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Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 175 minutes
Servings: 6

Pulled pork, a specialty of North Carolina, calls for cooking the pork until the fibers break down and the meat is tender and easy to shred. The shredded pork is always simmered in a sauce before serving. Some cooks swear that the best sauce is vinegar based, while others contend that tomato sauce is better. The recipe here, using purchased barbecue sauce, is almost as good as the authentic hickory-smoked version but is much easier to prepare. You can ask the butcher to trim the pork shoulder and tie it for you. Traditional accompaniments are coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad and lots of pickles. 


  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 boneless pork shoulder, about 3 lb., trimmed and tied
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the sauce:

  • 2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 6 hamburger buns or large rolls, split and warmed


In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the canola oil. Add the pork and cook, turning frequently, until browned on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

Pour off all but 2 Tbs. of the fat in the pot. Set the pot over medium-high heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until the onion is slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Return the pork to the pot, add the broth, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and cook, turning the pork occasionally, until very tender, about 2 hours. Transfer to a clean platter and let cool. Using clean hands or 2 forks, pull the meat apart into thin shreds. Remove and discard all the fat and gristle.

To make the sauce, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the barbecue sauce, mustard, honey, soy sauce, salt and pepper.

Add the pork to the sauce and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the pork is very soft and the flavors are blended, about 45 minutes.

Place the buns, cut sides up, on individual plates. Divide the pork among the buns, spooning it on the bottom halves. Cover with the tops of the buns and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).