Spicy Italian Pulled Pork with Italian Gravy


This might be one of my best recipes yet. I set out to create another pulled pork recipe, and this time one with a sauce that went along with it. I had just made some marinara sauce the day before, which made me wonder what ingredients I could pair with the tomato sauce. The result was a mixture of onions, Italian hot/sweet peppers, the tomato sauce I made, and some artichoke hearts. After the pork was done cooking I simply took an immersion blender to the juices and veggies that were left behind in the slow cooker. I then poured the puree into a medium saucepan and let it simmer on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until it reduced and thickened up nicely. Definitely work the extra time and step. This recipe is rather easy and there is no excuse that you can’t make this tonight or tomorrow.

ShreddedPorkFinal copy


What you need:

  • One 3 to 4 pound pork shoulder, trimmed of all outer fat.
  • 1.5 cups of Italian-style tomato sauce of choice. Make your own marinara or just use a can.
  • 1 medium white onion, shredded or minced.
  • 1 12 ounce jar of Italian sweet hot peppers of choice, drained yet not rinsed, stems removed if necessary.
  • 1 8 ounce can of artichoke hearts in water, drained yet not rinsed.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.
  • 1/2 cup water (optional)


How you make it:

  1. Slice, mince, or shred your onion and throw it into the slow cooker.
  2. Drain your peppers and artichoke hearts, add them to the onions and stir well.
  3. Add your tomato sauce and garlic to the mixture, season lightly with salt and pepper, and stir well.
  4. Trim your pork shoulder of all visible exterior fat. If it still has a fat cap on, you don’t need it. Season it lightly with salt and pepper.
  5. Add your pork shoulder to the slow cooker, try your best to coat it in the tomato and vegetable mixture. Spooning some on top is a good idea.
  6. If you feel as if you don’t have much sauce per the size of your pork, add up to a 1/2 of a cup of water.
  7. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  8. When finished cooking, remove the pork from the juices and vegetables and use to large forks in a large bowl to shred the meat.
  9. Take the remaining juices and vegetables in the slow cooker and puree them until an even consistency is obtained. I used an immersion blender, you can use a blender or a food processor, or just skip this step entirely.
  10. Pour your puree into a medium saucepan, and cook on your stovetop on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. The goal is to bring the sauce to a light simmer and allow some of the water to cook off and let the sauce/gravy thicken up.
  11. Add your sauce back to your shredded pork and enjoy!


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  1. Ann says:

    Can you clarify on the sweet hot peppers? I didn’t grow up with any Italian foods. Are we talking about pepperoncinis or the small red peppers In the glass jars sometimes see at the store? Thank you – I am definitely trying this!

    1. Jason says:

      You can use pepperoncinis (stems removed) or the sweet yellow/orange/red peppers in the glass jars!

  2. Sydney says:

    Is there a way to do this without a slow cooker? I love so many of your recipes but don’t have a slow cooker.

    1. Jason says:

      Not for this recipe. You should just invest in a cheap 4-quart cooker which will run you about $20-$25, and the programmable 6 quart units will run you $50. They are worth it.

  3. Jay says:

    Last week made this and it was AMAZING!! Best paelo pull pork recipe out there. Making it again tomorrow but using a 5 lb pork shoulder to have more!!! Love this recipe. Thanks!!!!

  4. Jay says:

    Last week made this and it was AMAZING!! Best paelo pull pork recipe out there. Making it again tomorrow but using a 5 lb pork shoulder to have more!!! Love this recipe. Thanks!!!!

    1. Jason says:

      Awesome! Thank you for the compliments and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yay to a bigger serving of it too!

      1. Jay says:

        Jason would I have to cook it longer if I used a shoulder over five pounds. Hope you get this soon.

        1. Jason says:

          Perhaps an extra hour tops, assuming you are using a 6-quart cooker.

          1. Jay says:

            It’s actually a 5.7 pound shoulder and I am using a 5 quart. I ask this cause we have to leave at three and I forgot to calculate longer for larger shoulder. Should I out it to high? Also could I put the food processed sauce in fridge and boil it later on tonight?

  5. Bridget says:

    I just made this to have for the week and it tastes absolutely delicious! I bought a 9 lb pork shoulder and cut it in half. I am saving the other half to make your smoky pulled pork. Also instead of using water I just used the juice from the hot peppers. Thank you so much for the awesome recipes.

    1. Jason says:

      Glad you liked it! This is one of my favorites..

  6. ALissa says:

    It’s been super hot in the Northeast and for a change of pace from our grilling, I tried this recipe and it did not disappoint. I’ve made pulled pork many times but this is definitely one of my new favorites. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the leftover sauce, since it makes a lot and I do not want it to go to waste.

    Thanks for a new recipe to be added to my monthly rotation.

  7. These look delicious!! I can’t wait to make them!

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