Crock Pot Mexican Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Mexican pulled pork sandwich

5 from 5 reviews

The most tender, flavor-packed Mexican pulled pork sandwich ever! Pork shoulder seasoned with achiote, citrus, and garlic slowly simmered in the Crock Pot.



3 pounds boneless pork shoulder

3.5 ounce package achiote paste

1 cup fresh orange juice (from 34 oranges)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)

3 teaspoons kosher salt

banana leaves, optional

1 head garlic, broken into cloves and cloves peeled

6 sandwich buns

For the Pickled Vegetables:

1 large carrot

3 rainbow radishes

1 yellow bell pepper

1 cup water

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

cilantro leaves

For the Pickled Onion Straws: 

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup water

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

1 cup all purpose flour


Crumble achiote paste into the blender. Add orange juice, lime juice, and salt. Blend on high until combined. 

Line the inside of the slow cooker with banana leaves, if using. Place pork shoulder in banana leaves, and pour achiote marinade over pork. Add garlic. Cover top with banana leaves. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. 

Meanwhile make the pickled vegetables. You can use any vegetables you’d like here, whatever is colorful in the market, the vegetables listed are just a suggestion. Whatever vegetable you use, trim it, peel it if necessary, and remove the seeds. Cut into thin julienne strips and toss together in a heat-proof bowl. 

Heat water, vinegar, sugar, and salt over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Whisk to dissolve sugar then bring to a boil. Pour hot pickling mixture over vegetables and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Mix with cilantro.  

For the Pickled Onion Straws:

Making the pickled onion straws is very similar to the pickled vegetables. Slice the red onion into thin rings. 

Bring the pickling mixture to a boil and pour over onions. Let cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour. Ideally you will have time to cover and refrigerate over night.  The onions are best if made a day in advance and let sit in the pickling liquid to marinate.  

When ready to fry, heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Season flour with salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Drain onions and toss a handful at a time into the flour mixture. 

Test the oil to see if it is ready by adding a pinch of flour, if it bubbles and disintegrates immediately the oil is hot enough. If this happens slowly, give it a minute or two more to heat up. 

Once oil is hot, add onions a handful at a time and let fry, undisturbed until golden on one side. Flip and fry the other side until crisp. Transfer with tongs to a paper-towel lined plate, season with salt. Repeat with remaining onions. 

For the Sandwiches: 

Shred meat into bite-sized pieces and mix with the sauce and garlic cloves. Layer meat on the buns, top with pickled vegetables and onions straws and serve. 


Pickled vegetables can be made up to a week in advance.