Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This recipe is killer!

I made this for my little party this weekend and the guests went wild! It’s perfect for a party in that it is so easy to prepare ahead – in fact, if it could sit for a day – even better for the flavors to come out in full force.

And this recipe is all about flavor – as you’ll see there will be many ‘layers of flavor’ in the preparation. This recipe takes planning though as you will need a day for brining and a day for slow cooking so plan at least two days out before you plan on serving it. The beauty of this recipe is that it’s relatively inexpensive to make but so darn good!

Your guests will swoon!

AND…you’ll be free to enjoy the party with your friends.

This is basically a four part recipe: brine, rub, low and slow roast and at the end, topped with a kick-butt (get it? – kick pork BUTT!) barbeque sauce. I found several good sources for the brining, rub and the sauce which I combined with a few touches of my own!

Bring out your butts!

Start with a hunk of meat – pork shoulder or pork butt is best. I always like a bone in the meat – it’s better for flavor. You’ll also want good marbling of fat and a layer of fat on the bottom. I would suggest keeping the weight of the butt to around 5-6 lb. In brining, you want to be able to immerse the whole piece of meat and anything bigger than that would be difficult. I used 2-5 lb. butts this time.

Rinse the meat with cold water, pat dry and set aside while you prepare the brine and rub.

I found the best rub and brine recipe from KevinandAmanda.com. Although I have a spice cupboard full of rubs – I seem to collect them. I liked this one because of the brown sugar in it. Brown sugar and pork? Oh yeah. If you’re preparing two butts, double the recipe for you’ll need it!

Dry Rub (from KevinandAmanda.com)

1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar

Combine the spices in a small bowl. You’ll need them for the brine as well as rubbing the meat before roasting.

Prepare your brine using the rub, more brown sugar, Kosher salt, water and bay leaves. You can place the pork in the brine using a 2 gallon zip-lock plastic bag. I like to submerse mine in a big old pot that I found in a garage sale. Whatever you do,  you need to refrigerate for at least 8 hours – overnight is best!

Brine Solution (from KevinandAmanda.com)

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 qts cold water
3 tbsp dry rub mix
2 bay leaves

Add salt to cold water and stir very well until all the salt is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar, bay leaves and dry rub and stir well to combine.

After the brining, remove the meat from the brine, pat dry with paper towels and generously rub the rub all over the meat including all the crevices and flaps. Place the hunk of meat fat side up in a foil roasting pan that is high enough to go over the meat.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place butt uncovered in oven for about an 1 1/2 hours or until the top fat is a bit crusty. Pour 1/2 bottle of beer in the bottom of the pan and cover pan tightly with foil. Continue to roast at 300 degrees for about 4 – 5 hours more. You’ll know when it’s done when you test it with a fork and it’s very fork tender or with an internal temperature of 185 degrees. At that point, turn off the oven and let the butt sit in the oven until the oven is cooled.

Remove pork from oven. Taking two forks shred the pork removing chunks of fat that may be present.

Mix pulled pork with Memphis barbeque sauce (recipe below) until moist. You can use purchase barbeque sauce but trust me when I say this sauce takes the pulled pork over the edge! (Double the recipe if using two butts – you’ll want more!)

MEMPHIS BARBECUE SAUCE (from The Wichita Eagle)

2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup yellow mustard

1/2cup packed brown sugar

1/4cup apple cider vinegar

1/2teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2teaspoon celery salt

1/2teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium non-reactive saucepan.

Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth and thickened. Place a splatter-screen or lid over pan to prevent splashes. Let cool slightly, and serve. Best if made a day or two in advance; warm to serve.


I like serving the pulled pork sandwich with Hawaiian King Rolls and Carolina Cole Slaw.

Carolina Cole Slaw (from Bon Appetit)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1-1/4 pounds mixed cole slaw vegetable

Combine vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard and celery seeds in non-aluminum medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and dressing comes to boil. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cool completely. Put the vegetables in a large bowl and add dressing; toss to coat. Cover; refrigerate until cold, tossing occasionally, at least 2 hours.

Now go on and have a party. Summer’s just begun!




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3 comments on “Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  1. Shirley on said:

    I made this recipe today. Wow! Way too much salt! After cooking this I had to ‘rinse’ the meat to get rid of the salt. Then added the Memphis BBQ back into the pork. The BBQ sauce is very spicy and very good. I will make this recipe again but cut the salt in half….at the very least.
    Thanks for the recipe.

    • A Kitchen Muse on said:

      I’m glad you like it Shirley! Typically a lot of salt is used in brining the meat. The salt breaks down the fibers and makes the meat juicier. You can read more about brining here: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/why-brining-keeps-meat-moist.aspx

      Thanks for your comment and trying the recipe!

  2. Shirley on said:

    Thanks for the link to brining meats. I understand now that salt is necessary. However, it does specifically say on the page about brining to rinse the meat after brining. I think if I had known that it would have made a difference in the taste. Next time I will do so.

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