Slow cooker shredded pork is essentially quick and easy bbq pulled pork that’s tender, juicy, and subtly sweet and smoky. It’s made with ancho and chipotle chiles as well as pineapple juice.
Slow Cooker Shredded Pork
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 12 H
- Makes about 4 cups
If using dried ancho and chipotle chiles, toast the chiles in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. (If the chiles begin to smoke at any point, lower the heat.) Tip the chiles onto a plate and let cool slightly. Wearing gloves, remove and discard the stem and seeds from the chiles and tear the chiles into pieces. Place the pieces in a small bowl, add enough warm water to cover, and let soak until softened but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain well.
If using ancho and chipotle chile powders, hop on down to step 2.
Toss the soaked chile pieces or chile powders, pineapple juice, garlic, brown sugar, cumin, and cloves in a blender and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Dump the mixture in your slow cooker. Season the pork quite generously with salt and pepper on all side and then add the pork to your slow cooker and turn to coat it evenly with the chile mixture. Cover and cook until the pork is really tender. Plan on 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.
Transfer the pork to a large bowl and let it cool slightly. Meanwhile, pour the braising liquid into a fat separator or a shallow bowl and set aside for at least 10 minutes to allow the fat to float to the surface.
Shred the pork into bite-size pieces using a fork in each hand or your fingers, discarding any chunks of fat.
Skim the fat from the surface of the braising liquid with a spoon and discard. Drizzle about 1 cup defatted braising liquid over the shredded pork and toss to combine. Add more braising liquid if necessary to make the pork moist and flavorful. Squeeze 1 tablespoon lime juice over the pork, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss. Add additional lime juice as desired or pass lime wedges on the side at the table. (The pork and any leftover liquid can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
- Shredded Pork Tostadas
Brush both sides of several corn tortillas with mild vegetable or olive oil, place in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 350°F (177°C) until lightly browned at the edges and slightly-but-not-tooth-breakingly crisp, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a 15-ounce can pinto beans and its liquid in a skillet over medium heat, mashing the beans with a potato masher or a fork, until the mixture thickens and is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread some mashed beans over each crisped tortilla, top with some warm shredded pork, and sprinkle with cheese (preferably queso fresco), chopped cilantro, avocado, salsa, and whatever else your desired accoutrements.
- Burritos With Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork
Place several large flour tortillas on your work surface and plop some warm shredded pork, a spoonful home-cooked or canned pinto or black beans, some cooked rice, shredded cheese, and fresh cilantro on each tortilla, placing it in a rather tidy mound on the lower half of the tortilla, allowing a 1- to 2-inch border all around. Fold the sides of the tortilla in over the filling, then snugly fold the bottom of the tortilla up over the filling and continue to roll the bulging contents into a burrito shape. Place the burrito, seam side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with foil, and bake in a 350°F (177°C) oven until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Instant Pot Shredded Pork
To make this recipe in your Instant Pot, follow the instructions above and allow 9 to 11 hours on the lowest setting.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I want to marry my slow cooker. It’s the most dependable thing in my home. This slow cooker shredded pork was amazingly tender and juicy and can be used in so many different dishes or just straight up on its own. I toasted my chiles and blended my sauce the night before. In the morning I plopped everything in my 5-quart slow cooker and set it on high for 6 hours and had a delicious meal waiting for me at dinner time. I ended up adding 1 1/2 cups chicken stock at the 3-hour mark since the braising sauce started to get a little dark. I assume this was because my slow cooker is rather wide, which spread the sauce rather thin across the bottom. I'd recommend using a smaller slow cooker or maybe using the lower setting for a longer yet slower braise--but adding the chicken stock worked like a charm. I will definitely be making this again!
Trust your butcher to choose and trim a great piece of meat, and this slow cooker shredded pork recipe will be very good. Regardless of the marinade, pulled pork in the slow cooker is such a wonderful smell and taste to come home to after a long day of simmering. The recipe is well-written; heed wisely the directions, especially the part about toasting the chiles. Specifically, "fragrant" is the perfect term to use to know how the chiles are ready. And do wear gloves, because the dried chiles are no joke. I used a toaster oven as I couldn't bear to pull out a "large skillet" for 5 chiles, especially in a small kitchen with no dishwasher. The toaster oven was optimal for this task—it took only 2 minutes and produced a perfectly dried and fragrant product. I used a small, 4-quart slow cooker on low for 10 hours and it was perfect. I found the amount of liquid to be quite perfect to flavor the meat for sandwiches and burritos. That said, my final product was neither particularly sweet nor spicy—flavorful, yes. The lime at the end is a great contrast to the fork-tender pork. Final note for those who also look for slow cooker recipes that involve barest-of-bare-minimum morning prep time: I prepped the chiles the night before while cooking another meal, left the drained chiles covered on the counter, and just prepped the marinade from step 2 in the a.m. The chiles remained supple enough to purée them later.