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Apples and pork are a classic combination, and this slow cooker apple butter pulled pork recipe brings them together in a stick-to-your-ribs sandwich!
Freezer-Friendly, Slow Cooker
Ready in 8h 20m
I am so excited to bring you today’s post, guys. Not only because the recipe is off-the-charts (I mean, c’mon, apple butter pulled pork!), but also because it’s the first post in my 2015 partnership with my friends at Musselman’s Apple Butter. Over the next few months, I’m going to be bringing you a whole collection of wonderful, creative dishes made with apple butter.
Are you excited? I’m excited.
We’re going to have so much fun exploring all the ways to use apple butter outside of just a spread on a biscuit (although, yum). I have tons of fun ideas that’ll cover all kinds of sweet and savory dishes—many even use apple butter in a surprising way. Kinda like pulled pork made with a sweet and tangy apple butter barbecue sauce.
Pulled pork is one of those foods that seems like it would be labor and time intensive, but if you let the slow cooker do the work for you, it really is easy enough to be a weeknight dinner. Trust me, a house filled with the smell of apple butter pulled pork cooking is enough to melt away even the crappiest of days at work the second you walk in your door.
If you’ve never picked up pork to do pulled pork before, don’t fear! Head over to the pork section at your local supermarket, and look for something called either pork shoulder, pork butt, or Boston butt—skip the pork tenderloins. Save those expensive cuts of meat for when you aren’t cooking it for eight hours. The tougher pork shoulder roast is perfect for roasting away in a slow cooker for a full day. The slow cooking method breaks down the fibers in the meat making the end result tender and delicious.
These roasts are big. Like. Really big. Chances are, you won’t be able to track one down that is less than 6-7 pounds—which will end up making enough apple butter pulled pork to feed a small army. This is a wonderful dish to serve to party guests! No worries though if you don’t have any parties planned, pulled pork freezes wonderfully. And this recipe takes that into account, you’ll find freezing instructions at the bottom.
You’ll also need a large slow cooker. I love, love, love my six quart slow cooker. It is big enough to do big recipes like this one (it fits up to an eight pound pork shoulder), but isn’t so huge that I have to build a room onto the kitchen to store it. I’ve been using my same slow cooker multiple times per week for going on eight years now. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
If you do happen to track down a smaller roast (if you’re buying from a local butcher or farm, you might be able to request a smaller roast), you can easily half the barbecue sauce recipe and then proceed with the recipe as written. Or, since the apple butter barbecue sauce is so tasty, maybe just make the full batch and save the extra for another use. You won’t regret it.
I always top my pulled pork sandwiches with slaw (there is a great healthified Greek yogurt slaw recipes in my first cookbook that works really well with this recipe), but feel free to play with the toppings to suit your tastes. Heck, I’m sure a big ole dollop of apple butter would be wonderful on top. All apple butter, all the time!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cups Musselman’s Apple Butter
- 1 cup Musselman’s Apple Cider Vinegar
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha hot chile sauce
- 1 6-7 pound pork shoulder roast
- Buns and slaw for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat. Add in the garlic and onion, and cook until just tender and fragrant, about five minutes.
- Add in the apple butter, apple cider vinegar, honey, water, paprika, mustard, salt, worcestershire sauce, and chile sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the thickness of a barbecue sauce (about 15 minutes). Reserve about one cup of the sauce for serving.
- Place the shoulder roast in a large slow cooker, pour over the remaining barbecue sauce, and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 6-8, or until the pork is tender enough to shred.
- Shred pork with two forks. To serve, pile on top of buns, then drizzle with reserved barbecue sauce and top with slaw.
Because pork shoulder roasts tend to be large, this recipe makes a ton! No worries, pulled pork freezes well. Just let the amount you want to freeze cool, toss with barbecue sauce and then freeze in gallon-sized zip-top freezer bags. Defrost in the fridge overnight, and then heat in a saucepan over medium heat (you might want to add a touch of water to keep it from sticking). Or microwave until warm.
You'll need a large slow cooker to fit a pork roast. I highly recommend this one.
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About Musselman’s Apple Butter
Made with American-grown apples, Musselman’s Apple Butter is more than just a spread! Apple butter is a versatile ingredient that can enhance your favorite sweet and savory recipes.