Pulled Pork Sandwiches Recipe (2024)

By Melissa Clark

Pulled Pork Sandwiches Recipe (1)

Total Time
3½ to 4½ hours, plus at least 1½ hours’ marinating and resting
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This recipe takes a good deal of time, but it yields a lot of sandwiches, more than enough for a sloppy, spicy dinner party feast. You’ll roast a dry-rubbed pork shoulder in the oven until it’s pull-apart tender, 3 or 4 hours that you can spend doing other things while your kitchen fills with the aroma of the cooking meat. Then you’ll assemble a quick slaw and simmer a tangy barbecue sauce for about 10 minutes before putting it all out on the table with soft rolls. Serve the combination warm, at any time of the year, for a weekend project well worth an afternoon’s work.

Featured in: Smaller Forkfuls of Pulled Pork

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Yield:8 to 10 servings

    For the Pork

    • teaspoons whole coriander seed
    • teaspoons whole cumin seed
    • teaspoons black peppercorns
    • teaspoons coarse kosher salt
    • teaspoons dry mustard powder
    • teaspoons chile powder
    • 3tablespoons dark brown sugar
    • pounds boneless pork shoulder
    • Hamburger or brioche buns, for serving

    For the Barbecue Sauce

    • cups ketchup
    • ¼cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 2tablespoons molasses
    • 2garlic cloves, minced or grated
    • ¼cup cider vinegar
    • 2tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 2teaspoons sweet or hot paprika
    • 1teaspoon black pepper
    • 1teaspoon dry mustard powder
    • Pinch of cayenne
    • Dash of hot sauce, more to taste

    For the Slaw

    • 1small head green cabbage, outer leaves removed, shredded (about 1½ pounds)
    • ½small red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1large jalapeño, seeded if desired, thinly sliced
    • ¾cup mayonnaise
    • 2tablespoons cider vinegar
    • 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1teaspoon coarse kosher salt
    • Black pepper

Ingredient Substitution Guide


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    Assemble the spice rub for the pork: In a dry, small skillet over medium-low heat, toast coriander, cumin and peppercorns until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind toasted spices into a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl and mix with salt, mustard powder, chile powder and sugar.

  2. Step


    If your roast is tied up, untie it. Massage meat generously with spice rub. If you have time, let meat rest for an hour or two at room temperature, or refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

  3. Step


    Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place pork in a baking pan and roast for 3 to 4 hours or until meat is pull-apart tender and internal temperature reads 200 degrees on a meat thermometer. Let meat cool for at least 30 minutes before pulling it apart and shredding with your hands or two forks. (This works best when the meat is warm but not hot.)

  4. Step


    Prepare the barbecue sauce: Combine ingredients in a medium pot. Simmer over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce has deepened in color. Season with more hot sauce if you like. Add two-thirds of the sauce to meat and toss to coat, adding more sauce as needed. (Any leftover sauce will keep for at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator.)

  5. Step


    Make the slaw: Combine cabbage, onion and jalapeño in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add dressing to cabbage and toss well.

  6. Step


    Serve pulled pork with slaw, buns and hot sauce on the side, letting people assemble their own sandwiches.



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Cooking Notes


Hi, being Australian I'm new to cooking pulled pork and I was wondering if I should cook this with a lid on? My meat is a 3kg (don't know what that is in pounds) pork shoulder with the bone in. I'm also thinking I may have to cook it longer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you.

TC outwest

Being a westerner - tried this and needed some tweeking. Better to cook the pork at a lower temp for longer - 250 to a temp of 190. Low and slow is better in tenderness and breakdown of collagen which helps it "pull". DON'T cover the meat. The outside becomes the "bark" and is awesome. . Covering it or cooking in a bag steams the meat - not the same. Slaw recipe is good. Sauce is run-of-the-mill. Too sweet, needs vinegar and heat to stand out.


What is the best way to double this recipe for a party? 2 3.5-pound pork shoulders, or 1 7-pound one? Could the meat be cooked in a slow cooker?

Susan O.

I cooked this in the slow cooker overnight - low setting; doubled the recipe. Only other change: put in some liquid smoke. Delish - everyone loved it, with requests for recipe with my modifications doing it in the slow cooker.


This also works well in a slow cooker on low for 9 hours or so. Lay it on a bed of onions with a bit of water and apple side of vinegar to keep it moist. A generous dash of smoked paprika, sweet, mild or hot added to the initial spice rub doesn't hurt either.


If I do this in the pressure cooker/ how long should it cook for? Thanks!


Try pressure-cooking the pork instead! That will keep clean up to a minimum and the results are terrific.

jennifer bea

slow cooked in crock pot because that is how we roll here on mondays. Did the roasting and rubbing on Sunday. I did not think it too time consuming (and i am not the cook in the house). made a nice crust others have mentioned. Bbq sauce tart - which i liked but served it with other choices of sauce from fridge too. cole slaw could be our new house go-to. I added carrots and other hard vegetables and a tsp and a half of allspice (which is a cole slaw thing in our family). thank you. great.


It was great! Made it twice. The sauce was excellent, full of flavor. Thank you! The pork shoulder (2.5 pounds) took 6 hours in my ofen (gas) to reach 200 degrees thoug. (While a whole duck of an other nytimes recipe (orange-sherry sauce) reached the temperature at 300 degrees F g after 3 hours instead of 4.5 hours as indicated in the recipe). Maybe a thing with gas vs. electric ofen.

Ashley G

Updated review- I tried this again with hot paprika instead of sweet - fantastic! Really made an enormous difference. This time, I also doubled the recipe for a party. Just over 5 hours marinating with the spice rub and 10 hours on low in the slow cooker and this was ready. Super easy and delicious.

Susan O

This is now my go to recipe for pulled pork. Just the right amount of sweet and spicy for me. My only deviation was eliminating the mayo and adding another tablespoon of olive oil. After initially serving with slider rolls, I began to eat it like stew with the slaw on top. Delicious.


Prepared double recipe for party. Rub and sauce garnered great review. Put meat in cooking bags like ones used for turkeys and cooked in an electric roaster saved oven space for party and did not heat up kitchen in the summer will be doing this again. Using whole spices toasted and then fresh ground upped the flavor


I see some confusion about covering the pork vs. not. I put it in my dutch oven and covered it. It worked great. Just be sure to oil the pan first (I didn't and the rub welded itself to the bottom). Love this recipe - the 3 of us who had it last night loved it. It's a definite keeper.


Made it for a big party. Plenty left over for the freezer, and it was excellent a couple of weeks later. Froze the sauce too.

Will definitely make it again.


I put it in a tight fitting roaster with 1/4 cup cider vinegar, covered it,and put it in 200 degree oven overnight (10 hours). I uncovered it and let it cool slightly in the juices.


I love this recipe and I have used it for a long time. I use approximately 5#s of pork butt. I put the rub on the pork and refrigerate overnight. The next day, I cook this in the crockpot on low for 10 hrs. Don't skip making the BBQ sauce recipe......it is so tasty. I get many compliments when I serve this.


Cooked as written with minimal changes, uncovered in the over. The night before I made the rub, doubling the amount and placing the coated meat in the refrigerator uncovered. The resultant crust after cooking was dubbed “meat candy” by my partner. Did not mix sauce in with meat wanting to preserve crusty elements. In light of comments about sauce being sweet, reduced brown sugar by half and upped the apple cider vinegar. Hot paprika was essential. Five stars. Will make again.


Oiled dutch oven and seared all sides of pork before roasting. Roasted covered at 250 F for 2 hours then uncovered for 1.5.


Just as good without the bun and topped over plain coleslaw salad mix (no dressing necessary!)


So delicious!! Followed the directions, but it took me almost 5 1/2 hours in my gas stove to reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees.

Dan W

Have made this recipe several times, always a hit. Only had light brown sugar for the rub, so added a splash (sploosh?) of molasses, which had the added benefit of helping the rub stick to the pork.


This may seem way to simple to be good. Trust me, it will remain in your recipe box. 1 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder2 tbl liquid smoke-any flavor1 tea pink saltTop roast with liquid smoke then pink salt.Place in crock-pot 12 hours on low. Do not remove lid while cooking.Remove roast from pot and shred. Do not shred roast in pot. It will be to salty.Add your favorite bbq sauce.For ever lbs over 4 add 30 min. to cooking time.


I’m not a great cook and maybe this is obvious to others but the cooking of the pork was not successful tho I believe I followed directions. The meat turned out tough tho the rub was delicious. I would reduce the salt in the slaw.


Made for a dinner party for friends in NC (who KNOW pulled pork!) and they loved both the pork and the coleslaw both. I used two 2.5 lb. roasts, but it took a LOT longer than what I expected. It made enough for four of us (incl. my 18yo son) with lots left over. I added a little bit of shredded carrot to the coleslaw for color and a little bit of thinly sliced daikon radish I had hanging around--it really added a nice flavor. Is a keeper!


First go and it was a success! I had a 4 lbs boneless roast, which I dry-rubbed the spice mix into, then refrigerated overnight. Next morning, 8am, I took the roast out of the fridge, heated the fan-assisted electric oven to 300, put the roast in a cast-iron Dutch oven with one cup stock and thickly sliced onions at the bottom. Roast went in, covered, from 9am-12noon. Basting twice. Continued roasting, uncovered, from 12noon-2pm, basting twice. Let it rest 30 mins, covered, before shredding.


The taste of this was delicious. The pork, sauce, and slaw were all very good. However, the pork was nowhere near shreddable after four hours, so it was more slices and chunks than shreds. I would definitely cook it longer next time, but I didn’t have time to keep cooking it tonight.


Great recipe, with some suggestions. First, as written, way too sweet. Halve the sugar. Second, go heavy on the spice rub for the meat and add some more of it, as well as freshly toasted chili (ancho or poblano or similar) powder to the BBQ sauce for added depth. Third, use a high quality ketchup (not Heinz or Hunts!), skip the apple cider vinegar (yuck) and replace with a 2:1 or 3:1 viscous balsamic vinegar to rice wine vinegar. Forth (and a must), oven roast at low temp. No slow cookers!


1 tbsp of pickle juice in the slaw dressing


I love browning and then cooking my pork submerged in pork lard with some veg on low heat for 10 hours.

Mark Vinci

Use only half the salt.

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Pulled Pork Sandwiches Recipe (2024)
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