Maple Syrup Is The Secret To Adding Rich Sweetness To Pulled Pork

Pulled pork and sweetness are inextricably linked — not only is the meat naturally luscious, but it's frequently paired with ingredients that match its sweetened disposition. From a tangy BBQ sauce to fruity apple cider vinegar, pulled pork benefits from a little sugar. For a sweet ingredient that brings out its depth, add maple syrup to pulled pork.

Pork shoulder has a meaty, robust flavor that requires something with that level of richness. BBQ sauce offers some depth, but as a vinegar-based sauce, it's too zesty for the full-bodied sweetness that some desire in pulled pork. Brown sugar is another worthy contender, but doesn't possess the same intensity that maple syrup has. Flavored with hints of caramel and toffee and laced with hints of vanilla, maple syrup brings a world of flavor to pulled pork.

The condiment can be used alone as a syrupy marinade for pork shoulder or squeezed into another marinade. Add some maple syrup to apple cider smoked pulled pork to bring a touch of richness to the fruity flavor. Thanks to the apple cider, there's a perfect amount of tang that enhances the sweetness, rather than taking away from it. Served with anything from potato salad to hush puppies, the sweet, rich taste of the pulled pork is sure to stand out.

Try these maple syrup pulled pork recipes

Give your pulled pork a boozy touch by adding bourbon to the maple syrup. Simmered slowly with a mix of honey or apple bourbon and maple syrup, your braised pulled pork will be tender with the most incredible woodsy, syrupy flavor. Add cloves, chili peppers, and garlic to the Dutch oven to flavor the braising liquid. Served over rice with Brussels sprouts gratin with walnut crumble, this cozy, warming meal is perfect for a cold night.

Bring a unique, tangy flair to pulled pork by mixing orange juice with maple syrup. Add the juice and syrup to a bowl, along with a bit of vegetable oil, ground cumin, dried mustard, ground ginger, salt, and pepper. Mix well and allow the pork shoulder to simmer in the sweet marinade in a slow cooker. Once it's finished, shred the pork apart and enjoy with a cucumber salad and old-fashioned hot water cornbread.

For another fruity take on pulled pork, try mixing apple cider vinegar with maple syrup. The soft acidity of the apple cider vinegar cuts through rich maple syrup, tempering it enough for savory pulled pork tacos. With smoked chili pepper, cumin, onion powder, salt, and pepper, cook the pork shoulder in a slow cooker and add to hard shell tacos. Top it off with pickled red onions, vinegar-soaked slaw, and avocado.