Slow Cooker Island Pulled Pork

Prep Time 15 min.
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Yields 8-10 Sandwiches


  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 3-pound boneless pork butt
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8-10 hamburger buns, sliced open (see note)
  • BBQ sauce (see note)
  • Fresh cilantro


  1. In a small bowl, combine onion powder, garlic powder, ginger, cloves, allspice, thyme, dry mustard, salt, paprika, cumin, sugar, black pepper, and cayenne. Use fingers to rub spices together to ensure that ginger is dispersed throughout. Rub spice mixture all over pork.
  2. Put the pork in the slow cooker, fat side up. Pour apple cider over pork and add bay leaf.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker. Use two forks to shred meat. Skim fat off liquid in slow cooker. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the remaining liquid over the meat and mix to combine (see note).
  4. Serve on a bun as-is or slathered with your favorite BBQ sauce and sprinkled with fresh cilantro.


Recipe Notes

Hamburger buns: A great way to increase the healthfulness of any sandwich recipe is simply to choose a whole grain or whole wheat bun. Try to go with all-natural brands if possible.

BBQ sauce: Store-bought BBQ sauces often contain surprisingly unhealthy ingredients, and some top brands even have high fructose corn syrup as the very first ingredient. Be sure to check ingredient labels and choose the healthiest, cleanest ingredient list you can.

Shredding the pork: As we discussed in this post, it's important to remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred it separately from the juices, to avoid adding too much of the melted fat back into the meat. And, as you shred, carefully remove as much of the interior fat as you can. Lastly, be sure to skim the fat off the liquid left behind in the slow cooker and add only defatted juices back into your shredded meat to moisten it.

THK make-ahead tip: This recipe comes together so quickly, with the most time-consuming part just being measuring out all the delicious spices. To make this quicker on busy mornings, you can measure and mix together all the spices (excluding the grated fresh ginger and the bay leaf) the night before or even a day or two ahead.

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Two Healthy Kitchens