Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork

Break out the slow cooker for this easy recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork that bubbles away all day and is ready for a delicious dinner in the evening.

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork Recipe

“Do people even use crockpots anymore?” someone asked me recently when I was discussing the rise of the term “slow cooker” as a search term. I immediately smiled, thinking of the ceramic slow cooker insert soaking in soapy water in my sink at home. I do.

I regularly use a slow cooker for dinners because it makes easy work of getting food on the table for my family. But I wasn’t a fan until years ago when an editor I worked with convinced me to do a series of slow cooker meals for busy parents. At the time, I thought of slow cookers as something of the past — relics to be tucked away with memories of harvest gold and avocado green appliances. But after using one a few times, I realized how essential these devices are to modern families who like home-cooked meals.

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There’s something so convenient about slow cookers (or crockpots, if you prefer to call them that). You just mix up a few ingredients in the morning and let it bubble away all day. And then, when you return home, tired from learning, working and whatever else you’ve done during the day, there’s a hot dinner waiting with little to no fuss.

It’s kind of like my personal Alice (think “The Brady Brunch”) or a low-tech Rosie (ala “The Jetsons”).

However you think about it, slow cookers give working folks — parents or not — a special gift. They allow us to achieve a certain level of balance between our work lives and our home lives, without actually doing much. This takes away some of the stress of dinner, and replaces it with warm meals ready to be dished up.

Sweet Spicy Pulled Pork Recipe

Meals like this Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork, which is perfect for piling on rolls. Top it with veggie slaw, if you wish. Or perhaps some cheese. Or just eat it alone. This could also be served on a bed of rice or quinoa, or even mashed potatoes. I also love pulled pork served on macaroni and cheese. Delicious.

The possibilities are endless.

This recipe is for those who love a zesty sauce. The slow-burn of the sweet and spicy homemade barbecue sauce enrobes the shreds of juicy pork. Just how spicy is this though? That all depends on you. For a milder sauce, choose a mild hot sauce for this recipe. For a more medium level of hotness, dry sriracha sauce. But, if you are like me and enjoy the heat of spiciness, then a fiery hot sauce — like a habanero-based one is fantastic.

When this is done cooking, simply use two forks to shred the pork and mix with the sauce. Then it’s ready for however you want to dig in.

Spicy Pulled Pork Recipe

 

Just think … with a mere few minutes of prep time in the morning, you could be digging into this after work. How easy is that?

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Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork
Author: 
Recipe type: Slow Cooker, Dinner
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 lb boneless pork loin
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Rinse and pat dry the pork loin. Place into the slow cooker.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, water, brown sugar, liquid smoke, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Pour over the pork.
  3. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 4-5 hours (or cook on low for 8-10 hours) until fall-apart tender.
  4. Use two forks to shred the pork in the slow cooker, and then stir into the sauce.
  5. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News, and resident cook. She writes a cooking column, Maine Course, and is also author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains." Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, Glamour.com and more.