Sweet and smokey pulled pork

Sweet and smokey pulled pork is one of those things that people revere when they taste out and about as something they couldn’t possibly produce themselves – It must be SO difficult to make something so tasty, right? 

Well, not so, actually. All this recipe was, was a little thought about my favourite spices and getting that smokey and sweet balance right, rubbing it all in, and voila! Not hard at all.

I first tried this out on two gorgeous people who are headed around the world on a year long adventure. I get sad saying goodbye to friends, but I get so excited at the same time, to live through their news in the months to come. As far as farewell dinners, this was deemed one of the best!

I will caution to use organic pork when cooking with pork – It’s something we eat half as much of these days, and twice the quality. Non organic pork, even if it is touted ‘free range’ is often still fed a grain mix that includes genetically modified corn and soy in the mix. Genetically modified agriculture is a shocker for our planet, in the way that it destroyed biodiversity as well as in the way it allows for higher levels of pesticides in the agriculture, and therefore in the environment and in us. If it’s something you want to learn more about, this amazing talk by Dr Vandana Shiva is well worth an hour to get up to speed.

Anyway, once you’ve found your ethical, GMO free pork from a local butcher, you can assemble the ingredients and hop to this super delicious recipe.

Real Food. Happy Bodies.

pic credit: The pic I took when I was in a rush to serve this deliciousness was horrible. So my talented friend Kristin from Mamacino took these pics for me to do it justice.

Sweet and Smokey Pulled Pork Recipe


  • 2 kg shoulder free-range pork off the bone (4 1/2 lb)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil rendered organic animal fat or ghee
  • 1 cup dry cider or kombucha
  • 2 purple onions, quartered
  • 1/2 cup stock or water

The epic SPICE RUB - Do not panic at collective cost of stocking these up in the pantry. You’ll have these bottles for loads of future cooking projects, don’t you worry!


A note on the fat around the shoulder:

  • When you buy your pork shoulder for the pulled pork, remove the skin (which you’d be doing anyway) and in the morning rub it with salt and bake in a hot 200C / 400F oven until crackling is made. The run off from the rendered fat can be your pork fat for super crunchy roast potatoes – can you believe we used to soak fat up in a paper towel and bin it – organic fats cost a fortune and the cheapest way is to render your own – Might as well get crackling out of the deal, right? Cool the cracking and chop to sprinkle over your pulled pork when you serve it or use as snacks in the lunch box.

Now onto the pulled pork:

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C /425°F.
  • Grind the dry rub ingredients in a pestle and mortar until coarse OR whiz in thermomix / myCook for 10 seconds, speed 10. Remove the skin from the pork and use for crackling as talked about in potato low down.
  • Sprinkle the pork generously with salt. In a deep casserole (with lid), heat your oil and onions and and brown the pork on both sides for about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the casserole and cover with the dry rub, making sure you get it really ‘in there’. Pop the pork into the pan. Pour the cider or kombucha over the pork along with the stock. LID ON.
  • Cook for 6 hours and spoon liquid over the top twice during the cooking. (SLOW COOKER: Cook for 8 hours on low)
  • Remove from the oven. Transfer the pork to a plate or board. Pop the casserole pot on high heat and add all the ‘wet bits’ list of ingredients. Once bubbling, reduce heat to medium for 10 minutes.
  • Pop pork back into the pop and then pull the pork apart with two forks so it is nicely shredded.
  • You are done and this is so delicious I can’t wait to see what you think and am seriously hoping it’s not just me!
  • You can serve these with a slaw, with salads, in lettuce cups with fresh herbs on top, on sourdough, on top of zucchini noodles, with steamed veggies, or even add stock and veg and make a soup from leftovers for yet another incarnation.

smokey sweet pulled pork

Comments 9

  1. Hi Alexx, I made the pulled pork, beet and fennel salad and crispy potatoes for a dinner party last night and it was all delicious. Making some more salad and potatoes this morning to go with the leftover pork for lunch. It was a really easy dinner – everything basically done before the guests arrived (put the potatoes in the oven as they walked in the door). Would love to see more of your dinner party ideas, thanks very much for this one!

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      Sorry I didn’t reply – this was in a moderating comment setting for some reason! You’re super welcome. x

  2. So yummy! You’re true, I often make a great song and dance about some dishes but that’s just because they don’t match with my usual cooking habits

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  3. Hi Alexx, just wondering if you can sub the cider/kombucha for anything else? I only have hibiscus or coffee kombucha at the moment (might be a bit strange) and I can’t handle cider alcoholic or otherwise. I know I’m grasping at straws but thought I’d check! Thanks!

  4. Hi Alexx, I remember when you first posted this recipe there were a couple of salads, potatoes and a heart shaped cake recipe that you suggested as a two course dinner for Valentine’s Day. I’ve looked all over the blog and facie but can’t find it, would you be able to send me the link if it’s still available? There’s a lesson here about writing out recipes you love! Thanks heaps, Katy

  5. Yay, I’ve got this cooking now In the slow cooker!! 2 tablespoons seems like a lot of fennel and its smells very ‘Fennelly’! Is it really strong in the final dish??
    Also, wondering if you leave all the pan juices / onion and add them to the Passata sauce at the end? Or does this make it too runny? I imagine the juices would give it lots of flavour though!? Thanks!

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