Apple Cider Pulled Pork

Apple Cider Pulled Pork, garnished with green onions, in a white bowl

Apple cider, onions, chipotle peppers, apple butter, apple cider vinegar… and a big hunk of pork cooked right down in it. All of this. Right now. 🙏 This beautiful mess is too easy not to do and it oozes Fall on the Outer Banks. It’s all red-orange leaves and crisp mornings around here and this weather begs for some slow, easy cooking.

While I’m sure there is a great crock pot or insta pot method for pulled pork, I’m really into just a big pot on the stove, simmering for a few hours, with me peeking, poking, and prodding at it whenever I feel like it.

Canned chipotles in adobo, quartered onion, pork butt, and apple cider in a Dutch oven

I really love to lift the lid on something like this halfway through cooking to see what the pork is up to, then again later on to stab at it annoyingly with a fork. Makes me feel like part of the process. And, the time involved is passive time, yet I still feel like I earned the big meal at the end of the day.

Feel it out

While we’re on this easy train to porkville, I’ll just tell you: I eyeball everything when I make this. If the quantities in the recipe don’t feel good to you, just adjust. It’s nearly impossible to mess this recipe up so, you know… do you. With enough time and somewhere in the ballpark of enough liquid, you’re guaranteed deliciously tender pulled pork. The cooking liquid gets boiled down to a sauce at the end anyway, with a generous amount of apple butter stirred in to give it body and sweetness. At that point, you can put the finishing touches on flavor with salt and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Both these things soften the heat of the canned chipotle peppers we added earlier so you can go heavier or lighter depending on your spice preference.

Apple Cider Pulled Pork before it has been shredded, in a glass bowl with two forks

☝️Is that gorgeous or what? Once you shred your super-tender pork, fold it into that sauce, and eat 2 portions of it standing up at the stove. Then, you can serve it on little potato rolls, or on a plate like we had last night with collards and corn bread. So very North Carolina.

Apple Cider Pulled Pork, garnished with green onions, in a white bowl
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Apple Cider Pulled Pork

Apple Cider Pulled Pork, garnished with green onions, in a white bowl

Pork butt cooked low and slow in apple cider, chipotle peppers, and onion. After cooking, the liquid is simmered down to a sauce with apple butter stirred in for a smooth, rich texture perfect for coating the pulled pork.

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pork butt, with some of the fat cap trimmed off (I used a 3lb boneless butt- *See note!)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 20 oz. apple cider
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/3 C apple butter
  • 12 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • green onions, sliced, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the pork butt, onion, chipotle peppers and their liquid, and apple cider in a large, heavy Dutch oven (like this one) over high heat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer on low for about 3 hours, or until the pork shreds easily with a fork.
  2. With a big slotted spoon or tongs, remove the pork from the pot to a large bowl. Skim most of the fat off the liquid in the pot, remove the whole chipotle peppers if you prefer, increase the heat to high, and boil until the liquid is reduced to about 1 1/2 C.
  3. Meanwhile, shred the pork using two forks.
  4. Once the liquid has been reduced, stir in the apple butter and 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar. Return the shredded pork to the pot and stir to coat. Season with salt to taste and the additional TBS of vinegar if desired. Garnish with sliced green onions. Enjoy!

Notes

A note about the pork. At the time of this recipe, I could only find a 6.5 lb bone-in pork butt. It was mid afternoon and I needed it ready for a party at 5:30. So, I cut the butt in half and used the part without the bone, cut into three large chunks, for quicker cooking.  I froze the other half for another day. You can make this recipe with any size pork butt and it can be boneless or bone-in. You may need a bit more apple cider (it should cover about 3/4 of the pork – like up to the “shoulders” of it) and a bigger butt will take longer to cook. 

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