Pulled pork sliders are a delicious and easy recipe when you want something hands off. These are perfect for a family dinner, a game day party, or summer bbqs. Pork butt or boneless pork shoulder is dry rubbed with spicy, smoky flavors, then slow-cooked until the meat is tender and falling apart. Serve them on your favorite slider rolls and top with homemade BBQ sauce and creamy coleslaw. (This post was originally published on July 24th, 2015. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases).
For research, I dug out my very old, (1997) copy of Cook’s Illustrated about how to make the best pulled pork. Cook’s gave one recipe for a spicy chili rub, and three, very different types of Carolina sauces. We spent the day taste testing, our family decided we prefer the Western South-Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce over the mustard sauce from Mid-South Carolina. But you can use your favorite recipe or store-bought BBQ sauce if you’d like.
What cut of pork is best for pulled pork?
The two most common cuts of pork are the pork butt and the pork shoulder. Unlike the body part it sounds like, the “butt” is upper shoulder or back of the pig. It has more fat and marbling and is best for moist, shredded pork meat. Pork shoulder is the foreleg as you can tell by the triangular shape. The shoulder is sometimes called a picnic roast, or picnic shoulder. The pork butt is the cut I recommend for this recipe.
How much pulled pork for a slider?
Since bbq pork sliders are about half the size of a normal burger, figure 2-3 sliders per person, depending on your guests. Each slider will take between 2-3 ounces of pulled pork. (Think of a 4 ounce quarter pounder, and halve it.)
How many sliders will a pound of pork make?
A pound of shredded should make between 6-8 sliders.
What’s the best roll to use for sliders?
The bun you choose for sliders is a personal preference, use your favorite slider buns. Soft Hawaiian rolls are sweet, and brioche buns are rich and buttery. Both make a delicious pulled pork sandwich.
What goes on pork sliders?
Use your favorite bbq sauce, or the one below, then top them with tangy coleslaw and a sweet pickle for crunch.
Ingredients for the pork rub
- chili powder
- ground cumin
- black pepper
- dark brown sugar
- ground oregano
- smoked paprika
- kosher salt
- white pepper
- cane sugar
- 1 cup beer
- 6 pound pork butt
How to make this pork slider recipe
Since I have a gas grill, and lack the patience for a 3-5 hour cooking time, I adapted this recipe to make it slow cooker pulled pork. For best results, start the rub the day before you plan on cooking the pork butt. I used the rub, wrapping the pork tightly in plastic wrap to let the spices really work their magic on the pork. Anywhere from 3 to 24 hours is recommended. I settled somewhere in the middle with an overnight rest in the fridge. To cook the pork, I simply put the marinated shoulder in the slow-cooker with 1 cup of my favorite IPA beer and left it alone for 8 hours.
What to serve with pork sandwiches
Homemade coleslaw is good both in and on the side of sliders. This potato salad is always on the menu for summer gatherings. Potato chips or French fries are a great option. For dessert, something light like Lemon Bars or something decadent like Notting Hill Brownies are easy to transport or serve. This Apricot-Cherry Slab Pie is great for a crowd.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sliders
- 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground oregano
- 4 Tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground white pepper
- 1 6 lb pork roast
- 1 cup of good quality beer such as an IPA beer
- 3 dozen Hawaiian rolls
- Mix all 9 spices, from black pepper through white pepper in a small bowl. Lay pork shoulder on a large piece of plastic wrap and use rub to cover all sides of pork, massaging the rub into the meat. Seal tightly with two layers of wrap and refrigerate for 3 and up to 24 hours.
- Remove roast from plastic wrap. Place roast in slow-cooker. Add beer and cover. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until pork is cooked through and pulls apart easily. Discard cooking liquid.
- Let pork rest until cook enough to tear into thin shreds. Remove fat if desired.
- Toss pulled pork with BBQ sauce and serve on buns with coleslaw.
- Recipe will make approximately 30 sliders. (using 3 ounces of shredded pork for each slider if using a 6 pound pork butt.)
- Nutritional value does not included BBQ sauce or toppings.
Ingredients for the Western South Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce
The bbq sauce can be made a day or two ahead of time.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- medium onion
- Worcestershire sauce
- dry mustard powder (I love Colman’s)
- smoked paprika
- brown sugar
- ketchup (I like this low-sugar/non HFC ketchup)
- cayenne pepper
- apple cider vinegar
How to make the BBQ sauce. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent and softened, about 4 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute another minute. Stir in all remaining ingredients except ketchup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Add ketchup, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.
Western South Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce
- Heat oil in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, except ketchup.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then add ketchup.
- Cook stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Mix bbq sauce with shredded pork and serve on buns.