This has quickly become my favorite chili recipe! It can be made in a slow cooker, a pot on the stove, or even pressure cooked and I'll give all the instructions in this article so you can make it how you want to!
This chili is different from more traditional chilis because it combines the flavors of BBQ into a colorful and flavorful hearty chili.
One of my favorite types of get-togethers are chili cookoffs, whether for prizes or just a group of friends having fun. I've won many awards for my Thai Curry Chili and other people who made my Quick Chili have won cookoffs with it, so I know a thing or two about making chili. Flavor and textures are the key to good chili and pulled pork chili delivers in every way!
You can use leftover pulled pork or start with an uncooked pork roast. The instructions and timing are different depending on the type of pork you use so be sure to look at the table of contents to navigate to the section that applies to you.
What I love about this pulled pork chili is the ability to make it quickly if you need a fast dinner or put it on in the morning and let it cook all day. Either way, the results are outstanding!
Ingredients & Substitutions
My first recommendation is to use leftover smoked pulled pork because that hint of smoky flavor is so delicious in the chili.
However, if you don't have a smoker, you can still make delicious pulled pork using your Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot Duo/Pro Crisp by combining the pressure cook function with the air frying function. This will give you tender pork with a nicely rendered fat that creates a bark, which is traditional in smoked pork. Here is my recipe for pulled pork not using a smoker: Ninja Foodi Pulled Pork.
If you don't have leftover pulled pork and don't want to make a pork shoulder, there are plenty of other options that will work great in this chili. You can use leftover pork chops or any cooked pork roast. Cube it up, or shred it in the pulled pork chili.
Leftover Pork Options
- Cooked Pork Butt or Pork Shoulder
- Leftover pork chops
- Pork Loin
- Pork Tenderloin
Raw Pork Options
- Bone in pork chops: These will provide more flavor than boneless and be more tender in your chili
- Pork Loin: Cut into chunks, season and simmer in the chili for several hours or slow cook
- Pork Tenderloin: Season and either cut in half to simmer in the chili or cut into chunks.
- Pork Shoulder: I recommend cooking the pork shoulder first before adding to the chili because of the amount of fat and juices that will be released during the cooking process. If you put this cut in raw, you will have a very fatty and liquid chili.
If you don't want to use pork, you can certainly use leftover brisket for a beef-based chili, smoked chicken for a chicken-based chili or ground beef will work in a pinch.
Many chili recipes are made with kidney beans, but I used a can of chili beans which are pinto beans in a mild chili sauce and it worked perfectly! You put both the beans and the sauce into the chili so no draining which I love!
If you don't want to use the chili beans, you can use drained pinto beans or kidney beans in their place. You may need to increase the seasonings some since you won't have the chili sauce. Black beans are another option. I kept the beans to a minimum in this pork chili recipe, but you can double the beans or even omit them if you want.
Chili Base Ingredients
What I mean by the base ingredients are the onions, green peppers, tomato sauce, and stock or broth used to make the base of the chili before seasonings and other ingredients are added. This chili starts off like most chilis with sautéing onions, green peppers and garlic. Tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and beef stock are added along with other spices and liquids to make the perfect pulled pork chili.
I use a sweet onion in this recipe, but you can use a yellow onion, white onion, or even a red onion instead.
If you don't like green peppers but like red bell peppers use them instead. Or you can use a combination of colorful bell peppers. The flavor will change slightly, but it certainly won't ruin anything.
I like the combination of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes in this recipe, but if you don't like chunks of tomatoes, you can omit the diced tomatoes and add another cup of the tomato sauce instead. You can also use fire roasted tomatoes instead of plain diced tomatoes. If you want to omit all tomato products, you will need to increase the beef stock/broth by about 1½ cups and your chili will be thinner.
Chicken broth, vegetable broth, or beef broth/stock will all work in this recipe.
The magic happens here. What I did was use the same sort of ingredients that I use in my 10-minute BBQ sauce which brings that bbq flavor without it tasting like you are eating a bowl of BBQ sauce with pork and veggies. For the best results, I recommend making the pulled pork chili with the same liquids and spices I have in the recipe.
However, you can try adding a combination of your favorite BBQ sauce along with some BBQ rub. I would start off with ¼ cup of BBQ sauce along with 1-2 teaspoons of BBQ rub and then once it has simmered for about 15 minutes, add more to taste.
As a last-minute addition to my pork chili, I added corn and absolutely loved it so I kept it in the recipe. You can use frozen corn, fresh corn or drained canned corn. If you don't like corn or don't want to use it, simply omit it; no other changes are necessary.
I thought about adding a can of green chiles but didn't have any. This would be a great addition but will add some spiciness to the chili.
A lot of the fun with chili is picking the toppings and you can certainly use the more traditional toppings like green onions, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips or corn chips. However, to keep with the bbq theme, I used hushpuppies with a little shredded cheese. The combination is outstanding and I loved dipping the hushpuppies into the chili and taking a bite. Delicious!
Here is the recipe for the hushpuppies: Air Fryer Hushpuppies.
How to Make Pulled Pork Chili
The instructions and ingredients are going to be the same for most cooking methods. I will go over timing for slow cooking, braising in the oven, and braising in the Ninja Possible Cooker Pro in this section.
In the next section I will go over the specific directions for pressure cooking because it is different from other methods.
Mise En Place (Prep for Recipe)
If you don't have leftover pulled pork, the easiest thing to do is make some either using your pressure cooker or a smoker (recommended). You only need a pound for this recipe, so you can definitely make the pulled pork as part of meal prep for the week and use it for several different meals.
If you want to cook the pork in the chili, I will give specific instructions in the next section for using your pressure cooker which is the quickest and easiest way to make this recipe with raw pork.
Dice the peppers and onions into ½" dice.
If you are using a hot pepper, I suggest cutting off a slice and tasting it to determine if you want the entire pepper with or without the seeds added to your pulled pork chili.
A lot of the heat is in the seeds, so for a milder flavor omit those.
Add about 1 Tablespoon of oil (olive or avocado) to whatever appliance you are using to cook the chili (pot on the stove, Ninja Foodi, Ninja Speedi, Ninja Possible Cooker Pro) and turn on sear/sauté on high to heat the oil.
If you are using a slow cooker that doesn't have a sauté function, I recommend sautéing the vegetables with the spices on the stove and transferring them to the slow cooker pot. This is optional though, you can simply add the uncooked ingredients to the slow cooker, stir and slow cook.
Once the oil is hot, add the diced onions and peppers and sauté until they are about 50% cooked and the onions start to take on a translucent color.
Add in the spice blend and stir. Add in the garlic and stir. Cook for about 1 minute and turn the heat off.
Adding Remaining Ingredients
Add in the pulled pork, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar and stir to combine.
Add the beef stock or broth, a can of diced tomatoes (with the juice), and the tomato sauce. Stir well.
Add in the corn (drain the juice if using canned), chili beans (with the sauce) and sliced hot peppers, if using. Stir.
Quick Tip: Beans
You can use more beans if desired, but if you are using canned kidney beans, pinto beans, or black beans make sure to drain them before adding into the chili.
Cooking Pulled Pork Chili
Ninja Possible Cooker Pro Method
I used the Possible Cooker Pro for this recipe because of the braising function. The braising function seemed just a little hotter than slow cook and kept the chili at the perfect simmer the entire time. When I used the slow cooker method, the chili needed 2 hours on high and when I used the braise function, it was done and delicious in just 1 hour.
Select the Braise Function, put the lid on the Possible Cooker and set the time for 1 hour.
Just before the hour is up, taste some of the chili and add salt, pepper, or any spices that you think it needs. This is a great time to adjust the heat level. If it isn't spicy enough, add in some chipotle or cayenne pepper. If it's too spicy, you can add in extra tomatoes or tomato sauce to cut the spice level. You may have to add some salt or other seasonings to get it back into balance.
If your slow cooker doesn't have a sauté function, you will either do that step on the stove or skip the sauté and add all the ingredients directly to the slow cooker. Make sure the dry seasonings are well blended into the liquid.
Slow Cooker Chili with Cooked Pork
Use this method for any type of slow cooker (Ninja Foodi, Ninja Speedi, Instant Pot) or crock pot. The only difference may be the timing depending on how your slow cooker operates.
Slow Cook on High for 1-2 hours or until the flavors infuse and the chili is hot.
Slow Cook on Low for 2-4 hours or until the flavors infuse and the chili is hot.
Quick Tip: Slow Cook
If you want to slow cook all day instead of just a few hours, use the low setting and add an extra cup or two of beef broth to accommodate for the evaporation. Otherwise your chili could easily become too thick and possibly even burn.
Slow Cooker Chili with Uncooked Pork
Use this method for any type of slow cooker (Ninja Foodi, Ninja Speedi, Instant Pot) or crock pot. The only difference may be the timing depending on how your slow cooker operates.
Pork Loin or Tenderloin: Season (use more of the same seasonings as in the recipe or your favorite BBQ rub) and chop the loin or tenderloin into 3" chunks and sear in hot oil until brown on all sides. Proceed with sautéing the onions and peppers.
Decrease the liquid to just 1 cup of beef broth/stock. You will have liquid from the pork as it cooks.
Add in the remaining ingredients and slow cook on HIGH for 4-6 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours. The pork should easily shred into the chili when done.
Pork Chops: Follow the same instructions as above, but leave the pork chops whole and don't decrease the liquid. Using raw pork chops with the bone in is the better choice, but boneless pork chops will work.
Quick Tip: Bone In Pork Chops
Don't forget to remove the bones from the pork chops after cooking!
Stove Top Directions (cooked pork)
In a large pot on the stove, add about 1 Tablespoon of oil and turn the heat on high or medium-high. When the oil is hot, sauté the onions and peppers for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, seasonings, and cooked pork and stir well.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook on the stove maintaining a simmer for about 1 hour. This may require adjusting the temperature on your stove until you find what works best to keep the pot simmering.
Remove the lid after about 45 minutes if the chili is not thick enough. Taste for seasonings and Serve!
Stove Top Directions (uncooked pork)
Cube the raw pork into 2-3" cubes and season with more of the same seasonings in this recipe or with your favorite BBQ rub.
In a large pot on the stove, add about 1 Tablespoon of oil and turn the heat on high or medium-high. When the oil is hot, sauté the onions, peppers, and pork cubes for 3-5 minutes.
Add the garlic and seasonings, stir well and immediately add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Cover the pot and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the pork is fully cooked and fall apart tender. Some cuts of pork will cook faster than others.
Serving Pulled Pork Chili
Once you have your chili seasoned exactly the way you want it, it's time to top it with your favorite toppings!
Usually I like to load my chili up with all kinds of toppings, but, with this one, I keep it fairly simple and simply add some shredded cheese and, of course, a hushpuppy!
Special Instructions for Pressure Cooking Pulled Pork Chili
If you want to use your pressure cooker there are a few things I would do differently because of the way pressure cookers work. You need thin liquid to build and maintain pressure.
Pressure Cooking with Cooked Pork
Start out the same way by sautéing the onions and peppers for a few minutes, then add in the garlic, sliced hot peppers (if using), seasonings, and all the thin liquid ingredients (beef stock, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce) and stir.
You can add in the corn, and diced tomatoes, but don't add in the chili beans with sauce or the tomato sauce until after pressure cooking.
Put the pressure lid on turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes with a 5-minute natural release. Manually release any remaining pressure and open the lid.
Add in the can of beans and tomato sauce. Stir well to combine. If the chili isn't thick enough you can thicken with tomato paste.
Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
Pressure Cooking with Raw Pork
If you are using raw pork, pressure cooking is a great way to cook and tenderize the pork.
Cube the pork if using pork shoulder, pork loin, or pork tenderloin and leave pork chops whole or cut them in half if they are large. Season and sauté in hot oil with the onions and green peppers.
If you are using pork loin, pork chops, or pork tenderloin, use about 1½ pounds, unless the pork chops have bones; then increase to 2 pounds. Don't change the liquid amounts.
If you are using a raw cubed pork shoulder, use 1½ pounds and DECREASE the liquid to 1 cup of beef broth or stock.
Add the seasonings, liquid ingredients, corn, and diced tomatoes. Pressure cook on high for 20 minutes with a 10-minute natural release. Manually release the remaining pressure by turning the valve to vent and open the lid.
Add in the chili beans with sauce and the tomato sauce, stir well. Thicken with tomato paste if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
How to Store Leftover Pulled Pork Chili
Pulled pork Chili makes great leftovers and I've used it for nachos and even turned it into a completely different meal by adding some pasta, cheese, and sour cream.
Store the leftover chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The timing will depend on the age of the leftover pork that was used to make the chili. The older the pulled pork, the shorter time it can be kept in the fridge.
Before freezing it is very important that the chili is cold. I recommend refrigerating it overnight and freezing the next day.
If the food is warm when packaged for freezing, steam can be produced inside the container or freezer bag, resulting in ice crystals forming.
Air is another issue when freezing food, so make sure you choose a container that is the proper size for the amount of leftovers. You don't want a 3-cup container for 1 cup of leftover chili or there will be too much air trapped in the container which can lead to decreased quality of the food when thawed.
Freeze the pulled pork chili in airtight freezer containers or bags for up to 6 months. After 6 months the chili is still safe to eat, but the quality may suffer a bit.
How to Reheat Pulled Pork Chili
Slow Cooker (preferred)
My preferred method for reheating leftovers that are thicker like chili and stews is slow cooking.
Place the chili in the slow cooker and reheat on low for about an hour or high for about 30 minutes. Make sure the chili reaches at least 165℉/74℃ for food safety.
Place the chili in a pot on the stove and add ½-1 cup of beef broth/stock or water if the chili is really thick. Heat over low heat until the chili is hot and reaches at least 165℉/74℃.
Frequently Asked Questions
It can be, but it doesn't have to be; that all depends on the ingredients you use.
If you don't want any spice, don't add in the red or green jalapeno peppers or the chipotle seasoning.
If you want it spicy, then increase the amount of hot peppers or chipotle seasoning until your desired level of spice is reached.
Yes, absolutely! Just increase and decrease the ingredients as desired.
I have made Nachos with the leftover chili and they were delicious. Just make sure to strain the liquid from the chili before putting on your tortilla chips so they don't get soggy. Top with cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese melts and everything is hot. Garnish with some sour cream and enjoy!
I also made a delicous pasta dinner from the leftover pulled pork chili. Simply add cooked rotini and cheddar cheese to the leftovers and when it's warm and ready to serve, stir in some sour cream. It's so good!
What to serve with Pulled Pork Chili
Chili is a hearty meal in and of itself, but if you want some side dishes here are few that pair perfectly with pork chili.
In fact, you can use the coleslaw as a topping!
More Chili Recipes!
Chili can be made all kinds of ways with various flavor profiles. I enjoy switching things up and, if you do too, you will love these chili recipes!
Pulled Pork Chili Recipe
- Ninja Foodi Possible Cooker Pro OR
- Slow Cooker OR
- Pressure Cooker
- 1 Tablespoon Chili powder dark or light is fine
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon fine grind sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil or oil of choice
- 1 large sweet onion ½" dice, about 1 cup
- 2 green bell peppers ½" dice, about 1-1½ cups
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic 1 medium size bulb
- 1 pound leftover pulled pork about 2 cups cooked
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 1½ cups corn frozen, fresh or canned (drained)
- 16 ounces chili beans
- 1 red chili pepper or jalapeno. Remove seeds for less heat.
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle pepper optional to add spiciness
- shredded cheese for topping
- Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large pot on the stove (or any appliance with sear/sauté) and heat over high heat until hot. Add in the diced onions & green peppers. Sauté on high for about 3 minutes or until the onions and peppers are about 50% cooked.1 large sweet onion, 2 green bell peppers, 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Add in the seasoning blend and the minced garlic. Stir and reduce the heat to medium or turn it off if you are braising or slow cooking the chili. Stir to combine the ingredients.1 Tablespoon Chili powder, 2 teaspoons sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon fine grind sea salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard, 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- Add the cooked pork, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and stir to combine.1 pound leftover pulled pork, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- Add all the remaining ingredients (except cheese) and stir. Increase the heat to high and bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low or low so that it is simmering. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Taste for seasonings and add chipotle pepper if you want it spicier. Add salt, pepper, and any other seasonings to taste.2 cups beef broth, 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes, 15 ounces tomato sauce, 1½ cups corn, 1 red chili pepper, ¼ teaspoon chipotle pepper, 16 ounces chili beans
- Ladle into bowls and top with shredded cheese and serve with air fryer hushpuppies if desired. Enjoy!
Possible Cooker Settings
- The directions are the same and once all the ingredients are added select the braise function. Cover with the lid and braise for 1 hour.
Slow Cooker Settings
- The directions are the same. If your slow cooker can't sauté, you can either do that on the stove or skip that part. Slow cook on HIGH for 2 hours or LOW for 3-4 hours.
Pressure Cooker Settings
- Please refer to the section in the recipe article that goes over this.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
I WOULD LOVE TO SEE WHAT YOU ARE COOKING UP IN YOUR KITCHEN! TAG ME @THESALTEDPEPPER ON YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM WHEN YOU MAKE A DISH!
BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE SALTED PEPPER RIGHT HERE ⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓