There are a lot of pulled pork recipes out there, but this one is the best. It's easy to make and results in tender, juicy pork that will have everyone asking for seconds. Follow these simple steps and you'll be pulling pork like a pro in no time!
This easy pulled pork recipe is incredibly delicious and will be sure to please a crowd!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! ❤️ If you give it a try, please let me know how it turned out for you in the comments section at the bottom of the page or share a pic of your om noms on Instagram and tag @dishesanddustbunnies! ❤️
Where does the pulled pork sandwich originate from?
The pulled pork sandwich is a dish that originated in the southern United States. It is made with slow-cooked pork that is shredded or “pulled” and then served on a bun or roll. The pork is usually seasoned with a dry rub or spice blend, and it may also be smoked.
The sandwich has become popular in other parts of the country, and it is now a common menu item at barbecue restaurants. It can also be made at home in the oven or by using a slow cooker or Instant Pot.
If you're looking for an easy, delicious way to feed a crowd, pulled pork is a great option. It's perfect for parties, picnics, and potlucks, and it can be served with a variety of sides.
Read on for everything you need to know about making pulled pork, including tips on how to choose the right cut of meat and how to season it.
How would you describe pulled pork and its flavor?
If you ask me, pulled pork is the perfect food. It's packed with flavor, it's versatile, and it's easy to make. Whether you're cooking for a crowd or just looking for a delicious weeknight meal, pulled pork is always a good choice.
The flavor of pulled pork can be described as earthy, smoky, and slightly sweet. The texture is moist and tender.
What basic ingredients are used to make pulled pork?
Pulled pork is made from a combination of pork loin or pork shoulder roast, spices, and barbeque sauce. The pork is slow-cooked in the oven or slow cooker until it is falling-apart tender, and then the meat is shredded and mixed with the sauce.
How to make Easy Pulled Pork – Overview
You can find the full recipe details, including ingredient amounts and the full instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but first, here's a quick overview of how to make the most delicious homemade pulled pork!
No matter what cooking method (except pressure cooker), you should cook your pork at a low temperature and slowly over hours for best results. Low and slow is the secret!
Prepare the Pulled Pork
Before cooking your pulled pork, you'll need to prepare the meat!
Begin by patting the pork loin dry with paper towels. Next, place your pork in whatever dish you'll be using to cook it (baking dish, slow cooker, instant pot, etc).
Sprinkle the Pork Rub Seasoning mix ingredients on the pork, making sure to cover all surfaces. Give the pork a couple of minutes to absorb the seasonings, then take any of the excess seasonings and sprinkle on top, and pat on the sides of the meat.
At this point, you can go right ahead and cook your pulled pork, but for a more developed flavor, you can marinate it for a while or overnight. It's not necessary, but if you'd like to it'll add to the yumminess!
How to Cook Pulled Pork
In the Oven: Cover the baking dish containing the seasoned and prepared pork tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven at 220°F, for at least 8-9 hours. Cooking low and slow is usually best, but if you're working with less time you can bake your pulled pork in the oven at 350°F, for about 2.5 hours.
Once the pork has finished cooking, allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes, then gently shred the meat using two forks or with “meat claws” (I love mine!). When shredding, be sure to leave some “chunks of meat” as this will help create the best texture – if shredded too much, the meat will be mushy and the texture not so great.
Add BBQ sauce to the pork and combine. Place back into the oven (uncovered) to cook for 15 minutes or so.
In Slow Cooker/Crock Pot: To make slow cooker pulled pork, place the seasoned pork loin into the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 6 hours. Once it's done cooking, allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes, then shred the pork (as described above), add the BBQ sauce and combine. Allow the pulled pork to cook for 20 minutes or so in the slow cooker before serving.
In a Pressure cooker/Instant Pot: Place the seasoned pork loin into the pressure cooker and cook on HIGH pressure for 60 minutes. Once it's done cooking, allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes, then shred the pork (as described above), add the BBQ sauce and combine. Allow the pulled pork to cook for 10 minutes or so in the pressure cooker before serving (using the keep warm function).
Finally, it's time to serve the pulled pork. It's great on its own, or you can use it to top a salad, sandwich, or even pizza!
How to Assemble a Pulled Pork Sandwich
The best way (in my opinion)
There are likely many ways to assemble a delicious pulled pork sandwich, but here's my preferred way to do it!
Take your bun and slice it in half lengthwise and lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. On each half, lay some cheese on top (I prefer provolone). Place the baking sheet in the oven under the broiler until the cheese gets melty and bubbly.
Melting the cheese on both halves of the bun will help prevent it from becoming soggy if you have some really juicy pulled pork!
Take the buns out of the oven and add shredded pork on top, then a little coleslaw or top with slices of zesty dill pickles. Then place the other half of the bun on top.
Now, get nom nom nomming away! 😋
What is the best bun for a pulled pork sandwich?
There are a lot of different types of buns out there, but not all of them are created equal when it comes to holding up to a big, juicy pulled pork sandwich. Here are a few of our favorite bun options for the perfect pulled pork sandwich:
Brioche Buns: These light and airy buns have a lovely eggy flavor that pairs perfectly with the rich pork. Plus, they're sturdy enough to stand up to all that juicy goodness.
Potato Buns: Another great option for holding up to a big sandwich, potato buns are also nice and soft, making them easy to bite into.
Kaiser Rolls: If you're looking for a bun that's going to give you some extra crunch, kaiser rolls are the way to go. Their crusty exterior will stand up to the juiciest of sandwiches.
Calabrese Buns: This is usually my go to bun for pulled pork sandwiches! They work really well with pulled pork!
Sourdough Buns: For a slightly more robust flavor, try sourdough buns. They can be a bit harder to find, but they're definitely worth seeking out.
Hawaiian Rolls: If you want your sandwich to have a bit of sweetness, Hawaiian rolls are a great option.
Hamburger buns: These work great with pulled pork sandwiches! They're especially wonderful when toasted before filling!
No matter which bun you choose, make sure it's fresh and of good quality. After all, a great bun is half the battle when it comes to making the perfect pulled pork sandwich.
What kind of cheese goes on pulled pork sandwiches?
There are so many different types of cheese that it can be tough to choose the right one for your pulled pork sandwich. You could go with a sharp cheddar, provolone, a creamy brie, or even a smoked gouda.
But ultimately, the best cheese for your sandwich is the one you like the most. So don't be afraid to experiment until you find the perfect match for your taste buds.
What pork is best for pulled pork sandwiches?
The best pork for pulled pork sandwiches is boneless pork loin or boneless pork shoulder. Both of these cuts are relatively lean, meaning they won't be too dry when cooked. Pork loin roast is a little more expensive than pork shoulder, but it will result in a more tender sandwich.
Pork shoulder is the most common type of pork used for pulled pork, though you can also use pork loin or pork butt. The shoulder is a muscular cut of meat that benefits from slow cooking, as it breaks down the tough fibers and connective tissue, making it fall apart tender.
I don't recommend using bone in pork as it will be more difficult to shred and will result in a less tender sandwich.
What are the best spices for pulled pork?
While there are many different spice blends that can be used for pulled pork, some of the most common include garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika (regular is good too!), cumin, and chili powder.
These spices provide a nice balance of flavor, with the garlic and onion adding depth, the paprika providing a slight smokiness, the cumin adding a touch of earthiness, and the chili powder giving it a bit of heat.
What's the best BBQ sauce for pulled pork?
There are a lot of different ways to make pulled pork, and just as many opinions on what the best BBQ sauce is. In my opinion, it depends on what kind of flavors you're looking for.
If you want a sweet sauce, go for something like a honey mustard or a molasses-based BBQ sauce. If you're looking for something with a little more kick, try a vinegar-based sauce or one with a lot of spice. Really, it's up to you. Just make sure whatever sauce you use complements the flavors of the pork itself.
What is the secret to tender pulled pork?
The answer is simple: low and slow cooking. This method of cooking pork slowly at a low temperature produces perfectly cooked, fall-off-the-bone meat that is easy to shred.
There are a few different ways that you can cook pulled pork. You can cook it in the oven, stovetop, grill, pressure cooker/instant pot or in a slow cooker. I prefer to cook mine in the oven because it is easier to control the temperature and I find that the pork comes out more moist this way.
Pulled Pork Sandwich Topping Ideas
There are so many delicious toppings that go well on pulled pork sandwiches! Some of our favorites include coleslaw, barbecue sauce, pickles, and onions. But really, you can't go wrong with anything you put on your sandwich.
Get creative and try out different combinations to find your perfect flavor combination. We guarantee you'll be hooked on pulled pork sandwiches in no time!
There are so many delicious ways to top a pulled pork sandwich! Here are some of our favorites:
- Add Extra Barbecue sauce: This is a classic choice and goes great with pulled pork.
- Honey mustard: A sweet and tangy alternative to barbecue sauce.
- Pickles: Add a crunchy contrast to the softness of the pork.
- Coleslaw: the vinegar in coleslaw makes a wonderful contrast with the richness of the pulled pork. Try my easy slaw recipe!
- Cheese: Cheddar, Swiss, and provolone all work well with pulled pork.
- Onions: Raw or grilled onions add a nice flavor to the sandwich.
- Tomatoes: Another classic topping that goes great with pulled pork.
- Lettuce: A fresh and crunchy way to top off your sandwich.
- Avocado: This creamy fruit is a delicious topping for pulled pork.
So many great options! We hope you enjoy trying out some of these toppings on your next pulled pork sandwich.
Here are some ideas on extra ingredients you can add to your pulled pork roast while it's cooking to give it even more flavor:
- apple cider vinegar
- liquid smoke
- brown sugar
- hot sauce
- mustard powder
- root beer
Can I make Pulled Pork ahead of time?
Yes, you can make Pulled Pork ahead of time. In fact, it's even better if you do! Allowing the pork to sit in the marinade for a few hours or even overnight allows the flavors to really penetrate the meat, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
When you're ready to cook, simply remove the pork from the marinade and cook as directed. Easy peasy!
Leftovers – How to Store and Reheat
Leftover pulled pork will keep in the fridge for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to two months.
To reheat, simply place the pork in a baking dish and cover with foil. Heat at 350 degrees until heated through. The pork can also be reheated in a slow cooker on low heat.
Can I freeze Pulled Pork?
Yes, you can freeze pulled pork. Pulled pork freezes well and can be kept in the freezer for up to four months. When freezing pulled pork, make sure to wrap it tightly in freezer-safe wrap or place it in a freezer-safe container. This will help to keep the pulled pork fresh and prevent it from drying out.
To thaw frozen pulled pork, place it in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, the pulled pork can be reheated in a slow cooker or oven. Do not try to reheat the pulled pork in a microwave, as this will dry it out.
When reheating, be sure to add some moisture back into the pulled pork. This can be done by adding a little chicken broth, water, or barbeque sauce. Adding moisture will help to keep the pulled pork moist and prevent it from drying out.
Ways to use Pulled Pork (other than in a sandwich)
The most popular way to use pulled pork is in a sandwich, but there are other ways you can use it! Here are some ideas:
Tacos: Use pulled pork in place of ground beef or chicken in your tacos. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and your favorite taco toppings.
Nachos: Add pulled pork to your nachos for a fun twist. Top with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, and jalapeños.
Salad: Add pulled pork to your favorite salad for a filling meal. Try it with greens, fruits, and nuts.
Soup: Add pulled pork to your favorite soup for a hearty meal. Try it in chili, vegetable soup, or even tomato soup.
Pasta: Add pulled pork to your favorite pasta dish for a delicious dinner. Try it with spaghetti, fettuccine, or penne.
Pizza: Add pulled pork to your pizza for a unique twist. Top with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, and your favorite pizza toppings.
Stir fry: Add pulled pork to your stir fry for a filling meal. Try it with vegetables and rice.
Eggs: Add pulled pork to your eggs for a delicious breakfast. Try it with scrambled eggs, omelets, or quiche.
Potatoes: Add pulled pork to your potatoes for a delicious side dish. Try it with mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, or au gratin potatoes.
Rice: Add pulled pork to your rice for a filling meal. Try it with white rice, brown rice, or wild rice.
Wraps: Add pulled pork to your wraps for a delicious and easy meal. Try it with a tortilla wrap, lettuce wrap, or cabbage wrap.
Burritos: Add pulled pork to your burritos for a delicious and easy meal. Try it with a flour tortilla, whole wheat tortilla, or spinach tortilla.
Quesadillas: Add pulled pork to your quesadillas for a delicious and easy meal. Try it with a flour tortilla, whole wheat tortilla, or spinach tortilla.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to using pulled pork. Get creative and try it in your favorite dishes!
What to Serve with Pulled Pork
When it comes to pulled pork, there are a lot of delicious options out there. But what should you serve with your pulled pork? Serve pulled pork along with:
No matter what you choose to serve with your bbq pork sandwich, it's sure to be a hit! So enjoy and have fun!
Pulled Pork Ingredients
- 2 lbs pork loin
- 1 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce – Any kind is great! I use Sweet Baby Rays Original quite often
- Pork rub seasoning, found below
The Pork Rub Seasonings
- ½ tbsp black pepper, ground
- ¼ tsp cayenne – skip this if you don't want it spicy
- 1 tsp chili powder – can be reduced or increased depending on your tastes
- ½ tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tbsp oregano
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
Ingredients Needed for Assembling a Pulled Pork Sandwich
- Large thick buns – Calabrese style buns (as in the pictures for this post) or Kaiser buns work great!
- Cheese Slices – Any kind is great, but I like to use slices of provolone. Cheddar is nice too!
- Sliced Pickles or coleslaw – This is optional but highly recommended to balance out the richness of the pulled pork
Prepare the Pulled Pork
- Pat the pork loin dry with paper towels.
- Place your pork in whatever dish you'll be using to cook it (baking dish, slow cooker, instant pot, etc).
- Sprinkle the Pork Rub Seasoning mix ingredients on the pork, making sure to cover all surfaces. Give the pork a couple of minutes to absorb the seasonings, then take any of the excess seasonings and sprinkle on top, and pat on the sides of the meat.
- At this point, you can go right ahead and cook your pulled pork, but for a more developed flavor, you can marinate it for a while or overnight. It's not necessary, but if you'd like to it'll add to the yumminess!
How to Cook Pulled Pork
In the Oven:
- Cover the baking dish containing the seasoned and prepared pork tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven at 220°F, for at least 8-9 hours. Cooking low and slow is usually best, but if you're working with less time you can bake your pulled pork in the oven at 350°F, for about 2.5 hours.
- Once the pork has finished cooking, allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes, then gently shred the meat using two forks or with “meat claws” (I love mine!). When shredding, be sure to leave some “chunks of meat” as this will help create the best texture – if shredded too much, the meat will be mushy and the texture not so great.
- Add BBQ sauce to the pork and combine. Place back into the oven (uncovered) to cook for 15 minutes or so.
In Slow Cooker/Crock Pot:
Place the seasoned pork loin into the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 6 hours. Once it's done cooking, allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes, then shred the pork (as described above), add the BBQ sauce and combine. Allow the pulled pork to cook for 20 minutes or so in the slow cooker before serving.
In a Pressure cooker/Instant Pot:
Place the seasoned pork loin into the pressure cooker and cook on HIGH pressure for 60 minutes. Once it's done cooking, allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes, then shred the pork (as described above), add the BBQ sauce and combine. Allow the pulled pork to cook for 10 minutes or so in the pressure cooker before serving (using the keep warm function).
How to assemble a Pulled Pork Sandwich
There are many ways to assemble a pulled pork sandwich, but I find from personal experience these tips will give you the tastiest results!
- Slice your buns in half lengthwise and place them on a metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- On top of each bun (both halves) place a slice of cheese (I use provolone). The cheese on wither side of the bun will help prevent your sandwich from getting too soggy – it acts as a cheesy barrier between the bread and the pulled pork.
- Place the buns into the oven and turn on the broiler. You should only need about 5 minutes – just enough to melt the cheese and get it all bubbly. Be sure to watch close so they don't burn though!
- Once the cheese on the buns are ready, using tongs, place some pulled pork on top of the bottom halves of the buns. As much as you like! Messy is fine! Don't let anyone judge you!! lol
- On top of the pulled pork, add slices of pickled or come coleslaw. This is optional but highly recommended as the acidity of the pickles/coleslaw complement the richness of the pulled pork in such a perfect way!
- Place the tops on your pulled pork sandwiches and serve!
You can also use the pulled pork on a sandwich, pulled pork pizza, pulled pork tacos, etc. There are so many options for using pulled pork! Be sure to see more ideas above in the body of this post!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Category: Main
- Method: Oven, Slow Cooker or Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American/Canadian
Keywords: pulled pork sandwiches, game day, slow cooker pulled pork, instant pot pulled pork, pulled pork in the oven, how to make pulled pork