These sauces for pulled pork offer complementary flavors and textures! Discover our top picks and get expert tips on selecting the ideal sauce for almost any shredded pork.
Tender meat slow-cooked to perfection and then shredded, pulled pork is a blank canvas. On its own, it’s flavorful, with its smoky flavor and melt-in-the-mouth texture. But it’s the sauce that completes the picture, bringing color, depth, and soul to the plate.
The love for the dish extends well beyond the borders of the US and finds itself at the heart of diverse culinary traditions around the world. From the smoky wonders of Filipino Adobo sauces to the aromatic tang of Asian-infused blends, each sauce offers its own unique flavor, distinct personality, and culinary experience.
Here are some of the best popular sauces for pulled pork from around the world:
Top 5 Picks
No time to lose? Let’s make it quick. Here are the faves:
- #1 Spicy Barbecue Sauce is easy and takes less than 30 minutes to assemble.
- #5 Alabama White Sauce provides a creamy, tangy, and slightly spicy flavor.
- #9 Cherry Bourbon BBQ Sauce uses dried cherries, giving the sauce a richer taste.
- #10 Lemon Herb Aioli is ideal for busy cooks, with a few simple ingredients and steps.
- #13 Hoisin Sauce uses traditional ingredients and methods, giving it an authentic Chinese-inspired flavor.
Sauces For Pulled Pork
This barbecue sauce is the ultimate companion for pulled pork due to its harmonious blend of spicy, sweet, and smoky flavors. The sauce enhances the succulence of the slow-cooked pork and adds a rich complexity that blends well with its tender texture.
2. Adobo Sauce
This version of adobo sauce has a savory, slightly sweet, and slightly sour flavor that will complement the pork perfectly. It also helps to tenderize the pork, making it easy to shred.
This Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce isn’t too sweet, which allows the natural flavors of the pork to shine through. The mustard gives the sauce a sharp, tangy flavor that pairs well with the rich note of the pork.
This sauce has a balanced flavor that complements the rich, smoky meat. It’s made with a base of apple cider vinegar, which gives it a tangy acidity that cuts through the rich taste of the pork.
This Alabama White Sauce is an excellent pair with pulled pork. It calls for mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and mustard, which gives it a tangy, sweet, and smoky flavor. The sauce is easy to make, so you can whip it up quickly at home.
This Red Chili Sauce can be a delicious addition to pulled pork, adding a spicy and tangy flavor to the dish. Just make sure to do a taste test before applying the sauce to the entire batch of pulled pork to determine how much is needed.
Here’s another sauce that’s great for pulled pork! The sweet flavor of honey and a savory note of garlic in this sauce will beautifully complement the rich, fatty pork. It will also help to keep the pork moist and tender.
Pineapple Habanero Hot Sauce can be a fantastic choice for adding flavor and heat to pulled pork. The habanero peppers add a bit of heat, but not too much, that will keep your taste buds wanting more.
If you like the flavors of cherries, bourbon, and barbecue, this sauce can be a unique addition to your pulled pork. The combination of cherries and bourbon adds depth and complexity to the sauce, which works well with the rich meat.
10. Lemon Herb Aioli
This Lemon Herb Aioli works well with pulled pork. The lemon juice and herbs offer the pork a bright and refreshing flavor, and the mayonnaise gives the meat its signature creamy texture.
11. Teriyaki Sauce
This Japanese barbecue sauce offers a sweet, savory, and slightly tangy taste that pairs wonderfully with pulled pork’s rich, fatty flavor. It can be used to marinate the meat before cooking or added after cooking to add flavor and moisture.
Tamarind is a fruit that has a sour, tangy taste. This flavor can help balance out the rich note of the pulled pork. The tamarind also adds a depth of flavor that can be lacking in traditional BBQ sauces.
13. Hoisin Sauce
This thick, dark sauce features a sweet and savory flavor with hints of garlic, soy, and various aromatic spices. It can provide a unique twist on traditional pulled pork flavors when combined with pulled pork.
Using the Raspberry Chipotle Sauce as a glaze or drizzle over the pulled pork can add a unique twist to the dish. Before using the sauce, taste it to adjust its sweet and spicy levels based on your preference.
This sauce pairs nicely with pulled pork, thanks to its balanced blend of sweet, smoky, tangy, and slightly spicy notes. It also has a touch of acidity from the apple cider vinegar, which helps to balance out the sweet flavor.
16. Mole Sauce
The rich, complex flavors of this Mole Sauce complement the tender, juicy pulled pork perfectly. The chocolate, chiles, and spices in the sauce add warmth to the pork, while the acidity of the tomatoes and fruits brightens the dish.
Thai peanut sauce is known for its creamy, nutty, slightly spicy, and savory flavors. Combining it with pulled pork, though somewhat nontraditional, creates a bold and flavorful combo of textures and flavors. Add these lemongrass garlic potatoes on the side.
Balsamic reduction is made by simmering balsamic vinegar until it thickens and develops a sweeter, more concentrated flavor. Its rich and sweet-tart notes complement the savory and smoky flavors of pulled pork.
Tips When Choosing Sauces For Pulled Pork
Choosing the right sauce for pulled pork can significantly enhance its flavor. Here are some tips to consider when selecting sauces for pulled pork:
- Regional preferences. Explore styles from North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, and Texas.
- Balance of flavors. Choose a sauce with your ideal sweet, spicy, tangy, and smoky blend.
- Homemade vs. store-bought. Homemade offers customization; store-bought is convenient.
- Heat level. Pick a mild to spicy sauce based on your tolerance.
- Consistency. Decide between a thin, vinegar-based sauce or a thicker, stickier one.
- Acidity. Opt for sauces with vinegar or citrus for a tangy contrast.
- Sweetness. Some sauces use molasses, brown sugar, or honey for sweetness. Pick according to your taste.
- Additional ingredients. Consider flavors like garlic, onions, or fruits like berries, peach, or fig.
- Pairing with side dishes. Match the sauce with your side dishes for flavor harmony.
- Taste test. Try small batches of different sauces to find your favorite.
The bottom line
While pulled pork in its tender glory is a marvel, it is incomplete without its saucy counterpart. The key to a successful pulled pork sauce is achieving a balanced blend of flavors that enhances the natural qualities of the meat.
Remember, the best sauces for pulled pork are the ones that you enjoy the most. Don’t be afraid to try a few different types before settling on your favorite.
- Spicy Barbecue Sauce
- Adobo Sauce
- Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce
- Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce
- Alabama White Sauce
- Red Chili Sauce
- Honey Garlic Sauce
- Pineapple Habanero Hot Sauce
- Cherry Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Lemon Herb Aioli
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Tamarind BBQ Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
- Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
- Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Mole Sauce
- Thai Peanut Sauce
- Balsamic Reduction
- Find your favorite sauce from our Sauces For Pulled Pork list.
- Gather all the ingredients needed.
- If you love it, don't forget to share where you got it!