Culinary Institute of America Recipe
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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwich with Kansas City-style BBQ Sauce

Low and Slow

Whether Carolina-, Memphis-, Kansas City-, or Texas-style, there may be as many versions of pulled pork as there are regions in America—and each one is truly delicious. This popular dish became famous for its technique of barbecuing the shoulder or “butt” of the pork for hours and hours over the low heat of a wood fire. Our version is much easier to prepare because it’s made in the slow cooker. Try our coleslaw recipe as a side to this dish.

Using low, gentle heat over a long cooking time yields big flavors from otherwise tough cuts of meat. The term “pork butt” comes from the “butt” cask, or barrel, that our ancestors used to ship the lesser cuts of pork. Our Kansas City-style barbeque sauce recipe is a great way to flavor all cuts of pork.

Watch our video—the CIA’s Chef Bill Briwa will demonstrate how to properly pull pork to make sliders >

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwich recipe by The Culinary Institute of America



Pulled Pork

Makes 5 Pounds

  • 5 pounds boneless pork butt (shoulder)
  • 3 cups (about 2 large) thinly sliced onions
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle or hot pepper
  • 1 1/2tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste


  • Sandwich buns as needed, split and toasted
  • Kansas City-style Barbecue Sauce, as needed
  • Coleslaw, as needed (optional)



  1. Remove the excess fat from the exterior of the pork. It is fine to leave some on, as we will skim off fat later. If the pork is one large piece, cut it into 2 or 3 pieces.
  2. Place the onions, tomatoes, garlic, paprika, chili powder, chipotle, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, and salt into the slow cooker and toss to combine. Add the pork and mix it with the other ingredients. Cover.
  3. Set the slow cooker for 8 hours on low. Although the pork will begin to smell really good in about an hour, leave the lid alone.
  4. After 4 hours, turn the meat over once, replace the lid, and continue to cook.
  5. When the cooking is complete, remove the meat and set aside. Skim any fat along the top of the cooking liquid, or allow the liquid to cool and then remove the fat.
  6. Purée the remaining liquid to a sauce-like consistency; it should be thick but smooth.
  7. When the meat is cool enough to handle, use two forks to pull the pork into shreds. Season with black pepper.
  8. Heat the puréed liquid and add it to the meat as desired, depending on how saucy you like your pulled pork.


  1. Place a portion of the pulled pork onto the bottom half of the toasted bun, and top with barbecue sauce and coleslaw.
  2. Store leftover pulled pork in an airtight container for 5 to 6 days or in a freezer for up to 6 weeks.

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