Easy rhubarb pulled pork is tangy and sweet. Rhubarb pulled pork is a quick ‘barbecue’ meal and feeds a crowd. Paired with fresh buns, salad, pickled red cabbage, pickled red onions and some hot sauce on the side… Yum! This simple slow cooker pulled pork keeps everyone happy!
This easy pulled pork recipe uses fresh or frozen rhubarb to add some sweet zip to this slow cooker favourite. My crowds usually involve small kids, so there is not much heat or spiciness in this recipe. For the more adventurous, we serve hot sauce on the side.
Rhubarb Pulled Pork
- slow cooker
- Place pork butt roast into slow cooker. Pour salt over top of the roast.
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine rhubarb, onion, garlic, spices, honey, apple juice, vinegar. Mash slightly to break up rhubarb pieces. Stirring regularly, heat until caramelizing on the pan. This takes about 20 minutes. Wait until it is dark on the pan but not burnt.
- Pour the rhubarb sauce over the roast.
- Add the stock to the saucepan to deglaze the pan. Heat gently to lift all the flavour off the pan. Pour these juices over the roast. Close the lid. Set slow cooker on High and cook for 6-7 hours*.
- After 6-7 hours open up the slow cooker. Cut the strings around the roast. If there are any large obvious pieces of fat sitting on top, slice off and discard. Remove all the strings and discard. Use 2 forks and pull the roast apart from the centre. The meat should pull apart** easily, shredding into signature pulled pork long strands. Completely pull the roast apart. Let the shredded meat sit in the cooking liquid for 5-10 minutes.
- Pour the pulled pork mixture over a colander set in a bowl. Drain the liquid. Set aside.
- Mix pork mixture with 1-2 cups barbecue sauce. Add even more if you want it really saucy! Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Tips for Easy Pulled Pork
Choose a cheap cut
For pulled pork, you want a fatty, well-marbled roast. You don’t need an expensive roast to have tender, shredded pork, in fact a more expensive cut may end up being too dry. The slow cooking process tenderizes the tougher (cheaper) cuts. I tell my butcher I want a roast for slow cooker pulled pork and he recommends a pork butt roast, every time. A close food-loving friend of mine (and an impressive cook) swears by pork shoulder for her pulled pork recipes. Here’s a great reference listing all the cuts to choose from.
Caramelize for stronger flavour
In a rush? This recipe works well if you toss all the ingredients together and come back in 6 hours. Because the slow cooker is a sealed, moist environment, no sugars can caramelize in there. You’ll have yummy, satisfying pulled pork. Sometimes there’s just no time – go ahead dump in all the ingredients, turn on the heat and go!
If you’re a lover of a sweet caramelized flavour in your pulled pork, take the 20 minutes to make this sauce. By caramelizing the onion (and honey) with the spices and drying out the rhubarb, you intensify the flavour and add a lovely caramel touch.
Strain and drain that pulled pork
As risky as straining all that hot greasy liquid is, you need to get the liquid off the meat to allow your signature barbecue sauce to stick to the pulled pork. No one wants a soggy pulled pork sandwich or a drippy taco.
Freeze that delicious cooking liquid for another meal. I use this stock as the “water” in with my regular rice cooker rice. It’s amazing! You can also use the liquid to lightly sauté veggies in your next stir fry. So much extra flavour!
Pulled Pork For a Crowd or Multiple Meals
Tacos, sandwiches, pizza, oh my!
Easy slow cooker pulled pork is a meal planner’s dream! Make this recipe once, and get 3-4 tasty meals for your effort. On a regular basis our busy household uses pulled pork to make:
- Classic pulled pork sandwiches made with crusty buns and served with salad
- Pulled pork tacos are fun because everyone gets to choose their filling. Serve pulled pork with chopped veggies (peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, corn), shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream and hot sauce. Use tortilla shells to wrap it all up.
- Pulled pork pizza? You bet. Spread your favourite barbecue sauce on pizza dough, sprinkle with pulled pork, red onion and cheese.
- Use the stock to sauté veggies for a stir fry.
When you have a hungry crowd to feed and not a lot of time for all-day fussing, you need a simple showstopper. Easy Rhubarb Pulled Pork is a slow cooker meal that keeps everyone happy.
With a few side dishes, classic pulled pork sandwiches can feed at least 12-15. Serve with warm buns, a few made-ahead salads, veggie sticks and great condiments like pickled jalapenos, pickled red onions, arugula, and of course, more barbecue sauce. Happy campers.
Barbecue Sauce in Pulled Pork
All this slow cooking time and we are still adding barbecue sauce? Oh yeah. It’s crucial. Barbecue sauce is a must because it adds fresh flavour and sweetness. Here’s some more thoughts on barbecue sauce and pulled pork.
How much is too much?
It’s all up to your taste buds. Add 1 to 2 cups of barbecue sauce to 2 kg of meat and you get flavourful, moist pulled pork. When I’m using this recipe in my weekly meal planning, I only add a little bit of barbecue sauce because we use the rhubarb pulled pork as a key ingredient in a different meals. Here’s why:
1. BECAUSE we always love to add more barbecue sauce as a condiment when we make pulled pork sandwiches. Saucy sandwich but not drippy meat.
2. BUT when we make pulled pork tacos we add salsa verde, sour cream, hot sauce, pickled jalapeños, cumin corn and cilantro so I don’t want the extra barbecue sauce in the meat. There’s already lots of other delicious happening here.
3. AND when we make barbecue pulled pork pizza, we add barbecue sauce as our ‘pizza sauce’, so… need I say more?
Your taste buds decide how much is enough or too much.
What kind of barbecue sauce to use
Use a barbecue sauce you absolutely love – what you pour on, is the flavor you get since we’re not cooking it much more once it’s added. Use barbecue sauce to add heat, sweetness or smokiness – whatever you’re craving.
There are many delicious versions that will give a new flavour profile to your pulled pork – spicy chipotle brings a smoky flavour, jalapeño, cilantro and lime brightens the dish and rhubarb barbecue sauce will highlight this wonderful spring “fruit” (or is it a vegetable?!!)
Make your own barbecue sauce
Quick and easy! A basic barbecue sauce has tomato paste, vinegar and spices/flavour. There are many creative ways to add sweetness and flavour: brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, fruit, Worcestershire sauce, alcohol, spices, liquid smoke, chipotle, lemon/lime, jalapeño peppers… the list goes on.
The best barbecue sauce for this Easy Rhubarb Pulled Pork recipe? Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce of course. It really pumps up the rhubarb factor.
I sure hope you enjoy this Rhubarb Pulled Pork recipe.
Tell us how you like it best! Are you an extra sauce lover? Do you add more heat to the cooking liquid?
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I’m Katie, a dedicated food friend of GettyStewart.com. I am often found feeding 2 hungry boys, seemingly 100 times a day. Whether in the kitchen or the garden, bright colours and strong flavours are my driving force (read: sunshine and good coffee). Thanks for checking out my guest post for Getty.
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