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Pulled pork sandwich on a square white plate

Pulled Pork Sandwich

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This flavorful Pulled Pork Sandwich recipe is infused with deliciousness from a simple rub then slow-cooked in the oven until incredibly tender. Follow the tips to make a fall apart it’s the perfect tutorial for How to Make Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

This is the Best Pulled Pork Recipe and has been my go-to version for nearly a decade. The shredded pork is scrumptious served as a sandwich but leftovers can be utilized in all sorts of family-friendly recipes, from nachos to casseroles.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches topped with slaw on a round white plate

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Why, oh why, did it take me so long to make pulled pork???? Maybe it’s that I’m not a huge fan of BBQ sauce. Maybe it’s the icky Liquid Smoke called for in some recipes. But this pulled pork recipe clinched it. I now love pulled pork. The aroma in the kitchen as this cooked for 6 hours was absolutely incredible. It was hard not to nibble a whole meal’s worth of pork while shredding it. Piled on a bun, and topped with coleslaw made marvelous pulled pork sandwiches!

What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork?

You will want a cut of pork with lots of fat and connective tissue. The shoulder has two optimal cuts, the picnic cut or the Boston butt. The long, slow cooking time allows the fat to melt away and the connective tissue to tenderize. You can use a lean cut like pork tenderloin, but it won’t be nearly as flavorful do to the lean nature of the cut.

How do you make pulled pork?

Start with a flavorful rub. Either purchase a ready-made rub or make my easy rub recipe. Smear it all over the pork roast, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight. The longer time allows the rub to infuse into the pork like a dry brine.

This recipe requires 6 hours in the oven, plus time for the meat to cool slightly before shredding, so plan your cooking time accordingly. Place the pork in a covered Dutch oven and cook at 300º unless otherwise directed. It’s done when you can easily shred the meat with a couple of forks. Low and slow is key. Alternatively, you can make pulled pork in your slow cooker (5-6 hours on high or 10-11 hours on low).

How do you shred cooked meat?

Once the meat has cooled slightly, remove it to a large cutting board. Cut the roast into a few large pieces, then take two forks, and pull in opposite directions. Continue the process until all the meat is shredded. Discard any pieces of fat.

I like having a few larger pieces of pork, but if you’d like thinner, more shredded pork, keep pulling until all the meat is well shredded.

What should you serve with shredded pork sandwiches?

I obviously love the combination of the rich pork with a fresh, crisp cabbage salad, but there are some other classic pairings with pulled pork.

Best Pulled Pork Recipe topped with coleslaw on a white plate with pickles

Tips for Serving, Storing and Repurposing Your Pulled Pork Recipe

I love making a pulled pork sandwich with the optional topping of coleslaw, but there are marvelous ways to use the leftover pork. With a 6 pound Boston butt roast, there are bound to be a few leftovers.

  • Coleslaw is always a fabulous topping unless you’re my picky husband! Bill looked at me like I was crazy when I told him the coleslaw was to go on top of the pork. He wasn’t having any of that, but he did eat it on the side. The cool creamy dressing is a delicious contrast to the hot barbecue pork. A tender brioche bun is my favorite vehicle for the BBQ pork, but regular hamburger buns or even sandwich bread is fine.
  • This recipe comes with a sauce made from the pan drippings which is perfect to coat all the pieces of pork. If you have a favorite brand or homemade BBQ sauce, it’s nice to offer that as another topping. Or just use more of the pan sauce.
  • The picky offspring did not partake of the slaw either, though the boys also enjoyed their pulled pork sans cabbage. I thought this BBQ pork recipe was terrific with my tried and true coleslaw with a light buttermilk dressing.
  • I think this will become a new Memorial Day tradition; these pulled pork sandwiches offer the perfect combination of textures and flavors!
  • There are numerous options for shredded pork recipes. Leftovers make terrific tacos! Layer the pulled pork with your favorite taco fixings like shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes, and salsa onto your tortillas.
  • Make burrito bowls, quesadillas, nachos, lettuce wraps, or any favorite casserole with pulled pork in place of chicken or ground beef!
  • You can also freeze leftover pulled pork. Add the pork and enough sauce to coat it into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Remove excess air and write the date on the bag. Freeze up to 3 months.
  • Pulled pork will be fine in the refrigerator for 3-4 days if handled properly and not left out on the counter for more than 2 hours.

Pulled Pork Sandwich on a bun topped with coleslaw with a pitcher of BBQ sauce

More Pork Recipes to Try:

If your family loves pork as much as mine does, try this Apple Mustard Pork Tenderloin, Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs or these Slow Cooker Asian Pork Tacos!  The Food Charlatan shared her marvelous Honey Balsamic Slow Cooker Pork Ribs and I also love the sound of Foodie with Family’s Easy Garlic Ginger Glazed Sticky Pork. Check out all my Entree Recipes, too.

 

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This recipe was first shared in June 2012. Photos and text were updated in 2020.

Pulled pork sandwich on a square white plate

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Perfect pulled pork adapted from Tyler Florence

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Yield 12 servings

Ingredients

Dry Rub:

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6-pound Pork shoulder roast

Cider-Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow or brown mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pan drippings from the pork

Instructions

  1. Mix together the rub ingredients then sprinkle and rub all over pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300º. Put the pork in a coved Dutch oven and roast it for about 6 hours or until it's falling apart.
  3. While the pork is roasting, make the barbecue sauce. Combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from burner and allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. When the pork is done, take it out of the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Pour about a half-cup of very hot water into the pan and whisk to bring up all the crusts and juices. Pour that into the saucepan with the sauce and cook 5 minutes.
  5. While the pork is still warm, shred the meat using two forks (remove obvious fat). Put the shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over. Stir it all up well so that the pork is coated with the sauce.
  6. To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom half of each hamburger bun, and top with some coleslaw, if desired. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Notes

If your juices are too fatty for your liking, you can use a fat separator to remove some of the fat before making the sauce. A fat separator is terrific for making turkey gravy, too.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 742Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 210mgSodium: 2245mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 56g

HOW MUCH DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?

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16 comments on “Pulled Pork Sandwich”

  1. Just saw the recipe for the Pullled Pork, and it looks delicious. I do have a question, was wandering if you could do this in the slow cooker? Thanks so much, can’t wait to try this 🙂

    • Yes, you can definitely cook this in a slow cooker! I’m not sure the timing, but I’d probably cook it for a LONG time, till you can shred the meat. Good luck…it’s SO tasty!

    • I must admit: I’ve never made pulled pork. I’ve only made chicken, but of course it’s not the same (delicious too, though). It’s just about the time. 6 hours of sitting in the oven? I’m lazy even for this passive cooking 🙂 I must also admit this pork looks splendid! High five for making the run and sauce from scratch.

  2. Oh boy these look spectacular

  3. I love the cider BBQ sauce! We devoured these pulled pork sandwiches!

  4. Pulled Pork is a great meal for any occasion! I love this easy recipe!

  5. This is so great for meal prep during this busy holiday season! 

  6. I love the generous amount of vinegar in the sauce! Sounds delicious and I bet it makes the house smell amazing too-enjoy:@)

  7. We love a pulled pork sandwich every now and then, and we are just drooling over your photos! What a delicious recipe! Thanks Liz

  8. The sandwich looks so good, Liz. I have everything for that homemade rub blend. Can’t wait to try it!

  9. I don’t like commercial BBQ sauces either. I prefer to make my pulled pork from tenderloin for caloric reasons but I totally get that the shoulder is more flavourful. The bun looks great too!

  10. Can’t wait to try this! Do you roast your pork in an open pan or in a covered Dutch oven?

  11. We love making this recipe ahead as it is great for picnics and for home gatherings. Can’t wait to try your BBQ sauce. Homemade is always better when you can pronounce all the ingredients too. Have a lovely weekend ahead.

  12. I don’t remember seeing your pulled pork recipe in the past so am really glad you posted a new and updated Post with all your tips and suggestions (which you already know I like). Lots of different ways to repurpose this.

  13. This sandwich is mouthwatering Liz! It’s a winner! The mix of spices you use in the dry rub is certainly giving this pork shoulder an amazing taste…and the aromas in the kitchen while this is roasting…!!! yummm!! The barbecue sauce, though elevates this sandwich on a whole other level. We will be definitely making this soon!

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