Pulled Pork Sandwich made with juicy and flavorful pork shoulder roast, smothered in a smoky and sweet barbecue sauce. Serve it on your favorite buns with coleslaw for an unforgettable meal! Shredding it into small pieces after being cooked and then tossing with sauces at the end ensures maximum moist and flavor.
When I’m looking for a comforting meal for a crowd, Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe is one of my top choices along with Boneless Pork Chops and Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes. Just put out the pulled pork with the buns and slaw — people love assembling their own sandwiches. For many years, I’ve served pulled pork for everything from a simple weeknight dinner to parties and backyard barbecues.
Cooking pork shoulder whole at a consistent and low temperature ensures that the meat doesn’t dry out. After shredding the pork, you can quickly mix it with the sauce to add extra flavor. This method is the secret to making the most flavorful and tender pulled pork.
WHAT IS THE BEST CUT FOR PULLED PORK
The ideal cut of meat to use is a whole pork shoulder, half of which is Boston butt (or pork butt), and the other half is pork shoulder cut. Either one works well for pulled pork recipe. You will need about 4-5 pounds. Look for the cut that’s well-marbled with a layer of fat on the bottom. Don’t worry about the fat, I will share with you a method to easily remove the fat once the pork is fully cooked.
Bone-in has better flavor and costs less, but boneless will do just fine.
If you can’t find pork shoulder, then you can use pork loin, also called a center cut roast. Some people prefer it as a leaner cut, although it won’t be as moist and doesn’t shred as easily.
PULLED PORK RUB
A delicious Pulled Pork Sandwich starts with seasoning the pork shoulder properly. Some of my favorite seasonings include homemade Taco Seasoning and Fajita Seasoning. In this recipe I used some simple ingredients to make the pulled pork dry rub:
- Mustard powder
- Brown sugar
- Salt & pepper
Massage your pork generously with the rub, and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or up to 1 day.
HOW TO MAKE PULLED PORK
Several methods could be used to make pulled pork, such as stovetop method, oven roasted pulled pork, Instant Pot Pulled Pork or Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. The slow cooker is my favorite method as this easy pulled pork recipe yields the most flavorful and tender pulled pork for the pulled pork sandwiches. The pork shoulders can soak up the flavors of the broth during the lengthy cook time in the crockpot.
SEARING V.S. NO SEAR
Some recipes call for searing the pork shoulder before cooking it in the crockpot, but it doesn’t make much difference and it’s not worth the effort. You can skip this step without sacrificing the flavor.
To make pulled pork in slow cooker, place the seasoned pork shoulder in a crockpot, and then add onion /garlic, and pour in the barbecue sauce with chicken broth. Cover and cook until the roast is very tender and shreds easily with a fork.
After the pork is fully cooked, I like to transfer it to a baking sheet and let it rest until it’s cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Use two forks and shred into bite-sizes pieces.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COOK PULLED PORK?
The cook time depends on the size of your pork shoulder and the settings of your crock pot. For a 4-pound cut, it takes about 8 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high. To test for doneness, you can use a fork to poke through, if it’s easily pulled apart, it’s ready to be taken out. Another way is to use an instant-read thermometer. The interior should read 190ºF.
Remove the pork from the crock pot and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Then shred it with two forks or meat shredding claws.
To add extra flavor, I like to return shredded pork to the crock pot and toss with the sauce. Let it cook on low for about 15 minutes. Then drain the broth and stir in more barbecue sauce if desired.
Note: Pulled Pork can be overcooked if you leave it in the crockpot for too long. It can get mushy when overcooked, so check the pork before the recommended time.
PULLED PORK INTERNAL TEMPERATURE
Cook your pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 190ºF (88ºC ). The pork will be pulled apart nicely.
HOW TO PREPARE BUNS FOR BBQ PULLED PORK SANDWICH RECIPE
- Soft and sweet buns work best for this recipe. Hamburger buns, Hawaiian rolls and brioche buns are good choices
- Spread the inside of both halves of buns with butter or garlic butter.
- Toast the buns with the butter side down in a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until golden brown
- Spoon shredded pork onto one half of toasted buns, drizzle with barbecue sauce, top with Coleslaw and cover with the bun tops.
PULLED PORK SAUCE
This pulled pork sandwich tastes best with some barbecue pulled pork sauce. I like a smokey rich barbecue sauce that you can easily find at your local grocery store.
SIDE DISHES FOR PULLED PORK
LEFTOVER PULLED PORK
Leftover Pulled Pork can be stored in a refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, add olive oil or butter in a skillet on medium heat, cook the leftover pulled pork for a few minutes until cooked through. It’s great for some delicious recipes such as pulled pork tacos, pulled pork nacho, pulled pork pizza or Mac n Cheese with pulled pork.
You can also store leftover pork shoulder pulled pork in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months.
HOW TO MAKE COLESLAW FOR PULLED PORK SANDWICHES
Combine cabbage (I also like to add purple cabbage for the amazing looking), carrots, onion in a large bowl. Then make the dressing in a small bowl: whisk together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, chopped fresh parsley leaves, salt and pepper. Mix the dressing with vegetables and toss well.
Pulled Pork Sandwich
Pulled Pork Sandwich made with juicy and flavorful pork shoulder roast, smothered in a smoky and sweet barbecue sauce. Serve it on your favorite buns with coleslaw for an unforgettable meal!
Pull Pork Rub
- 3-4 lbs pork shoulder boneless or bone-in
- 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Pull Pork Sauce
- 1 medium onion sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
- 6-8 Hamburger buns
- Mix together Rub and season the pork all over with the seasoning. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- Place the pork in the slow cooker and add sliced onion, garlic, bbq sauce and chicken broth to the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours or until fork tender (the internal temperature reaches 190ºF)
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Then shred it with two forks.
- Return shredded pork to the slow cooker and toss with the sauce let it cook on low for about 15 minutes. Then drain the broth and stir in more barbecue sauce if desired
- To assemble Pulled Pork Sandwiches, spoon shredded pork onto one half of toasted buns, drizzle with barbecue sauce, top with Coleslaw and cover with the bun tops. Serve warm and enjoy!
- A 6-quart slow cooker is ideal, but any 4-8 quart crock pot will work too.
- If you wish to separate out some of the fat after cooking, you can pour the liquid from the crock pot to a bowl, and chill it in the fridge. There will be a layer of fat formed at the top and you can remove it with a spoon.
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