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shredded pork tenderloin in white bowl topped with cilantro on marble background

Meaningful Eats

Slow-Cooker Sweet Island Pork

This slow-cooker sweet island pork is a fall-apart tender with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. This is my go-to recipe whenever I'm making dinner for someone!
Serve this pork with easy, roasted sweet potatoes and dairy-free coleslaw for a delicious meal. You can also use the meat to make amazing slow-cooker pork tacos!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours 5 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 2 pounds of pork tenderloin
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce


  • On a large plate, combine the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon. Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork tenderloins.
  • Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the pork and brown on all sides, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the heat from the pan. Transfer the pork to the slow cooker.
  • Add ½ cup of water to the hot, now-empty pan and scrape any browned bits to deglaze. Pour the liquid into the slow-cooker. Add the brown sugar, garlic, and hot sauce. Combine and cook on low for 4-6 hours. (Now is a good time to make the pickled onions so they can sit!)
  • Shred the meat before serving and mix with the sauce. Season it with more salt, hot sauce and sugar if needed. I almost always add a little more salt. Enjoy!


Recipe Notes:
This recipe requires a few extra steps to get into the slow-cooker, but it’s 100% worth the effort. Browning the meat makes a huge difference in the flavor of these tacos.
Ingredient Notes:
  • Pork tenderloin: Pork tenderloin usually comes in packs of 2. You’ll need both for this recipe.
  • Brown sugar: Gives the pork a delicious sweet-smoky taste. The sugar balances perfectly with the garlic and hot sauce.
  • Garlic: This recipe calls for a full 2 tablespoons of garlic. But just trust it! It doesn’t overpower the dish and rather lends a delicious savory flavor.
  • Hot sauce: This pork doesn’t taste spicy. The hot sauce simply rounds out the other flavors. My kids eat this dish all the time and don’t notice any spice. If you’d like it spicier feel free to add more hot sauce!
  • Spices: Cinnamon, cumin and chili powder make the best combination. You use the spices to form a crust on the pork.


Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 696mg | Potassium: 499mg | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1.5mg