This post was created as in partnership with Imperial Sugar. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
Tender, juicy shredded Apricot Pulled Pork made in the slow cooker is delicious atop buttery buns with coleslaw for sandwiches, in burritos or salads, or on loaded nachos for your next game day party! The sweet & tangy sauce made with apricot preserves, mustard, and vinegar goes perfectly with the savory meat. Serve with some potato salad and a side of fruit for an easy meal on busy weeknights!
I love using fruit in savory dishes because it's an unexpected flavor that is surprisingly delicious. I have done Rhubarb BBQ Sauce to go with grilled chicken and Paul's grandma used to make Creamy Apricot Pork Chops, which are still a favorite at our house. And everybody loves Grape Jelly Meatballs!
So I figured why not add a jar of apricot preserves to a spice rubbed pork shoulder in the slow cooker and let everything cook down into a saucy, juicy heap of sweet & savory meat that can be used to make all kinds of delicious meals?
It tastes barbecue-ish but more on the fruity side with more of the meat flavor shining through instead of a heavy, sticky barbecue flavor.
Why this Recipe Works
- The slow cooker does all the work. There's no searing involved and you really could just dump-and-go with with this one.
- It feeds a crowd. You'll have plenty of meat for dinner and leftovers for the next day. And you could easily double the recipe if your crockpot is big enough.
- Pantry friendly. As long as you have a jar of apricot preserves in the pantry and a pork shoulder, you are ready to go!
- Make-ahead. You can cook the shredded pork one day then just reheat the next if you need to. Or freeze, portion out, and reheat later.
- Boneless pork shoulder: We love this cut of meat because it is well-marbled with fat that melts out and leaves you with wonderfully tender, juicy meat that shreds apart easily.
- Apricot preserves: Use your favorite preserves or apricot jam to provide the base of the sauce.
- Brown sugar: A little extra brown sugar adds depth to the flavor of the meat and a nice sweetness that balances well with the savory and salty elements.
- Seasoning and spices: A little ground cumin and garlic powder add smoky, savory elements, along with salt and pepper to season the meat.
How to Make This Recipe
While you really could just dump and go with this recipe, I find that a few extra minutes effort makes a difference. To start out, blend all of your spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl, then rub them all over the meat. This can all be done over the slow cooker to contain any mess.
Chop the onion and dump it right over the top of the meat. It will cook down and soften during the long, slow cooking process and you won't even notice the onion later, other than in the depth of flavor it gives to the pulled pork.
I also like to whisk my apricot preserves together with the vinegar and mustard to create a sauce that can be poured over everything, but again, you could just dump these all in separately, throw the lid on, and go.
Cover and cook on LOW heat for 8-10 hours until the meat shreds easily with two forks. I like to shred the meat outside of the slow cooker in a separate pan, then strain the fat off the top of the cooking liquid before returning the meat to the slow cooker to soak up all those delicious juices.
And that's it! Serve the saucy pulled pork over mac & cheese, baked potatoes, on buns, in burritos or tortillas for tacos, and in so much more!
For the FULL RECIPE, be sure to visit Imperial Sugar's site.
You can definitely use bone-in pork, but keep in mind that the bone accounts for some of the weight when planning how much to make.
You could do chicken breasts or chicken thighs in place of the pork, although they usually will finish in more like 6-8 hours and aren't always as juicy as the shredded pork.
You could really use any type of jam you like, although the tangy-sweet flavor of apricot goes exceptionally well with the flavor of the pork. Apple butter, plum jam, strawberry-rhubarb, and even raspberry could also work well.
What to Serve with Pulled Pork
There are so many delicious sides to serve with your pulled pork sandwiches. Some are as simple as chips and a salad, but anything that goes well with barbecue will make a great side dish.
- Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon
- Apricot Jello Salad
- Classic Potluck Broccoli Salad
- Fried Yellow Squash
- Cottage Cheese Jello Salad
- Southern Hush Puppies
- Storage: Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days. Just let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container.
- Freezing: You can freeze leftover shredded pulled pork by letting it cool, then transferring to freezer-safe containers or Ziploc bags. I like separating out portions for our family of 4 so I have an easy weeknight meal base that I can pull out and thaw in the microwave for a quick dinner on busy evenings.
- Toast your buns. If you are making pulled pork sandwiches with this meat, I highly recommend buttering and toasting your buns on a hot griddle before filling with meat and coleslaw. Not only is it extra tasty, but a grilled bun doesn't soak up the juices from the meat as quickly.
- Feel free to play around with spices. You could add a spicy kick by adding ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper or a full teaspoon of smoked paprika for even more flavor. I kept this recipe mild and sweet to focus on the play of pork and apricot, but the extra spice is always nice.
Be sure to stop by Imperial Sugar's site for the FULL RECIPE. I have partnered with them now for a few years and love their products for my baking needs!
More Dinner Recipes
- Pork Schnitzel & Mushroom Gravy (Jägerschnitzel)
- Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa
- BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos
- Kalua Pork (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)
Did you make this recipe?
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