My husbands birthday was yesterday. Usually he’s a “make me a gooey, cheesy homemade lasagna” kind of guy, but since we’ve started eating clean, he opted for BBQ pulled pork.
This worked out so perfectly because I had already had a 5 1/2 lb pork shoulder butt just waiting to be pulled!!

Now, I don’t know about you guys, but my favorite way to make pulled pork is in the crock pot.  In the past I’ve smothered the butt with store bought BBQ sauce which is full of nasty ingredients and tons of sugar. But not this time.
I’ve been dabbling in sauces as of late and this BBQ sauce does not disappoint. A bit tangy, but we love it like that. When heating your sauce, make sure you taste it after the 10 min. Add a date or two to sweeten it up if you need it sweeter, or keep it as is. Remember once its been cooked on the stove and then cooked in the crockpot, the flavors will change a bit.


So without further ado, let’s get to how you make it!


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes


  • -pork shoulder butt (size of choice. 5 1/2 lbs gives my family of 7 leftovers)
  • -1 yellow onion
  • -homemade BBQ sauce
  • - 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • - 1 1/2 tbl Dijon mustard
  • - 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • - 1 1/2 tsp dried minced onion
  • -OPTIONAL: 2 dates (this will sweeten it up a bit)


  1. To make sauce, place all ingredients into a sauce pan and let simmer for 10 minutes
  2. Slice onion and place on bottom of crockpot.
  3. Place pork shoulder on top and pour BBQ sauce over top.
  4. Put lid on top and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. About an hour before you will serve take the butt out and shred it.
  6. Put back in crockpot, stir, and keep warm until you are ready to serve.


To make it easier to "pull" you can cut the shoulder into 2-3 inch chunks.

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Whole30: yes

Paleo: yes


  1. Bonita Penner says:

    I have this in the crockpot right now! I’ve never used so much balsamic vinegar in a slow cooker dish before. Does it end up with a strong vinegar flavour when cooked? THANKS!

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      did you make the bbq sauce first? you make the sauce in a small pot, then pour it over the meat in the crock pot. (this was one of my earlier recipes that I wrote, so i may need to fix it if the instructions are not clear lol) If you just poured the balsamic in, go ahead and add all the rest of the sauce ingredients. It can be saved lol! It does not have a strong vinegar flavor.

  2. Bonita Penner says:

    haha yes I did make the sauce in a small pot first, and actually refrigerated it overnight, as I threw the crockpot on this morning with the onions in the bottom below the roast, and covered it with the sauce before I left for work. The sauce just smelled very vinegary as it was cooking last night, so I was a bit nervous that it would be strong once it was finished. Trying to be Whole 30 compliant when you have company all weekend can be tough! 🙂

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      You should be okay! When you cook balsamic it almost burns the nose lol. If its still a bit strong for your tasting (which it shouldn’t) you can do a couple of things….1. reduce balsamic in a pot (reducing balsamic will make it very sweet) 2. add a date to the sauce. I usually cut it open and kind of scrape the insides out. I buy my dates in the bulk section at whole foods and it costs like .30 cents!! Yes, being whole30 compliant can definitely be hard especially with company……I hope you like the dish.

  3. Alena says:

    Wayyyyy too much balsamic in my opinion it ruined the entire dish. Could be an acquired taste but this didn’t seem like BBQ sauce at all. Really hate to sound rude but I’m really disappointed I don’t know if I’ll be able to eat it.

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      I’m so sorry Alena. Try adding some dates to the sauce and heating it up. Also, if you reduce the balsamic a bit, it will become very sweet. I will fix this post with some changes for people who do not like it so tangy.

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      Also Alena, I hope this doesn’t deter you from trying some of my other recipes! I always love feedback, even if they aren’t positive, so you aren’t being rude lol

  4. Brea says:

    I made this tonight – after reading the comments I opted to reduce the vinegar first and then also add two dates. I also threw in a whole clove of garlic, an extra tbsp of tomato paste and used Trader Joe’s South African Smoke blend before throwing it into a blender. (I actually cooked my pork about three weeks ago and it’s been in my freezer while I sought out a BBQ sauce I wanted to try.) I probably only had it on the pork for 15-20 minutes (in a pan) before eating it with some broccoli slaw & a sweet potato but I really enjoyed it! Still had some zing but I ate every last bite. Thanks so much!

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      Ooo love your additions! Especially TJs south African smoke blend!!! I’ll have to try that next time. Glad you enjoyed it ?

  5. rosie says:

    I’m a little confused about the cut of meat you suggest. The recipe calls for a pork shoulder butt. Isn’t that two different cuts? In my freezer I have a pork shoulder roast and a pork butt roast. Not exactly sure which one i should use

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      Hi Rosie, pork shoulder and pork butt are the same cut. It is also called Boston butt in some stores. Basically “butt” means the widest part of the pig (which is also the shoulder) either one would be fine ?

  6. RC says:

    Wanting to try this recipe and would like to make the sauce first, but I’m wondering if the dates will cook down on their own or if I need to put them in the food processor first. I bought whole, pitted dates.

    • Pretend it's a Donut says:

      They will cook down a bit. I usually break them apart with my hands then after its in the sauce I smash them a little with the back of a spoon.

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