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Win over the whole family with this flavor-packed Korean pulled pork. The meat slowly cooks away for hours, soaking up ALL the flavor from a delicious marinade of Korean gochujang, soy sauce, honey, and chicken stock. The best part: it's super easy thanks to the slow cooker. This succulent, melt-in-your-mouth masterpiece practically cooks itself!
This Korean pulled pork has all the qualities you adore in tender, fall-apart pulled pork but elevates it with a twist of Korean flavors – slightly sweet, smoky, and a little spicy. The magic happens by letting your gochujang pork simmer away in the slow cooker, mingling all the flavors. It's a super easy dinner recipe that shines as a main dish, on pizza, noodles, tacos, and more.
Is this an authentic Korean pulled pork recipe?
This recipe features tender, pulled pork wrapped up in our favorite Korean flavor – gochujang. It is quite different than bossam, traditional Korean boiled pork. Bossam is made by boiling a braising cut of pork in a flavorful broth and then thinly slicing it to serve. My Korean Kitchen has a great bossam recipe you should check out.
While our recipe for Korean pulled pork is not authentic, it is a fan favorite made with the flavors you associate with Korean food – sweet, salty, spicy, delicious!
What is gochujang
Gochujang is a staple of Korean cooking! The name comes from the Korean words: gochu, which means chili or hot pepper, and jang, which means paste or sauce. It's a fermented chili paste that has a distinct and complex flavor profile: it's spicy, a little sweet, and totally umami flavor – kind of like miso, but spicy.
Made from red chili peppers, it brings moderate heat. It has some sweetness, usually from a rice syrup. The deep umami flavor comes from the fermentation process, giving a rich savory taste.
This succulent Korean pulled pork uses only a few simple ingredients – this is what you need:
- Gochujang: The star of the show, this Korean chili paste gives a bold, umami, and spicy kick.
- Soy sauce: Adds saltiness and a dark savory note. Opt for low sodium, or gluten-free if needed.
- Honey: Contributes natural sweetness, balancing out the other flavors.
- Chicken stock: A savory and rich addition to keep the pork moist.
- Pork shoulder or butt: Our protein source!
How to make Korean pulled pork
We don't know what's best about this Korean pulled pork recipe: the mouthwatering flavor or the sheer simplicity – It takes around five minutes of prep time before you let the slow cooker work its magic. These are the instructions:
- Throw it in the crockpot: Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Put the pork in your slow cooker, pour the sauce over the top, then walk away and let the magic happen!
- Shred the pork: When ready, remove the pork, put it into a baking dish, and shred it with forks.
- Reduce the sauce: Pour all the juice left from the slow cooker into a small pot and bring it to a boil until it thickens and becomes saucy. We like to scoop out the fat that rises to the top as there's usually quite a bit.
- Mix and enjoy: Pour the thickened sauce over the pulled pork and toss it all to make sure it's coated – enjoy!
What cut of meat to use for pulled pork
When it comes to selecting the meat for your pulled pork, look for pork shoulder – also known as pork butt or boston butt. (Despite the name, it's from the upper part of the pig's front shoulder rather than from the rear!) The reason why we opt for this is it has a beautiful marbling of fat, meaning a juicy and flavorful end result. You can find bone-in or boneless. While the bone-in variety is favored by some as it adds extra flavor, boneless is more convenient to shred the meat after cooking and fits easier in a slow cooker.
Some people tend to lean towards using pork loin, as it's leaner, however, it is a bit too lean for this recipe as the lower fat content will mean it's less juicy and will dry out easily.
How to serve Korean pulled pork
Gochujang pork shines as a standalone main, served alongside basmati rice and Asian vegetables, such as these garlic sugar snap peas or sauteed bok choy. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, or green onion slices before serving. This asian coleslaw works as a side dish or make delicious gochujng pork sliders by adding the pork and slaw to a bun.
Where to buy gochujang
Find gochujang paste in Asian supermarkets, in the international food section of your local supermarket, or find gochujang online.
What else can I make with gochujang?
Rub some on your potatoes before they go in the oven, whisk some into your scrambled eggs, make a stir-fry sauce, coat your veggies, spread it on pizza, or mix some with your mayo for a spicy sandwich. Or try these gochujang Korean BBQ chicken thighs. They're delicious!
Is gochujang gluten-free?
It is usually gluten-free as it's made from fermented soybeans and rice – however, always check product labels as some brands may include additives that contain gluten.
Can I store leftovers?
Yes, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze them in a freezer-proof container for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge a day before you intend to use it.
Can I make this in an Instant Pot?
While the flavors would work, the cooking time would vary. We recommend trying it for an hour in the Instant Pot and keeping an eye on it to adjust as needed.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the chicken stock, gochujang, soy sauce, and honey.½ cup chicken stock, ⅓ cup gochujang, ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce, ¼ cup honey
- Put the pork into your slow cooker and then pour the sauce over the top.5 lb pork shoulder or butt
- Cook the pork for 4-6 hours on high heat or 8-10 hours on low heat.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker and place it into a baking dish. Pour the juice that is in the slow cooker into a small pot and bring it to a boil. Let it boil hard until it thickens and becomes saucy. Pour or scoop the fat off of the sauce.
- While the sauce is reducing, shred the pork using 2 forks. Pull it across the grain to make long strands rather than short chunks. When the sauce is finished, pour it over the pulled pork and gently toss so everything is well coated.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.