I have done pulled pork on A to Z already, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to invent a version made with pork tenderloin instead of your typical pork shoulder.
The slow-cooker is a great way to go for pulled pork, especially when you live in 105° – 115° summer weather like us Phoenix-dwellers do. Having your oven on for several hours not only heats up your house but it also drives up your electric bill as your air conditioner works hard to keep up with the heat coming from outside and inside the house!
So, slow cooker it is!
Here is everything you will need for this recipe:
Oh, and one more thing! Forgot to add it in the original “ingredients” shot…
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, all you need to do is thinly slice half an onion, finely mince one garlic clove, open your can of diced tomatoes, and measure out your chicken stock and brown sugar.
The rest of the ingredients can be out (and even opened) so they’re ready to be added, but you can measure them out quickly so just measure when the time comes!
Season BOTH sides of the pork tenderloin well with salt and pepper…
Then, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan.
Add the pork tenderloin when the oil is rippling but not smoking. After 3-4 minutes, give her a flip and brown the other side…. this will lock in a lot of flavor and moisture… YUMMO
Once the pork is browned, turn the heat down to medium-low and add in the onions. Season them with a little salt and pepper and saute them for a few minutes before adding in the garlic. Saute that another minute or so until the garlic is fragrant. LOVE that smell!!
Then, turn the heat up to medium-high and add in the chicken stock to DEGLAZE the pan…. use a wooden spoon to really stir the mixture after adding the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up all those browned bits of flavor from the pork, onions, and garlic!!
Now, turn the heat back DOWN to medium-low and add in the remaining ingredients: brown sugar, the can of diced tomatoes with the juice, grainy dijon mustard (or the regular dijon is fine too), worcestershire, apple cider vinegar, molasses, and…. of course… KETCHUP!!
Stir this mixture for about a minute to be sure everything is well combined, then turn off the heat.
Put the pork tenderloin into the slow cooker pot and pour the onion/sauce mixture right over it…. this picture is even comforting to look at…
Cover the slow cooker and let it cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
Remove ONLY the pork from the pot and place it on a large cutting board.
Let the pork cool a bit and then shred it using two forks…
While the pork is out of the slow-cooker, you can use an immersion blender to puree the onion/sauce mixture right in the slow cooker to make a smoother sauce. You could also do this in a couple of batches in a blender. Just be careful as hot liquids can cause the lid of the blender to explode… hold it on tightly, covered by a kitchen towel!
If you prefer a chunkier sauce, just leave the mixture as is in the cooker…. I pureed mine but I like it BOTH ways!
Give the sauce a taste… add a little more of whatever you think it needs. Then, add the shredded pork back into the slow cooker and stir it together with the sauce. I like to set my slow cooker to “Keep Warm” and cover it again for an hour (or at least 30 minutes) to really let the pork soak up the sauce!
Serve the pork on small slider buns and top it with coleslaw, if desired. We did a salad and fresh fruit on the side and it made for a filling yet REFRESHING summer meal!
THE COST You’re looking at $2.00/person to serve 6 (with a good salad and some fruit it easily does this!) or $3.00/ person to serve 4. This includes the cost of the slider buns (or you could use hamburger buns), but not the coleslaw.
Typically pulled pork is a little cheaper than this but because I used a leaner cut of pork (the tenderloin) it drove the price up a bit It’s about $4.49/lb for pork tenderloin instead of 2.99/lb for pork shoulder.
SHOPPING LIST… Check!
Happy Economical Eating!… CHECK!!!