Pulled Pork with a Portuguese Twist

When the weather begins to turn brisk and the days get shorter, cooking at our house changes from outdoor grilling and quick stovetop meals to soups, roasts and the slow cooker. My recipe for slow cooker Pulled Pork with a Portuguese Twist is the perfect transition from summer flavors into fall cooking! The “twist” is that I use a paste made of red bell pepper (called massa de pimentão in Portuguese). The salty paste adds a rich taste to meats and other dishes.  The recipe also calls for beer. Really you can use any beer – but why not Portuguese if you happen to have it 🙂

It’s the massa de pimentão that’s important. I rub it onto the meat along with minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, a bit of salt and pepper and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next day it goes into the slow cooker with the other ingredients.

If you can not source the red pepper paste locally, try this recipe or this one. I plan to try a home made version too sometime soon!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with a Portuguese Twist

For the marinade

  • 4 lb. pork shoulder or loin roast, trimmed of fat
  • 1/4 c. massa de pimentão
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • several splashes balsamic vinegar (about 5 tbsp)
  • salt & pepper (easy on the salt as the pimentão is salty)

Rub ingredients all over the pork and place in fridge overnight.

For the slow cooker

  • 1 c. barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 c. beer (I like Sagres)
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard (omit the honey above if using honey dijon)
  • 1 large onion, chopped

Sprinkle most of onion onto bottom of cooker. Lay roast on top. Add rest of onion and other ingredients and spread over roast. I set my cooker on high for about 4 hours, and the roast shreds well with a fork. Timing will depend on your particular cooker or crock pot. If using low setting, I would estimate 6 hours.


Remove roast from cooker onto cutting board to shred. If your sauce is too liquidy, add a couple of tablespoons cornstarch and return it to cooker to thicken up while you shred the meat. Then put that lovely pulled pork back into the sauce to absorb all that yummy goodness!!

Inset shows final product on a plate.

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