Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Classic Coleslaw

Sometimes you need dinner to be just that, a simple meal that barely takes any effort that you can get on the table quickly and that is a joy to eat. This is why on days where I know I won’t be bothered by the time we get to dinner time I start the day off by throwing everything necessary to make barbecue pulled pork in the slow cooker.

And that is literally it. If your piece of pork shoulder has already had the skin removed (and if not that is just the work of moments with a sharp knife) all you have to do is sit it in the slow cooker – don’t bother browning it or anything like that – and mix together all the sauce ingredients (no chopping required there, just a set of measuring spoons) and pour it over before clapping on the lid and cooking it low and slow for 8 hours. And then it is so forgiving it can just wait around on low for another hour if needed until you’re ready to eat.

Then, once you’ve shredded the pork with a pair of forks all you have to do is air fryer some French fries (my air fryer is a kitchen gadget like my slow cooker that I’ll never be parted from – forget no fuss crispy chicken wings, now I’ve found you can produce restaurant-quality French fries in one from a freezer bag of oven chips my dinnertimes will never be the same again), grill the cut side of some brioche buns (this will stop them getting too soggy while you’re eating, though I warn you this is a messy meal!) and make your coleslaw.

Now there will be no judgement from me how fancy your coleslaw game is or not. This is supposed to be a simple, no stress supper after all. The recipe below is for a quick, vibrantly purple shortcuts version of my classic coleslaw recipe, which would also be delicious here if not as aesthetic, a little more involved with the addition of shredded carrot and fennel alongside white cabbage instead. Or, you know, if there is a store bought slaw you love, just use that instead. I have been known to stuff leftover coleslaw from KFC in my buns as I’m the only one who likes it and it always comes in a massive tub. (And besides, when we’ve caved and had a KFC I’ve usually overlooked the slaw, generating leftovers, because there is KFC rice on the table and that stuff I am addicted to!)

While this barbecue pulled pork recipe balances sweetness and tang nicely, some people just can’t get enough of tangy, pickled flavours. If this is you (it is me too!) even made with the cucumber and dill my pickled version of a Purple Cabbage Slaw would also work here (just make sure you drain it really, really well!), or, you know, a good one out of a jar.

I’ve admitted to my KFC rice addiction now, so no judgements.

What if my pulled pork comes out too watery?

This might be a problem if you’re using really cheap pork which may have added water – don’t worry, this has happened once or twice to me too! Simply remove the pork from the slow cooker and shed it, setting it aside. Meanwhile, transfer the liquid left in the slow cooker to a saucepan (or simply remove the insert if you’re using a sear and stew model) and bring it to the boil over a high heat. Reduce until it is the consistency of barbecue sauce, and stir it back into the shredded pork.

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Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork Rolls with Classic Coleslaw

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


This super easy classic Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork recipe is delicious stuffed into soft rolls along with a simple coleslaw for a weeknight dinner that everyone will love – it also makes for excellent leftovers, too!



For the Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork

  • approx. 800g (1.7 lb) pork shoulder, skin removed and fat trimmed
  • 5 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp dried onion granules
  • 6 brioche burger buns, to serve

For the Classic Coleslaw

  • 200g (7 oz) red cabbage, shredded thinly
  • 3 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus extra to taste
  • 1/2 tsp runny honey


  1. Place the pork in the slow cooker. Whisk the rest of the pulled pork ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the pork. Set the slow cooker to cook for 8 hours on low.
  2. To make the slaw, shred the cabbage. In the bottom of a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice and honey and toss in the cabbage until it is well coated. Taste to see if it needs any more lemon, and set aside.
  3. Halve the buns and place them, cut side up on a baking tray. Turn the grill onto medium and gently toast them for a few minutes until just golden. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, shred the pork. By now it should be meltingly tender so you can do this with two forks.
  5. Bring everything to the table so everyone can help themselves; provide tongs rather than a spoon with the pork in case it is a bit too saucy; this will stop people getting too much liquid in their buns so things don’t get too messy!