Social Media

Sweet and Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Recipe

Dive into the magic of slow cooking with this flavorful and tempting pulled pork loin recipe. This dish combines a mix of unique ingredients to bring out a sweet and smoky taste that is sure to be a big hit. It's perfect for a cozy family dinner or a special gathering.

Sweet and Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Recipe
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 6

Photos of Sweet and Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Recipe

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4
Image 5

This recipe includes ingredients like hickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce and liquid smoke flavoring, which might not be readily available in your pantry. These ingredients are essential to achieve the smoky flavor of the pulled pork. To get these, you might need to visit a specialty store or an online market.

Sweet and Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Ingredients

pork tenderloins: The main star of the dish, which becomes incredibly tender after slow cooking.

onions: Adds a slight sweetness and depth of flavor to the dish.

barbecue sauce: Hickory smoke-flavored, it adds that smoky flavor and a bit of tanginess to the pork.

crushed tomatoes: Enhances the overall flavor and gives a nice texture to the sauce.

diet pepper-type soda: Adds a bit of sweetness and helps to tenderize the pork.

worcestershire sauce: Gives a tangy, umami flavor.

garlic: An essential flavor base in many dishes.

liquid smoke flavoring: Imparts a smoky flavor to the dish, enhancing its overall taste.

paprika: Adds a sweet, peppery flavor.

red pepper flakes: Gives a bit of heat to balance out the sweetness.

cinnamon: Gives a sweet, warm flavor.

nutmeg: Adds a nutty, slightly sweet flavor.

One reader, Amelie Fee says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This sweet and smoky slow-cooked pulled pork loin recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are perfectly balanced, and the meat is incredibly tender. It's a hit every time I make it, and my family can't get enough. It's a must-try for anyone who loves delicious, melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork.

Amelie Fee

Techniques Required for Sweet and Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Recipe

How to prepare the pork tenderloins: Cut each pork tenderloin into 4 pieces and place them into a slow cooker set to high.

How to mix the sauce: Stir together the onions, barbecue sauce, crushed tomatoes, diet soda, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, liquid smoke flavoring, paprika, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl until well combined.

How to shred the pork: Using 2 forks, shred the meat once it begins to easily shred at the edges.

How to finish cooking: Reduce the slow cooker setting to low and cook for an additional hour after shredding the meat.

How To Make Sweet and Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin

Slow-cooked pulled pork loin in a special blend of sauces, seasonings, and spices until tender, this dish is perfect for parties and cook-outs.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 20 minutes



  • lbspork tenderloins
  • 4cupsonionschopped
  • 18ozhickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce
  • 14.5ozcrushed tomatoes
  • 12ozdiet pepper-type sodasuch as Diet Dr Pepper®
  • ¼cupWorcestershire saucereduced-sodium
  • 2tbspgarlicminced
  • 2tbspliquid smoke flavoring
  • 1tsppaprika
  • ½tspred pepper flakes
  • ½tspground cinnamon
  • ½tspground nutmeg


  1. Cut each pork tenderloin into 4 pieces and place into a slow cooker; set to High.

  2. Stir onions, barbecue sauce, crushed tomatoes, diet soda, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, liquid smoke flavoring, paprika, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Pour mixture over pork tenderloin pieces. Cover and cook for about 3 to 4 hours until tenderloin pieces begin to shred at the edges.

  3. Shred meat using 2 forks. Reduce slow cooker setting to Low and cook for 1 more hour.


  • Calories: 158.76kcal
  • Fat: 3.24g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.05g
  • Trans Fat: 0.03g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.18g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.53g
  • Carbohydrates: 13.33g
  • Fiber: 1.06g
  • Sugar: 9.27g
  • Protein: 18.38g
  • Cholesterol: 55.28mg
  • Sodium: 326.82mg
  • Calcium: 30.02mg
  • Potassium: 501.61mg
  • Iron: 1.43mg
  • Vitamin A: 6.95µg
  • Vitamin C: 4.28mg

Technique Tip for Perfecting Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin

To ensure your pork tenderloin is cooked to perfection in the slow cooker, it's important to cut it into smaller pieces before cooking. This allows the heat to distribute evenly and the flavors to penetrate more deeply. Additionally, when it comes to shredding the meat, using two forks will make the process easier and more efficient. Simply hold one fork in each hand and pull in opposite directions to create thin, flavorful strands of meat. Lastly, don't skip the final step of cooking the shredded meat on low for an additional hour. This allows the flavors to meld together and the meat to become even more tender and juicy.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables, measure out ingredients, and prepare the slow cooker the night before to save time on the day of cooking.

Use pre-made sauce: Save time by using pre-made barbecue sauce instead of making it from scratch.

Slow cooker liners: Use slow cooker liners to make cleanup easier and save time on washing up.

Invest in a good quality slow cooker: A good quality slow cooker can cook food more evenly and efficiently, saving time in the long run.

Multi-task: While the pork is cooking, use the time to prepare side dishes or other components of the meal to save time overall.

Substitute Ingredients For Sweet and Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Recipe

  • pork tenderloins - Substitute with beef chuck roast: Beef chuck roast is a flavorful and tender cut of meat that can be slow-cooked to achieve a similar texture and taste to pulled pork.

  • hickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce - Substitute with homemade barbecue sauce with liquid smoke: Making your own barbecue sauce allows you to control the sweetness and smokiness, and adding liquid smoke can replicate the hickory flavor.

  • diet pepper-type soda - Substitute with apple cider vinegar mixed with a bit of sugar and water: The apple cider vinegar provides acidity and a hint of sweetness, similar to the soda, while adding a touch of sugar and water can balance the flavors.

  • liquid smoke flavoring - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can add a smoky flavor to the dish without the need for liquid smoke, and it also provides a rich color.

  • crushed tomatoes - Substitute with tomato puree or tomato sauce: Both options provide a smooth consistency and rich tomato flavor similar to crushed tomatoes.

  • Worcestershire sauce - Substitute with soy sauce mixed with a splash of vinegar and a pinch of sugar: This combination can provide the umami and tangy flavor profile similar to Worcestershire sauce.

  • onions - Substitute with shallots: Shallots offer a milder and sweeter flavor compared to onions, adding a subtle depth to the dish.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, providing a similar flavor without the need for chopping or mincing.

  • paprika - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can enhance the smoky flavor in the dish, adding depth and complexity.

  • red pepper flakes - Substitute with cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper can provide heat and a touch of smokiness, similar to red pepper flakes.

  • ground cinnamon - Substitute with ground allspice: Allspice offers a warm and sweet flavor with a hint of cloves, which can complement the other spices in the recipe.

  • ground nutmeg - Substitute with ground mace: Mace, a spice derived from the same plant as nutmeg, has a similar warm and aromatic flavor, making it a suitable substitute.

Presentation Ideas for Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the sweet and smoky slow-cooked pulled pork loin, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing presentation. Use fresh herbs and microgreens to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  2. Incorporate texture: Add a contrast in texture by serving the pulled pork loin on a bed of creamy mashed sweet potatoes. The smoothness of the potatoes will complement the tender and succulent pork.

  3. Play with height: Create visual interest by stacking the shredded pork loin on a base of crispy fried onions. This will add a delightful crunch and elevate the overall presentation.

  4. Garnish with flair: Finish the dish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a touch of sweetness and acidity. This will not only enhance the flavor but also add a sophisticated touch to the plating.

  5. Use elegant serving ware: Present the pulled pork loin on a sleek, modern platter to showcase the dish's refined and upscale appeal.

  6. Attention to detail: Pay attention to the finer details, such as wiping the edges of the plate for a clean presentation and ensuring that the dish is meticulously arranged for a professional and polished look.

Essential Tools for Making Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin

  • Slow cooker: A countertop cooking appliance used for simmering food at a low temperature over a long period of time.
  • Bowl: A round, deep dish used for mixing ingredients.
  • Forks: Utensils with pronged ends used for lifting and eating food.
  • Cutting board: A flat board used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Measuring cup: A kitchen utensil used primarily to measure the volume of liquid or bulk solid cooking ingredients.
  • Measuring spoons: Utensils used to measure an amount of an ingredient, either liquid or dry, when cooking.
  • Spatula: A flat, flexible utensil used for lifting, flipping, or spreading food.
  • Knife: A tool with a sharp blade used for cutting or slicing ingredients.
  • Mixing spoon: A long-handled spoon used for mixing and stirring ingredients.
  • Garlic press: A kitchen tool used to crush garlic cloves efficiently.
  • Can opener: A device used to open metal cans.
  • Tongs: A tool with two arms and a pivot used for picking up and manipulating food.
  • Whisk: A cooking utensil used for whipping and mixing ingredients.
  • Ladle: A long-handled spoon with a deep bowl used for serving soups and stews.
  • Plates: Flat, round dishes used for serving food.
  • Aluminum foil: A thin, pliable sheet of aluminum used for covering and wrapping food.

Storing and Freezing Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin

  • Allow the pulled pork to cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and potentially spoiling the meat.

  • For short-term storage, place the cooled pulled pork in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

  • To freeze the pulled pork for longer storage:

    • Divide the cooled meat into portion-sized amounts that you'll likely use in one sitting. This will allow you to thaw only what you need later.
    • Place each portion into a freezer-safe, resealable plastic bag or airtight container. If using bags, remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
    • Label the bags or containers with the date and amount of pulled pork inside for easy reference.
    • Lay the bags flat in the freezer to allow them to freeze quickly and evenly. Once frozen, you can stack them to save space.
  • Properly stored, the pulled pork will maintain its best quality for about 4 to 6 months in the freezer, but will remain safe beyond that time.

  • To thaw frozen pulled pork, transfer the container from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. Alternatively, you can thaw it in the microwave using the defrost setting, stirring occasionally to ensure even thawing.

  • Reheat thawed pulled pork in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). You can also reheat it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds to ensure even heating.

How To Reheat Leftover Pulled Pork Loin

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover pulled pork in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Heat the pork in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). This method helps to retain the moisture in the meat and prevents it from drying out.

  • For a quicker option, you can reheat the pulled pork in the microwave. Place the desired amount of pork in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until the pork is heated through. Be careful not to overheat the pork, as it can quickly dry out in the microwave.

  • If you want to add some extra flavor to your leftover pulled pork, try reheating it on the stovetop. Place the pork in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat and add a splash of barbecue sauce, broth, or apple juice. Stir the pork occasionally until it is heated through and the liquid has reduced, creating a flavorful sauce.

  • For a crispy texture, reheat the pulled pork under the broiler. Spread the pork in a single layer on a baking sheet and place it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the edges start to crisp up. Keep a close eye on the pork to prevent it from burning.

  • If you have a lot of leftover pulled pork, consider repurposing it into a new dish. Use the pork as a filling for tacos, burritos, or sandwiches. You can also add it to salads, soups, or casseroles for a quick and easy meal.

Random Fact about Sweet and Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Recipe

Pulled pork is a traditional Southern barbecue dish that originated in the United States. It is typically made from a pork shoulder, also known as pork butt, but can also be made from pork loin. The slow cooking process allows the meat to become tender and flavorful, making it a popular choice for gatherings and events.

Is Making Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin at Home Cost-Effective?

This sweet and smoky slow-cooked pulled pork loin recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, such as pork tenderloins, onions, and pantry staples, are affordable and readily available. The use of slow cooking also maximizes the flavor extraction from the ingredients, making it a budget-friendly option. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $25-$30. The overall verdict rating for this recipe would be 9/10, considering its affordability, delicious taste, and the fact that it can be used for multiple meals.

Is Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Healthy or Unhealthy?

This slow-cooked pulled pork loin recipe has both healthy and unhealthy aspects. On the positive side, pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat that provides high-quality protein. Onions and garlic offer some nutritional benefits, such as antioxidants and immune-boosting properties. However, the recipe also includes several ingredients that raise health concerns:

  • Hickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce and liquid smoke flavoring may contain added sugars, preservatives, and artificial flavors
  • Diet pepper-type soda is a processed ingredient with artificial sweeteners
  • The combination of barbecue sauce, crushed tomatoes, and diet soda results in a high-sugar content

While the recipe is flavorful, it could be improved to make it healthier:

  • Replace the hickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce with a homemade version using natural ingredients like tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and spices
  • Substitute the diet pepper-type soda with a natural, low-sugar alternative like unsweetened apple juice or chicken broth
  • Reduce the amount of added sugar by using fresh, diced tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes
  • Incorporate more vegetables into the dish, such as diced bell peppers or carrots, to increase the nutrient content
  • Serve the pulled pork with whole-grain buns or over a bed of leafy greens to add fiber and nutrients

By making these adjustments, you can enjoy a more wholesome version of this slow-cooked pulled pork loin recipe without compromising on taste.

Editor's Thoughts on This Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Recipe

This sweet and smoky slow-cooked pulled pork loin recipe is a tantalizing blend of flavors and aromas. The combination of hickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce, crushed tomatoes, and a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg creates a rich and complex taste profile. The use of diet soda adds a touch of sweetness while keeping the dish light. The slow cooking process allows the pork tenderloins to become incredibly tender and juicy, making for a mouthwatering and satisfying meal. This recipe is a perfect balance of sweet and smoky flavors, sure to impress anyone who tries it.

Enhance Your Sweet and Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Sweet Potatoes: Try roasting some sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey for a sweet and savory side dish that complements the smoky pulled pork.
Grilled Corn on the Cob: Fire up the grill and cook some corn on the cob until it's charred and smoky, then slather it with a spicy chipotle butter for a delicious accompaniment to the sweet and smoky pulled pork.
Coleslaw: Whip up a tangy and crunchy coleslaw with shredded cabbage, carrots, and a creamy dressing to add a refreshing contrast to the rich and flavorful pulled pork loin.
Baked Beans: Bake a pot of hearty and smoky baked beans with bacon and molasses for a classic barbecue side dish that pairs perfectly with the sweet and smoky pulled pork loin.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin

Savory Beef Stew: This hearty beef stew is perfect for a cozy night in. Packed with tender beef, carrots, and potatoes, it's a comforting and satisfying meal.
Zesty Lemon Chicken: This zesty lemon chicken recipe is bursting with flavor. The tangy citrus pairs perfectly with the juicy chicken, creating a bright and refreshing dish.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto: Indulge in this creamy and decadent mushroom risotto. The rich flavors of the mushrooms and parmesan cheese make this dish a luxurious treat for any occasion.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are the perfect appetizer to kick off any meal. Filled with a delicious blend of cheeses, herbs, and breadcrumbs, they are sure to impress your guests.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp: Indulge in the crispy goodness of these coconut shrimp! The combination of sweet coconut and succulent shrimp makes for a delightful appetizer that will leave your guests wanting more.
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in a decadent, rich chocolate lava cake that oozes with warm, gooey chocolate from the center. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and creaminess.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm, comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with tender, cinnamon-spiced apples topped with a crunchy oat and brown sugar crumble. Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of caramel swirl ice cream for a delightful treat.

Why trust this Sweet and Smoky Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Loin Recipe:

This recipe guarantees succulent, tender pork tenderloin infused with the rich, smoky flavor of hickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce and a hint of sweetness from diet pepper-type soda. The combination of crushed tomatoes and onions adds depth and complexity to the dish, while the Worcestershire sauce and garlic enhance the savory profile. The addition of liquid smoke flavoring elevates the smokiness, and the blend of paprika, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and nutmeg creates a harmonious balance of flavors.

Want to discuss this sweet and smoky slow-cooked pulled pork loin recipe further? Head over to the Recipe Sharing section of our forum and let us know your thoughts, tips, and experiences with this delicious dish!
How long should I cook the pork tenderloin in the slow cooker?
You should cook the pork tenderloin on high for 3 to 4 hours until the meat begins to shred at the edges. Then, reduce the slow cooker setting to low and cook for an additional hour.
Can I use regular soda instead of diet soda in this recipe?
Yes, you can use regular soda instead of diet soda if you prefer. The diet soda is used to add a touch of sweetness to the dish without adding extra calories, but regular soda will work just as well.
Can I prepare this recipe in advance and reheat it later?
Absolutely! This pulled pork loin recipe is perfect for preparing in advance. After cooking, let it cool, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you're ready to enjoy it, simply reheat it in the slow cooker or on the stovetop until heated through.
Is there a substitute for liquid smoke flavoring if I don't have it on hand?
If you don't have liquid smoke flavoring, you can achieve a similar smoky flavor by using smoked paprika or a small amount of chipotle powder. While it won't be exactly the same, it will still add a delicious smokiness to the dish.
Can I use a different cut of pork for this recipe?
While pork tenderloin works best for this recipe due to its tenderness, you can also use pork shoulder or pork butt. Keep in mind that these cuts may require a longer cooking time to become tender and shred easily.

Was this page helpful?

Chat Bubble Icon Share your own special recipe
Submit Your Own Recipe

Have your own special recipe to share? Submit Your Recipe Today!