Slow Cooker Barbacoa Pork Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Slaw

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Pork Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Slaw

Whether it's game day or a cookout at the rancho…these sandwiches hold all the flavor of traditional Oaxacan style barbacoa reimagined into the quintessential Americana barbeque sandwich; highlightling spices like garlic, Mexican oregano, guajillo peppers and warming peppercorns, all wrapped in the comforting and delicious packaging of everyone's favorite from the American South. You can easily prep the meat a day ahead and the recipe will likely make enough to have leftovers which line you up for easy tacos or pozole for the next day. 

Yield: Makes 4-6 sandwiches 

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2.5 hours 


1.5 pounds pork shoulder 

~¼ cup kosher salt

2-3 tablespoons butter or high temp cooking oil of choice

1 jar of Ya Oaxaca Barbacoa Adobo

1 white, yellow or red onion, sliced

4 brioche burger buns, or other hamburger bun of choice

Cilantro Lime Slaw:

.5 pound green or red cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 medium red, yellow or white onion, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, grated
2 jalapenos, optional, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, stems removed

4 tablespoons lime juice 

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper




  1. Unwrap pork shoulder and use a kitchen scale to weigh about 1.5-2 pounds of pork, depending on how many people you want to feed. Wrap any remaining meat, label with the date and save in the freezer for another day. Pat the meat for the recipe dry with paper towels and use the kosher salt to heavily salt the entire surface of the pork. 
  2.  If using an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker, which we recommend, turn it on the “saute” or “sear” setting and begin heating the cooking surface. Otherwise please adjust the cooking time up to 6-8 hours if using a traditional slow cooker and sear pork on the stovetop – which will also totally work for this recipe. 
  3. When the surface is hot, add butter or cooking oil directly into the pot and place the meat inside to begin browning the entire surface of the pork shoulder. Leave each side to brown for about 2-3 minutes before rotating with a pair of tongs, don’t forget to do the ends as well. While the meat is browning, slice up all your onions. When the entire surface of the pork has a golden brown crust, use the tongs to remove it from the barrel of the pot and place aside to rest.
  4. Keeping the sear function on, drop in the onions and saute until soft (3-5 minutes) and all the salt and meat juices from the pork are scraped up into the onions with a spatula, add a small splash of water, broth or worcester to loosen the crispy bits if needed. When the onions are done, turn off the “Saute/Sear” setting and program the cooker to pressure cook for 2 hours.
  5. Place the resting pork back into the barrel of the cooker, pour the entire jar of barbacoa adobo over the prepared pork shoulder and securely close the lid and leave to cook for 2 hours, bearing in mind it will take about 20 minutes for the cooker to get to temperature and pressurize itself. 
  6. While the meat is cooking take some time to prepare your slaw ingredients; use a sharp knife, food processor with the shredding attachment or mandolin slicer to shred the cabbage, red onion and jalapeno nice and thin. As you prep each item you can toss them all in the same bowl for easy dressing and mixing just before serving. Continue with grating the carrot, picking the leaves from the cilantro. Prepare the liquid ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl on the side to pour over the salad just before building the sandwiches. 
  7. When the pork is finished it should easily melt and tear apart into shreds and chunks with a simple twist of the tongs. Break it apart a few times so that the sauces are incorporated but it’s not turned into soup. Also take this moment to dress and toss the slaw. 
  8. To build the sandwiches, place about 4 ounces or ¾ cup into the brioche bun, top with a healthy scoop of slaw, about the same amount as the pork, serve immediately and enjoy! The buns are very airy and tender and do not hold up well once the meat juices soak into it so leave components separate until just before serving. Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.