Cranberry-Fig Pulled Pork and Pickled Red Onions

Cranberry-Fig Pulled Pork with Pickled Red Onions

Cranberry-Fig Pulled Pork with Pickled Red Onions

I am always on the look-out for new and intriguing recipes. I love “discovering” completely new dishes or new twists on old favourites. That’s why when I saw this recipe in “British Columbia From Scratch”, by Denise Marchessault and Caroline West, a shiver ran through me and my inner food nerd did a little dance! Most often pulled pork recipes are loaded with sugar, but this one uses the sweetness from figs and cranberries. How brilliant is that? Not only that, cranberries and figs abound in my corner of B.C., and it felt good to take advantage of the bounty of my beautiful province. This recipe is sumptuous! The layers of flavours are amazing. Serve the pork on a good quality bun, slathered with mayo, and be sure to top with the pickled red onions, and generous sprigs of cilantro. The onions are the perfect compliment to the spicy, fruity meat, adding just the right amount of acidity to make the palate happy, and the cilantro gives that perfect little exotic punch!  The pickled onions aren’t part of the original recipe, but are my addition.  I used the recipe from “Hartwood” by Eric Werner and Mya Henry.

I will be sharing this recipe with my buddies at Fiesta Friday  (Co-hosted by Sarah @Tales From the Kitchen Shed, and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas and Spoons) and Saucy Saturdays @ Take Two Tapas this week. Come join the parties, why don’t you?

The best pulled pork I have ever tasted!

Cranberry-Fig Pulled Pork with Pickled Red Onion


Spice Mix:

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 boneless pork shoulder (about 4 pounds)


1½ cups dried figs (preferably Black Mission)

1 cup dried cranberries

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 – 10 slices uncooked bacon, diced (about ½ pound)

2 large onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1-27 oz. can puréed tomatoes

¼ cup tomato paste

3 tablespoons puréed chipotle peppers

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


Pickled red onions (recipe below)



Combine the spice mix in a small bowl and massage into the pork shoulder.

Place the roast into your slow-cooker and add ½ inch water to the pot. Cook on low heat for approximately 8 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

Once the meat has cooked, remove it from the slow-cooker and allow it to cool. Shred the pork into bite sized pieces and set aside. Place the liquid from the slow-cooker in the fridge. When it has cooled, skim the fat from the top. Discard the fat and keep the cooled liquid for thinning out the sauce if necessary.

While the meat is cooking, prepare the sauce. Place the figs and cranberries in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the bacon. Cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is partially cooked. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook just until it is fragrant. Set aside.

Purée the dried fruit and soaking water with your hand-held blender. Add to the onion mixture. Add the remaining ingredients. Gently cook over low heat for ½ hour over low heat to allow the flavours to come together.

Add the shredded pork and refrigerate overnight.

At serving time, re-heat the pulled pork. If it is too thick, you can thin it out with the leftover liquid.

To serve, place on good quality buns. Top with pickled red onions and cilantro.

I put mayonnaise on the buns before I served them, but this is not necessary.

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions


1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup white vinegar

½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ cup white sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt


Place the sliced onions in a 1-pint Mason jar.

Mix the ingredients for the solution together in a large measuring cup and pour over the sliced onions. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

This will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

Perfectly Sumptuous!





28 Responses to “Cranberry-Fig Pulled Pork and Pickled Red Onions”

  1. Jess

    I really like the combination of cranberry with fig. Bet it makes for a delicious sandwich 🙂

    • chefjulianna

      Yes, I was so pleasantly surprised at the gentle sweetness that the fruit adds! It has a completely different character than other pulled pork recipes that I have made. 🙂

  2. parkerozgood

    I do lots of Pulled Pork and I have never thought of using the Cranberry Fig combo. How strong is the flavor of the Cranberry? I would do it in the smoker but I don’t want to loose that flavor in the smoke.

  3. petra08

    I love the use of the figs and cranberries in this delicious recipe. Pulled pork is delicious and your version sounds so good! I also love the pickled onions! I could eat this all day! 🙂

  4. FrugalHausfrau

    Sounds wonderful! I have seen figs and dates, too, in BBQ sauce recipes – I haven’t tried one, but this is a keeper!! Beautiful!



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