These smoky pulled pork burgers will give you the perfect summer party vibe. This recipe is easy, and great for feeding crowds. Thanks to the slow cooking method (no barbecue involved!), you can enjoy them any time of year, not just during the summer months!
Why To Try This Pulled Pork Burger Recipe
You will love this shredded pork recipe for several reasons:
- It is very easy and delicious – only little prep at the start, a few flavoursome ingredients and a long cooking time will take it a long way.
- This recipe is fantastic for a summer party, kids party or other form of entertaining – it can be easily scaled up or down as you need.
- You can make it any time of year – this is a recipe for pulled (shredded) pork without a barbecue grill. All you need is a slow cooker or the oven!
- It is great for making ahead, batch cooking and freezing.
- The recipe is versatile and can be easily stretched by adding some extra ingredients (beans, lentils and other vegetables).
- The leftovers can be reheated later, and served with buns, pasta, rice, or cooked potatoes, in a wrap or a baguette.
Key Ingredients For Pulled Pork Burger
This summery burger recipe contains only 7 ingredients, with most of the being pantry and fridge staples. For this mouth-watering recipe, you will need:
- Pork shoulder roasting joint is the best cut of pork for this recipe. It is juicy and gets really soft after just a couple of hours of cooking, making it perfect for pulling (shredding). When buying it from a butcher, ask them to remove the skin (rind), otherwise, you will need to take it off at home. The meat will keep more juices in if you sear the meat before adding to the slow cooker.
- Carrots are added for their colour, and to stretch the meaty sauce, whilst providing nutrients like beta carotene, vitamin A, and more. Carrots, as well as red onions, also bring a sweet flavour to the sauce, so there is no need to add sugar, even if the chopped tomatoes are more on the acidic side. Save the other (raw) red onion for a crispy garnish.
- Garlic adds a bit of flavour to the dish, chop it finely or crush it before adding to the pulled pork sauce.
- Chopped tomatoes from a can or a jar make an important part of the sauce, providing the dish with a beautiful red colour and bringing extra vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Tomato puree (paste) enhances the tomato flavours and helps to thicken the sauce.
- Barbecue sauce gives this meal the typical smoky flavour and aroma, and it helps bind the sauce together. Go for your trusted brand. If you are a fan, feel free to add more of it than the recipe says.
- The sauce will be seasoned with ground cumin, smoked paprika, chilli flakes and salt and pepper. Add the spices first, taste the sauce and then add salt and pepper to avoid the dish being too salty.
Serve it in brioche buns or classic burger buns, baguette, or wraps.
Sliced Cheddar or American cheese, coleslaw, gherkins, sliced onion, red cabbage, and tomatoes are optional toppings.
You will also enjoy these pulled meat sandwiches with a portion of crispy French fries on the side.
Substitutes & Variations
As mentioned before, this recipe is relatively versatile, meaning you can create more yummy burger fillers using similar ingredients. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Beef brisket or chicken fillets will be good substitutes for pork shoulder. However, beef brisket may need more time to become soft, whereas chicken will cook faster – please adjust cooking times accordingly.
- Tomato passata, or fresh tomatoes are great replacements for chopped canned tomatoes.
- Add bell peppers (any colour) instead of carrots.
- Swap red onion for brown onion.
- Season the dish with paprika, chili powder, or fresh chilies.
Exact measurements and swap ratios for all ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
This pulled pork burger recipe is ready in five easy steps:
- Cut the meat into large chunks, season it and sear it in a pan.
- Prepare the vegetables and preheat a slow cooker.
- Layer out diced carrots and onion into the slow cooker, season, stir in chopped tomatoes, seared pork shoulder chunks and cook for several hours until soft.
- Shred (pull) the pork and return it to the sauce to reheat.
- Serve with burger buns, toppings and sides.
Here are some tips on how to make these shredded pork burgers the best:
- Use fresh meat and take your time to remove any skin (rind) and excess fat before cooking it. This way, the sandwich filling will be less fatty.
- Brown (sear) the pork chunks in a pan before adding to the slow cooker. This will help it preserve most of the juices in the meat itself, so it won’t taste dry.
- Keep any juices that come out of the seared meat and add them to the slow cooker – this will enhance the flavour of the dish.
- Taste the cooked pulled pork mix before adding salt.
- For an extra smoky twist, add more of your favourite barbecue sauce. You can also add a dash of whiskey.
- Is your pulled pork sauce too runny? Reduce the water by cooking it on high heat without a lid for a few minutes. Keep stirring it to prevent the meat burning.
Storage & Reheating
This slow cooker recipe for pulled pork is ideal for making ahead as it reheats well later.
This shredded pork burger filling will last in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When preparing this filling in advance, ensure it has cooled down to room temperature before putting it in the fridge. Reheat the shredded pork thoroughly before serving.
You can also freeze this pulled pork mix for burgers. It will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight before reheating it or cook straight from frozen on a hob.
There are three ways you can reheat this slow-cooked pulled pork for burgers. No matter what method you choose, always check that the food is very hot before serving.
- In a microwave – place the meaty filling into a microwave-safe dish and reheat it for about 5-10 minutes depending on the quantity and the power of your microwave. This option is great if you need to reheat just a few portions.
- On the hob (stove top; from chilled or frozen)– place the pulled pork mix into a saucepan, set on medium heat, and wait for it to start simmering. Keep stirring and cook for 5-10 minutes until piping hot.
- Oven – preheat the oven to 392F/200C/180C fan. Transfer the shredded pork to an ovenproof dish, cover with a lid and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Stir halfway through. This and the hob method are recommended when reheating large quantities.
Sliced cheese (Cheddar or American cheese), gherkins, sliced tomatoes, onion and red cabbage are great toppings for pulled pork burgers. You can also enjoy them with a salad (coleslaw, fresh tomato, potato or cucumber salad, or tzatziki). Sandwiches with pulled pork will also taste delicious with a portion of French fries, potato waffles and fried onion rings.
Pork shoulder is the best cut of meat for pulled pork. The protein in it breaks up evenly when cooked, which makes it perfect for pulling (shredding). For the best results, sear it first and cook it slow.
Yes, absolutely! Thanks to a slow cooker, it can be an effortless way of how to feed a crowd at a kids birthday party, Super Bowl, garden party or other gathering with friends and family. Serve the pulled pork in burger buns, small slider buns, baguette, ciabatta or in wraps – all of these will make this party food visually appealing.
More Recipes Like This
- Hearty beef brisket stew
- Slow-cooked chili con carne
- Slow cooker sausage casserole
- Potato goulash with smoked sausage
- Chili con carne with rice
- Slow-cooked beef ragu
- Chicken kabobs (air fryer recipe)
📖 The Recipe
Pulled Pork Burger
- 3 tablespoon rapeseed oil
- 1.2 kg pork shoulder joint, boneless, without skin and excess fat
- 2 carrots
- 1 red onion
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, to taste
- chili flakes, to taste
- 2 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- barbecue sauce
For serving (optional):
- brioche or classic burger buns, bread rolls, wraps or baguette
- lettuce or iceberg salad
- sliced cheese
- tomatoes, sliced
- cucumber or gherkin, sliced
- Cut the meat into same-sized chunks (at least an inch thick), rub some salt and black pepper onto the surface of the meat. Add rapeseed oil to a frying pan and set it on medium-high heat. When hot, add the meat and sear for about 1-2 minutes each side. When all the meat has been browned (seared) on the outside, set it aside.
- Set the slow cooker on low or high heat. Dice the carrots and roughly slice an onion.
- Add the carrots and onion to the slow cooker (or Dutch oven, also known as cast iron casserole). Season with cumin, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper. Add tomato puree (paste) chopped tomatoes and stir. Add seared pork chunks, cover with barbecue sauce. Cover with a lid and let to cook for 5 hours (low heat) or 3 hours (high heat).
- Once the meat is cooked (it will start falling apart), take it out of the stew, and shred it (pull it) using two forks. Pull it as thin or thick as you like. Return the meat to the sauce and toss until the sauce and meat is combined evenly. Cook for another 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare all your garnishes, bread etc.
- Serve warm with burger buns, your favourite toppings and side dishes.
- Beef brisket or chicken fillets (1:1 ratio) - add more cooking time (+1 h) when using beef, -0.5 h when using chicken.
- Tomato passata (400ml), or 8 fresh tomatoes.
- Bell peppers (two).
- Brown onions (two).
- Seasoning: Paprika, chili powder, or fresh chilies (1:1 ratio).