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Happy Labor Day (a little bit early)!  I know a lot of people tend to do barbecues or picnics during their three day weekend for Labor Day. I’m jealous of these people… I haven’t gotten a 3 day weekend for a holiday in over 4 years! But for those of you who are off, enjoy yourselves and celebrate the end of summer! These pulled pork sandwiches would be a great way to send off summer. They aren’t officially barbecued, since the meat is done in the slow cooker, but they have barbecue sauce and could work well as picnic food.

Before this, I had never thought myself to be a fan of pulled pork. I had tried some pulled pork sandwiches that other people had ordered, and they just never seemed that great. But this stuff is awesome! The pork is moist and tender, and deliciously spiced before any barbecue sauce is even added, which means the addition of barbecue sauce makes it that much greater! Especially when you use a sauce you love.Now you can of course use your own favorite barbecue sauce, whether it be store bought or your own favorite recipe. But if you have never before made your own barbecue sauce, I strongly urge you to try it. It is so amazingly good, you’ll never be able to go back to the bottled stuff! The barbecue sauce I have listed is more of a vinegary one, so it’s on the thinner side and has a bit of tang to it, with a little bit of a bite from the cayenne pepper. But oh man, is this stuff good! I was so happy when my friend gave me her recipe and I made it myself. It was love at first taste! 🙂

As a reference for how much this makes, I could only find a 5½ pound pork shoulder, and I still got about 10 sandwiches. We were having them for lunches on our weekend and as quick dinners. They went pretty fast… this stuff is that good.Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade Barbecue Sauce
Note: Feel free to use your favorite bottled barbecue sauce, or your own homemade sauce.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches:
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 (6-8 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
2½ cups barbecue sauce, divided, see below
Rolls for serving, such as Kaiser

Barbecue Sauce:
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground yellow mustard
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

To make the pulled pork: To make the spice rub, combine black pepper through sugar in a small bowl. Massage spice rub into meat. Wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Unwrap roast and place it in slow cooker. Add liquid smoke, if using, and ½ cup water. Turn slow cooker to low and cook for 8-10 hours, until meat is fork-tender.

Transfer roast to cutting board; discard liquid in liner. Pull meat by tearing it into thin shreds with two forks or your fingers; discard fat.

Place shredded meat back in slow cooker; toss with 1 cup barbecue sauce, and heat on low for 30-60 minutes, or until hot. Serve on rolls, pouring additional barbecue sauce on top of the meat as desired.

To make the barbecue sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and heat through.

Source: Pulled pork slightly adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles; Barbecue sauce adapted from Renae

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