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Slow cooker garlic-citrus pulled pork that checks all the boxes

Brianna Cox is a millennial living in the Metro Atlanta Area. She has a tiny dog named Baxter, a loving husband, two supportive parents and a heap of student loan debt. She studied English at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA, and obtain...

The pulled pork that's Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free and sugar-free, but definitely not flavor-free

If you’re someone who needs recipes that are gluten-free, Paleo or Whole30-compliant, have no added sugar, or if you like your pulled pork on the healthier side, this recipe is for you.

More: Slow cooker Buffalo pulled pork

I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, and to keep my condition in check, I do Whole30 every other month. But to be completely and utterly honest, if I didn’t have tasty and flavorful options, I wouldn’t make it through the full 30 days.

Not only is this citrus-garlic pulled pork healthy and delicious, but it's also extremely easy to make.

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Slow cooker garlic-citrus pulled pork recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes | Brine time: 8 hours | Cook time: 8 – 10 hours | Total time: 16 – 18 hours


For the pork

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) pork shoulder roast
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Hot sauce of your choice

For the salsa topping

  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Cilantro (I use dried because I prefer the taste)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cumin, to taste
  • Chili powder, to taste


  1. The day or night before you intend to cook your pork, rub it with salt, pepper and smoked paprika, and put it in a large, resealable, plastic bag with the orange juice and peeled garlic. Let marinate overnight.
  2. The next morning (I do this before work), pour the entire contents of the bag into a slow cooker, and add the coffee. Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours or until fall-apart tender.
  3. Pull the pork, spreading it to remove the fatty pieces.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar and hot sauce to the liquid remaining in the slow cooker, and stir into the pork just until the pork is good and coated. Discard any extra sauce.
  5. For the salsa, in a bowl, mix together the diced mango and onion, squeeze in the lime juice, and add the cumin, salt, pepper and cilantro.

Once your pork is on your plate, top it with as much salsa as you want, and serve with sliced avocado. This pork would also be good as a sandwich, on tortillas as tacos or with rice and beans. I plan to stuff baked sweet potatoes with this pork for a healthy alternative during barbecue season.

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