Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce is a lower-carb version of pulled pork that’s just as delicious! Use Slow Cooker Recipes to find more recipes like this one.
When I mentioned on Facebook that I was making Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce, I had people asking me immediately to post the recipe. That didn’t surprise me, since this is a classic American dish, but I do want to start by saying that one reason I decided to tackle this was because I find most barbecue sauce recipes to be too sweet, without enough complex flavor undertones.
I wanted to see if I could come up with a low-sugar pulled pork that would suit my preference for more savory flavors, so if you try this recipe, be prepared for a sauce with plenty of mustard flavor, smokiness, and spice, and just the barest touch of sweetness.
Even without the sugary barbecue sauce, pulled pork is something that required some thought for the South Beach Diet, which recommends meat with less than 10% fat. I started with a crockpot recipe for Slow Cooker Pulled Pork that I’d spotted on Prudence Pennywise. Then I consulted my butcher for ideas about a lean cut of pork that would pull apart when cooked for a long time at a low temperature, and ended up going with a pork loin roast that I cut into two pieces against the grain, so I had shreds of pork that were 3-4 inches long. You could also use those Pork Sirloin Roasts that are such a good buy at Costco. (You can also use boneless pork shoulder roast if you don’t care about fat.)
For the low-sugar barbecue sauce I use mostly Stevia Granulated Sweetener (affiliate link), but you can use the sweetener of your choice. I did add a bit of brown sugar for best flavor, but make this with all sweetener and no brown sugar if you want the most carb-conscious version. Finally, read below about options for the reduced sugar ketchup that was the base of my sauce.
I trimmed all the outside fat off my pork loin roast, and then cut it in half against the grain. This roast was about 2 pounds after trimming, but next time I’d get one just a little bigger. I use either Heinz Low-Sugar Ketchup (affiliate link) or G. Hughes Sugar-Free Ketchup (affiliate link) for my low-sugar barbecue sauce. If you don’t want ketchup with artificial sweetener, look for a natural ketchup without added sugar. Mix the barbecue sauce in a measuring cup or bowl. I tasted a few times and added a little more of this or that until it tasted good to me. (The flavors will get more intense as it cooks.)
Spray the crockpot with olive oil, then put the trimmed pork roast that you’ve cut in half in, pour the sauce over and cook all day on low. I used a 2.5-Quart Slow Cooker (affiliate link), so if you only have a big crockpot I’d double the amount of everything and make this a Weekend Food Prep recipe!
When the meat is done enough to pull apart easily, remove from crockpot with a slotted spoon., then shred with two forks. (I ate some before I took this photo, so a two pound roast will be a little more than this!) Pork should cook about 7-8 hours, on low, depending on how hot your crockpot cooks. I thought the sauce seemed a little thin, so I took it out of the crockpot and simmered on the stove until it was reduced by about 1/3. This also concentrated the flavor just a bit more. (This step is completely optional.) You can put the shredded meat back into the crockpot with the sauce to keep it warm, or serve right away.
Make it a Meal:
This Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce would be great on sandwiches, but I just ate it with a salad of shredded lettuce, shredded, cabbage, and homemade blue cheese dressing.
More Slow Cooker Pork Recipes:
Index for Slow Cooker (or Pressure Cooker) Pork Recipes~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Slow Cooker Bavarian Pork Sirloin Roast with Sour Cream Gravy ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork ~ Baked by Rachel
CrockPot Salsa Pork Chops ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cilantro-Lime Slow Cooker Pork ~ Life’s Ambrosia
Slow Cooker Pork Sirloin Roast with Spicy Peanut Sauce ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce
This Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce uses reduced sugar ketchup to cut down the carbs! If you have a large slow cooker, definitely double this recipe!
- 3 lbs. boneless pork loin roast (trim all visible fat, roast should be about 2 1/2 lbs. after trimming)
- olive oil, for spraying crockpot (or use non-stick spray)
- 1/2 cup reduced-sugar ketchup or natural ketchup without added sugar (I use either Heinz Low-Sugar Ketchup or G. Hughes Sugar-Free Ketchup.)
- 2 T tomato paste
- 4 T Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener (or use the sweetener of your choice)
- 1-2 T brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want it, or use all sweetener for the most carb-conscious sauce if you prefer)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup mustard (regular yellow mustard, not Dijon)
- 2 tsp. Green Tabasco Sauce (or 1 tsp. red Tabasco)
- 1 1/2 T Worcestershire Sauce (Be sure to look for gluten-free Worcestershire Sauce if needed.)
- 1/2 tsp. Liquid Smoke (or more, optional but recommended)
- Spray slow cooker with olive oil or non-stick spray.
- Trim most of the visible fat from pork loin roast, then cut in half against the grain and place in slow cooker.
- Combine reduced sugar or natural ketchup, tomato sauce, Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener (or sweetener of your choice), brown sugar (or more sweetener), apple cider vinegar, mustard, Green Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and Liquid Smoke in measuring cup or bowl and whisk together, then pour over roast.
- Turn slow cooker to low and cook 7-8 hours, or until meat shreds apart easily.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove meat from slow cooker, and place on cutting board.
- Check the sauce in slow cooker and if you’d like it a bit thicker, pour sauce into small saucepan and simmer at medium-low heat until reduced by 1/3, probably not longer than 10-15 minutes.
- While sauce thickens, use two forks to shred apart the meat, placing back in slow cooker to keep warm if desired.
- When sauce is as thick as you want it, pour over meat.
- This can be kept warm in the slow cooker for an hour or two, or served immediately. Leftover Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce will keep in the fridge for quite a few days and quickly reheated in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. This also freezes well.
If you prefer to make pulled pork in the Instant Pot, click here to see Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce.
This recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Pulled Pork from Prudence Pennywise; low-sugar barbecue sauce recipe created by Kalyn.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
If you’re making this Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce for the South Beach Diet, follow the suggestions about using pork with only 10% fat and using low-sugar ketchup and an approved sweetener to sweeten the sauce. Obviously, the sauce without the brown sugar is most diet-friendly and lowest in carbs, although the small amount of brown sugar doesn’t add much sugar per serving. I’d probably limit this to Phase 2 or 3 for South Beach and I’d use portion control if you’re actively trying to lose weight. If you use all sweetener and omit the brown sugar this could be a treat for a low-carb dieter, although even low-sugar ketchup does have some carbs.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Diet Type index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there. Click for Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!
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