Smoky Pulled Pork Sliders
This pulled pork recipe is my new favorite. It’s a perfect protein for meal prep, or if you have to feed a large crowd. And perhaps the best news yet? It’s one of those set-it-and-forget-it type of deals. I threw this tender, flavorful pork onto some buttery Hawaiian rolls and topped it with cabbage and apple slaw and a drizzle of tangy barbecue sauce.
Let’s Make This Smoky Pulled Pork Recipe
This recipe was inspired by North Carolina-style pulled pork, which is typically slow-smoked and flavored with salt, pepper, vinegar and crushed red pepper or hot sauce.
Since I don’t have a smoker, I decided to throw a few more spices in the mix for additional flavor. Here’s what I ended up including: garlic powder, paprika, cumin, a touch of chili powder, salt and pepper.
First, you start with a large cut of pork shoulder or butt. (I bought a two-pound butt roast and used the leftovers throughout the week. If you’re feeding a larger crowd, definitely go bigger!) Generously season the roast with the spices, making sure to massage the blend into any nooks and crannies.
Now we’re ready to cook the pork!
If you’re using a slow cooker, simply place the pork into the slow cooker with a splash of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of liquid smoke. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until the roast shreds easily with a fork.
How to Make Pulled Pork in the Oven
A Dutch oven has become my go-to kitchen tool for slow roasting or braising meats in the oven. Brisket, chuck roast, pork roasts and even whole roasted chickens all turn out wonderfully juicy without getting soggy, which is a common problem I face with a slow cooker. And cooking in a Dutch oven is still super simple. No, not as simple as a slow cooker, but the very small extra effort is worth it.
Preheat your oven to 300ºF. Place your roast into a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven, along with some apple cider vinegar and a few drops of liquid smoke. Cover and put in the oven. Cook the roast, covered, until the meat is fork-tender and shreddable.
A good way to check the doneness? A chopstick. (Thank you, Bon Appetit.) Insert a chopstick into several areas of the roast. If you’re able to easily slide the chopstick into the center and wiggle it around without much tension, it’s done!
Remove the roast from the oven and finely shred the pork—in the Dutch oven—with two forks. Stir the pork around to sop up all the delicious cooking juices.
Smoky Pulled Pork Sliders
This pulled pork recipe is my new favorite. It’s a perfect protein for meal prep, or if you have to feed a large crowd. And perhaps the best news yet? It’s one of those set-it-and-forget-it type of deals.
Makes 8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 6 hours
Total time: 6 hours 10 minutes
For the pulled pork:
2 lb. pork shoulder or pork butt roast
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp liquid smoke
For the slaw:
2 apples, cored and cut into matchsticks
1 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider or white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the sandwiches
Hawaiian rolls or buns of choice
Barbecue sauce of choice
Preheat your oven to 300ºF. In a small bowl, toss spices until combined. Generously season pork roast with the spices, making sure to massage the blend into any nooks and crannies.
Transfer pork roast to a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven. Add apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke. Cover and cook in the oven until the meat is fork-tender and shreddable, 4-6 hours depending on the size of your roast.
Meanwhile, prepare your apple and cabbage slaw. In a large bowl, toss apples, cabbage, and carrots until combined. Quickly whisk together whole grain mustard, olive oil, and vinegar and pour over cabbage. Toss and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve. When roast is done, remove from oven and finely shred pork—in the Dutch oven—with two forks. Stir the pork around to sop up all the delicious cooking juices.
To assemble sandwiches, layer pork onto your bun of choice. Top with a drizzle of your favorite barbecue sauce and a heaping spoonful of slaw.
You can also make this recipe in a slow cooker. Simply place the pork roast in, add your apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours, depending on the size of your roast.