This honey balsamic pulled pork is succulent and tender, with a mouthwatering homemade honey balsamic bbq sauce! Made with simple and mostly staple ingredients, this pulled pork is perfect for a crowd, fantastic on a bun, and so much more.
This is one of my Pork recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
Is it just me, or is summer flying by?! Our kids go back to school in about 2 weeks, which is crazy.
Summers here in the Midwest are definitely hot, and after a day of dealing with the heat, the last thing I feel like doing is standing around in a hot kitchen for an hour.
But with this amazing recipe, you don’t have to!
The pork cooks in the slow cooker (no heating up your house!), doesn’t require any searing (and there’s even a no-chopping variation).
The homemade honey balsamic bbq sauce is the star of the show, but if you’re in a pinch, you can also use your favorite bottled bbq sauce.
This recipe has been on the website since March of 2015, but I thought it was time for some upgraded photos and some additional information (like how to cook it in the Instant Pot). The recipe itself has not changed.
How to make honey balsamic pulled pork?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Add pork to slow cooker. Top with liquid, onion, and spices.
- Cook. I recommend cooking on low.
- Shred. I find this easier to do on a cutting board or in a large mixing bowl.
- Return pork to slow cooker. Drain the liquid and most of the onions.
- Make sauce. It will need to simmer for a while, until thick and syrupy.
- Add sauce to pork. Reserve a little bit for drizzling later, then toss to combine.
To cut down on the cooking time, you can make the honey balsamic bbq sauce completely ahead of time! It should keep for about a week or so in the refrigerator, then just warm it up a bit before adding it to the pulled pork.
Variations of this recipe
- Onion – the onion adds depth of flavor, but can be omitted if you’d like a “no chop” meal.
- Garlic – to really add that extra “oomph” of flavor, try adding a couple of cloves of minced garlic with the onion.
- Liquid – if you’d like to use a different liquid for this recipe, instead of chicken broth, try your favorite beer, apple juice, or even water.
- Sauce – while a good deal of the flavor in this recipe comes from the homemade honey balsamic bbq sauce, if you don’t want to make your own, feel free to use your favorite bottled sauce.
You can use a boneless pork shoulder (may sometimes be called pork butt), or pork loin. Both are readily available in my grocery store, and I almost always have one in my freezer (buy them when they’re on sale!). You can use pork tenderloin, but these are much better for quicker cooking recipes, due to the low fat content.
Yep, it sure can! I love using my Instant Pot when I don’t have the time or patience to let the pork cook all day. Please see the “chef tips” section below the full recipe for all the details.
A good rule of thumb is 6 oz of cooked pulled pork per person (which can go up or down depending on the person’s appetite, but 6 oz is average). As you cook pork (or any meat), it loses weight as the water is released and cooked away. Basically you want to double the amount of cooked pork, and that’s how much raw pork you need. So for a party of 10 people, you’d want 60 oz of cooked pork, which means you’ll want 120 oz of raw pork (equates to roughly 7.5 lbs).
Making pulled pork ahead of time
While this recipe certainly doesn’t take much time to throw together, you can make it entirely ahead of time.
Reheat the shredded pork gently on the stovetop or in the slow cooker on low until hot throughout. You may want to add a splash of water, chicken broth, or additional bbq sauce as it reheats.
The thing I love so much about shredded or pulled pork is that is freezes perfectly!
Just make sure it’s completely cooled, then transfer to freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3-6 months.
Leftover pulled pork should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoyed within 4-5 days.
I had this crockpot for a while now, and I really love how it cooks. The locking lid feature is amazing for taking foods to potlucks or other gatherings!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 3 lb boneless pork shoulder/pork butt/pork loin
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 tsp liquid smoke optional but recommended
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper to taste
Honey balsamic sauce
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard or whole grain mustard
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Chop onion, and gather spices.
- Add pork to slow cooker insert, then top with chicken broth and liquid smoke.
- Top with onions, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours, or on HIGH for 4-5 hours (although I have the best results when cooking on low).
- During the last 30 minutes or so of the pork cooking, to a saucepan, add all sauce ingredients and whisk together.
- Heat over MED heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to LOW and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until thickened and syrupy.
- Remove pork from slow cooker and shred. Drain liquid from the slow cooker, reserving about half the onions.
Combine and serve
- Add shredded pork back to the slow cooker with the onions, then pour in about 2/3 of the bbq sauce. Toss to coat.
- Serve pulled pork on buns, drizzled with some of the reserved bbq sauce if desired.
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- I highly recommend a great coleslaw to go alongside this shredded bbq chicken. Either of these two would be great options: Chick-Fil-A copycat coleslaw or classic sweet and tangy coleslaw.
Instant Pot Directions:
- Cut pork into 2-3″ chunks, and increase the amount of chicken broth to 1 cup.
- Add pork, chicken broth, liquid smoke, dried thyme, dried rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Top with onions.
Secure lid and select “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” and hit the +/- buttons until you select 45 minutes.
- About 15 minutes before the pressure cooking time has finished, add all sauce ingredients to a small saucepan. Whisk to combine, then simmer for about 20 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
Once pressure cooking time has elapsed, don’t do anything and let the pot naturally release the pressure for 15 minutes, then turn the knob to release any remaining pressure.
- Remove pork to a cutting board or large mixing bowl, then drain liquid in the Instant Pot, reserving some of the onions.
- Shred pork, then return to Instant Pot. Pour in about 2/3 of the honey balsamic bbq sauce. Stir to combine, then serve.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy