Slow Food USA’s $5 Food Challenge: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Feeding the whole family got a whole lot easier (and cheaper) with these Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches by

If you haven’t heard, there was a foodie challenge this weekend. Slow Food USA challenged foodies to make a home-cooked meal that would cost $5/person or less. Over 30,000 people all over the country participated in this fabulous challenge. The premise is to show that you can make delicious, nutritious and healthy meals for your family without busting your budget. This project is pretty near and dear to me, because it’s part of my mission statement: To bring families back to the dinner table again.

My head was spinning with ideas. I have already showed you over a dozen different ways to cook a whole chicken, I have a few of them here. You can frequently find them on sale for as little as 69¢/lb. A 5-lb bird can easily feed a family of four. Paired with roasted vegetables like brussels sprouts, cauliflower and potatoes and maybe even a green salad, and you have a healthy delicious meal for roughly $3/person.

Seriously cheap and healthy eats.

For this challenge, I decided to splurge a little on my meat and make a meal that most average American families would make for their families on any given day of the week: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Nothing too fancy, nothing too fussy, although I’m also famous in my family for making Beef Bourguignon cheaply, too!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches by

My grocery receipt looks like this:
Pork Butt Roast $10.28
French rolls 12 for $3.49
Frozen peas $1.99
Frozen corn $1.99
Cole slaw kit $1.99
BBQ sauce $1.79
Pickles $1.79
Onion 49¢
Peaches $2.64

Total cost = $4.40/person (for 6 adults)

We had plenty of food. This could have easily fed 8 people (bringing the cost down even more), as not everyone wanted two sandwiches. The rolls were on the small size. We served kid friendly peas & corn with cole slaw, and enjoyed fresh peaches for dessert.

I made homemade barbecue sauce and cole slaw dressing, but I didn’t want to break down the cost of the ingredients. But, by keeping staples stocked in your refrigerator and pantry (mayo, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, spices, butter) you end up using only pennies worth per meal.

My tips for eating $5/meal or less?

1. Shop what’s on sale for meats and store what you don’t cook right away in the freezer.

2. Buy fresh or frozen vegetables, as they have the most nutrition. For fresh, buy what’s in season. Not only is it peak in flavor, but it typically is on sale.

3. Use coupons. And if you have a smart phone, look for digital coupons. They are the latest and greatest way to save at the grocery store.

4. If you can, don’t shop with kids. You buy things just to appease them so you can shop without noise. Don’t worry, I’ve been there, too.

5. And of course, don’t shop when you are hungry. We’ve all heard that one before! It’s so true!

Check out all the other delicious meals made for $5/person, from vegetarian to gluten-free, Americana to gourmet. And, thank you Slow Food USA for hosting this great challenge!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This is an extremely easy slow-cooker recipe, that will leave you licking your fingers clean! Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 4 lb pork butt roast, with or without bone
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, store-bought or homemade*
  • 8 kaiser rolls


  1. Rinse with water and pat dry with paper towels:
    • 4 lb pork butt roast , with or without bone
  2. Trim off the large chunks of fat & cut into 5-inch pieces.
  3. Season pork pieces with:
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  4. Place on the bottom of a 6 quart slow-cooker:
    • 1/2 onion , sliced
  5. Place pork roast on top of onion layer and cover with:
    • 1/2 onion , sliced
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cup barbecue sauce , store-bought or homemade*
  6. Cover slow-cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours.
  7. When done, remove roast from slow-cooker.
  8. Use two forks or your fingers to pull pork apart until the entire roast is shredded. Discard any excess fat.
  9. Place pulled pork into serving dish and mix in with some of the juices from the slow-cooker.
  10. Serve with:
    • 8 kaiser rolls


Serving Suggestions: * Got picky eaters? You can also cook the pork without the barbecue sauce. Just serve the sauce on the side for those who want to mix it in!

Cooking Tips: Don't have a slow-cooker? Heat your oven to 300º F and cook the pork without the water and bbq sauce in a roasting pan, fat side up, covered with aluminum foil, for 4 hours. Remove the foil and continue to bake until roast is tender, about 2 more hours. After shredding the pork, add bbq sauce and serve.

Prep Time:

Yield: 8 servings

Cook Time:

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches Detail

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9 Responses to Slow Food USA’s $5 Food Challenge: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  1. I had really intended doing this challenge an totally forgot about it. You did a really nice job.I love your money saving tips.

  2. Thom at #

    Excellent job with the challenge…even serving pulled pork which can get expensive!

  3. Great job on this one! And I like all of your helpful hints. I really need to try and do some couponing.

  4. Wow Laura, you did such an amazing job! Honestly… I'm not very good with budget meal. I don't know how much I'm spending for daily meal…I know I'm such a bad housewife. I am not wasting food/money for sure, but I'm not sure if I am on budget. It's so hard to believe this meal is under $5!!! Restaurants will sell it for double for sure and they can get ingredients even cheaper! It's nice to know. Your sandwiches look super good and I want that for lunch tomorrow…. yummy!

  5. Great, in one word! I loved these sandwiches…look so tempting!

  6. Ann at #

    What a terrific job you did. I'm a fan of cooking and/or buying a whole chicken when you can (or get the parts on sale!). There is SO much you can do with it!

  7. Cathy @ ShowFoodChef at #

    Great job with this! And thanks for stopping by my blog, too. Of course, Pulled Pork is near and dear to my southern heart and you made a great and affordable meal out of it. Niiice!

  8. Looks delicious! I wanted to enter this, but was too busy with kids sports this weekend :-)I love your passion too for getting families back to the dinner table together!

  9. Quay Po Cooks at #

    Laura, you did well. That's a really good meal for $5! Pull pork sandwiches are delicious.

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