FYI: I’ve updated two of my favorite recipes with new pictures and a few notes. The best blueberry muffins and this delicious southwest salad.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

BBQ pulled pork sandwiches rank right up there with some of my husband’s favorite meals. I tried three recipes last year that I thought would be sure winners and they were awful. One was so strong on the vinegar, we all gagged while it was cooking; the other two were just average and nothing to write home about.

So when my old high school friend, Sarah, sent me this recipe raving about it’s delicious simplicity, I tried it. And tried it. And tried it. And it has been a hit every time. In fact, just last week, I made it for our family reunion serving 13 kids and 13 adults and it was scarfed down (the leftovers were made into everything from nachos to quesadillas to pork/avocado rollups).

The recipe is so easy it is nearly mindless but it produces pork that is falling apart in it’s tenderness with a hint of hickory smokiness. Combined with my favorite homemade BBQ sauce and these to-die for rolls, this is seriously a meal for all seasons. (Thanks, Sarah!)

One Year Ago: Easy Chipotle Chicken Tacos
Two Years Ago: Fusilli alla Caprese

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches


  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (I’ve also used boneless pork loin – not tenderloin – but pork loin with good results)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce


  1. Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Rub salt and pepper over the pork and place in a slow cooker. Add water and liquid smoke. Cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is very tender.
  2. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the remaining liquid. Shred the pork using a couple of forks. Place the meat back in the slow cooker along with the barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes until the pork is hot again. Serve on buns with extra barbecue sauce.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from my lovely friend, Sarah M.

142 Responses to BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches {Slow Cooker}

  1. I don’t know Sarah, but I have this identical recipe in my file. It’s a winner every time!

    Your website is becomming my go-to site when I don’t know what to make for dinner. Your recipes are flawless and even picky-eaters will eat ‘em! Thanks so much, Mel. Keep it up-your blog is fabulous!

  2. Kim in MD says:

    Oooh…this looks amazing, and it won’t require me to turn on my oven-YEAH! It is still so hot here in Maryland…I just can’t do it. Thanks for yet another great slow cooker recipe, Melanie!

    Have a great weekend! :-)

  3. Sara says:

    I love, love, love BBQ pulled pork sandwiches!! These look so great…and on homemade rolls too. Pardon me, while I drool. ;-)

  4. Emily Marie says:

    I can’t wait to try this. I don’t know why I never thought to cook it in water first, discard liquid and then add the BBQ sauce – it sounds perfect!

  5. Natasha says:

    My husband loves pulled pork so he will be liking this. Good weekend food when we are on the go! I bet the liquid smoke adds the great flavor.

  6. StephenC says:

    Isn’t liquid smoke a great thing? After making some wok-smoked salmon recently and turning it into a mousse, I asked my partner if he would know it wasn’t made with liquid smoke if he didn’t already know. His answer: nope.

  7. Amber says:

    I was on my way to your site to make the sweet and spicy bbq, but saw this today, and decided to do it instead. It’s cooking in the crock pot as we speak!

  8. Tasha says:

    I’ve been looking for a good pulled pork recipe! Can’t wait to try this! I’ll even brave crockpotting in the dead of summer for this one!

  9. grace says:

    pile on some sloppy, slightly sweet slaw, and some saucy pork barbecue is one of my favorite meals too. although i like a thick kaiser roll to sop up the juices, i’ve found a tortilla to be and exciting vehicle too…if you don’t mind a bit of a mess. :)

  10. Katie says:

    Hi Mel,
    I have a package of pork sirloin tip roast from Costco. Do you think it will work just as well as the pork shoulder in this recipe? The recipe sounds delicious!

  11. Mel says:

    Katie – I haven’t cooked with that cut of meat very often, but as long as it has a bit of fat marbling and isn’t extremely lean, it should work fine. You just want to be careful that the meat isn’t so lean it will dry out.

  12. Steph says:

    A friend turned me to your website a few months ago, I’m hooked for life. All I can say is “thank you for helping a working mom out of a rut!”

  13. Megan H. says:

    mmm sounds delicious. Ive been looking for a yummy pull pork sandwich recipe… cant wait to try this one!

    What are pork/avocado roll ups?

  14. Megan says:

    Where do you get liquid smoke? I have looked for it before and I never been successful at finding it.

  15. Nancy says:

    We had this for Sunday dinner with guests…it was a home-run. Thanks!

  16. Christiana says:

    We made this for company tonight with your squash medley and some homemade coleslaw. Both of your recipes were delicious! Everyone loved them-especially my husband. He wants me to buy a lot more pork while it is on sale and make batches of the pulled pork to put in our freezer. :) Thanks for all your wonderful recipes-I love that I can make them for company without trying them first, because they always turn out great!

  17. Steph says:

    Megan- you can find liquid smoke by the worcestershire sauce

  18. Mel says:

    Christiana – thanks for your comment! I’m thrilled the recipes turned out so well. I think your husband is on to something – being able to pull a quick meal out of the freezer is life-changing.

  19. Mel says:

    Thanks, Nancy!

  20. Mel says:

    Megan – I’ve found liquid smoke by the BBQ sauce, near the Worcestershire sauce (Like Steph said) and other ingredients like that. It’s usually hidden right in there with the other bottles so you might have to look closely. I’ve found it everywhere from Walmart to my other mainstream grocery stores.

  21. Mel says:

    Megan H. – pork/avocado rollups are just that – this delicious pulled pork wrapped up in a tortilla with fresh avocado slices and BBQ sauce. It’s to die for, really.

  22. Ruth Ann says:

    This is absolutely wonderful. I didn’t think anything so easy could be so good. This recipe will be repeated many times for my family and friends. Thanks!!!!

  23. Dee says:

    I make BBQ Pork all the time but we pour it over noodles.

  24. Mel says:

    Ruth Ann – so glad this easy meal worked out well for you! Thanks for checking in to let me know.

  25. paramedichick06 says:

    Mine is in the Crockpot! I will let you know how it turns out!

  26. I made this the other night, soo good! I will be posting about it on my blog tomorrow, and of course linking back here :) I had leftovers and mixed them with a crock pot mac and cheese that I made earlier this week. It was awesome! Thanks for a great (and easy) recipe idea!

  27. paramedichick06 says:

    This turned out fabulous! My hubby’s new fav! And it was super easy to make!

  28. Mel says:

    Thanks, paramedichick06! (By the way, can I call you Marcia?)

  29. Mel says:

    Thanks, Elizabeth! I love the idea of mixing the leftover pork with mac and cheese!

  30. paramedichick06 says:

    Jena is my first name :) I’m planning on making your Andes Mint Brownies and Oatmeal Coconut Chewies for my husbands family reunion. Havent met many people on his side of the family yet. (were newlyweds) Do you think those are good choices to impress with?

  31. Mel says:

    Jena – yes, I think those are wonderful choices! Both are fantastic and have been huge crowd pleasers when I’ve made them. Good luck!

  32. Alisha says:

    Its in the crock pot. Just pulled the buns out of the oven– can’t wait for dinner! Thanks!

  33. Alisha says:

    Okay, that was delicious. Seriously yummy. And the buns turned out great (had a near disaster where I lost track of how many 1/2 cups of flour I’d put it… 3… or 4?? Must have guessed right!)

  34. Roslyn says:

    This BBQ sauce is THE. BEST. EVER. Thank you for keeping me from running out to the store for sauce, ever again!

  35. Mel says:

    Roslyn – so glad you like this homemade sauce!

  36. Mel says:

    Alisha – I wondered how this would turn out for you. Glad it was great…even with a near disaster!

  37. Jarvi says:

    I made the pulled pork a week ago, and it was a hit with everyone. My kids requested it again this week for dinner. I have some in the crock pot right now. Thanks for a fantastic, easy recipe!

  38. Mel says:

    Jarvi – good to know this recipe has been such a hit that you’ve made it twice now!

  39. Brandi says:

    Is there any particular kind of bbq sauce to buy??

  40. Mel says:

    Brandi – buy the brand you prefer. I like homemade but in a pinch, my husband won’t let me buy anything other than KC masterpiece original.

  41. Aubrie says:

    These were awesome! I used garlic salt instead of the regular salt and added a little chipotle chili powder for a bit of a kick. It was full of flavor and falling-apart, melt-in-your-mouth tender. Thanks for another awesome recipe Mel!

  42. Mel says:

    Aubrie – I love the idea of adding a little kick to this. Thanks for the tip!

  43. Alison says:

    Made this and the whole family LOVED it! Other crock pot recipes for pulled pork that I have tried have flopped. This is definitely a keeper, thanks for sharing. The recipe made enough for two dinners (family of4) and enough to freeze for an easy dinner later.

  44. Mel says:

    Alison – glad this BBQ pork trumped all the others you have tried! (And hallelujah for leftovers!)

  45. Marian says:

    OMG!!!! It’s been ages since we had pulled pork as we are Americans living in Australia! So good and easy!!! I make my own bbq sauce so it was very American!!! Also haven’t made homemade yeast breads in ages-but…these rolls were the best ever! Gourmet pulled-pork sandwiches. Truly a wonderful treat!

  46. Mel says:

    Thanks, Marian!

  47. Dana says:

    This is another good one to try!

  48. Jane says:

    Mel, do you know how many this will serve? I wanted to make this, but need to serve 15 people. Should I double this?


  49. Mel says:

    Jane – this serves probably around 8-10, depending on how you serve it and how much meat you put on each sandwich. If it were me, I would double it to serve 15.

  50. Ciara says:

    We had this tonight for dinner, along with your to-die-for rolls. I only made half my pork loin, you know, just in case we weren’t huge fans. When will I learn that we are ALWAYS fans of the recipes from your blog! I’ve been plugging through different pulled pork recipes with no real luck…until now. This is my new go-to recipe when pulled pork calls our name. Thanks for another wonderufl recipe Melanie!!

    PS-We LOVED the rolls too!

  51. JJ says:

    We’ve made this a few times over here and it always comes out great. I wanted to share my favorite way to do leftovers of it ;)
    Fairly simple BBQ pork quesadillas. I put a little shredded monetary jack or pepper jack cheese on a large flour tortilla, then top with the BBQ pork, a bit of cilantro and chopped red or green onion, then I put a little more shredded cheese for some extra “glue” and top with another tortilla. Fry it up and its the easiest dinner ever. I’ve even taken all the ingredients to work and slipped it in the toaster oven for lunch. Yeah, I make my co-workers jealous.

  52. Mel says:

    JJ – wow, sounds so delicious!

  53. Suzi says:

    Mel – I let my pork shoulder cook for a good 10 hours in the crock pot on low, and it still wasn’t shredding like I’d hoped. Any tips on what I could do next time to get it to shred better?

    Made the rolls, and they turned out wonderful! I’ve never really had any problems with your recipes before, so I was just wondering what was up with my pork shoulder?

    Thanks! -suzi-

  54. Mel says:

    Suzi – that’s strange about your pork. Next time you might try cooking it for 8 hours on low and then cranking up to high for 2-3 more hours. Also, if the pork shoulder was really lean sometimes that can make the pork tough and not shred well. You want a bit of fat on the pork shoulder to help the meat get really tender. I hope you have better luck next time if you dare try again!

  55. KK says:

    What did you serve with the BBQ pulled pork sandwiches for guests? Thanks and I love your recipes — delicious, practicle and kid friendly!

  56. Cherika Vaughn says:

    I am extremely picky when it comes to pulled pork… i have never been able to find a recipe that satisfies me till this! Love it :)

  57. april says:

    how many sandwiches does this make approximately??

  58. Mel says:

    April – I would say if you use small dinner-sized rolls, it makes upwards of 15-20 sandwiches, depending on how much meat you use per roll. I usually make a full batch and freeze half for another meal.

  59. Krista says:

    Mel, Theses sound so yummy, but I was also wondering if you could use chicken? I loved BBQ pulled chic too. I have never used liquid smoke so i was curious. Thanks!

  60. Mel says:

    Hi Krista – I think this recipe would convert quite well with chicken. I’d use the same amounts of everything. The liquid smoke just adds a nice…well…smokiness! So I think it would taste fine with chicken.

  61. Starr says:

    I was just wondering because I am a ditz when it comes to cuts of meat. Is it okay to use boston butt to make this recipe? I usually use it to make my normal pulled pork, but I just wanted to try something new. And is it a spicy recipe? Some of my family of eight likes spicy and the other half doesn’t. Any suggestions?

  62. Starr says:

    oh yeah! I have added you to my favorites so I can have easy access to your recipes, since you have gotten such high raves. Also, is there any recipes that you recommend that are low in carbs. I have to have a third back surgery, but have to lose some pounds in order to do it, being only 28 years old I have to find low carb recipes to help in this process, but they have to taste good. Any and all that are low carb would be greatly appreciated. ~Thanks in advance.

  63. [...] from our facebook page gave us a great idea for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches in the slow cooker. These look really [...]

  64. KNAUS says:

    Looks incredible! Do you think the recipe could be adapted for a pressure cooker Mel?

  65. Mel says:

    KNAUS – I’ve never used a pressure cooker so I wouldn’t be able to say yes or no but if you are familiar with using one, you might be able to adapt.

  66. Rachael says:

    Mel I was wondering if the bone in pork would work? I was in a super hurry at the store and grabbed the wrong one. Do I need to go back and buy a new one without the bone?

  67. Mel says:

    Rachael – yes, the bone-in should work. Just fish out the bone when shredding the pork (and there might be some other residual pieces of fat and gristle you’ll want to strain out, too).

  68. Andrew says:

    Wow! That was amazingly good! Served with some
    Steak fries and some Coleslaw.

  69. Mary says:

    I don’t have 8-10 hrs…could I do it in 5-6 hrs but put my crockpot on high? Btw, I’ve tried several of your recipes & they’re always fabulous! Thanks!

  70. Mel says:

    Mary – I’ve never tried it on high but it should work as long as your pork isn’t frozen or an overly large sized roast.

  71. I love pulled pork sandwiches…one of my favorites with a coleslaw slathered on top. I always make mine with brown sugar in rub; and really love the sweetness it adds. Also gotta make sure that you have the right kind of rolls…or the sandwich just doesn’t come together right. Thanks for posting!!

  72. Rachel Russell says:

    score again! Cooked this over night as couldn’t figure out how to get it ready for kids with 10 hour cook time as they have desperate need to eat by 5pm meltdown time- and just tasted this morning- HEAVEN. Kids and husband are going to l-o-v-e-. Perfectly ready to go and easy reheat a dinner tonight! Thanks again Mel!

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  74. Jax says:

    Going to try one of your recipes tonight..Hope it’s a winner :) Seems that everyone is happy with your webpage…Will let you know how it turns out

  75. Kelly says:

    Hi Mel,
    I love this pulled pork and BBQ sauce, they are my go to recipes! I am making it this weekend for my sons 1st birthday party for 40 people! Do you have a recommendation for how much pork to make for that many people and how much BBQ sauce? And also how many days in advance can I make both? Sorry for so many questions! Any help you have I would appreciate it very much!

  76. Mel says:

    Hi Kelly – I know it sounds like a lot, but if you are serving 40, I would plan on about 12-14 pounds of meat (you’ll definitely want to split it up between a few slow cookers). One batch of the homemade BBQ sauce should be good for that amount of meat but if you want to be on the safe side, I’d 1 1/2 the BBQ sauce recipe to give you plenty. You can make the BBQ sauce easily two weeks in advance and the pork could probably be made the day before, refrigerated and reheated for the party. Hope that helps!

  77. Jill says:

    This is such a good recipe. I love it! Next month we’re making it for a family who needs delivered meals.

  78. Chrissy says:

    I love this pulled pork! My family loves it too!! We do the bar b Q on the side… so everyone gets the amount they need…. also, I added more liquid smoke…. Just sprinkled it all over the pork roast and rubbed it in with the salt and pepper… Mmmmmm! We made it exactly like the recipe the first couple of times and it was good also…. This is just the way we’ve adapted it to our family…. I highly suggest this yummy pulled pork! :)

  79. [...] Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker, from Mel’s Kitchen Café. For the past few years, I’ve hosted Christmas at my place, and because everyone lives out of town, it’s not just a one-day cooking affair; it usually stretches into five days of kitchen mania. This year, on a night when I thought I could just throw leftovers on the table, a few other guests joined us. Suddenly, there weren’t enough leftovers, and since there’s nothing I love more than to cook something delicious for people I haven’t seen in a long time, I settled on a picnic dinner: pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, potato salad, and a green salad. I adore this recipe for pulled pork because it makes the house smell delicious, and you don’t need a smoker – just a great big pork shoulder, a crock pot, some barbecue sauce, and the secret ingredient: liquid smoke. Find it in the same grocery aisle as barbecue sauce and ketchup. By the way – Mel’s Kitchen Café is a new favorite blog … lots of family-friendly recipes, and Mel’s been blogging for over three years. Her archive is incredible. [...]

  80. Amy says:

    FANTABULOUS! I made this on Sunday and my house smelled wonderful all day. I used Countryside BBQ sauce and it was amazing with your recipe.

  81. buffy (southern lady in WNY) says:

    Hi, I found this page when I searched crockpot bbq! I made my first batch of pulled bbq pork tonight for my DH and I’s 2nd anniversary! I used your recipe and WOW! My husband raved the whole time about how good it was! I did tweak alittle applying a rub and letting sit 24hrs, adding alittle more liq. smoke, and throwing garlic and onion in! This will be my go to recipe! This pulled pork was deliscious with homemade hushpuppies and corn on the cob! Thank you for making my anniversary dinner the BEST!

  82. Jeanine says:

    Simple and YUMMO! We also serve the sauce on the side. Had this with bbq baked beans, coleslaw and potato salad!

  83. Julie says:

    What is the favorite brand of barbeque sauce used in this pulled pork sandwich recipe?

  84. Mel says:

    Julie – I always use my favorite homemade version here:

  85. Maria says:

    Delicious! Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  86. Rory says:

    I am feeding 16 adults and 11 kids this weekend. How many pounds of meat do you suggest?

  87. Mel says:

    Hi Rory – I would suggest probably doing 10 pounds of meat for that crowd (so you may need a couple of slow cookers to fit it all in).

  88. Gareth says:

    Hi, sorry about the stupid question but I’m from
    England and have never used liquid smoke before. Do you just put it on or
    Stir it in the water first?

  89. Mel says:

    Hi Gareth – I don’t mix it in with anything else first, I just sprinkle it around the pork roast. Hope that helps!

  90. Gareth says:

    Thanks a lot for getting back to me. As you can tell I have no experience with cooking whatsoever. Went to America last year and haven’t been able to get a decent pulled pork sandwich over here. Going to give it a try on Saturday let you know how it goes.

  91. Debbie Wolf says:

    The pulled pork is very good. My question is what is the best way to freeze it and then thaw it. Sometimes things loose some taste and texture in the process.

  92. Mel says:

    Debbie – I simply place the cooled BBQ pork in a freezer ziploc bag and freeze. I put it in the refrigerator the night before I want to use it and then the next day I reheat it in the oven or on the stovetop (sometimes I’ve even put it in the slow cooker to heat up).

  93. Melanie says:

    This pulled pork is Amazing!!! I am such a picky eater that I do not eat very much meat but I really enjoyed this. I love the flavor that the liquid smoke gives the meat and this was my first time cooking with liquid smoke and I was very pleased. Thanks for such a great recipe!

  94. Stacy says:

    I made this yesterday for dinner, and it was a huge hit! Nice and tender and smokey. Mmm!! Like the above poster, it was my first time cooking with liquid smoke. It gave the meat a lovely flavor. Thanks for another great recipe. My hubby and I are hooked on your site. He told me tonight, “Mel has been a great addition to this family”. haha :)

  95. Deb says:

    I’m eating this right now and it is AWESOME! I gotta say I was nervous about a WHOLE tablespoon of liquid smoke, but I quit doubting you a long time ago :) Could not have been faster to put together and it’s proof when they say less is more. Fantastic!

  96. Sonya says:

    I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you from Canada! I am a mother of two boys (2 and 6 weeks), and happened to stumble across your blog during a 4am feed. You have inspired me! I have never made breads before, aside from some yummy cinnamon buns. Since discovering your blog last week I have tried 4 recipes (2 bread recipes) and they have all been outstanding. Tonight we had the pulled pork on the homemade rolls and my husband was in heaven! Since having my boys I have been looking for ways to reduce processed foods from our diet and return to scratch cooking. These recipes are so easy. I am hooked. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  97. Michele says:

    Fabulous recipe, Mel! You never disappoint!! :) For those who asked if you have to cook it for 8-10 hours…I started this around lunch time and cooked it on high for 5 hours. The meat came out so tender and perfect. I also made your homemade BBQ sauce and it was wonderful, too. I would have made the rolls, but we were at the pool all day!! ;) Thank you for such great recipes!

  98. Shaye says:

    Will the pork roast be okay if cooked 45 min to an hour longer?

  99. Mel says:

    Shaye – it really depends on the type of pork roast you use. If it is overly lean, extra cooking time may dry it out, but overall, I don’t think 45 minutes will hurt it.

  100. Jason says:


    Could you subsitute the water for cider?

    Im planning on making this on Saturday.

    How much pork do I need to feed 8 adults?

    Thx v much

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