Apple Cider Pulled Pork Sandwiches

You can bet I ate my weight in barbecue while recently traveling through Texas.

Apple Cider Pulled Pork Sandwiches recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweel pea chef

One meal I couldn’t quite get enough of was a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw on top.  I had tried this sandwich a few times in California with mixed results, so I was very excited for our Texas trip to try some “real” barbecue.

I think I tried this sandwich at about four different restaurants during our two-week trip.  By the end, I was completely satisfied with my accomplishments.

Apple Cider Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Then I got home.  And the itch hit again.  I needed more.

But, there was one problem (other than I was 2000 miles away):  I had never made such a sandwich before.  Pulled pork?  Yes.  But, coleslaw?  Nope.  This may seem like an easy-to-fix problem, but it wasn’t for me.  You see…I am very, very particular about my coleslaw.  Kinda like my Potato Salad.  It has to be just right or it’s not good enough for me.

Apple Cider Pulled Pork Sandwiches

So, I decided to compromise and I made a simple pulled pork sandwich.  I will save the coleslaw trials and errors for later.  I also made my Egg Bread Buns and just piled on the pulled pork.  And it was good.

This recipe isn’t too barbecue-y.  It is more mild with a sweet hint of apples and a late kick of heat.  It was a nice change of pace from the heavier barbecue pulled pork sandwiches from Texas, but I am already craving more Texas barbecue again.

Apple Cider Pulled Pork Sandwiches recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweel pea chef

I make this pulled pork in my lovely Le Creuset dutch oven, but it’ll also work in a large pot on the stove or in a slow cooker if you’d prefer.

Apple Cider Pulled Pork Sandwiches recipe and images by Lacey Baier, a sweel pea chef

If you have a coleslaw recipe that’s sure to satisfy, feel free to share the link in the comments section.  I’d love to try it out!

Apple Cider Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe for Apple Cider Pulled Pork Sandwiches isn't too barbecue-y. It is more mild with a sweet hint of apples and a late kick of heat.
Recipe type: Easy
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 cups apple cider (or juice)
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp. cumin
  • 1½ tsp. paprika
  • 1½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • optional: 4 tbsp. of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 medium onion, divided into eighths
  • 2-3 lbs. pork shoulder, all ties removed (I used a pork shoulder butt roast)
  • 4-6 sandwich buns (try these Egg Bread Buns if you'd like)
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the apple cider, ketchup, brown sugar, optional barbecue sauce and spices and set aside.
  3. Place ½ of the sliced onions into the bottom of a 4-6-quart dutch oven. Place the pork shoulder on top the onions. Top the pork shoulder with the remaining onions and then pour sauce over everything. The pork shoulder need not be completely submerged to reach perfect pulled perfection, but you can add a little more apple cider if you'd like at this point.
  4. Cover and place in the oven for 2½ to 3 hours, depending on the size of your pork shoulder. Begin checking for doneness after about 2 hours. When done, the pork will easily pull apart from itself with a fork. Remove the meat and place onto a flat surface.
  5. Place the dutch oven on the stove (or move contents to a large pan) and heat to boiling to thicken. While the sauce boils, pull the pork into shreds using two forks. Take care to remove the pieces of fat. Return the shredded pork to the sauce and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Serve pulled pork piled high on a sandwich bun or just by itself. Top with some coleslaw if you'd like. It's really yummy!


  1. says

    Hi there,

    Tried this tonight and really enjoyed it, thanks!

    I’ve tried pulled pork a couple of times before but without much success. Until now! This recipe works very well, even with smaller cuts of pork shoulder (that’s the way it tends to be sold here in the UK).

    For the benefit of my fellow Brits, there are a couple of modifications I’d make next time around:

    1. A bit less cayenne pepper. My cayenne is very hot so a full teaspoon was too much. I’d use half a teaspoon next time.

    2. This is my fault but, because I was using a much smaller piece of shoulder there wasn’t enough meat to soak up all the liqour at the end, meaning that the pulled pork was a bit wetter than it should have been. If you use a smaller piece of meat, keep the quantities the same as the recipe but don’t use all the liqour at the end.

    Thanks again!


  2. Abby says

    I made this and several other recipes from your site and they are all delicious! Thank you! We are eating at home so much more often since I stumbled onto your website!

  3. Marsha says

    If you want great Texas BBQ delivered to your door, check out Goode Company online. Based in Houston, it is to die for. When you eat in their little restaurant at the family-style tables, you get a huge sandwich about the size of your hand and 6″ high for $5 or $6 — some ridiculously low price. The pecan pie is also wonderful, a huge slice for $2 or $3. They will ship it to you. Enjoy!

  4. Mike says

    You asked for coleslaw, that’s what I do at home:
    – 8 cups cabbage (I cut it in a food procesor, first on single slice balde, and afted with dubble blade for smaller pieces)
    – 1/4 cup carrot shreded
    – 2 small onions finely diced

    Thats all veggies.

    Then the sauce.
    – 1/3 cup caster or pouder sugar
    – 1/4 cup of milk (if its too thick add more)
    – 1/2 cup mayo (i like Hellmans)
    – 1/4 tea spoon salt
    – 1/8 tea spoon black pepper
    – 2 1/2 table spoon lemon juice
    – 1 1/2 table spoon white wine vinegar

    Mix all the sauce ingredients together with onion. Leave for 10 – 15 min. And then mix into cabbage and carrot.

    Put in the fridge for 2h so the tastes will mix.

    I did this coleslaw a few times already, and got a good one every time.

  5. Stacey says

    I am making this for dinner tonight, but planned on using my slow cooker. I am right in assuming that it is 2-3 hours on high?

  6. says

    I just had to write a comment — I have made this recipe several times over, finding it on the Tasty Kitchen site, and I must say it is delicious and one of the few recipes my husband consistently rates as being 5 stars! Thanks for sharing!

  7. says

    I have a friend who claims that there are some small farms that feed their pigs apples to enhance the complimentary pork/apple taste relationship. I have no idea if this is true, or if it’s even possible. But if I ever find such pork, this is the recipe I’m going to use to try it out! Thanks.

  8. Janene says

    Thanks for all the delicious recipes. Every one of them are so good. You seem to have tuned into my palate. Thanks again, Keep em coming!

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