Pulled Pork Sandwich

Skip the jarred BBQ sauce! This pulled pork comes together easily and the homemade marinade makes the difference. Slowly cooked pork shoulder becomes fall-off-the-bone tender.

Pulled pork sandwich on a plate.

Annika Panikker

Pulled pork sandwiches can hardly be called sandwiches! The sauce soaks into the buns and if you tried to pick one up with your hands it would completely fall apart.

Well, perhaps if you used a sturdier bun, and wrapped the sandwich in aluminum foil like a burrito, it could be eaten like a sandwich. We just pile the pulled pork on a hamburger bun and eat it with a fork.

Warm and spicy, pulled pork is the perfect dish for cooler weather (though we enjoy it any time of the year). This is my father's pulled pork sandwich recipe, and is, in my humble opinion, the best.

How to Make Pulled Pork

We start with a sauce that is a purée of garlic, onion, jalapeño, mustard, vinegar, ketchup, and a few other ingredients. If you have the time, you can marinate the pork in the sauce overnight or for a few hours before you cook it. This will allow the pork to absorb even more of the sauce's flavor.

We simmer pork shoulder (oddly also called pork "butt") in the marinade sauce for a couple of hours until the meat is fall-apart tender. Then we remove the pork to shred it, reduce the sauce, and return the pork to the sauce.

Overhead view of pulled pork sandwiches on plates.
Annika Panikker

What to Serve With Pulled Pork

You can serve pulled pork as is, over hamburger buns for a sandwich. We love to have it with coleslaw on the side, either our no-mayo coleslaw, or our classic coleslaw.

You might also to serve it alongside baked beans, collard greens, or make slow cooker mac and cheese while the pork cooks.

Adapting This Recipe for a Slow Cooker

Cooking pork shoulder in a slow cooker is an easy, hands-off way to make pulled pork. If you want to go that route, cook the pork 6 to 10 hours on low, until the meat shreds easily with a fork.

Storing and Keeping Pulled Pork

Covered and refrigerated, pulled pork will keep for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it in an airtight container for about 3 months.

Pulled pork sandwich on a plate with coleslaw.

Annika Panikker

More Pulled Pork, You Say? Here You Go

See Also: 6 Different Meals to Make with Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 55 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • For the sauce:
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 pickled jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • Salt
  • For the pork:
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 pounds pork butt shoulder roast
  • Hamburger buns

Method

  1. Purée sauce ingredients in blender:

    Purée all of the sauce ingredients (everything except the bay leaf, the pork and the buns) in a blender until smooth.

    If you have extra time, marinate the pork in the sauce overnight or for several hours before cooking.

    Overhead view of a glass measuring cup with sauce to make pulled pork.
    Annika Panikker
  2. Simmer pork:

    Put sauce, bay leaf, and pork into a large pot and add 1 quart of water. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, covered, turning frequently, for 2 hours or until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork.

    A dutch oven with pork shoulder roast set inside with sauce to make how to make pulled pork.
    Annika Panikker
    A dutch oven with a fork shredding the pork to show how to make pulled pork.
    Annika Panikker
  3. Shred the pork:

    Remove from heat and cool pork in the sauce. When cool enough to touch, remove the pork from the sauce and shred into small pieces. Set aside.

    Pulled pork shredded on a cutting board with two forks.

    Annika Panikker

  4. Reduce sauce, return pork to sauce:

    Put the sauce back on the stove and bring it to a low boil. Let the sauce boil down until it has been reduced by two thirds. Add the pork back to the sauce. Salt to taste.

    Dutch oven with simmering sauce for pulled pork.
    Annika Panikker
    Shredded pork added to a dutch oven filled with sauce to make stove top pulled pork.
    Annika Panikker
  5. Serve:

    Remove the bay leaf before serving. Serve the pork hot over open-face hamburger buns.

    A table set with a person spooning pulled pork on a bun to make a pulled pork sandwich.
    Annika Panikker