Pulled Pork Chili with Cornbread Croutons

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



Cornbread Croutons:

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

Pulled Pork:

  • 1 ½ pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of fat
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder + more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons coffee grounds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, peeled and 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 dark red kidney beans and/or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup unsalted stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)


To make the cornbread croutons:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper. Coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and ¾ teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the  milk, honey, ⅓ cup oil and eggs until combined. Pour wet ingredients into the dry, just until combined. Pour mix into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake 16-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to completely cool.  Cut the cornbread into cubes. Remove the cornbread from the baking dish using the parchment paper as handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the cornbread into cubes.
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the cornbread cubes on a greased baking sheet. Lightly toss in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Bake 10-15 minutes, until crispy and lightly browned. Remove and allow to slightly cool.

To make the pulled pork:

  1. Place the pork shoulder in the bowl of a greased slow cooker (you can also do this in the Instant Pot - it takes about an hour on high pressure - quick release).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

To make the chili:

  1. Heat the 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.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, kidney beans and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes. Add additional chili powder, salt and black pepper, if needed.
  3. Serve chili in bowls topped with the cornbread croutons.


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