Pulled pork is a popular dish but it can be packed with added sugar, honey, syrups etc. This slow cooked pulled pork recipe contains no added sugars or sweeteners and can be made easily with a few store cupboard essentials.
This is my family friendly recipe and so does not contain any chillies or hot spices, however you can adapt this recipe to suit your own tastes if you prefer your BBQ pulled pork to have a kick!
This recipe includes tomato ketchup and it is this ingredient that you must be careful with.
Heinz No Added Sugar Tomato Ketchup has only 5.7g carbs per 100g (please note, this is the NO ADDED SUGAR tomato ketchup with the turquoise label, not the 50% reduced sugar & salt one with a light blue label) and is the ketchup I use for this slow cooked pulled pork recipe. You can of course use another brand of no added sugar or sugar free tomato ketchup, but compare the total carbs to the Heinz No Added Sugar one to check it is not too high in carbs.
In this recipe I also use liquid smoke. It’s completely optional and can be made without, however if you have liquid smoke or can get some it will really make this pulled pork have a wonderful smokey BBQ flavour! The brand of liquid smoke I use is Colgin and a little goes a long way!
If the pork shoulder is a rolled joint, cut the strings so that the meat can be unrolled. Next using a sharp knife carefully slice off any rind and fat. This can be roasted separately to create crunchy crackling/pork rinds (score with a sharp knife, rub with sea salt and roast in the oven until crisp!)
Add all ingredients for the spice rub into a small bowl and mix well so that all the spices are combined
Lay the pork joint out on a chopping board and sprinkle over the spice rub and drizzle with the tsp of olive oil. Rub the spices into the pork both sides, then place the pork into the slow cooker
Add the finely chopped onion and garlic to the slow cooker
In a jug combine the ketchup, tomato purée and apple cider vinegar, mix and then pour over the pork
Slow cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours
the pork is cooked once it can be pulled apart easily
when cooked, carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker, place onto a chopping board and using two forks, pull and shred the pork into pieces, discarding any fat
Pour the cooking juices into a saucepan, heat on medium-high until boiling, then reduce the heat so that the liquid is rapidly simmering
Add the liquid smoke flavouring to the sauce and stir
Optional step: blitz the sauce to create a smoother sauce and help thicken slightly by breaking down the onion pieces (you can do this with a hand blender, or by transferring the sauce into a blender/food processor and then pouring the smooth sauce back into the saucepan)
Mix the xanthan gum or cornstarch with some cold water in cup until completely dissolved and liquified and then pour into the cooking juices to gently heat and thicken. Repeat this step if you require thicker BBQ sauce
Pour as much or as little sauce over the pulled pork and serve with sides of your choice. If using a bread roll, try to find one which is lower in carbs and made with wholewheat or wholegrain flour. I like to serve mine with a few potato wedges or sweet potato fries, home made chunky coleslaw and a very small piece of buttered corn on the cob. Both potatoes and corn are high in carbs and so it is important to pair them well if using these, eating plenty of pulled pork with them and a good serving of full fat mayonnaise!
If you prefer your pulled pork to have a spicy kick then feel free to add cayene pepper, chilli flakes, fresh chillies, tobasco or Franks hot sauce to this recipe too!
The key to getting a succulent, moist pulled pork is using pork shoulder and cooking low and very slow. Ideally this should cook all day long to give plenty of flavour and melt in mouth texture.
AVOID substituting the pork with jackfruit. The pork is a key ingredient here for making a well paired tolerable dish. Jackfruit is far too high in carbs and doesn't contain the protein and fat like pork does, making it an unsuitable substitution. If looking to make a vegetarian or vegan substitute it needs to be a substitute which is still high in protein such as Quorn, Tofu, seitan or tempeh. Mushrooms can be used as a substitute here too but more protein will be needed to added to help pair the carbs.
If using a bread roll, try to find one which is lower in carbs and made with wholewheat or wholegrain flour, or you could use a Warburtons Protein thin bagel, or a brown sandwich thin.
Buttery mash with plenty of butter and cream, or cauliflower mash also works fab with pulled pork and greens.
I like to serve my pulled pork with a few potato wedges, sweet potato wedges, or sweet potato fries, home made chunky coleslaw and a very small piece of generously buttered corn on the cob. Both potatoes and corn are high in carbs and so it is important to pair them well if using these, eating plenty of pulled pork with them and a good serving of full fat mayonnaise!
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