This “pho” slow cooker pulled pork has all the taste of the Vietnamese soup, but in a healthy, gluten free sandwich! They’re the perfect, easy weeknight meal that the whole family will love!
There are moments in life when you want to slurp a big bowl of coconut curry soup with sweet potato noodles.
BUT then there are moments in life when you want a pile of slow cooker pulled pork…
Sandwiched between 2 fluffy pillows of CARBY DELICIOUENSS.
And then there are moments in life when you want to slurp soup and mash your face into juicy meat and fluffy pillows of carby deliciousness at the VERY. SAME. TIME.
Indecisive taste bud disorder (or ITBD as we’re shortening it too.) I have it. My I-know-you-gut-instinct is telling me that you might too.
Don’t worry. It’s not actually a real thing. X out of Web MD. No need to be overly-dramatic and start thinking that you should be shoving your face full of spiced paleo cookies, vegan brownies and paleo German chocolate cake because the time you have left one earth may be shorter than you thought.
The again, a mouth full of cookies was never a bad life choice.
I may have scrambled up your brains when you read this title. You’re wondering what in the heck are we even eating aren’t you? Is it a slow cooker pulled pork sandwich OR is it pho soup?
You guys. It’s BOTHHHHH. I grew up in Vancouver, which is basically the land of realllly FLIPPING amazing pho. My Daddio (hi Dad who doesn’t read this blog!) and I used to have “daddy daughter pho dates” where we went to the best, scuzziest hole-in-the-wall (why are all of the best restaurants like this?) Vietnamese joint. There, we munched through the tender, juicy balls of pork, slurped our way through bowls upon bowls of piping hot, cinnamon-spiced broth that excited our taste buds with surprise bursts of deep, flavorful anise….and then cheered when the fresh pop of cilantro and mint mingled down our throats in the perfect finish of soup yumminess.
It might not have happened quite like that. But, you get it.
Needless to say, I like pho. I like it A LOT.
But, CONFESSION ALERT: I don’t really know how to make it.
I googled a few recipes, and was going to use them to give Y-O-U a pho recipe. But, then I felt icky because I dislike posting recipes that I don’t feel like I FULLY created myself. Dunno why. My brain is weird like that.
SO, I used google to determine the flavor profiles aaaand THEN took the pork balls from the pho-of-my-youth and turned them into pulled pork. IN THE CROCK POT.
Because easy dinners that require almost negative work? YOU LIKEY.
Of course, you can’t do pho without eleventy billion layers of flavor, spiciness and fresh herbs tingling your tongue. AND, you can’t do pulled pork sandwiches without SAUCE dripping down your chin as your chew each juicy bite.
Which is where the worlds easiest, world’s most flavor-PACKED, smoky-tangy-zesty sauce swoops in, slathers itself on EACH SIDE (no skimping!) of earlier-mentioned tender, fluffy CLOUD-LIKE bun and ties up the classic-Vietnamese-soup-flavor in a way that is going to make you say PHO-NOW!
Like “whoa-now.” Just laugh.
Even if it’s at me.
If having a serious case of ITBD means that I have to eat spicy-salty-juicy-fresh soup-sandwich hybrids, then cancel all my doctor’s appointments for the rest of my existence on this planet we call earth.
I don’t want no cure.
- For the pork
- 2 Large onions cut into halves
- 2 tsp Anise seed
- 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
- 1 tsp Coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp Sea salt
- 1 4 lb Pork butt netting removed
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Garlic minced
- 2 tsp Fresh ginger minced
- 1/4 Cup Fish sauce (paleo-friendly brand if need be such as red boat)
- Juice of 1 large lime
For the sauce:
- 2 Jalapenos halved and de-seeded
- 1 tsp Fresh ginger minced
- Juice of 1 large lime
- 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Extra-virgin avocado oil
- 1/2 Cup Cilantro tightly packed
- 2 Tbsp Mint roughly chopped and tightly packed
- Pinch of salt
- 8 Gluten Free Buns lightly toasted (or lettuce wrap for paleo option)
- Bean sprouts for garnish
- Heat a large, dry cast iron skillet up on high heat. Place the onions cut-side down into the skillet and cook until charred, about 5 minutes, flip and cook and additional 2-3 minutes until charred.. Once done, pull the onions halves apart and place in the bottom of a 7 quart slow cooker.
- Heat a separate small pan (not cast iron – it burns the spices too quickly) on medium-high heat and cook the anise seeds, stirring constantly until dark brown and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan into a small bowl.
- Add in the cinnamon, coriander and cloves and cook, stirring CONSTANTLY until the spices really darken (but not burn!) and are fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. They burn quickly, so watch them closely. Transfer to a separate small bowl.
- Dump the toasted anise seeds onto a cutting board. Use the edge of a drinking class to crush the seeds until broken down. Add the crushed seeds, along with the coconut sugar, red pepper flakes and sea salt into the bowl with the remaining toasted spices.
- Cut the large fat-cap off the pork. Rub the spice mixture evenly into the rest of the pork, covering evenly.
- Sprinkle the garlic, ginger, fish sauce and lime juice over the onions. Place the spice-rubbed pork on top.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for for 8-10 hours.
- Once cooked, remove the pork to a cutting board. Then, remove the onions and set aside separately for later use.
- Shred the pork with two forks, and then put back into the slow cooker and toss to coat in all the juices. You will have a lot of juice left over, that’s normal.
- To make the sauce:
- Heat a cast-iron skillet up on high heat. Place the jalapenos into it, cut-side down, and cook until charred.
- Add the charred jalapenos, along with the ginger, and lime juice into a SMALL food processor (mine is 3 cups) and pulse until the jalapenos are broken down.
- With the food processor running, stream the olive oil in until the mixture thickens.
- Add in a pinch of salt, along with the cilantro and mint and pulse until the herbs are broken down.
- To serve:
- Spread 1/2 Tbsp of sauce on each side of the bun (about 1 Tbsp total per bun.) Then, divide the pork between the buns, followed by the cooked onions and a sprinkle of bean sprouts.
Recipes written and produced on Food Faith Fitness are for informational purposes only.
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