After my successful venture into new meat territory with the whole chicken, I decided to push again out of my comfort zone. Jake had been suggesting for a while that I buy a large piece of meat and cook it all at once. That way I have plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week. Not a bad idea, especially since I have a crockpot. So I did a little digging into my bookmarked recipes to try and found one that looked promising. Pulled pork with homemade BBQ sauce. The recipe looked simple enough. Just needed a large piece of pork and lots and lots of spices.

Unfortunately, I had to try 3 different supermarkets to find what I needed. And even then, the only way I got a hold of one of my spices was because a friend of mine happens to have a really well stocked kitchen (Thanks Rob and Heather!). Also surprisingly Trader Joes and the local supermarket didn’t have pork shoulder. Thankfully Jewel Osco did.

What I learned is that although the instructions seem relatively easy, this is not a recipe to be attempted during the week on a whim. This one takes careful planning and hours to prepare. But the results are amazing. The first night Jake and I had second helpings, even though we were both full. Then, just from that $12 piece of meat, I also had left overs for a second night’s dinner for the two of us AND two lunches. 

Pulled Pork with Paleo BBQ sauce
Recipe from civilized caveman cooking

Ingredients for spice rub:
4 lb bone in pork shoulder
4 T smoked paprika
2 T sea salt
2 T chili powder
2 T ground cumin
1 T ground black pepper
1 T dried oregano 
1 T ground white pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper


Ingredients for BBQ sauce:
3 tomatoes, diced (I used canned tomatos since I had them already)
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced (I used the pre-diced jar kind)
1 can of tomato paste (6oz)
1 cup beef stock
2 T dijion mustard
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T olive oil
2 T sweet paprika (this was the hardest to find)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cayenne
1 can of diced pineapple

That’s my nice piece of pork shoulder on the left. Like I mentioned it cost me around $12. First step is to combine all of the spice ingredients for the rub. Most of those you should be able to find at your grocery store. 

Next I placed a piece of plastic wrap down over my cutting board and the pork on top. Then I used a spoon to distribute the rub and rubbed it in with my hands. This was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. The rub stuck really well to the meat and I was able to evenly coat the whole thing, including all the nooks and crannies.

Once that was done, I just folded up the plastic wrap tightly around the pork to keep everything in…(although, to be completely honest, I was out of plastic wrap, so I had to reuse this piece from another dish. It wasn’t very sticky and was a bit small. So I had to keep it in place with 3 rubber bands. It worked, but it definitely didn’t look the prettiest). I then placed it in a large ziplock baggie just in case.

Now place in fridge to marinate. I left mine for a little under 48 hours. The website said you could do it up to 3 days, but really one night is enough. I just didn’t plan well enough and left it for a second night.


 When you’re ready to cook, take the meat out of the plastic and place in your crock pot. As you can see, mine was a tight fit. Add 1/4 cup water and cook on low for 8 -1o hours until the meat is tender. I left mine for 9 hours. 

Now here is where the planning gets tricky. It takes an hour to make the BBQ sauce. I suppose you could make it ahead of time. Instead I just calculated to start making it an hour before I thought the pork would be done.

To make the BBQ sauce, combine all of the ingredients into a sauce pan and place on stove over medium heat. Now if you looked at the ingredients and thought “What is sweet paprika?” that’s it on the left. I looked at all of the local markets and all I could find was smoked or regular. Thankfully I was mentioning this to a friend and he just happened to have some that he generously gifted to me. 

Once the sauce starts to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 60 minutes.

After 60 minutes, transfer your sauce into your blender or food processor. I hit the “liquify” button on mine. Immediately turned it into a creamy sauce. Then when your pork is done, pull it out of the crockpot. I should have taken a picture, but when you take the pork out, you’ll have lots of liquid left in the crockpot. Just toss it out. I then pulled the pork apart with forks and tossed out the few big bones. 

Now the last step I’m not entirely sure is necessary. Instructions say to place the pork back into the now cleaned crockpot and pour in the BBQ sauce. Then to heat on low for another 60 minutes. Since Jake and I were starving by this point, I only left it in for maybe another 30min.

What you get from this extra step is super moist, sloppy joe consistency. Which I suppose is what you’re going for. However, next time, I’m thinking  of skipping this step and just pouring the BBQ sauce on from a squeeze bottle right at the table. It might not be as moist, but I’m thinking then you’ll really taste all of the spices from the rub.

Let me know if you try this. This was definitely the most complicated recipe I’ve done so far. Or at least it seemed that way since it took so long. Even if you don’t attempt the whole thing, you could just try the BBQ sauce. It’s a great alternative to the sugary junk that’s already made. Even at Trader Joe’s I couldn’t find BBQ sauce that didn’t have sugar as the second ingredient.

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