Smoky Mango Pulled Pork

3 lb boneless pork shoulder roast (trim off excess fat)
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup pomegranate infused balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce
2 teaspoons smokehouse black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke
1 1/2 teaspoon Mexican hot chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon chipolte chile powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 habanero peppers, seeds removed and chopped
juice and zest of one lime
1 large mango, cubed
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil

for the spice rub:

1 teaspoon Mexican hot chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon chipolte
1 teaspoon smokehouse black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Mix the spice rub ingredients together. Rub them on the pork. In a large skillet heat the oil and then brown the roast well on all sides. Place roast in slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on high in the slow cooker 6 hours*. When done, meat should shred easily with a fork. Remove roast from slow cooker. Shred with a fork (or use your fingers) and set aside. Mash any solid bits of the sauce with a potato masher. If the sauce is very thin, heat it in a saucepan until it thickens**. Return the pork and the sauce to slow cooker, and toss to evenly coat. Serve on rolls.

*Or on low for 8-9 hours.

**I actually didn’t need to do this step, but I find pork gives off a lot of water when cooked in the slow cooker and you might need to do this so the mixture isn’t too soupy.

My thoughts:

This is one of those recipes that I made by running around the kitchen like a crazy person and trying to use whatever I have on hand. Thankfully I bothered to write down my measurements because this possibly my favorite of all of the recipes I’ve posted this year and I can’t want to make it again.

Normally when I make pulled pork I saute the onions and garlic and let the pork sit overnight in the dry rub. However, I was running low on time and just tossed the raw cloves in whole, cut the onion into 8 pieces (instead of chopping them) and didn’t let the meat sit with the spices at all-just a quick rubdown followed by a quick sear. I was worried the pork would suffer but it turned out great. Better than great, actually this is literally the best pulled pork I’ve ever eaten-the perfect combination of sweet, tart, fruity, smoky and spicy flavors. Matt loved it; we’ve never been so sad about finishing leftovers before. I wish I had some right now, and every day after that. It is just that good! And one of the easiest things you can make for dinner tonight, the prep is so quick it can be done in just a few minutes before heading off to work. You won’t be sorry!


  1. Oh. My. God. This sounds so good, Rachel! I’ve been trying to figure out what to make my husband for his birthday this weekend and I think this is a definite possibility!

  2. Wow!! This sounds incredible. I’m a sucker for pulled pork. Actually, just any kind of pork, but this really looks tops. Can’t wait to try. (It will be very soon…)

  3. As Rachel’s husband, I don’t usually pipe up here, but this was hands down the best pulled pork I have ever had. I wish we had some left but we polished it off in record time. Yum!

  4. yum! what a great use for my slow cooker, which i bought two years ago and have used all of… once.

  5. Man, this sounds amazingly good. Might be time to invest in a slow cooker…

  6. Susan from Food Blogga

    Pulled pork was a specialty in North Carolina which my husband loved when we lived there. I’m so glad you posted this, so now I can make it for him again. It’s looks fantastic!

  7. Yum, this sounds amazing! Do you know if there’s a way to do it that wouldn’t use a slow cooker (I don’t have one). Maybe simmering it over the stove for a certain amount of time? I would love to make it! Thank you, Sara

  8. Sara:
    I would think that a dutch oven with a tight fitting cover might work.

  9. Wow, you’re on a roll today!

    I’m interested in your pomegranate infused balsamic. I’ve just discovered pomegranate molasses, and I’m sort of addicted to anything pomegranate now. Where did you get it? Could you share the brand name? Is it thicker than normal balsamic?

    Do you think I could substitute pomegranate molasses, or maybe a mixture of the molasses and normal balsamic?

  10. Hi Gloria! the vinegar is the same thickness as regular vinegar. I used this: but it is pretty easy to infuse the vinegar with pomegranate yourself or maybe add a splash of pomegranate juice or nectar to balsamic vinegar.

  11. Rachel, this sounds like a fantastic recipe!

  12. I have never been brave enough to make pulled pork. Your description inspires me, however. These flavors sound divine!

  13. omg!!! I SO want this right now!

  14. Wow- this looks amazing, I definitely want to give it a try!

  15. This sounds wonderful. Love pulled pork and never think of fixing it in a slow cooker. Have to try this.

  16. Oh, this looks so great! I am from the South so I love anything related to pulled pork! Unfortunately I do not have a slow cooker, but perhaps I can figure I way around that….thanks for sharing!

  17. Hi Rachel. I’m a big fan of making pulled pork, but even more so of combining fruit and pork – terrific recipe, and I’ll be trying it out. Great job!

  18. oh wow that looks AMAZING. i have seen THREE pulled pork recipes in the last 3 days, one in a mag, and two online..I think that means i need to make some my better half loves it.

  19. Holy moly! I made this yesterday. (I just subbed pomegranate molasses instead of the balsamic – I’d keep the sub and add some balsamic next time for more tartness) and boy was it spicy! I usually have a good tolerance for hot, and this was nearly at the top for me.

    It was awesome though 🙂 Thanks for a terrific recipe.

  20. I am glad you enjoyed it Gloria! I’m surprised you found it so hot, we didn’t think it was hot at all. Maybe the vinegar mellowed it a bit?

  21. sticky yummy goodness!

  22. I've always made a family favorite called "Stringy Beef", but I couldn't find the recipe this morning and my Mom and sisters were all unavailable when I was headed to the store. I remembered seeing this on your blog and it looks fabu. I'm serving it for a small NYE gathering. I'm going to caramelize some more onions and colorful red and yellow peppers in some of the pomegranate balsamic as a topping.

  23. Finally made this yesterday… my boyfriend makes amazing pulled pork so I was worried it wouldn't live up to his, but it was very different and totally delicious! I skipped the dry rub out of laziness and used boneless pork ribs instead of shoulder. Even with the error I made (1/4 cup of chipotle hot sauce instead of 1 tbsp – oops!) it was great. Love the fruit flavor, the fresh mango and the lime, and threw in 1/4 cup of pomegranate juice to help mellow the extra chipotle. This is the first of your recipes I've tried, can't wait for the next one – thanks!!

  24. My husband would love this recipe! Making it this weekend! Thanks for sharing at Michele Anne's tropical party