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Slow Cooker Pulled-Pork Sandwiches

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Yields 8 cups pulled pork, enough for 12 to 16 sandwiches.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 107

Everybody loves a sandwich for dinner, especially if it's one with saucy pulled pork spilling out the sides. You'll need two hands for this easy version of the classic, along with lots of napkins.

  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 3/4 cup jarred tomato salsa (medium heat)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • Kosher salt
  • One 4- to 4-1/2-lb. bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed
  • 3 Tbs. tomato paste
  • Toasted hamburger buns, for serving

In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, salsa, 1/3 cup of the vinegar, the brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, and 1 tsp. salt. Add the pork shoulder and turn to coat. Cover the slow cooker and cook until the pork is fork-tender, 5 to 6 hours on high or 7 to 8 hours on low.

Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the pork. Discard the bone and fat. Put 1 cup of the juices and onions in a large bowl. Whisk in the tomato paste, the remaining 2 Tbs. vinegar, and 1 tsp. salt. Add the pulled pork and stir to combine. If the pork seems dry, add more juices as needed. Mound the pork on the toasted hamburger buns.

Serving Suggestions

Pulled pork goes best with a scoop of slaw. Try either Kohlrabi-Radish Slaw or Apple and Fennel Slaw on the side.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 280; Fat (g): fat g 9; Fat Calories (kcal): 80; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 3; Protein (g): protein g 19; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 28; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 480; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 55; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is the Best and the family loves it! Easy and Delicious! Five Star crowd pleaser.

This is my favourite pulled pork recipe and I have made it at least 10 times. I generally use a little more chilli powder and less cumin just as personal taste. I also add almost 1/4 cup of molasses as I like it sweet and this also gives it a nice rich colour. I often just have pork loin in my freezer and this is easy with a little less fat to remove. I usually mix all the ingredients except the pork together the night before so I can just toss it all in the slow cooker in the morning before running out the door for work. It smells great to come home to.

Made this today for the first time - it's a keeper! For salsa I used Brad's Organic Mango Salsa, which has a nice combo of sweet and spice. As others suggested, I also added about a tablespoon of smoked paprika to the spice mix. This was my first time buying a bone-in pork shoulder, and I was surprised to see that it came with the skin on. Since the recipe mentioned nothing about skin, I removed it (along with some of the bigger chunks of fat) with a sharp knife and kitchen shears. That process added about 20 minutes to my prep time. I used the low setting on my crock for about 7.5 hours. I think mine might run a little hot, I'll probably try just 7 next time. It wasn't dry, but I think it didn't need that last half hour. After pulling the meat, I definitely used more of the juices and onions than the recipe called for - closer to two cups I would say. Served it on a toasted challah bun with a slice of sharp cheddar.

Excellent--this is a great basic recipe that seems to welcome variation. I used a whole jar of salsa (since we never use it up fast enough) and added more sugar at the "pulling" stage to suit our tastes.

Will definitely be making this again.

Fantastic! I made it for a crowd, and received rave reviews from everyone. After shredding the pork and making the sauce, (and adding a bit more brown sugar than the recipe called for) I put it all back in the slow cooker and it stayed perfectly moist until we were ready to eat. The apple and fennel slaw recommended to go with this recipe was also a big hit.

On my third batch now. Each one has been a bit different. I've been adding smoky paprika since the first batch. I also add some extra onions, lots of garlic, dried hot peppers and coriander. The sauce is so good, I skim off the fat, and add the entire small tin of tomato paste. Most of this goes into the piled pork, but also makes an excellent barbecue sauce!

On my third batch now. Each one has been a bit different. I've been adding smoky paprika since the first batch. I also add some extra onions, lots of garlic, dried hot peppers and coriander. The sauce is so good, I skim off the fat, and add the entire small tin of tomato paste. Most of this goes into the piled pork, but also makes an excellent barbecue sauce!

I read the reviews and went for the fireroasted salsa. The only type available was Hot so I used half hot and half medium, non-fireroasted. For me, one onion to 4+ pounds of pork was not enough so I used two sweet onions. Also, rubbed pork with 4 teaspoons (1 teaspoon per pound of pork) Cajun seasoning. At end of cooking, I used all the sauce and added 6 tablespoons tomato paste and then carefully pulsed the mixture in a blender. Loved the meat and sauce, will definitely do this again!

I spiced it up more with a smoky flavor by adding 1 TBS Chipotle powder. Great recipe!

I love pulled pork and have made it in my barbeque, roasted in the oven, and in a Dutch oven. I was a little skeptical about doing it in the slow-cooker because of the accumulation of liquid that tends to dilute flavor during slow-cooking. Fine Cooking solves that by removing 1 cup of the juices and adding additional flavorings to them at the end of cooking time. Then, when this is mixed with the pulled pork the results are excellent! Easy too! I did use fire-roasted tomato salsa (medium-heat per recipe)and it added a bit of smokiness. I'll definitely use this recipe again.

I had great success with this recipe. My husband and I polished it off in 2 days however I did cut the recipe in half. I used a boneless pork shoulder from Shaws, just under 2 pounds. I also added 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the slow cooker before adding the pork. I left it on low for 6.5 hours and it came out perfectly. I will definitely make this again. It's easy and delicious!

Not that great. The sauce didn't have much flavor. Perhaps adding chipotle powder and maybe some liquid smoke would help, but I'm not inclined to try it again.

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