The Perfect Combination: Cranberry BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

Nov 2, 2023 | Main Courses


Prep Time

Cooking Time

20 minutes
8-10 hours (slow cooker)


As a food critic and lover of culinary adventures, there are certain dishes that hold a special place in my heart. Today, I want to share with you a recipe that combines two unlikely ingredients to create a sensational taste explosion: Cranberry BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders. This dish has a history rooted in the clash of flavors and my personal experience with it only deepens my appreciation for its uniqueness.

Origin Story:

Legend has it that Cranberry BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders first made an appearance at a historical barbecue cookout. It was the summer of 1865, and people gathered to celebrate the end of the Civil War. Cranberries, a staple of American cuisine, were unexpectedly added to a traditional barbecue sauce, creating a delightful tang that perfectly complemented the tender slow-cooked pork shoulder. Since then, this dish has become a symbol of both unity and celebration through its delightful combination of flavors.


– 3 pounds pork shoulder
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 cup cranberry sauce
– 1 cup ketchup
– 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
– 2 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
– 1 teaspoon mustard
– 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
– Slider buns, for serving

Cranberry BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders Ingredients


1. Prepare the pork shoulder: Trim any excess fat from the pork shoulder and cut it into large chunks. Season generously with salt and black pepper.

2. Sear the pork shoulder: Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the pork shoulder chunks on all sides until browned. This step helps develop rich flavors and locks in the juices.

3. Slow cook the pork: Transfer the seared pork shoulder to a slow cooker. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic to the slow cooker with the pork. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours, until the pork is tender and easily pulls apart with a fork.

4. Prepare the cranberry BBQ sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine cranberry sauce, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

5. Shred the pork: Once the pork is cooked and tender, remove it from the slow cooker and use two forks to shred it. Discard any excess fat. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker and pour the prepared cranberry BBQ sauce over it. Stir well to coat the pork evenly.

6. Let the flavors meld: Leave the pork in the slow cooker on the low setting for another 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together. This step allows the delicious cranberry BBQ sauce to infuse every fiber of the tender pork.

7. Assemble the sliders: Using a slotted spoon or tongs, pile the flavorful pulled pork onto slider buns, and top with additional cranberry BBQ sauce if desired.

Cranberry BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders Cooking Instructions

Tips and Variations:

– To save time, you can use pre-made cranberry sauce. However, making your own cranberry sauce from scratch will give you full control over the level of sweetness and tartness.
– If you prefer a spicier version, feel free to add a dash of hot sauce or chili flakes to the cranberry BBQ sauce.
– Serve these sliders alongside a refreshing coleslaw or a crisp salad to balance the richness of the pork.


These Cranberry BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders are far from ordinary. The mingling of sweet cranberries and smoky barbecue sauce not only creates a delightful taste experience but also reflects a fusion of history and innovation. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or satisfying your own cravings, this dish is sure to be a hit. So, go ahead and embark on this gastronomic journey that transports you to a time when unique flavors blended to unite a nation.

Cranberry BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders Image

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