Ancho Chile Pulled Pork Barbecue

Paleo Carolina Pulled Pork | Paleo Spirit #paleo

Even though I am originally from Texas where beef barbecue is king, I attended grad school in South Carolina and developed a serious appreciation for pulled pork with mustard based sauce.  This recipe for Ancho Chile Pulled Pork Barbecue contains a decent amount of mustard and vinegar for a REALLY tangy taste reminiscent of Carolina Pulled Pork.  The ancho chile powder and tomato paste mellow out the mustard a bit which gives the sauce a unique flavor. Almost every barbecue sauce you find in the grocery store is full of high fructose corn syrup. Eating Paleo means eliminating sugar as much as possible so this recipe contains no sugar yet does not sacrifice flavor.

Another great aspect of easy pulled pork recipes is cost. The pork shoulder and pork butt are fairly inexpensive cuts of meat.  I purchased the 9 pound pork shoulder at $1.29 per pound.  This Paleo barbecue recipe makes more than 12 servings which means it is seriously economical. You will likely also have left over sauce you can use to spice up other dishes.

Paleo Carolina Pulled Pork | Paleo Spirit #paleo

Ancho Chile Pulled Pork Barbecue Recipe

Dry Rub

  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons course sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 1 (7-9 pound) pork roast, either shoulder or butt
  • 1/4 cup water

Paleo Carolina Barbecue Sauce

  •  1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow mustard
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Liquid from the cooked pork


Mix the ancho chile powder, sea salt, paprika, onion powder, dry mustard and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

Paleo Spice RubRinse the pork and pat dry with a paper towel.Paleo Spice Rub and PorkRub the entire pork with the spices.  Place the seasoned pork shoulder in a large crockpot and add 1/4 cup water.Paleo Pork Shoulder in Crockpot Cook on high for AT LEAST six hours or on low for up to 9 hours. (The longer time will make it easier to shred)

Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue Sauce

When the pork is done, drain the liquid into a large-bottomed pan, skim off some of the fat and simmer until reduced by about half. Add the vinegar, mustard, tomato paste, garlic, salt, cayenne and black pepper into the saucepan.  Heat at medium, and simmer and stir for 10 minutes.

paleo barbecue sauceOnce the pork has cooled off a bit you should remove any bones and as much of the large pieces of fat as reasonably possible.  Using two forks, “pull” the pork until it is nicely shredded but not destroyed into mush.

Paleo Pulled Pork

Pour half of the prepared barbecue sauce over the pork and stir until well coated. Serve the pulled pork with a side of the remaining sauce. I also recommend serving the pork with some sort of coleslaw.  When my garden is in full swing I shred cabbage, carrots, onions and raw beets and toss with an oil and vinegar dressing. (Recipe for Beet and Cabbage Coleslaw or Spicy Cilantro Lime Slaw)

Paleo Carolina Pulled Pork and Beet Slaw | Paleo Spirit #paleo

Paleo eating does not include ordinary buns. BUT if you are determined to enjoy your Carolina Pulled Pork with a bun of some sort you might want to try my recipe for Paleo Dinner Rolls.  Enjoy, y’all!

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12 thoughts on “Ancho Chile Pulled Pork Barbecue

  1. Pingback: Beet and Cabbage Slaw | Paleo Spirit

  2. I just saw this recipe today. It just so happens that I purchased a pork butt yesterday at Whole Foods. It was only about 2.8 lbs. I only used half the rub (since the roast was so small) and I only used 1/3 of the sauce. I put it in the slow cooker for 4 hours on high. Followed everything else to a T. Anyhow, when it was done I blanched cabbage leaves for about 30 seconds and made “cauliflower rice”. Put the cauliflower rice in the cabbage, added the pork….and rolled it up like a burrito. It was ABSOLUTELY OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!! Thank you sooo much! This is definitely going into our weekly menu :) :) :)

    • That’s great! I love the idea of the wrap with the cabbage leaves and cauliflower rice. I could envision some chopped cilantro mixed in with the cauliflower rice too. Glad you liked it. The other benefit is a pork butt is a fairly inexpensive cut of meat.

  3. Hi, I’m dying to try the recipe out! What volume capacity did the crockpot have? I’m about to purchase one but wanted to know which size to get.

  4. Thanx for the tip! I live in Sweden though and the lowest price for a slow cooker in that size is around $260. The market for slow cookers isn’t big here yet so the prizes haven’t gone down so much. For $23 you’ll get a risecooker in this part of the world…

    • That’s too bad about the cost. I thought Amazon could ship internationally or maybe you could get it from Amazon UK? The shipping charges might be too high though. This particular recipe doesn’t require a crockpot as big as the one I have. You might think about trying slow cooking (braising) in the oven if you have an oven proof pan with tight fitting lid (Dutch Oven or similar). Just a thought!

  5. Pingback: Paleo Super Bowl Recipes

  6. My husband grew up eating South Carolina BBQ – he’s always trying to recreate the sauce he had as a kid – sadly nothing has come close to what he remembers! This sauce looks like it could be a pretty close contender! :) I plan to surprise him with this weekend! He’ll be gone camping until Saturday evening – what better dinner to come home to after a weekend of camping!?

    • It does sound like the perfect dinner to come home to after camping – definitely! It is tangy like the mustard-based sauces in the Carolinas so I hope he likes it.

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