice (or chicken broth works)
  • 4.5-6.5 pounds bone-in pork butt shoulder roast (or Boston butt) (See Note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon EACH: chili powder, paprika (sweet), garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons EACH: onion powder, dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper

Chipotle Honey Sauce

  • 1 cup (263g) ketchup
  • 1/2 cup (95g) brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (232g) honey
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons canned chipotle chilies and surrounding adobo sauce (+ 2 tablespoons sauce surrounding chipotles) (See Note 2)
  • salt and pepper

For Serving

  • brioche buns and softened butter
  • coleslaw for serving, (See Note 3)

Instructions

Into the Slow Cooker

  • Coat a large 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with the thinly sliced onions (2 medium or 1 very large). Pour in the apple juice and minced garlic.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, ground cumin, salt, and pepper (I add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 heaping teaspoon cracked pepper). Remove pork from packaging and dab all over with a paper towel. Rub the spices into the pork -- all sides.
  • Place the pork on top of the onions; if there is a white layer of fat, place that facing up (the fat will render down and make the pork more tender).
  • Cover, and cook for 8-11 hours on low setting (a 5.5 pound pork is always done around 9 hours for me); I don't recommend cooking on high.
  • Once the meat is completely cooked through and shreds really easily, drain the liquid. Pull off the layer of fat on top (it should just easily pull off), and pull out the bone and discard both (or save the bone and the drained liquid to make homemade stock!)
  • Using two forks, shred the pork.

Sauce

  • In a blender, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste).
  • Add in 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce surrounding the chipotle chilis and then 1 tablespoon of an actual chipotle chili (cut chili if needed). If concerned about heat, add chilies and sauce gradually tasting after additions. (Add VERY slowly because it's always easy to increase if you want more heat. If you are very sensitive to heat just add the sauce around the chilies in small quantities.) Blend sauce until smooth.
  • Pour the sauce over the pork (you may not use it all if using a smaller pork roast) and gently mix until pork is well coated and saucy.

Coleslaw And Buns

  • Spread butter on the insides of the buns. Add to a skillet or griddle and lightly brown the buns over medium heat.
  • Top the bottom bun with a generous amount of the BBQ pulled pork and a big spoonful of coleslaw (See Note 2). Add top bun and serve right away.

Video

Notes

Note 1: I've tried all kinds of pork and all different weights in my slow cooker. I've gotten the best results from using a 5-5.5 pound bone-in pork shoulder or butt roast. Some of the different labels you might see: butt roast, Boston butt, shoulder roast, picnic shoulder, or a pork shoulder butt blade roast. (There is a difference between butt and shoulder pork roasts, but sometimes the names are confused or misleadingly named; check out the differences here). My personal favorite is a Boston Butt, but without going to a butcher, I typically can only find a pork shoulder butt roast in regular grocery stores.
Note 2: Chipotle peppers can vary, but below is generally what I'd add to the BBQ sauce depending on how spicy (or not spicy) I'd like it to be. If not adding a lot of spice, you'll want to reduce the honey.
  • Little to no spice: Use 1-2 tablespoons  adobo sauce surrounding the chipotle peppers.
  • Light spice: Use 2 tablespoons adobo sauce  and 1 tablespoon peppers.
  • Medium spicy: Use 2 tablespoons adobo sauce and 2 tablespoon peppers.
  • Spicy: Use 2 tablespoons adobo sauce and 3 tablespoons peppers.
Note 3: Here's a homemade coleslaw recipe. For a quicker coleslaw, grab a bag of coleslaw mix and some fresh (refrigerated) coleslaw dressing (I like Marie’s® best) and toss the two together until the coleslaw mix is sufficiently mixed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 651kcal | Carbohydrates: 63.1g | Protein: 57.1g | Fat: 18.3g | Cholesterol: 159.9mg | Sodium: 656.8mg | Fiber: 1.9g | Sugar: 33.4g