By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Lindsey of Café Johnsonia.
Memorial Day has come and gone and that means it’s officially summer! Our family loves a good barbecue — Ben Blair makes the best burgers ever. But every so often it’s nice to switch things up a bit, so next up in the Slow Cooker Series is pulled pork sandwiches. You could use any kind of sauce you want, but for this one, we’ve used a homemade bbq sauce of sorts with two secret ingredients!
Let’s talk about these secret ingredients. Have you ever had bourbon bbq sauce? It has a nice smoky, sweet flavor. And true, you could add bourbon to the sauce recipe if you wanted, but this one uses liquid smoke and vanilla extract. Don’t worry, it doesn’t end up tasting like cupcakes or anything. It’s really good. (Trust me!)
Plus, you can’t have pulled pork sammies without a pile of coleslaw, right? I’ve got a good homemade recipe for that too, and it’s as easy as can be to put together. The coleslaw in the pictures is made with a new coleslaw mix from Trader Joe’s that has shredded kale and Brussels sprouts too. You can use any kind of slaw mix you can find or like best.
Ready to get cooking?
Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
One 3-5 pound boneless pork roast (shoulder or butt are best), trimmed of excess fat
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon liquid smoke
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (start with less)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2-1 cup water, if needed
Have a large slow cooker or Dutch oven ready to go.
Place the pork roast fat-side up in the slow cooker or Dutch oven. In a medium bowl mix together all of the remaining ingredients. Pour over the top of the roast. Cover with the lid. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or until the roast shreds easily. If the sauce is too thick or starts to smell like it might be burning, remove the lid and add some water. You may not need it – the roast might release enough liquid as it cooks.
After the cooking time, use two forks to shred the pork. Serve as is or on rolls or buns. Top with coleslaw or cheese, if desired.
10 ounce bag of coleslaw mix
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon or more honey
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
salt, to taste
Place the coleslaw mix into a large serving bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, honey, and poppy seeds. Taste and add salt if needed. For a sweeter dressing add a little more honey. Pour over the coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Makes 10-12 servings
– Be sure to use a roast that has good marbling, but remove any excess fat or the pulled pork will be greasy.
– You can cook it on high, but it turns out much better if it’s cooked on low for longer. There’s less of a chance of it drying out.
– If you like, you can substitute your favorite bottled bbq sauce for the sauce ingredients in the recipe.
– You can also use chicken or beef in place of pork.
– The easiest way to shred the pork is while it’s warm with two large forks. Shred with the grain for longer pieces.
– Omit the ketchup for a tangier, lighter sauce. Just add a little more vinegar and honey plus a little water so there’s enough liquid.
– It might look like there’s a lot of sauce, but the meat will soak up a bunch after you shred it.
– Use extra or leftover bbq pork for burritos, pizza, or quesadillas
– This can be made ahead and frozen until ready to use, or about 1 week in the fridge.
– You can substitute bottled poppy seed dressing or any coleslaw dressing for the dressing ingredients.
– Any packaged coleslaw mix will work in this recipe. (The one in the pictures has shredded kale and Brussels sprouts in it.)
P.S. — Find lots more delicious slow-cooker recipes here.