Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Cover recipe- Family Circle, Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches: May 2012

While Family Circle is definitely not a cooking magazine, I find that it usually includes some nice options for family-friendly recipes.  And probably because it tends to catch the attention of consumers, they feature food on their cover more often than not.  In the May 2012 issue, the cover lures us in to articles on How to Start Your Own Business, De-Cluttering Your Life, Fun Family Spring Activities, and 30-Minute Family Meals.  Recipes worth taking a peek at in this issue:  Wheat Berry and Edamame Salad, Sloppy Joe Casserole, Steak Salad with Maple-Balsamic and BBQ Turkey Chili.

The cover photo feature actually does not fall into any of the articles highlighted on the cover (which I always find a little disconnected…)  Instead it appears in a small section toward the end of the magazine:  Slow Cooker Suppers.  The recipe featured:  Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches.  Read my tips below to see what I thought of this cover recipe.

Print Print Recipe

Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 6 hour 30 min


One 3 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, skin removed & trimmed
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, diced
1 cup vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
8 seedless sandwich buns

3/4 cup light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
One 1-pound bag deli shredded coleslaw mix


1.  Prepare the pork:  Rub the pork all over with seasoned salt and paprika.  Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown the pork on all sides, about 12 minutes.
2.  Prepare the sauce:  Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-heat.  Add the onion and cook 5 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar and mustard.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
3.  Transfer the pork to your slow cooker and pour the sauce on top.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
4.  Prepare the coleslaw:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, celery salt and pepper.  Stir in the coleslaw mix.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
5.  Remove the pork from the slow cooker, place it on a cutting board and let it cool for a few minutes.  With 2 forks (or with clean hands), shred the meat, discarding any fat or bones.  Add the shredded meat back to the sauce in the slow cooker.  Divide the meat evenly among the sandwich buns, topping with coleslaw, if desired.


*I didn't worry about trimming my roast much.  It only had a thin layer of fat on one side, and that cooked off a bit when I browned the roast.  Tip on browning- use a cast iron skillet or a metal pan if you can (vs. a nonstick skillet).  You'll get a nice sear all the way around your roast, sealing in the juices.  Using a nonstick skillet, you won't get that nice brown sear.
*For seasoned salt, I used Morton's Roasted Garlic Sea Salt.
*For vinegar in the sauce, I used cider vinegar.
*I chose to cook the pork roast on low for 8 hours.
*The sauce wasn't as "thick" as it looks on the cover of the magazine- in fact, it was quite thin.  I chose to add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the sauce after I took the roast out of it, then turned the slow cooker on high and put the lid on for 20 minutes.  That seemed to thicken it up slightly.
*Instead of hamburger buns, I served this on small slider buns.  You could get 16 servings out of the slider buns.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 sandwich
Calories per serving: 492
Fat per serving: 19g
Saturated Fat per serving: 5g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">817g
Fiber per serving: 1g
Protein per serving: 42g
Cholesterol per serving: 119mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 37g

Source: Family Circle, May 2012

The results:

I was very, very happy with this recipe– everything about it.  I’m not a big “slow cooker” kind of person, and when I’m making a slow cooker recipe I like to throw everything in it and forget about it.  This recipe requires you to brown the roast and simmer the sauce a bit.  That whole thing plus dishes took me about 20 minutes, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.  All day, we enjoyed the scent coming from the kitchen as it slow cooked!  My son never seems to be very excited about what I choose to make for dinner, but he loved these (without the slaw).  My husband and I enjoyed them slaw and all.  My only gripe was about the sauce (mentioned in the tips above), but that was easily fixed.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Definitely!   It’s a recipe I’d repeat and share with friends, and it’s easy enough for anyone to make.  I think it makes a good cover recipe for the Family Circle audience.

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

10 Responses to “Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches”

  1. 1

    Gretchen Noelle — April 25, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    This definitely sounds tasty. Glad to see you are doing these again, always thought it was a great idea!

  2. 2

    Margie — April 25, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    I have seen several similar recipes and this convinces me that I need to try it! Thanks.

  3. 3

    Ann — April 25, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

    Carolina pulled pork is the best reason for going to North Carolina! Been there a few times and fell in love with the pulled pork and slaw. It’s not a thick sauce like Texas and Kansas City styles. Very thin, vinegary, and delicious. It’s just their style. Hope you can go someday.

    • Lori Lange replied: — April 26th, 2012 @ 11:58 am

      Ann- it’s good to know that the sauce is supposed to be thin! In the actual photo on the cover of the magazine- the sauce is quite thick. Guess they did that for the camera…

  4. 4

    Maria — April 26, 2012 @ 7:38 am

    I know Josh would love these!

  5. 5

    Lela — April 27, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    What a clever idea! No one else that I have run across has this idea. I love your site.

  6. 6

    grace — April 27, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

    the juicy pork, the sloppy slaw. this is one of my favorite sandwiches of all.

  7. 7

    Mrs. L — April 30, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    I tend to buy Family Circle and Womans Day magazines when there is a tasty looking dish on the cover :)

  8. 8

    Renayr — August 27, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

    Came across your post on pinterest. Had to comment about the sauce… I am from Virginia Beach (about 15 minutes from the Carolina border) so this is the style of bbq I grew up on. I now live about an hour and a half from Kansas City, and it’s obviously tremendously different. As for Carolina sauce, it is supposed to be super thin and vinegar-y. The meat soaks it up while cooking to get the flavor throughout. I’m going to try this recipe and compare it to our family favorite recipe. It sounds pretty right on the money!

  9. 9

    denbie — December 29, 2013 @ 11:36 am

    I add root beer also taste great and baby rays bbq sauce o so good

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