Are you ready for a Paleo Pineapple Pulled Pork that’ll knock your socks off? This recipe is super simple and has only two main ingredients.
And the results are absolutely scrumptious. Here’s a hint: This pork is even better when reheated in a cast iron skillet because it gets all crispy and yummy on the edges.
Every week on my meal prep day, I always make some kind of roast. It means we have a big batch of cooked meat ready to reheat at the start of a busy week.
Let’s just stay this pulled pork has been on repeat lately, and I’m not mad about it.
Why You Should Make Your Pulled Pork In the Oven
Hang with me here for a minute. I have an Instant Pot (this is the one I recommend) and use it almost daily. Are they time savers? For sure…there’s no disputing that. Call me old fashioned, but my favorite way to make pulled pork is not in my Instant Pot. Here’s why…
A low and slow oven is my favorite method for making pulled pork. It allows the fat to slowly render out of the meat itself while keeping the fat cap in tact. That means the meat stays juicy.
And the low oven temperature – I usually use 300°F (about 150 Celsius) – helps the meat fibers slowly soften for a more tender outcome. But if you’d prefer not to use the oven for some reason, I’ve included adaptations for both the Instant Pot and crock pot in the recipe card below.
The Secrets To Good Pulled Pork
As I alluded to above, the secret to tasty pineapple pulled pork is a low and slow cooking method. But there’s some other things you can do to virtually guarantee a good result.
Look for a pastured pork shoulder roast with the bone-in. Bone-in meats tend to stay a bit more moist, and you can save the bone for soups or stocks. Try to select a pork shoulder roast that has a good layer of fat on one side.
If you can’t find pork shoulder roast, look for pork butt or Boston butt. Boston butt is a similar cut from the shoulder of the pig and will give a similar result. Need more tips on selecting the best pork shoulder? Check out this article from The Kitchn.
Another secret is to season the meat well. Most pork shoulder roasts are quite large – at least a few pounds in most cases – and a common mistake is to underseason the meat. This recipe calls for two teaspoons of sea salt for a three pound roast. (This is the fine salt that I like.)
The last secret to good pulled pork in this recipe is the pineapple itself. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which breaks down proteins, resulting in more tender meat. I used crushed canned pineapple with no sugar added for this recipe.
Is Pork Shoulder Meat Tough?
Definitely. Pork shoulder is made up of lots of small muscles and connective tissue. If you cook it too fast, these fibers don’t have enough of a chance to break down. That’s why opting for a Dutch oven (this is the exact one I have) or crock pot cooking method in low heat for a few hours is recommended. Or, you can use high pressure like you’d find in the Instant Pot, to make the meat tender.
What to Serve with Pulled Pork
Wondering what to serve alongside your pulled pork? How about some of my favorite side dish recipes like:
- Strawberry Avocado Summer Salad
- Beet, Carrot & Apple Salad
- Holy Guacamole Salad
- Paleo Broccoli Salad
- Watermelon Mojito Salad
The sky’s the limit. I think this Pineapple Pulled Pork would be great with a pile of simple steamed greens, a basic green cabbage slaw, or even some steamed rice.
Paleo Pineapple Pulled Pork
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 3 lb pork shoulder roast bone-in or boneless
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 20 oz pineapple crushed, canned
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp smoked paprika optional
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper optional
- Sea salt to taste
- This recipe is for cooking in a Dutch oven. For Instant Pot or crock pot adaptations, see the Notes below.
- Sear the pork. Preheat your oven to 300F. Sprinkle the pork on all sides with the salt and set aside. Put a tablespoon of ghee in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the ghee is hot and shimmery. Sear for 4-6 minutes per side or until the pork develops a nice brown crust. Turn off the heat.
- Bake the meat low and slow. Carefully – hot fat can splatter when you add liquid to it – add the crushed pineapple and its juice and the water. Cover the Dutch oven and bake in the oven for 3 to 4 hours.
- Shred the meat. Remove the pot from the oven and shred the meat with two forks. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and cayenne pepper if desired. Adjust the seasoning with salt and serve. This reheats very well in a cast iron skillet because the meat will get crispy on the edges.
This Easy Paleo Pineapple Pork can be cooked ahead of time and frozen for up to three months.
Instant Pot Directions. For best results, sear the meat in a cast iron skillet following the description above. You can try to sear in the Instant Pot itself but I'll be honest...I'm never satisfied with the quality of the sear that I get from my Instant Pot. But do what you must to get the job done. Transfer the seared pork to your Instant Pot and add the pineapple but no extra water.
Fix the cover in place and cook on Manual (high) for 90 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally. Finish as above.
Crock Pot Directions. For best results, sear the meat in a cast iron skillet following the description above. Transfer the seared pork to your Instant Pot and add the pineapple and water. Cook covered on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the pork is tender. You may want to add a little extra water if it seems to be drying out. Finish as above.