BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches {Instant Pot or Slow Cooker}

The best (and easiest!) BBQ pulled pork sandwiches EVER. Plus, the recipe includes directions for the slow cooker or the Instant Pot!

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’s almost a non-recipe, but it produces pork that is falling apart in it’s tenderness with a hint of hickory smokiness. UPDATE: after posting this recipe almost a decade ago, it is STILL our favorite pulled pork recipe and we make it all.the.time.

Combined with my favorite homemade BBQ sauce and these to-die for rolls, this is seriously a meal for all seasons. (Thanks, Sarah!)

How to Make It in the Instant Pot

This recipe has been living on my site for years (and years). Eventually I’ll get around to updating the pictures, but for now, I wanted to add a note how to make this in the Instant Pot. I’ve also updated the directions in the recipe.

Season the pork roast with salt and pepper and add to the insert of your Instant Pot. Decrease the water (I almost always use low-sodium broth) to 1 cup and add it to the Instant Pot along with the liquid smoke. Secure the lid, set the valve to seal, and cook on high pressure for 55-60 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before quick releasing the rest of the pressure. Shred the pork and toss with BBQ sauce (can keep warm in the IP for several hours). 

What To ServeFrench Bread Rolls (for the bun)
An awesome side like this: Barbecue Macaroni SaladColeslaw, or these Boston Baked Beans
Fresh vegetables and/or green salad

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

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Yield: 8-12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
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 teaspoon salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I use coarsely ground)
  • 2 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce


  1. Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Season the pork evenly with salt and pepper.
  2. Slow Cooker Directions: Place pork in a slow cooker. Add water and liquid smoke. Cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is very tender.
  3. 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.
  4. Instant Pot Directions: Decrease the water/broth to 1 cup
  5. Remove the pork from the slow cooker/IP and discard the remaining liquid. Shred the pork using a couple of forks. Place the meat back in the slow cooker/IP along with the BBQ sauce and heat through (or keep on warm for several hours). Serve on buns with extra barbecue sauce.

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