Pulled pork is a relatively simple dish to make: Create a rub. Toss it in a pot. Shred it. Make a sauce. Mix it together and you’re done.
The shredding step isn't difficult, but it's tedious nonetheless. This is why when I make pulled pork, I make a lot.
It’s easy to reinvent pulled pork in a variety of meals sure to please even the leftover haters among us. It also freezes beautifully for those busy weekdays when you need to get something on the table in a hurry.
Pick Your Favorite Pulled Pork Recipe
I usually cook anywhere from 6 to 12 pounds of pork at time when making pulled pork. Here are a few recipes to get you started:
- Basic Pulled Pork
- Slow Cooker Cider Pulled Pork
- Slow Cooker Dr Pepper Pulled Pork
- Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork (or make it in the pressure cooker)
- Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork (or make it in the pressure cooker)
- Barbecue Pork Shoulder on a Gas Grill
Make sure the pulled pork recipe you make works well for the kind of leftovers you enjoy eating. For example, Chinese Pulled Pork might work better stuffed into buns and steamed rather than reimagined in chili, whereas the sweet and salty combination of Slow Cooker Cider Pulled Pork works great with the spicy flavors in a piping hot bowl of chili.
How to Store or Freeze Leftover Pulled Pork
Pulled pork will keep for about five days in the fridge, or you can freeze it for later use.
To portion shredded pork out for freezing, I plan on about 3/4 cup per person. Fill a freezer-safe container with enough to feed your family for the night plus a guest or two, label it, and put it in the deep freeze.
Once frozen, cooked pork will keep for up to 8 months, which is long enough to get me through the darkest days of winter and well into spring.
6 Favorite Meals With Pulled Pork
1. Pulled Pork Sandwiches
I always make pulled pork sandwiches as a starter meal. They feed a crowd, which means I know there is enough to feed friends or family who may stop by. Pulled pork sandwiches are universally loved and eaten by all members of the family, which gives me a dinner with rave reviews and zero complaints. Mom: 1. Picky Eaters: 0. I can appreciate that kind of scorecard.
Once we’ve enjoyed an evening of those, I transform that shredded meat into a number of different dishes.
2. Pulled Pork Chili
Pulled pork chili is a family favorite. I heat some oil in a large pot, sauté an onion, add some tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Then add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, a couple of cans of kidney beans, and a few mild green chilies for good measure.
Toss in some of the leftover pulled pork and stir in some water. Once everything is warmed through, dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes. If I have the time, I like to top chili with fresh cilantro, radish sticks and Queso Fresco or avocado. If not, it’s perfectly robust and flavorful as it. I serve it with soup crackers or a warmed tortilla if I have some on hand.
3. Pulled Pork Tacos
Extra fixings made the night before for Pork Chili easily transition into Pork Tacos. I heat a little oil in a skillet on the stove top, add the same spices I put in my chili to adjust the flavor of the pork, but I leave out the tomato paste and sauce. Add leftover pork to the skillet, stir to combine and warm it all the way through. The result is pulled pork tacos.
These tacos go well topped with fruit pico de gallo. I prefer a mango pico made with diced mango, red onion, and cilantro. It’s quick and pretty, too.
4. Pulled Pork Ravioli
If I have a little time on my hands, pulled pork ravioli is always on the menu. I don’t bother adjusting the sauce at all. If I think about it ahead of time, I will even take some the pulled pork I made for sandwiches and set it aside before adding sauce to what remains.
I add about 1 tablespoon of pulled pork to segments of homemade pasta dough to create each ravioli. Most of the time, I finish it with a simple sauce of red chili flakes, crunchy garlic chips and olive oil.
5. Pulled Pork Pizza
Pulled pork and pizza go hand in hand. I’m not a huge fan of saucy pizzas, so usually don't add any extra beyond what's already on the pulled pork.
I top a homemade or store bought pizza round with pulled pork, then pile on thinly sliced red onion, minced garlic, pineapple, and fresh chopped hot or mild peppers. Sometimes, I want the heat of a jalapeño, or the mild flavor of a roasted poblano.
I top it all with cheese, usually queso fresco, but I will use whatever I have lying around. You could also stick with the BBQ Pulled Pork theme, top the pizza with barbecue sauce, add the pork, pickled onions, fresh red onions, top it with some cheese, and call it a day.
6. Pulled Pork for Breakfast
Finally, I love a hot breakfast. Sweet or savory, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s hot.
One of my favorite ways to use leftover pulled pork is to make Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Hash. I usually roast vegetables every Sunday that I then use in dishes throughout the week. It's easy enough to toss together previously roasted potatoes and onions in skillet with pulled pork, and then top it with an egg or two.