Are you a fan of pulled pork but looking for a leaner option? Look no further than pork tenderloin!
While pork shoulder or butt are typically used for pulled pork, pork tenderloin can also make for a delicious and healthier alternative.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to make mouth-watering pulled pork from pork tenderloin using a slow cooker.
Get ready to impress your taste buds and your guests with this easy and flavorful recipe.
Let’s get started!
How To Make Pulled Pork From Pork Tenderloin?
Step 1: Make the Spice Rub
In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon of onion powder. Mix well to create a spice rub.
Step 2: Rub the Spice Mixture on the Pork Tenderloin
Rub the spice mixture all over the pork tenderloin, making sure to coat it evenly.
Step 3: Add Liquid to the Slow Cooker
Pour 1 cup of water into the slow cooker, making sure not to pour it directly on top of the pork tenderloin. You don’t want to wash off the spice rub you just applied!
Step 4: Cook on High for 4-5 Hours
Place the pork tenderloin in the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until it is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
Step 5: Shred the Pork Tenderloin
Remove the pork tenderloin from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Return it to the slow cooker and mix it with any liquid that might have remained in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Step 6: Add BBQ Sauce (Optional)
If desired, add your favorite BBQ sauce to the pulled pork and mix well.
Step 7: Serve and Enjoy!
Serve your delicious pulled pork on buns or as a topping for salads or tacos. Enjoy!
Why Use Pork Tenderloin For Pulled Pork?
Pork tenderloin is a great choice for pulled pork if you are looking for a leaner and healthier option. It contains significantly less fat and calories compared to traditional cuts of pork used for pulled pork, such as pork shoulder or pork butt. A 3 oz. portion of pork tenderloin contains only 2.98 grams of total fat per serving, while the same size serving portion of pork roast contains approximately 16 grams of total fat.
While pork tenderloin may not be as flavorful and juicy as traditional pulled pork cuts, it still makes a delicious and family-friendly dinner option. Plus, it is much easier to work with compared to other cuts of pork due to its smaller size and lack of connective tissue.
Another advantage of using pork tenderloin for pulled pork is that it cooks much faster than traditional cuts, making it a great option for those short on time. With a slow cooker, you can have tender and juicy pulled pork in just 4-5 hours.
Choosing The Right Cut Of Pork Tenderloin
When it comes to making pulled pork, choosing the right cut of pork tenderloin is crucial. While pork loin and pork tenderloin may look similar, they are different cuts of meat. Pork tenderloin is a long, narrow, boneless cut of meat that comes from the muscle that runs along the backbone. It is leaner than pork loin and can easily dry out if overcooked.
To ensure a juicy and flavorful pulled pork, it’s important to choose a pork tenderloin that has some marbling in the meat. Look for a tenderloin that’s pinkish-red in color and avoid meat that’s pale in color or has dark spots on the fat. This will help ensure that your pulled pork is moist and flavorful.
It’s also important to note that pork tenderloin is a smaller cut of meat compared to other cuts like the shoulder or leg. This means it may not yield as much pulled pork as other cuts, but it will still be delicious.
Preparing The Pork Tenderloin For Cooking
Before making pulled pork from pork tenderloin, it’s important to prepare the meat properly for cooking. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Remove the Silver Skin
Using a boning knife, slip it between the silver skin and the meat of the pork tenderloin. Make a cut such that the skin is free from the meat in one place. Hold the skin with one hand where you cut it free from the meat. Work the knife away from your hand, cutting the skin away from the meat as you go. Keep the blade tilted upwards a bit, so that you’re staying very close to the skin and not removing the actual meat. Repeat with all of the skin until none is left. You can also remove any bits of fat or sinew if you’d like but it’s not required.
Step 2: Even Out The Thickness
Next, make your tenderloin of equal thickness by folding up the thinner end so that it’s doubled a bit there. Your goal is for the length of the pork tenderloin to be of fairly equal thickness. Secure the doubled up part: If you’re grilling, the best thing to do is to secure it with metal skewers (they won’t burn). But if you’re baking the tenderloin, then butcher’s twine or wooden toothpicks work just fine.
Step 3: Cook The Pork Tenderloin
There are several ways to cook pork tenderloin for pulled pork, but using a slow cooker is one of the easiest and most foolproof methods. Simply rub the spice mixture all over the pork tenderloin and place it in a slow cooker with 1 cup of water. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until it is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
Once cooked, remove the pork tenderloin from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Mix it with any liquid that might have remained in the bottom of the slow cooker and add BBQ sauce if desired. Serve on buns or as a topping for salads or tacos and enjoy your delicious pulled pork made from pork tenderloin!
Slow Cooking The Pork Tenderloin
Slow cooking pork tenderloin is a great way to achieve tender and flavorful meat. To begin, season the pork tenderloin with your favorite spice rub. Place the seasoned pork tenderloin in the slow cooker and add a liquid of your choice, such as water or broth. Be sure to not pour the liquid directly on top of the pork, as you don’t want to wash off the seasoning. Cook the pork tenderloin on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Mix the shredded pork with any remaining liquid in the slow cooker and add BBQ sauce if desired. This pulled pork can be served on buns, as a topping for salads or tacos, or any way you prefer. Slow cooking pork tenderloin is an easy and delicious way to make pulled pork at home.
Shredding And Serving The Pulled Pork
Once the pork tenderloin has been cooked and shredded, it’s time to serve it up! There are several ways to shred the pork, depending on your preference.
The most basic method is the double fork method. Simply place the pork on a cutting board and slice off one end of the tenderloin. Place two forks about an inch apart on top of the meat and press down firmly until it breaks up into smaller pieces. Insert the forks into the meat and pull apart in opposite directions. Repeat this process until all of the meat has been shredded. This method takes some finesse, but it does give good results when done correctly.
Another popular method is to use a heavy-duty stand mixer to do the pulling for you. Use a stainless-steel mixer bowl to hold the meat and attach the flat beater to do the shredding. A few seconds on low, and you have a bowlful of machine-pulled pork. Just make sure to remove any bones before you start!
If you’re short on time, or just want to save your hands from all that pulling, try using a food processor. Cut the pork into chunks and pulse them in the food processor until they are shredded to your liking.
Once you’ve shredded your pulled pork, it’s time to serve it up! Pulled pork is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. Serve it on buns with coleslaw for classic pulled pork sandwiches, or use it as a topping for salads or tacos. If desired, add your favorite BBQ sauce to the pulled pork and mix well before serving.
When storing leftover pulled pork, divide it into shallow containers and cover them tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to three months. This makes it easy to have the makings of a meal at the ready whenever you need them.
Flavorful Sauce Options For Pulled Pork From Pork Tenderloin
One of the best things about pulled pork from pork tenderloin is that it pairs perfectly with a variety of flavorful sauces. Here are some options to consider:
1. Classic BBQ Sauce: A classic BBQ sauce is always a great option for pulled pork. You can use your favorite brand or make your own using a combination of ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and spices.
2. Mustard BBQ Sauce: For a tangy twist on traditional BBQ sauce, try making a mustard-based BBQ sauce. This sauce is made with yellow mustard, vinegar, honey, and spices.
3. Vinegar-Based Sauce: A vinegar-based sauce is a Southern classic that pairs perfectly with pulled pork. This sauce is made with apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and spices.
4. Plum Sauce: If you’re looking for something a little different, try making a plum sauce to serve with your pulled pork. This sauce is made with fresh plums, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and honey.
5. Orange-Garlic Sauce: For a citrusy kick, try making an orange-garlic sauce to serve with your pulled pork. This sauce is made with orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, and olive oil.
No matter which sauce you choose, be sure to serve it alongside your delicious pulled pork for an unforgettable meal.