Despite its name, Phantom Pulled Pork isn’t all that spooky (although it makes for a great Halloween meal!). Its phantasmal name comes from how its taste reminds you of great times from before and of even better moments in the future: savory pork slow cooked in rich, vibrant, tangy cranberry sauce tastes like dreamy winter holidays with the company of family and friends. The spicy, sweet, and smoky cranberry barbeque sauce infusing every bite promises that the best times are still ahead. Piled high on fluffy hamburger buns, Phantom Pulled Pork will haunt you insofar as you will constantly be thinking about when to make it again!

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For the pork:

  • 1 (4-6-pound) pork shoulder roast, boneless
  • 1/3 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:

  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup cranberry juice
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
  • 14 hamburger buns, split


Step 1 –Cut the roast in half and place the pieces in a 4-quart slow cooker.

Step 2 –Add 1/3 cup of the cranberry juice and 1 teaspoon of the salt to the slow cooker.

Step 3 –Cover and cook until the pork is tender, about 8-10 hours on low heat.

Step 4 –Transfer the roast from the slow cooker.

Step 5 –In a small saucepan, combine the cranberry sauce, the ketchup, the remaining cranberry juice, the brown sugar, the chili powder, the garlic powder, the onion powder, the remaining salt, the chipotle pepper, and the liquid smoke.

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Step 6 –Cook and stir the sauce mixture over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Step 7 –Skim the fat from the cooking juices in the slow cooker and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking juices, discarding the rest.

Step 8 –Shred the pork with 2 forks and return it to the slow cooker.

Step 9 –Stir the sauce mixture and the cooking juices into the shredded pork.

Step 10 –Cover and cook until heated through, about 1 hour on low heat.

Step 11 –Serve on the buns.