Smoky Pulled Pork Chili with Cornbread Croutons

It’s chili night! Specifically, smoky pulled pork chili with cornbread croutons.

Pulled pork chili in a Dutch oven

Let’s make smoky pulled pork chili with cornbread croutons

The cool thing:  This isn’t just any chili.  Nope, there’s absolutely nothing ordinary about it.

It’s pulled pork chili, with all sorts of smokiness, and lots and lots of flavor.  First, the pork shoulder is slow cooked in the crock pot with coffee grounds (don’t knock it til ya’ try it!), chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika (the trifecta!).  Once it’s fork-tender, you pull it all apart and it’s so super tender on the inside, and has that awesome coffee-spice crust on the outside.  Omg it’s so good.  Can you tell I’m excited?

After that, it’s time to make the chili (if the pork is still in existence), which takes no time at all.  The spices are sauteed in onion and garlic, then the pork pieces are added with adobo sauce (smoky!), crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, more seasonings (if you please) and a lil stock if it’s too thick.  But can chili really be too thick?

Anyway, it’s just so very delicious.

Cornbread croutons on a baking sheet

How to make cornbread croutons

Oh!  And there are these croutons, you guys!  THESE CROUTONS.

They’re scratch-made lil cornbreads, baked until supa-crisp, then thrown on top of the chili for an extra somethin-somethin.

Pulled pork chili in a white bowl with cornbread croutons

What do you think about that??

Also, please excuse how ugly chili is.  It’s so not pretty, but man does it taste good.



Smoky Pulled Pork Chili with Cornbread Croutons

Smoky bean chili with chili-rubbed pulled pork topped with homemade cornbread croutons.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 25-30 mins
  • Cook Time: 45-50 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins-1 hr 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Baking, Slow Cooking
  • Cuisine: American


Cornbread Croutons:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs

Pulled Pork:

  • 1 ½ pounds pork shoulder, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons coffee grounds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from can of chipotle chilies)
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup unsalted stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  1. To make croutons: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, ¼ cup oil and eggs until combined. Pour wet ingredients into the dry, just until combined. Pour mix into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Bake 16-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to completely cool. Remove cornbread from the baking dish and cut into cubes. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place on a greased baking sheet. Lightly toss in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake 10-15 minutes, until crispy and lightly browned. Remove and allow to slightly cool.
  2. To make pulled pork: Place pork shoulder in the bowl of a greased slow cooker. In a small bowl, whisk together chili powder, coffee grounds, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper. Rub half the spice mixture on all sides of the pork shoulder. Pour about ½ cup water or stock in the bottom of the slow cooker. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours, until pork is fork tender. Remove bones and any excess fat. Transfer pork to a cutting board and shred with forks into bite sized pieces.
  3. To make chili: Heat oil in a medium stock pot or Dutch oven. Add onion and saute 4-5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and saute 30-60 seconds. Stir in remaining spice mixture, pork pieces and adobo sauce. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, kidney beans and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add additional chili powder, if needed.


Cooking Tip: Pulled pork and cornbread can be made up to 3 days in advance.


  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 559
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 608mg
  • Fat: 29g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 20g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 53g
  • Fiber: 10g
  • Protein: 26g
  • Cholesterol: 101mg

Keywords: crock pot, smoked, best, easy, slow cooker, whole wheat, healthy

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