Perfect Pulled Pork

Perfect Pulled Pork

If you need to feed a crowd, this pulled pork is always a winner on many levels.

First and of course most importantly, it’s incredibly delicious. In the way that only slow cooked meat can be. There won’t be any shortages of compliments for the cook (that’s you!).

The other reason I love it is because it’s incredibly low stress. Just pop everything in the slow cooker and let time weave its magical charms. You can make it in advance to fit it in whenever suits you.

It’s also scales up easily to feed as many as you need.

As you’ll see below, there are so many ways to use the pork, you will be happy to have leftovers. In fact it’s a good idea to make extra so you can have it ready for tasty mid-week meals.

And if you’re not a pork fan, you could substitute other meat like lamb shoulder, beef shin (osso buco) or beef short ribs.

This really works best with a slow cooker because you can set and forget – and there’s loads of flavour. But you can cook it in the oven (see the method for instructions).

Perfect Pulled Pork
5 from 1 vote

Perfect Pulled Pork

Total Time 12 hours
Servings 4 hungry people


  • 2 onions
  • 1 kg pork shoulder boneless skin on
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce OR 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar optional / if needed


  1. Cut onion in half lengthwise. Remove papery skin and slice into thin 1/2 moons. Place in the bottom of the slow cooker insert or a medium oven proof pot.
  2. Mix tomato paste, soy sauce (or salt) and paprika in a small bowl. Rub this mixture over the flesh sides of the pork - and a little on the pork skin.
  3. Place pork on top of the onions skin side up.
  4. For the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 11 hours or high for 6 hours or until pork is tender and can pull apart when you prod it with a fork. If you can, baste by scooping up the sauce and pouring over the pork - but I often leave it overnight without basting and it's fine.
  5. For the oven, add a cup of water, cover with foil and a lid and bake at 120C (250F) for 6-7 hours or until pork is tender and can pull apart when you prod it with a fork. Add water if it starts to dry out.
  6. Either serve immediately or cool and refrigerate, covered for up to a week.
  7. When you're ready to serve, remove any solidified fat and bring pork back to a simmer - will take about an hour in the slow cooker or 15 minutes in a saucepan on the stove. Remove skin and finely chop. Return to the pot. Using two forks or your fingers, tear or ('pull') the meat into shreds and return to the pan. Taste and season with extra salt if needed. If it tastes a little flat add the apple cider vinegar.
  8. Serve using one of the ideas below.

Net Carbs: 8g/serve

Ways to Serve Your Pulled Pork

With Salted Cabbage Tortillas – make a batch of my new favourite Low Carb ‘Tortillas’ (aka salted warm cabbage leaves) and use it to wrap the pork. Serve with hot sauce, avocado, sour cream (or cashew sour cream), roast cashews (or peanuts) and lime wedges.

With regular tortillas – warm your favourite tortillas according to the packet directions and serve as per the salted cabbage suggestions.

Pulled Pork Rolls – in soft buttered rolls with coleslaw and hot sauce. Fantastic with these Low Carb Almond Burger Buns too.

Taco Bowls – use as the cooked protein in these Taco Tuesday Bowls or even better in these Quick Taco Bowls with Lime & Cashew Sour Cream.

To Stuff Vegetables – instead of the chorizo in these Mexican Roast Eggplant with Green Chorizo or instead of the chickpeas in these Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potato.

Nachos – used the cooked pork instead of the sausages in these Everyone Happy Nachos.

A Sunny Salad – use as the protein in these Parisian Carrot Bowls.

Delicious lunch – use as the protein in these Sensational Savoury Yoghurt Bowls.

With Broccoli – instead of the chicken in these Broccoli Bowls with Lime & Peanut Sauce.

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Variations & Substitutions Perfect Pulled Pork

short on time – cook in the oven 160C for 3-4 hours.

vegetarian – try these beans instead.

nightshade-free – replace the tomato with apple sauce.

more substantial (carb lovers) – serve with tortillas or bread.

more substantial (low carb) – serve with avocado and sour cream and nuts.

Low FODMAP – skip the onion and serve with chopped chives.

hot! – add some chipotle chillies in adobo sauce or replace smoked paprika with hot paprika or another chilli powder.

different protein – lamb shoulder, beef short ribs, pork ribs, osso buco,

more fancy / for entertaining – see the ‘ways to use’ above.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

onion – will keep in the pantry for months. Best if in a dark corner in a brown paper bag.

pork shoulder – freeze it.

tomato paste – unopened jars keep in the pantry. Once open best to use for another meal. Can be frozen.

soy sauce / salt / smoked paprika / apple cider vinegar – keep them in the pantry.

Problem Solving Guide

bland – more salt! More vinegar (but don’t over do it).

too dry – overcooked pork – or it cooked too rapidly (unlikely if using a slow cooker). Next time cook on a lower temp For now be generous with the avocado / sour cream.

no oven or slow cooker – you could gently simmer on the stove – add a cup of water and keep a close eye on it.

Prepare Ahead Perfect Pulled Pork

Yes! Just cook and reheat as per the recipe. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days or can be frozen.

Perfect Pulled Pork

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