It’s a little too cold to do the grill these days, but we still crave pulled pork BBQ in the winter, and making it in the slow-cooker is a great way to indulge the craving. We’ve made this with both bottled and homemade sauces, and our preferred bottled sauce is Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Roasted Garlic Honey if we don’t feel like making a scratch sauce, but this easy sauce is interesting and different because the chipotles in adobo add a bit of heat that you don’t find in regular sweet sauces. The meat tenderizes well during the 11-hour stay in the smoky, slightly spicy sauce, and we enjoy it piled high on a bun with extra sauce on top and some creamy coleslaw on the side.
We typically do this on a weekend since it does take some time to pull the meat, and I prefer to cook it overnight and then pull it the next day after it has had a chance to cool a bit. I love the magic of the slow-cooker and how it lets you wake up in the morning with the house smelling like delicious barbecue!
Serves 8 to 10 people, depending on appetites.
Look for gluten-free Worcestershire sauce and chipotle chiles in adobo.
Update: On July 24, 2009 Apartment Therapy The Kitchn featured this bbq sauce recipe as their favorite.
“The sauce is smoky and tangy with a nice kick- exactly what we said we liked in a barbecue sauce! (Also, try the pulled pork if you make this recipe. It’s divine.)”
Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork with Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- 3 to 4-quart sauce pan
- immersion blender (aka the boat motor) or regular blender
- 6-quart slow cooker
- 6 pounds boneless Boston butt (cut in half (or picnic shoulder roast, or fresh ham with skin removed))
- 56 ounces canned crushed tomatoes (2 cans, 28 ounces each)
- 12 ounces molasses
- 2 small onions (peeled and chopped)
- 1/2 cup dry sherry or orange juice
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
- 4 gluten-free chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (chopped (as many as you like, really))
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- freshly ground black pepper
- In a 6-quart saucepan, combine the tomatoes, molasses, onion, sherry, Worcestershire sauce, chipotles, garlic, allspice, and liquid smoke. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Use the immersion blender to mix the ingredients into a smooth sauce. (Or transfer to the stand blender and puree for about 60 seconds.) Simmer, stirring frequently, for an additional 45 minutes or until the sauce is reduced to about 2 quarts.
- Rub the meat with salt and pepper and put it in the slow cooker. Add about 6 cups of the barbecue sauce, then cover and cook on high for 7 to 8 hours or on low for 10 to 11 hours. The meat should be fork-tender and falling apart.
- Remove the meat and place in a large bowl to cool.
- After the cooking liquid has sat for a few minutes, strain the fat.
- When the meat is cool enough, shred it with your fingers, pulling off the remaining fat and gristle.
- Toss 2 to 3 cups of the cooking sauce with the meat, and add more as needed to keep it moist. Serve on buns and pour the reserved sauce on top.