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Pulled Pork Recipe

Using Pulled Pork to make a great appetizer

After a week of being sick and busy at work, I couldn’t have asked for a simpler, tastier pulled pork recipe than this one found in Better Homes and Gardens’ Best Slower Cooker Recipes book.  Thanks Mom for that great gift!  Using the recipe as a guide, here was the process to get the pork tenderloin cooked.

1 2-3 lb pork tenderloin
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper mixed together
1-2 medium onions, sliced into thin wedges
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 cup of root beer

Rub the pork tenderloin with the salt and pepper mixture.  Place in a heated skillet on your stove and brown each side quickly.  A quick and simple sear is what you want. My guess is that this step isn’t strictly necessary.  I’ve cooked pork tenderloins without this step before.  I didn’t notice any major difference in utilizing this step.

Plug in your slow cooker and set to low heat (about a 7-8 hour cooking time).  Place the seared tenderloin into the crockpot with the onions, garlic, and root beer.  Cook on a low heat until cooked through and nicely browned.  You can cook on your slow cooker’s high setting for a shorter length of time. I chose the low setting since I allowed this to cook while at work today.

Here was my result:

The pork tenderloin before shredding

Verdict: This was tasty. It had a few drawbacks. I think I might not have had quite two tablespoons of garlic. That or I just need more of it. I think an additional clove would have been helpful. I used 1 onion instead of 2 since I was worried it might taste too onion-y, which I don’t like. I could have gone with the extra onion. My only real complaint is that the pork tenderloin was a little dry. This is because I got off of work late and it cooked for a bit longer than necessary. BBQ sauce fixed that problem quite nicely. While this seems like alot of complaints, in actuality they were quite minor. Simple adjustments for the next time I make this. And I will make this again.

When you remove the pork tenderloin to shred, feel free to remove the onions with a slotted spoon and place in a small bowl or other dish.  You can use them if you make a sandwich with the pork.  I just used the onions to help season the pork as it cooked.

Okay, now that your pork tenderloin is all nice and done, it’s time to shred it.

Shredding pork tenderloin

Simply grab two forks and start pulling the meat apart with the forks. This took about 5 minutes to do the whole pork tenderloin. It was so tender and just fell apart.

Shredding pork tenderloin

Shred until you’re left with a pile of shredded meat.

Now it’s time for the BBQ sauce. Since I’d slightly overcooked my pork, I decided to pour a generous helping of BBQ sauce into a saucepan and heat it up a bit. Once it was heated and bubbling nicely, I added in some of the shredded pork and mixed well. This turned out beautifully.

The large portion of shredded pork I didn’t slather in BBQ sauce I plan to freeze for later use.

To take today’s picture of the BBQ pulled pork, I placed bits of pulled pork onto crackers with a small cut of mozzarella cheese on top.

Pulled Pork appetizers

Verdict: Heaven. Oh my. These were sooo tasty. Perfect for bento or if I’m ever crazy enough to host a dinner party at my house. These would probably make a decent appetizer. I’m so ready to put this into my bento for tomorrow.

Here’s the money shot. Are you ready for your closeup my little taste bud delight?

Pulled Pork appetizers

If you try it, I hope you enjoy it too.

Be the bento everyone!


BBQ Pulled Pork
Recipe type: Main, Pork
Author: Jenn of Not Exactly Bento
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 7 hours
Total time: 7 hours 15 mins
Serves: 4
Pulled pork is one of my favorite types of BBQ. Since my attempts at BBQ always fail miserably, I searched for a way to get a similar flavor and feel by using a slow cooker. This recipe is a winner for me.
  • 1 pork tenderloin measuring 2-3 pounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper mixed together
  • 1-2 medium onions, sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 cup of root beer
  1. Rub the pork tenderloin with the salt and pepper mixture.
  2. Place tenderloin in a heated skillet stove and brown all sides.  A quick and simple sear is what you want.
  3. Plug in your slow cooker and set to low heat (about a 7-8 hour cooking time).
  4. Place the seared tenderloin into the crockpot with the onions, garlic, and root beer.
  5. Cook on a low heat until cooked through and nicely browned.
  6. Remove the cooked tenderloin from the cooker to a baking sheet, large cutting board, or other flat surface.
  7. Remove the cooked onions to a small bowl for use later.
  8. Using two forks, pull the meat apart until you’re left with a pile of shredded meat.
  9. Transfer the shredded meat to a bowl and pour BBQ sauce over the meat.
  10. Stir until all of the shredded tenderloin is covered with BBQ sauce.
  11. Serve the bbq pork on crackers with cheese as an appetizer or own your favorite bread with the cooked onions as a sandwich.


  1. Alex says:

    The browning is meant to build up different layers of flavor, but it is not strictly necessary. What was left of the liquid that you added to the slow cooker?

    It looks absolutely delicious, but my wife does not like root beer, hence I won’t ever be able to make it. Fail!

  2. admin says:

    Actually, I didn’t find that you could overly taste the root beer in the meat itself. I’m not sure about the onions, since I didn’t eat them. I would imagine they might carry some of that flavor. However, I’m sure there is something you could substitute for the root beer in that recipe.

    The liquid I didn’t have any use for so it was disposed of. There wasn’t too much liquid left anyway after it cooked for so long.

  3. Yvo says:

    Heya, I don’t have a slow cooker so I don’t really know the answer to this. If I made this in my future slow cooker, is there a setting so it’ll automatically turn off after the 7-8 hours (and thereby not overcook)? (I leave the house at 8:15 and on a good day, get back between 6:30 and 7, but lately it’s been closer to 8.) Also, how did you package it to freeze? And last (sorry! I’m full of questions today!), if someone was to try to make this without the slow cooker, any idea how long they’d cook it for (presumably in a cast iron pot in the oven – I also don’t have one of those, hahaha) and at what temperature? Seriously, this dish is blowing my mind. When I think “pulled pork” I always think “low and slow, smoked in a smoker” ie “I CAN NEVER MAKE THAT MYSELF”. I’m REALLY excited now!!!

  4. admin says:


    Keep in mind as I answer these questions, I am not a cook extraordinaire. But you are. So I trust you can take my answers and know if I’m a little off on something.

    Some crockpots have a timer on them that will switch the pot from a cooking setting (low or high) to warm. However, I’m not sure if keeping it on warm will cook it to a point you don’t care for. My crockpot was a gift and is a basic one with just the three settins (warm, low, and high). There isn’t a timer on it. I don’t know how well that works. However, there may be an alternative. This might sound odd. There are extension cords with timers on them. Often you can find them at Christmas time for Christmas trees. I bet that would work if you weren’t sure about the warm option. Normally, such an extension cord can be set for 2, 4, 6, or 8 hour shut offs.

    To freeze, I made two good piles of the shredded pork (without BBQ sauce) and put each pile into a freezer bag. I squeezed all the air out and stuck it into the freezer to freeze overnight. Then I went back this morning and wrapped that in freezer paper to give it some added protection. This way I can just thaw it quick at night, heat up some BBQ sauce, mix, and I’m ready for lunch the next day. There may be a better way to accomplish this. That’s what I’ve done for now.

    The recipes I have at home said to make it in the oven to bake on about 250 for until the meat was tender or could be pulled with a fork. I think for the size tenderloin I had, it might have taken about the same amount of time, maybe a little less to cook the tenderloin that way. I didn’t choose oven cooking because while LA is cooling a small amount to have my oven on for 7 hours would be too hot! A slow cooker doesn’t produce as much heat. If you try this option, let me know how it goes. You could just use a good roasting pan to do this instead of a cast iron pot.

    It won’t have that smoky flavor of pulled pork you might buy elsewhere, but your favorite BBQ sauce would help to fix that. :) I hope you try it and enjoy it. I ate the 5 appetizers in the picture last night for dinner, then made 5 more b/c I was still hungry. I’m now soooo ready for lunch.

  5. Alex says:


    You can accomplish the same tenderness by roasting the tenderloin on a baking sheet fitted with a rack, tightly covered in foil, for about 2-3 hours on 250. Give the tenderloin a good rub of your favorite BBQ dry rub, and toss 2 ice cubes underneath the rack to keep the meat moist.

    I’m with you on the smokiness aspect of the meat being one of the best parts of the pulled pork. I’m going to experiment with a rub that has smoked paprika in it the next time I make pork like this.

  6. Yvo says:

    Jenn – thanks so much for your answers (which I’m just seeing now, oops). I kinda want to do the slow cooker method as well because I can leave it while I go to work. My only concern then would be fire hazards but that shouldn’t be an issue on a brand new slow cooker… I think. Everything you said makes sense. After I wrote my comment, I actually went on Amazon to research a slow cooker and found someone had commented on a review (for a slow cooker without a timer) that you can buy a similar thing to the timer you’re talking about, except specifically for slow cookers and it turns it to low/warm (I didn’t really understand how that could be possible, but I wasn’t going to argue!). I think I’ll wind up getting one with the timer though, just to make things a bit easier/integrated. You have inspired me so very much with this post :) Ahhh, I can’t wait!!!

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