This lightened up Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tenderloin is full of lip-smacking flavor. It’s leaner than traditional pork shoulder roast, takes half the time to cook, and the only thing you have to shred is juicy, tender slow-cooked pork – no excess fat. Pocket those calories for dessert!
The first time I ever made pulled pork was for a family gathering very early on in our marriage. While one could say it was a bit of my OCD manifesting when shredding the meat, I spent nearly the same time removing pockets of fat as the time it took to cook the darn thing! Ok, not really. But it felt like it.
Tenderloin is much leaner than the shoulder roast, and holds up beautifully in slow-cooked recipes. This one begins with an earthy, smoky 10-spice rub that permeates through the meat and sauce as it cooks. Make the rubbed-down pork even happier by refrigerating 8-24 hours before nestling into your slow cooker. Root beer, bbq sauce, chopped onion and garlic serve as the unifying chorus to the lead vocals of perfectly-pitched pork. Layer it all in, cover, and as Donnie Brasco would say, fuhgeddaboudit.
There’s nothing like walking into the house and greeted with a waft of slow-cooking awesomeness. Check the pork after 5-6 hours to see if it reached fall-apart tenderness. If so, transfer to a cutting board, shred with a couple of forks, and return back to the pot to bathe in the sauce before serving.
Corral your gang and mound the pork on toasted rolls. Top with our sweet and tangy Asian Red Cabbage Slaw, roll up your sleeves, and grab a bib. Enjoy!
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 pork tenderloins, about 3 ¼ lbs total
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 ½ tablespoons garlic, minced (3-4 cloves)
- 1 12- ounce bottle root beer
- 1 ½ cup prepared BBQ sauce
- For serving: toasted, good-quality rolls and Asian Red Cabbage Slaw
Combine first ten ingredients in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over pork. Use the entire mixture. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour cooking.
Place pork in 5-6 quart slow cooker. Top with onion and garlic. Pour in root beer. Spread BBQ sauce over top. Cover and cook until pork is fall-apart tender, 5-7 hours* on low.
Transfer pork to a large cutting board. Using two forks, shred into bite-size pieces. Return shredded pork to juices in slow cooker. Let cook on warm 15-30 minutes. Serve hot with rolls and Asian Red Cabbage Slaw!
*Actual length of cooking time may vary according to individual slow cooker. The one I have gets hot so I stick to the lower end of the range.
*Republished post with updated photos.