You can bet I ate my weight in barbecue while recently traveling through Texas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
2 cups apple cider (or juice)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 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)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the apple cider, ketchup, brown sugar, optional barbecue sauce and spices and set aside.
Place 1/2 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.
Cover and place in the oven for 2 1/2 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.
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.
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!