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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! This tasty recipe is also low-glycemic, gluten-free, dairy-free, South Beach Diet friendly, and kid friendly. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce!

Click here to see Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce [found on KalynsKitchen.com]

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-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener, 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.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce found on KalynsKitchen.com

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 or G. Hughes Sugar-Free Ketchup 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 crockpot, so if you only have a big crockpot I’d double the amount of everything and make this a Weekend Food Prep recipe!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce found on KalynsKitchen.com

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.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce found on KalynsKitchen.com

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  1. Spray slow cooker with olive oil or non-stick spray.
  2. Trim most of the visible fat from pork loin roast, then cut in half against the grain and place in slow cooker.
  3. 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.
  4. Turn slow cooker to low and cook 7-8 hours, or until meat shreds apart easily.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to remove meat from slow cooker, and place on cutting board.
  6. 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.
  7. While sauce thickens, use two forks to shred apart the meat, placing back in slow cooker to keep warm if desired.
  8. When sauce is as thick as you want it, pour over meat.
  9. 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.

Notes:

If you prefer to make pulled pork in the Instant Pot, click here to see Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce.

For this recipe I used either Heinz Low-Sugar Ketchup or G. Hughes Sugar-Free KetchupStevia-in-the-Raw Granulated SweetenerGreen Tabasco Sauce, and Liquid Smoke.

This recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Pulled Pork from Prudence Pennywise; low-sugar barbecue sauce recipe created by Kalyn.

All images and text ©

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!

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce [found on KalynsKitchen.com]

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55 comments on “Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Low-Sugar Barbecue Sauce”

  1. Scott, so glad you like it. I really need to try it on barbecued chicken!

  2. Kalyn,

    We've been using this sauce on lots of other things and wanted to thank you for coming up with something so close to the BBQ sauce I grew up with. It's fantastic!

  3. I made this on Friday night along with the Blue Cheese Coleslaw. I cooked the pork all day on low, and it was falling apart. I cut back on the Splenda quite a bit, but I still thought the sauce was a bit sweet for my liking. It's a great recipe, so I'll definitely make it again. I'll just half the Splenda and up the hot sauce next time to tailor it to our taste. I also didn't use the liquid smoke and maybe that addition would ratchet down the sweet, as well.

  4. Pam, hope you enjoy it!

  5. Kalyn, this sounds great and I want to try it. I like that it's a slow cooker recipe and I don't like barbecue sauces filled with sugar, so this is good! I use Splenda a lot and will look for the ketchup. I've never heard of it. Thanks for the recipe, dearie!

  6. Carrie, glad to hear you like it!

  7. oh yeah that looks really good! thanks! i truly enjoy your recipes. thank you!

  8. Carrie, quite honestly I am not 100% sure that it wasn't some salad I just threw together, bit it looks like it may be Spicy Mexican Slaw. I love that recipe in any case!

  9. I am looking for the recipe for the coleslaw pictured with the pork? Can you tell me which one it is..it looks so good!

  10. Cristy, that's great! So glad to hear it was a hit.

  11. Thanks so much Kalyn! Reducing the sauce worked perfectly. It was soooooo good! My husband said it is the "best thing I have ever cooked hands down!" YAY! Thanks again!

  12. Cristy, no worries about the questions; I am happy to help. I would put the tomato sauce in a pan on the stove and cook it until it's thick and most of the water has evaporated. If you don't do that I'd worry that the pulled pork would be rather runny.

  13. Good gracious! Are you tired of my questions yet? Don't get too tired of them because I need your help! Ha ha! So my precious sweet husband went to the store for me yesterday and could not find tomato paste so he bought tomato sauce. I think those tiny little cans hid from him. Anyway, I want to make it today but wasn't sure if the sauce would work?! HELP! Thanks so much!

  14. Emily, so glad you liked it! And it sounds like the coleslaw would be great on the side for a Christmas dinner.

  15. I found this on your Christmas Dinner list and decided to give it a go – the last time I made pork in the slow cooker it was a disaster, but I was brave.

    This. Is. Delicious. I had to modify it a bit – we don't use artificial sweeteners, so I added some honey and started with homemade ketchup from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian." Couldn't find a 3lb roast so we only get to sop up 1.8 lbs of this treat! We're adding some of Smitten Kitchen's "Not Your Mama's Cole Slaw" and hardly had to do any work on Christmas. Thank you!

  16. Nicole, good idea; thanks for sharing!

  17. I added some Cary's sugar free syrup as a sweetener – trick I learned in a south beach baked beans recipe…yum! Thanks for another great recipe! Side note it is also really tasty when you drizzle a little of the syrup on a microwaved sweet potato!

  18. How fun to hear that this was a hit even in Germany, where this type of dish isn't traditional. So glad you liked it.

  19. Hello, I'm just ending my second week on SouthBeach and tried this recipe in my slow cooker. It was wonderful! I doubled the sauce for a 3 pound roast and it was perfect. I live in Germany and I took it to our "potluck" today…it was gone in about 10 minutes! Germans typically don't like super-sweet cuisine, so this bbq was perfect!

  20. Thanks! Especially love getting an endorsement from the one year old!

  21. I am a sucker for pulled pork and this happens to be the best one I have made. The whole family loved it, even my very picky 1 year old. HIGHLY recommend this one!

  22. I followed your original recipe (including the brown sugar *ekk* and it is so good. I did cut it up into 6 chunks and cook on high for 8 hours. My crock pot never gets anything right unless I cut it up and cook on high.

    So good. I can't wait for DH to try it and I've already shared the recipe link with my family.

  23. Thanks Kalyn….I did double the sauce recipe too and the meat was all covered with the sauce. Anyway, thanks for posting such wonderful recipes! Can't wait to try some more of them!

  24. Karen, the roast I had was only about 2 pounds, so if you didn't increase the sauce by quite a bit, that's why it would have been more dry. Glad you liked it though!

  25. Kayln, your site is unbelievable and I tried the pulled pork recipe yesterday and it's sooooooo good! I highly recommend it. I doubled the recipe and used the splenda/brown sugar product. I added a bit more spice to the sauce as well but overall it's a super delicious meal. I felt like the pork was a little dry though which is weird b/c I didn't think that was possible with a slow cooker…is it possible it cooked too long? I had about 5 lbs. cut into 4 pieces.

  26. Roberta, so glad you liked it. I've heard about those sandwich buns, but haven't seen them here. Want to try them!

  27. Made this yesterday in the slow-cooker, and it was fabulous. I love a good pulled-pork BBQ, and this hit really well right in the middle–not too tomato-y, not too sweet, not too-vinegar-y. Next time, I will use just a bit less Splenda white and a bit more Splenda brown, for a darker taste.

    I put it on one of those Arnold Sandwich Selects, a 100% whole wheat bun-sorta-thingy. I love those, and they made a good splurge when it comes to carbohydrates. With a dollop of coleslaw on top, I was a happy, happy girl!

  28. Tracey, that sounds interesting. I haven't cooked much with stevia, so it's good to know it will work in a recipe like this.

  29. This is a great idea! I did something similar lately but used stevia and blackstrap molasses to cut the carb content even more, without my having to risk getting a migraine (Splenda does that to me).

  30. I'm glad people are liking this simple way to make pulled pork.

    Todd I can tell you're a man who's a lot more serious about pulled pork than I am. I wasn't aiming for a completely authentic recipe, but one that can be cooked easily in the slow cooker. Thanks for sharing your version, I'm sure it's tasty!

  31. I'm a pretty good BBQ cook. Normally, BBQ is a boston butt that is slow smoked. The pork loin is a good idea, but the sticky sauce! Yikes! North Carolina BBQ is heavy on vinegar, so it would have the high acidity we look for on south beach. Here's what I may try:

    1) Rub the pork loin and let it sit overnight (Don't trim the fat!). My basic rub is based off Steve Raichlen's. I use splenda brown sugar when I make a batch, which means 2 T rather than 1/4 cup.

    2) Proper BBQ is smoked. Get a bag of hickory chips, and soak 2-3 cups in water for 30 minutes while you prep your grill (1 cup per pouch). You want your grill at 325 degrees, setup for indirect grilling. Also, you need access to the heat so that you can put your smoker packets on. For me on my weber gas grill, I take one grill off, and put one in the center. I slide the smoker pouches over the front burner with my tongs, and have the front burner between 3/4 and full blast with the back burners off. The meat goes over the back burners.

    3) For a butt, it usually takes 6-8 hours. A loin would probably only take 4-5 hours. Every hour, throw on a new smoker packet. I just slide the ones from the previous hour to the side, and turn up the grill up momentarily to ignite the packet and get the grill back to temperature. Used up packets I toss (with the tongs!) into a terra cotta pot.

    Also, you'll want to mop the meat with mop sauce. Again, I'm using Steve Raichlen's mop sauce:
    1 cup cider vinegar
    1 small onion, sliced thin
    1-2 jalepenos, sliced thin
    1 t splenda brown sugar
    1 t black pepper
    1 t crushed red pepper
    1/2 cup water
    I let this sit by the grill, covered so it doesn't attract bugs. Use a glass bowl.

    3) You're looking for 170 degrees on the meat thermometer. When you get this, put the pork on a platter and cover it with foil for 10 minutes to rest. Shred your pork.

    4) Some people like to soak the pork, but it is not a requirement. The sauce to go with this is:
    2 cup cider vinegar
    3 T low sugar ketchup (good call Kalyn!)
    1 T splenda brown sugar
    4 t sea salt (substitute 1 t of hickory salt if you've got it)
    2 t crushed red pepper
    2 t black pepper
    1 T texas pete (or tabasco if you can't get the good stuff)

    Dill pickle spears are a required garnish. Obviously there is a fair amount of splenda brown sugar, I'll see how it works if I cut the brown sugar in half again.

  32. Love the pop of the colors on the plate. I'm a big fan of pulled pork – bookmarking the recipe.

  33. I was actually craving this at 9am! It looks absolutely heavenly.

  34. You are correct Kalyn, most BBQ sauce recipes aare way to sweet. Also, Tu for a great slow cooker recipe as I need to start using it more.

  35. This sounds like an easy, flavorful dish. I really like the idea of the low-sugar sauce. Does that mean I can have seconds without the guilt?

  36. That looks good. I do catering in San Francisco for a living and have tried many different types of ways to make pork. I myself do not like it, but alot of people as you know do. I am going to try this out.

  37. I'm not really into sweet sauces that's why I think this recipe will work for me. I like the idea of more savory flavors. Really interesting.:) Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  38. Not only does this look delicious, but it looks beautiful too!!

  39. I'm with stash on the NC vinegar style bbq sauce for pulled pork, but that's because my first experience with real BBQ was as a barefoot kid on a farm in North Carolina. It was the best thing I had ever eaten.

    Here's one I got from my grandmother: http://www.nibblemethis.com/2009/02/i-like-big-butts-and-i-cannot-lie.html

    But this is more of a piedmont style. Further east in NC, they skip the ketchup altogether.

  40. Ulrike, would be fun to think of you cooking this American classic in Germany! Go for it.

    Katie, I'm not a big meat eater either, but I did like this very much.

    Helene, thanks. Super easy to make!

    Veron, hope you like it.

    Junglefrog, I guess barbecue season has passed here too, sigh.

    Cherry, I'm a pork fan too (especially for someone who's not much of a meat eater.)

    Amy, the reduced-sugar ketchup is great! I am loving my new office and now that I changed the desk I love it even more.

    Joanne, thanks, glad you like it.

    Stash, I have heard about the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party. I think Chris Lilly sometimes goes there (I met him once at a Kingsford "Barbecue University." But the BlogHer conference is in August. Not sure I've had the Carolina Style barbecue, but it sounds interesting.

  41. I have BBQ at most three or four times a year. One of those times is usually at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party in early June. (Incidentally Kalyn — it occurred to me that if you time your visit right, you can experience both the Block Party and the NYC BlogHer conference within the same time frame.) BBQ is just not something I have on a frequent basis so when I do eat it, I tend to go all out.

    I prefer vinegar-based sauces that aren't sweet so much as piquant. North Carolina-style pulled pork works well in this regard.

  42. I absolutely adore slow cooker pulled pork. I usually use pork tenderloin to do it, which is incredibly lean. I really like your homemade bbq sauce recipe!

  43. I didn't know that Heinz made a low-sugar ketchup. I haven't been able to eat store-bought ketchup for years. I make it (not often) from roasted tomatoes and it's a real treat. I never thought I'd hear myself say that.

    Your dish looks fabulous. Also saw on Twitter that you reorganized your office & have a great work space. I bet that feels great.

  44. Looks delicious. Thanks for this recipe. I just love pork no matter how they cook it.

  45. Now that title reminds me of BBQ season, which has really passed here.. 🙂 But I love how it looks!

  46. I love pulled pork, this is definitely a must try.

  47. I've never made Pulled Pork but love it. What a great recipe 🙂

  48. I can't wait to try this! I'm not usually a big meat eater, but pulled pork is one of the exceptions. I'm with you on the savory bbq sauce, too. Mustard is one of my favorite condiments, and I want to be able to taste it!

  49. mmh, I`ve never had pulled pork, but I own two Slow Cookers so I should do it in the near future

    Ulrike @ Küchenlatein

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