Tray full of pulled pork garnished with parsley and radishes

Easy Pulled Pork with Cumin & Coriander

Sharing content is one of the best ways to support this blog!

Dinner doesn’t get much simpler than this! Easy pulled pork is a go-to for feeding a crowd or meal prep in my home. This version made with cumin, coriander, and a squeeze of bright lime juice is perfect for tacos or burrito bowls.

My go-to for pulled pork is a slow cooker, but I’ve been experimenting with Dutch oven cooking and have included instructions for that cooking method, too. This recipe is gluten free, paleo, Whole30, keto, and low carb.

Cumin & Coriander Pulled Pork pinterest image

What cut to use for pulled pork

Let’s start with the basics — what’s the best cut to use for pulled pork?

I will ALWAYS reach for pork shoulder for the best, most flavorful pulled pork. (In some stores, you’ll see it listed as pork butt.)

Some recipes call for pork tenderloin, but personally I think the shredded pork made from tenderloin is dry and grainy — pork tenderloin works so much better with faster cooking methods like stir fry instead of low-and-slow cooking methods.

Pork shoulder works much better for a long, slow braise (which is what we’re doing here), letting the fat in the cut render and turning an otherwise tough piece of meat into the pile of pulled deliciousness that we get at the end.

How to make pulled pork in a slow cooker

Slow cooker pulled pork is one of the EASIEST meals you can make without compromising flavor. Hands down.

All you’ve got to do is coat the pork shoulder in the cumin and coriander spice blend, put the pork shoulder in the slow cooker, and let it cook on low for at least 8 hours.

At this point, you should be able to shred it with two forks. If not, let it cook longer. In the slow cooker, a good rule of thumb is 2 hours per pound of meat.

If I’m low on (prep) time and am nervous about leaving my oven on while I’m out and about, I’ll go for the slow cooker method.

You CAN coax out a bit more flavor by still browning the meat before adding to the slow cooker (more on that in the Dutch oven instructions), but personally, if I’m opting for the slow cooker I don’t want to spend the time on that extra step.

How to make pulled pork in a Dutch oven

I recently got a Misen Dutch oven (not even available currently — I backed the Kickstarter!) and wanted to dive in and start using it right away. So even though slow cooker pulled pork ends up being my go-to, I had to write the recipe to fit the Dutch oven as well!

And guess what? I think I prefer the Dutch oven method.

To make pulled pork in the Dutch oven, the first step is to cut the pork shoulder into more manageable chunks. There are a couple perks to this — more surface area for the spice blend, more surface area to brown, and a shorter overall cooking time.

Rub the spice blend into all the pork pieces. Then heat olilve oil in the dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the pork and brown on each side for about a minute. If you have a smaller Dutch oven, you’ll probably have to work in batches.

Remove the pork and pour 1/2 cup water in the Dutch oven. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon (don’t use metal or you’ll ruin the bottom of your Dutch oven) and scrape any browned bits off the bottom. Add the pork back to the Dutch oven, cover, and cook for 3-4 hours at 300 degrees F. Low and slow — that’s how it’s done!

Tray of easy pulled pork garnished with parsley and limes

Why doesn’t my pulled pork pull?

If you try shredding the cooked pork and it just won’t budge, a couple issues could be at play:

  • It hasn’t cooked long enough
  • You tried increasing the heat to make it cook faster

Whether you make the pulled pork in the slow cooker or a Dutch oven, the cooking technique is the same: braising.

Braising is all about cooking low and slow, turning a tougher piece of meat into a tender, fall-off-the bone delight.

When braising, the collagen in the meat turns to gelatin, slowly rendering during all that cooking time. So if you try to cut that cooking time short, that magic hasn’t taken place yet and the meat will still be too tough to pull apart.

Likewise, if you crank up the heat thinking that will lead to quicker pulled pork, you’ll end up cooking it through long before the collagen in the cartilage and sinew have a chance to dissolve. That process will only take place during a sustained low temperature.

So, if your pulled pork just won’t pull, try cooking it 1-2 hours longer at low heat. Or, remove what you have from the slow cooker or Dutch oven, cut it up, and eat it like a roast. It’ll be chewy AF, but edible.

And at that point, you’ve learned a lesson that I also had to learn the hard way: braising simply can’t be rushed!

Recipes to pair with this pulled pork recipe

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Easy pulled pork in a tray and garnished with parsley, limes, and radishes

Easy Pulled Pork with Cumin & Coriander

  • Author: Chelsea Joy
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Braised
  • Cuisine: Southwestern
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Dinner doesn’t get much simpler than this! Easy pulled pork is a go-to for feeding a crowd or meal prep in my home. This version made with cumin, coriander, and a squeeze of bright lime juice is perfect for tacos or burrito bowls.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 4lb pork shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Juice of 1 lime

Instructions

Dutch Oven Instructions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Combine salt, chipotle powder, cumin, and coriander in a small bowl and mix until homogeneous.
  2. Cut the pork shoulder into 3-4 equal-sized pieces. Season the pork with the spice mixture, being sure to coat all sides of each piece.
  3. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, until shimmering but not smoking. Add the pork and cook, turning every 2-3 minutes, until browned on each side. Once each side is browned, remove from the Dutch oven.
  4. Pour 1/2 cup water into the Dutch oven and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Arrange the pork in a single layer in the Dutch oven, cover, and transfer to the oven. Braise for 3-4 hours, until the meat easily pulls with a fork.
  5. Remove from the oven and pour the lime juice over the pork. Let cool, then shred using two forks.

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  1. Cut the pork shoulder into 3-4 equal-sized pieces. Season the pork with the spice mixture, being sure to coat all sides of each piece.
  2. [OPTIONAL, BUT RECOMMENDED]: Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering but not smoking. Add the pork and cook, turning every 2-3 minutes, until browned on each side. Once each side is browned, remove from the pan.
  3. Place the browned pork in the slow cooker and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, until the meat easily pulls with a fork.
  4. Pour the lime juice over the pork and shred. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to a week.

Keywords: pulled pork, paleo, whole30, gluten free

Chelsea

I'm Chelsea, the author behind Chelsea Joy Eats! I believe life should be full of flavor. I enjoy creating recipes that are nourishing, flavorful, and satisfying. When not experimenting in the kitchen, I usually have a camera, barbell, or mug of coffee in hand. My posts may include affiliate links, which means if you click through a purchase something, I make a small commission at no cost to you. It helps me fuel my coffee habit and pay rent!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.