Recipe Idea: Slow cooker pulled pork

Having the most frugal grocery budget in the world isn’t going to help you any if you can’t put together at least a few healthy, tasty, and cheap eats! Every few weeks, The Outlier Model features a cheap recipe idea, along with the cost breakdown.

A few months ago, we happened to hit an amazing sale on pork shoulder. The store was out for the day on our usual grocery shopping day, so I sent Brian back in the morning to brave the lineup and score a giant hunk of meat.

pork shoulder line up

With all the meat taking up room in my freezer, I found a few good new recipes for dealing with large amounts of pork. We were able to use up most of it before our freezer gave up on life. Here’s an easy and quick recipe for delicious pulled pork!


  • 3lb pork shoulder ($5)
  • 3/4 tsp each salt and pepper (<$0.05)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil ($0.10)
  • 2 onions, diced ($0.60)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced ($0.20)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder ($0.50)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander ($0.25)
  • 2 bay leaves ($0.10)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste ($0.15)
  • 1 can tomato sauce ($0.50)
  • 2 tbsp each packed brown sugar and vinegar ($0.25)
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce ($0.30)

Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat and brown the pork all over. Once the pork is browned, transfer it to a slow cooker.

Next, add onions, garlic, chili powder, coriander, and bay leaves to the original pan and fry, stirring occasionally until onions are softened. Add the tomato paste and stir for another 2 minutes. Finally, add tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to the pan. Cooking the sauce in the pan ensures that any stuck on bits of meat will make it into the final sauce and not be left in the pan.

Pour the resulting sauce into the slow cooker over the browned pork shoulder. Cover and cook on low until pork is tender, 8 to 10 hours.

After the meat is cooked, transfer it to a cutting board and tent with foil; let stand for 10 minutes. With two forks, shred or “pull”  the pork. Meanwhile, pour liquid from slow cooker into a large saucepan; skim off fat. Bring to boil over high heat; boil vigorously until reduced to 3 cups (750 mL), about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

Add pulled pork; reduce heat and simmer until hot, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions.

Servings: 6-8

Cost per serving: $1 – $1.33

Frugal hack: Wait for a big sale on pork shoulder and brave the lineup 🙂

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Posted in: Recipes

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