Pulled pork is one of those things that you can pretty much turn into any meal. It’s great in tacos. It makes the best sandwiches. And guess what? It’s great in a layered burrito bowl too. This is a version of a pulled pork burrito bowl, only it has Hawaiian flavors going on instead of Mexican.
The slow cooker is my preferred way to make this teriyaki pulled pork, but I’ve also tested it out in the oven. Both work great, but it’s nice not having to heat up the house, so slow cooker it is.
As far as the pork goes, start with a shoulder or butt roast. But a loin (though not a tenderloin – save that for another recipe) or even thick-cut pork chops will work here also. Cut the pork into cubes so it can really absorb the flavors of the sauce while cooking, and it cooks a little more quickly that way too. They key is to remove as much excess fat as possible, so the pork doesn’t end up too cloying. A pork loin is much leaner than the other cuts, but has the tendency to dry out (even with slow cooking), so there’s always a trade-off.
This should be a sweet pork, but the level of sweetness varies according to personal preference. The onion and pineapple juice add a lot of natural sweetness, but if you want to go the extra mile, totally add brown sugar. Taste the sauce before adding to the pork. It should be slightly salty so the meat is well-seasoned, and from there add the brown sugar and chili paste to taste. The ginger and garlic are a must-have, of course. But feel free to tinker a bit and make it your own version of the perfect teriyaki sauce.
Let’s talk about the coconut rice for a minute. Every good burrito bowl needs a base of rice, quinoa, or another carb/grain. Could you use regular, plain rice? Of course! But the coconut infused rice is ideal here. It’s the perfect base for these bowls. The rice cooks in a combination of light coconut milk and water yielding a creamy, flavorful rice. Delicious is what it is.
And the coleslaw! So much crunch! So much flavor! This slaw doesn’t have a heavy mayo-based dressing either. Instead, it’s got a light lime juice dressing. This is a rich meal and that crunchy, citrusy slaw is the perfect accompaniment.
You can go for other bowl toppings, but avocado is a great addition, and the fresh, bright tartness of pineapple pairs well with the pork, rice, and slaw.
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Pulled Pork Bowls
3.5 to 4 pounds pork shoulder, butt roast, or loin roast, cut into 2″ cubes
1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red chili paste (such as sambal oelek), or to taste
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Coconut rice, warmed (see recipe below)
Coleslaw (see recipe below)
4 cups fresh pineapple, diced or cut into tidbits
2 large ripe avocados, diced
1. Place pork in slow cooker along with the sliced onion.
2. In a bowl whisk together pineapple juice, tamari or soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, chili paste, and sesame oil. Pour the mixture over the pork. Place lid on slow cooker and set to LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
3. Shred the pork with two forks and allow the meat to absorb some of the sauce.
4. To serve, spoon some coconut rice into bowls. Top with some of the shredded pork, a spoonful of the coleslaw, some diced pineapple and avocado, and a drizzle of Sriracha. Serve immediately.
1 tablespoon coconut oil or avocado oil
2 cups white rice (long or short grain, according to preference)
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk (one 15-ounce can)
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a 3 to 4 quart pan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, to toast the rice. When most of the grains have turned opaque, add the light coconut milk, water, and salt. Stir and allow to come to a boil, then lower heat, cover pan, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through.
2. Fluff with a fork before serving. Makes 6-8 servings
Lime Juice Coleslaw
6 cups shredded cabbage (can do green, red, napa, or a combination)
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
1 tablespoon oil (preferably flavorless like avocado)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Place cabbage, carrots, and green onions in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, stir together lime juice, honey or brown sugar, and oils. Pour over the cabbage and carrots. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and season with salt; toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed, to taste. The slaw will lose volume and become more tender and flavorful after adding the dressing.
3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
P.S. — More slow-cooker recipes.
Credits: Photos and recipes by Lindsey Rose Johnson for Design Mom.