Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork (gluten free, dairy free, paleo)
I don't know if I fully appreciated BBQ until I moved to Nashville. I had eaten pulled pork and chicken in Michigan, but in general, people didn't really have strong feelings about BBQ. When I first moved to Nashville I had a HORRIBLE sales job that was 100% commission based and required me to drive around for 10 hours a day making cold sales calls at different businesses. The job was a terrible fit for me to say the least. During the one month I worked there, I stumbled across an amazing BBQ joint in Smyrna, TN called Bob's Barbecue. It was my first time ever having a BBQ sandwich with mayo, pickles, slaw and pulled pork combined. Yum! It's really an amazing combination. Although I don't eat the bun anymore, I love making pulled pork at home and serving it with spicy pickles and slaw.
I've made pork shoulder in the oven before I was chained to the house all day. Not to mention, it created a ton of smoke. That may or may not have been from our terrible oven at the time...most likely. I find it far easier to make and just as good in the crockpot. It also frees up your oven to make Cinnamon and Thyme Butternut Squash Fries to go with your bbq. Win-win!
This recipe is not AIP but this is a good link to an AIP friendly bbq sauce. I will be trying a version of it myself the next time I make pulled pork. If you want to make the whole recipe AIP, omit the paprika, chili and cayenne from the pork spice rub.
3-4 pound pork shoulder
2 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of chili powder
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1/2 cup of chicken stock or water
1 red or yellow onion, cut into wedges
1 Tbs of coconut oil or bacon fat
1/2 cup of low or no sugar added ketchup
1/4 cup of tomato paste
1/2 - 1 cup of chicken stock or reserved pork cooking liquid
2 Tbs of molasses
1/3 cup of coconut sugar
3 Tbs of apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs of yellow mustard (sub 1 tsp of mustard powder)
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs of coconut oil or other fat/oil
chipotle or other hot sauce, to taste
sea salt and pepper to taste
Optional: cayenne if you want it spicy!
Combine the sea salt and spices in a small bowl and sprinkle over the pork on both sides. Rub the spice mixture into the pork to make sure it's fully coated.
Heat a large cast iron pan over high heat and add the coconut oil or bacon fat (I had just made bacon so I had some fat on hand). Sear all sides of the pork shoulder in the pan until it's slightly golden. This will keep all the delicious juices in the meat. Make sure to sear the fat cap on the pork as well.
Add the stock or water, chopped onion and pork shoulder to the crockpot. Cook on low for 9-10 hours.
When the pork is done it will be falling off the bone. Remove the pork from the crockpot and cut the fat cap off of the meat. Shred the meat with a fork. Pour the juices from the crockpot through a strainer and reserve the liquid. Add the onions back into the pork if you wish.
In a sauce pan over medium low heat, add the coconut oil and minced garlic. Sauté until just fragrant. Add the tomato paste and sauté for a few more minutes. Add the ketchup, 1/2 cup of stock or liquid, molasses, coconut sugar, vinegar, mustard, and paprika. Let the sauce simmer and thicken, about 10 minutes. Add sea salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.
Add the bbq sauce to the crockpot along with the pork and onions. Heat on low for 30 minutes. Add more chicken stock or cooking liquid if needed. I ended up adding about 1/2 cup of additional liquid to make sure my pulled pork was extra saucy!