This apple cider pulled pork is a delicious twist on a family favorite. Pork shoulder is braised in apple cider all day and the tender pulled meat is served in a delicious gravy. This easy crockpot meal will make your house smell almost as good as it tastes.
This pulled pork is flavored with apple cider, brown sugar and mustard. That cooking liquid becomes a delicious gravy that coats the meat and tastes great on sandwiches, mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or even on waffles.
There is just something about fall that screams pork to me. I am not 100% sure why, because we eat plenty of pulled pork during the summer too.
Maybe it is all of the braising options and homey flavors that make it seem like fall and pork just go together.
This pork is slow cooked in apple cider, brown sugar, and a bit of mustard and seasoning to develop the flavors until it is so tender and delicious you won’t believe it. Of course there is some apple cider vinegar in the mix as well.
The vinegar helps to cut the cut the richness and balance out the sweet tones. The combination really is fabulous.
Braising the Pork
This recipe will work with pretty much any pork roast. You can even scale it up to do a whole pork shoulder.
I like to get a pork shoulder roast because it is boneless and easy to work with. Plus it gives you super succulent results because of the fat and collagen content.
That gives you that perfect pulled pork texture with tender and juicy meat. Of course that means there is a fair amount of fat in the sauce, but we just take that off before we thicken it up.
Like most slow cooker recipes, you get a little added flavor if you brown the meat before you put it in. Just get a big skillet nice and hot. Add a little oil and put the roast in there.
It should be hot enough to get a nice sizzle. You aren’t looking to cook the meat here, just caramelize it a bit.
So cook it until it gets a bit of a crust and rotate it to get all the sides. Again, this step is optional so you can skip it if you are in a hurry or want to avoid the mess, but it does add a little extra goodness to the mix.
Now add the roast to your crockpot with all of the other ingredients and let it cook. It will smell amazing and the low, wet heat will work its magic on the pork.
Before you serve, you will want to make the gravy. That is what makes this meal so good.
You want it to be sumptuous but not greasy, so you will want to get rid of the fat that rendered from the pork. I used my fat separator for that, but you can skim it with a spoon if you prefer.
Add a little cornstarch slurry to the mix to thicken it up and you will be digging in before you know it. While it thickens up you will have a chance to prepare the accompaniments.
What to Serve With Apple Cider Braised Pork
There are so many tasty ways to serve your pork when you are ready. Because it has a tasty gravy with it, we enjoy it over mashed potatoes more often than not.
Maybe that’s because we love mashed potatoes, so any excuse to have them is a good one. Also, it is just really good that way.
It is kind of like an upscale pulled pork sandwich. The flavors are so good together and it makes for a fun and hearty dinner.
Of course you would pile it on a bun as well. These flavors kind of remind me of German flavors, so for some reason I think a pretzel bun is the way to go here.
I also think it would be fabulous over rice or egg noodles. Really, the possibilities are about endless.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of apple cider should I use?
This recipe works great with fresh apple cider, hard apple cider, or apple juice. All are delicious and will give you that great apple flavor.
How do I store leftover braised pork?
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can freeze the leftovers for up to three months, but the gravy may be thinner when you defrost it.
You can always add a little more cornstarch slurry when you reheat it. Just make sure you get it warm enough to bubble a bit to thicken it back up.
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Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork
- 3-4 pounds pork shoulder roast
- 2 Tablespoons dehydrated minced onion
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
- 1 cup apple cider
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons water
- Optional: Rub you pork shoulder with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in a little oil on a hot skillet.3-4 pounds pork shoulder roast
- In your slow cooker, mix together the onion, garlic, brown sugar, mustard, cider, vinegar, salt and pepper. Place the pork shoulder in the braising liquid and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for about 4 hours.2 Tablespoons dehydrated minced onion, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, ½ cup light brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard, 1 cup apple cider, ½ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Remove shoulder from the cooking liquid. Remove the grease using a fat separator or just skim it off the top of the cooking liquid. Return the defatted liquid to the crockpot.
- Stir the cornstarch into a couple of Tablespoons of cold water. Add to the cooking liquid. Return the meat to the liquid, it should be tender.3 Tablespoons cornstarch, 3 Tablespoons water
- Cook on high for another half hour, stirring occasionally to make sure the cornstarch doesn’t stick to the bottom. You want the cooking liquid to thicken into a gravy.
- Shred pork with a couple of forks. Serve on buns, or over mashed potatoes, rice, or egg noodles.