Healthy Pulled Pork
What if I told you that you can make healthy pulled pork, from scratch, with simple ingredients, in a slow cooker, while you do something else for whole 10 hours, and it’s gonna be saucy, smoky and delicious?!
And what if I also told you that super easy healthy coleslaw with Greek yogurt is included?!
And what if I told you it is a healthy freezer and make ahead meal?!
Are you in? Let’s dive in then.
Is Pulled Pork Healthy?
Well, if you don’t pour a bottle of store-bought BBQ sauce over the pork shoulder, then pulled pork is healthy. And if you are not vegan, of course. I prefer to buy local and humanely raised pork. Fed with non-GMO or even organic feed… Am I dreaming? Probably. Do what you can.
My healthy pulled pork recipe is cooked in homemade barbecue sauce ingredients. Minus the sodium, sugar and preservatives of any other pulled pork.
What Is Liquid Smoke?
Liquid smoke. Please don’t be intimidated by this ingredient and don’t give up on the recipe. It is a common item you can find in many grocery stores. Think of a store (possibly more fancy and expensive than your go-to) that carries a large variety of foods. Possibly ethnic and imported, and check out their condiments aisle. Or Amazon never fails.
Liquid smoke costs $4-5 a bottle and lasts you a lifetime in a fridge. You will use it for years making healthy versions of BBQ sauce, pulled pork and BBQ chicken.
Best Cut of Pork to Cook in Crock Pot?
Pork shoulder aka pork butt roast. It’s same thing. It is part of the pig’s shoulder. It is not part of a butt. “Butt” goes back to the days when butchers in Boston area packed the pork shoulder unto barrels called “butts”.
It also can have other names: picnic shoulder, shoulder roast, Boston butt roast. Bone in or boneless os fine. It is perfect for making healthy pulled pork in slow cooker. Tough tissue will break down low and slow.
How to Make Healthy Pulled Pork
1. I used a pork shoulder with bone in (boneless is fine). Trim meat of any visible fat.
2. In a large slow cooker, add tomato sauce, applesauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
3. Place meat on top and spoon some sauce over it. Cover and cook on Low for 10 hours.
4. Remove meat onto a cutting board and turn up heat to High.
5. In slow cooker, slowly add flour while whisking until completely dissolved, cover and cook for 20 minutes. While sauce is cooking to thicken, shred meat with 2 forks (hands) discarding bones (if any), tough tissues and fat. Add shredded meat to the sauce and stir.
What to Eat with Healthy Pulled Pork?
I highly-highly recommend to make my super easy healthy coleslaw recipe to go with pulled pork. As easy as opening a store bought bag of cabbage and mixing it with yogurt dressing that is creamy without mayo.
Serve on a whole grain/wheat bun (brioche buns were used for a pretty picture effect to make you swoon). Or with quinoa (brown rice) for a wholesome meal. Or side dishes like cauliflower mashed potatoes or healthy sweet potato casserole to catch that extra sauce. OMG, actually sweet potato + pulled pork = I died. See, sky is the limit.
Craving More Meaty Saucy Recipes?
- Slow cooker balsamic pot roast all I can say is YUM!
- Crockpot butter chicken that’s better than any restaurant!
- Slow cooker chicken thighs smothered in homemade Thai sauce.
- Crockpot chicken and spaghetti will have your kids ask for seconds.
- Instant Pot ribs are the best with easy healthy BBQ sauce.
Watch Olena Make Healthy Pulled Pork in Slow Cooker:
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Healthy Pulled Pork
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork made from scratch with simple ingredients in a crock pot. Healthy coleslaw recipe without mayo is included.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 hours 20 minutes
- Total Time: 10 hours 25 minutes
- Yield: 10-12 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: North American
- 4–5 lbs pork shoulder or butt roast
- 14 oz can tomato sauce*
- 3/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 2 tsp liquid smoke**
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder or flakes
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
- Trim meat of any visible fat. In a large slow cooker, add tomato sauce, applesauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper; whisk to combine. Place meat on top and spoon some sauce over it. Cover and cook on Low for 10 hours.
- Remove meat onto a cutting board and turn up heat to High. In slow cooker, slowly add flour while whisking until completely dissolved, cover and cook for 20 minutes. While sauce is cooking to thicken, shred meat with 2 forks (hands) discarding bones (if any), tough tissues and fat.
- Add shredded meat to the sauce, stir and serve on a whole grain/wheat bun topped with my super easy healthy coleslaw.
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.
Freeze: In a large Ziploc bag, add all ingredients (except flour), release out air as much as possible, seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and cook as per instructions + 1 hour.
Make Ahead: In a large Ziploc bag, add all ingredients (except flour) and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. Cook as per instructions.
*I used low sodium, so if yours is not, add less salt to taste. **You can find liquid smoke in a condiment aisle of many grocery stores, or on Amazon.
Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.