Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches


With the help of your trusty slow cooker, you can enjoy tangy pulled pork with just 30 minutes of hands-on time. Browning the meat before placing it in the slow cooker will create a nice crust and seal in all of the flavor without drying it out. De-glazing the pan with a Pilsner-style beer will ensure that you soak up every last bit of browned meet for even more flavor. Cooking the pork low and slow will allow it to easily fall off the bone, and you'll be able to shred it using two forks. If you're in no hurry, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Or if you need it be done quicker you can cook it on high for 5 to 6 hours.  The homemade Carolina-style vinegar sauce comes together with ingredients you probably already have on hand. We recommend serving with an assortment of toppings like pickles, sliced onions, coleslaw, and plenty of extra sauce.

Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Photo: Greg DuPree
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 45 mins
8 serves


Carolina Vinegar Sauce

  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar

  • 3/4 cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Pulled Pork

  • 1 (4-lb.) bone-in pork shoulder

  • 1 tablespoon hot pimenton

  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 (12-oz.) pilsner-style beer (such as Dos Equis)

Additional Ingredients

  • 8 hamburger buns or bakery rolls, split


  1. Prepare the Carolina Vinegar Sauce: Vigorously whisk together vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire, crushed red pepper, and mustard in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Measure 1/2 cup sauce into a small bowl; reserve for slow cooker. Cover remaining sauce (about 2 cups) in medium bowl; set aside for serving.

  2. Prepare the Pulled Pork: Pat pork dry with paper towels. Stir together pimenton, brown sugar, salt, mustard, onion powder, celery salt, garlic salt, and pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle all over pork. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan over high until hot but not smoking. Add pork; cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer pork to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beer to skillet; reduce heat to medium, and cook 30 seconds, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from skillet bottom.

  3. Pour beer mixture and reserved 1/2 cup sauce over pork in slow cooker. Cover and cook until pork easily pulls away from bone using a fork, 5 to 6 hours on HIGH or 8 to 10 hours on LOW. Remove pork from slow cooker, and transfer to a large heatproof bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Remove and discard bone. Shred meat using 2 forks. Add 1 cup of the reserved sauce from medium bowl to meat, and toss to coat. Serve pork on buns with remaining sauce on the side.

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