SLOW COOKER BBQ PORK & TANGY SLAW
Whether it’s summer or not, I crave this Slow Cooker BBQ Pork & Tangy Slaw often! I love how cheap and easy this meal is to prepare – just throw a pork roast in the slow cooker with a few seasonings and leave it for 5-6 hours until it’s fall-apart tender. The coleslaw is ready in 20 minutes so it’s a breeze too! You can either make your own BBQ sauce (like I did) or use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce.
Did you know? The selenium in pork is essential for proper thyroid function. A six-ounce pork chop has more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance of selenium! (source)
Understanding pork labels
When choosing pork, look for the labels “USDA Organic” and “Animal Welfare Approved.” The “organic” label ensures that the pork was raised without antibiotics, and was fed organic feed free of chemical pesticides. If an animal was administered antibiotics that means it was either sick or around other sick animals. In addition, there is evidence that the use of antibiotics in meat may contribute to immunodeficiencies and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans. The “animal welfare” label, though less common, verifies that the animal was on pasture with sunlight and other humane comforts.
The labels “raised without antibiotics” or “no antibiotics ever” are good to look for but not always backed by third party verification. The labels “naturally-raised” or “pasture-raised” indicate animals were allowed to forage but again, not always verifiable. Pasture-raised is typically lower in saturated fat and higher in omega-3, a combination that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The use of added hormones is illegal in the pork and poultry industries, so products labeled “no hormones” are just bragging that they obey the law.
Making the pulled pork
Usually, pork shoulder or butt roast are preferred for pulled pork, but if you want a leaner version, I recommend pork loin roast. If you season and cook pork tenderloin properly, it works fine for pulled pork! Just don’t cook tenderloin too long or it will get rubbery (check at 4 ½ hours). I rub my pork with sweet paprika, onion powder, brown sugar, and salt to tenderize the meat, then add a little liquid smoke for smoky flavor. You can use a teaspoon of smoked paprika or chipotle seasoning in place of the liquid smoke. If using smoked paprika, I would omit the sweet paprika 😉
Homemade BBQ sauce
You can totally use a good low-sugar BBQ sauce (like this one), but I made my own! I used organic tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar (red wine or white vinegar can work here), calorie-free stevia blend for added sweetness without the sugar (can sub one quarter cup honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, or cane sugar), molasses for richer flavor (can sub for dark brown sugar or maple syrup), Worcestershire sauce for savory “tang” (can sub one tablespoon apple cider vinegar plus half a tablespoon of coconut aminos), liquid smoke (can sub smoked paprika or chipotle seasoning), and dried spices (mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne). If swapping dried spices for fresh, use three times as much. Also, one tablespoon of prepared mustard can be substituted for the dry mustard.
The tangy coleslaw
The tangy coleslaw is based off a recipe I found online years ago, so I don’t remember the original source – but it’s amazing! My husband and girls love it too. Just toss some tri-color bagged coleslaw mix with apple cider vinegar, a tiny bit of mayonnaise, wholegrain brown mustard, calorie-free stevia blend (can sub twice as much granulated sugar or agave syrup), and a dash of black pepper and salt.
Now, here are the printable recipes for the Slow Cooker BBQ Pork & Tangy Coleslaw! I love a pulled pork stuffed baked sweet potato with coleslaw on the side (and it works great for meal prep). Please rate and/or comment below if you try 😉
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Slow Cooker BBQ Pork
- 2 lbs. pork top loin or sirloin roast* or pork shoulder, pork tenderloin
- 1 tbsp. liquid smoke* can sub 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika omit if using smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
BBQ sauce (can use storebought)
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar*
- 3 tbsp. calorie-free sweetener* I used one that's twice as sweet as sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. molasses*
- 1 1/2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce*
- 1 tsp. ground mustard*
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder*
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder*
- 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke*
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper optional
*See blog post above for substitutions.
- In a slow cooker, drizzle pork with liquid smoke (optional) then rub with brown sugar, onion powder, paprika, and salt.
- Cover and cook on HIGH setting for 3-4 hours, or LOW setting for 6-8 hours, until meat pulls apart with a fork.
- While pork is cooking, combine BBQ sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat, simmering for 20 minutes or until reduced by roughly a fourth.
- When pork is done cooking, discard liquid from slow cooker and shred meat with two forks.
- Add BBQ sauce and cook on HIGH (uncovered) for another 30-60 minutes. Serve hot!
- Pork will keep in the fridge up to one week, or in the freezer up to one month.
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