This orange barbecue pulled pork sandwich is full of orange flavor, using both orange juice and orange zest. It is also easy to make in your slow cooker/crockpot. Got leftovers? Find leftover pulled pork recipes here.
I’m down to the last giant bag of oranges from our visit to the orange grove. I’m feeling a little sad. My family and I have really enjoyed the freshly squeezed orange juice every day. And I’ve enjoyed baking and cooking with the oranges and trying them in everything.
It’s to the point where no one is surprised when I tell them what they are eating has oranges in it! And this orange barbecue pulled pork is one of our favorite new recipes!
The best cut of meat for pulled pork
If you are making pulled pork, you have several choices in meat cuts. The most common choice is the pork shoulder. It is the lower part of the pork shoulder and includes part of the front leg quarter. Because it includes part of the leg muscles, this cut needs more time to break down and tenderize.
Another great choice of meat for pulled pork is a Boston butt. Strange name, but it is from the high part of the pig’s shoulder, above the shoulder blade, and not the actual butt of the pig. It has a lot of marbled fat, making it ideal for the grill and it includes part of the picnic shoulder.
The picnic shoulder, or picnic ham, is a shoulder cut with the shank attached. This cut is cheaper than the other cuts because it requires less work butchering it, and it contains more bone.
Some people use pork loin, but because it is such a lean meat, it can dry out. I prefer using the cheaper cuts of meat, and honestly, they taste better cooked this way.
Slow cooker pulled pork
Even though we are in San Diego, we don’t always want to go out and prepare a smoked pulled pork on the grill. Some days, we just don’t have the time. Especially during on weekdays, when the hubby is at work and I’m too busy to man the grill.
This is where the slow cooker reigns supreme! Whether I’m making carnitas or pulled pork, it’s perfect for the slow-cooker.
When I’m preparing pulled pork in the slow cooker, I like to use a boneless cut of meat. You can also use a bone-in cut. Just check the roast while it cooks. When it falls off the bone, remove it so the roast can continue to cook.
For this 4-pound boneless pork butt, I cooked it on high for 5 hours, on low for 8 hours. It turned out fork tender and perfect!
Pork and orange juice
As I mentioned before, this version of barbecue pulled pork is made with oranges- both orange juice and orange zest. There is so much flavor in the zest that you really shouldn’t forget this important ingredient.
This sauce is pretty finger-licking-good. Other ingredients in the orange barbecue sauce include tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic, molasses and spices… it was already smelling quite incredible before I poured it over the pork in the slow cooker.
I added the sauce in with the pork roast before the slow cooking process so the meat would absorb that orange flavor. If you have persnickity eaters who don’t like barbecue sauce, no worries!
You can also prepare slow cooker pulled pork without the sauce. Just heat up the ingredients for the barbecue sauce in a small pot and serve it on the side.
Five hours on high, 8 hours on low and this baby was done. And my house smelled incredible!
- 4 lb boneless pork butt roast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed preferred
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 3 TBS honey
- 3 TBS Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 1/2 tsp chile powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp molasses
- 8 kaiser rolls
- Trim off the large chunks of fat from roast and season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
- Place pork roast in a 6-quart slow-cooker with onion slices.
- In medium-sized bowl whisk together orange juice, tomato paste, cider vinegar, honey, worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, paprika, orange zest, garlic cloves, chile powder, cumin, onion powder and molasses.
- Pour barbecue sauce over the pork roast and cover the slow-cooker.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours.
- For the last hour, remove the roast from the slow-cooker.
- Use two forks or your fingers to pull pork apart until the entire roast is shredded. Discard any excess fat.
- Return shredded pork to the slow-cooker and continue cooking for one hour.
- Place pulled pork into serving dish and mix in with some of the juices from the slow-cooker.
- Serve with kaiser rolls.
- You can also smoke the pork roast over the grill and serve with this orange barbecue sauce.
Serving Suggestions: Got picky eaters? You can also cook the pork without the barbecue sauce. Just serve the sauce on the side for those who want to mix it in!
Cooking Tips: Don't have a slow-cooker? Heat your oven to 300º F and cook the pork without the water and bbq sauce in a roasting pan, fat side up, covered with aluminum foil, for 4 hours. Remove the foil and continue to bake until roast is tender, about 2 more hours. After shredding the pork, add bbq sauce and serve.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 759 Total Fat: 45g Saturated Fat: 16g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 24g Cholesterol: 195mg Sodium: 812mg Carbohydrates: 30g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 14g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 56g