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Low sodium slow cooker pulled pork

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Crisp this under the broiler to make low sodium carnitas, or mix it with barbecue sauce for a savory, tangy low sodium pulled pork sandwich.

Servings: Makes about 3-4 pounds

Sodium: 75 mg per 4 ounces

Time: 30 minutes active, 6-10 hours in the slow cooker


4-5 pounds bone-in pork shoulder

1 can salt-free diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon molasses

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon unsalted mustard (or 1 teaspoon ground dry mustard)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, smashed

1 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters

1 medium apple, peeled and diced small

8 cloves garlic, smashed

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or juice of 2-3 limes

optional: 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced small

1) Combine all spices. Trim any excess fat off the pork shoulder and rub spice mix into the pork. Put the pork and remaining ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours, or high for 6 hours. Alternately, simmer in a large pot (my 6 quart enameled cast iron dutch oven works really well for this) until the meat is tender (about 4-5 hours).

This is a really flexible recipe. I've added chunks of various fruits (apples, pears, pineapples), used lime, lemon, and orange juice in place of the vinegar, apple juice and pineapple juice in place of the water, shallots instead of onions, various types of peppers . . . you get what I'm saying.

2) The pork will be juicy and tender after cooking. To crisp the edges and make it more like carnitas, spread the meat out on a roasting pan and put under a broiler for 5 minutes. Pour a bit of the juice from the slow cooker over the pork before serving so it's not too dry.

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