Pulled pork is almost a religion in many areas of the American Southeast, and many cultures around the world have their own traditional slow-roasted pork dishes. The variety we are most familiar with here in North America has its roots dating back to the Colonial era, where techniques of enslaved Africans merged with Indigenous communities and ingredients. Slaves would be given the cheaper, tougher cuts of meat which required time to tenderize. Eventually, European colonizers made their own contributions, and pulled pork has now become a national favorite.
After all, what’s not to love about a mound of tender, smoky, fall-apart pulled pork?
Well, the 4 a.m. wake-up call to start the smoker. The constant watching and tweaking of temperature. And if you’re trying to achieve health and weight-loss goals, the sugar.
Many pulled pork recipes can call for almost half of a cup of sugar, and that’s before you add any sauce.
With a little tweaking, we’ve created a healthier pulled pork recipe.
Xyngular Sugar-Free Pulled Pork
A recipe that’s almost entirely hands-off, as well as sugar-free. And the best part? In a few hours, your house will smell amazing, spicy, and savory with a hint of sweetness, thanks to a bit of cinnamon and beneficial ginger.
Thanks to the slow cooker, you won’t even have to turn on the oven. With gentle, steady heat, you’re able to replicate the moisture-packed “low and slow” environment of a pitmaster’s barbeque while you go on with your day. Pick one up for under $20 and have pulled pork tonight.
Notes: The ingredient list may look long, but they’re mostly spice-cupboard staples. Searing the roast is an optional step, but it gives another layer of depth and flavor to the finished pulled pork. You can cook this recipe on a charcoal grill, but watch your temperature to avoid dried-out pork.
Pro-tip: Before serving, put some pulled pork in a hot skillet over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until browned, giving you heavenly little bits of crispy pork.
Spice-Rubbed Pulled Pork Recipe
Serves - 6-8
Prep Time - 10 minutes
Cook Time - 6-8 hours
Per Serving -
3-4 pound pork shoulder, pork butt, or picnic roast
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground ginger (1 teaspoon if using fresh)
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ onion (any color)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Preheat the grill to high heat (around 400 degrees Fahrenheit).
In a large bowl, combine all dry spices.
Trim off large or excess pieces of fat from your pork cut, then place trimmed pork in your large bowl and rub all over with the spice blend.
Sear your dry-rubbed pork and half onion evenly on all sides until browned.
Don’t worry about cooking the meat at this point, this step is to develop flavor.
Remove from heat and turn off the grill.
Place seared pork into a medium/large slow cooker on top of onion half. Pour over apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
Cover and set to low heat for at least six hours.
Check pork with a fork beginning after six hours. Pork should pull away with little to no resistance, or when internal temperature reaches 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove from the slow cooker and shred, pork is ready to serve.
Serve with pickled onions, crunchy vegetables, or other fixings.
Pork can be returned to cooking liquid or separated. Fat will separate from cooled cooking liquid, where it can be scraped off or used as desired.
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