These slow-cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Slaw are a perfect weeknight meal for the entire family.
I know how to cook pork two different ways.
Way #1 – I can cook bacon in the oven for 20 minutes until it is perfectly crispy brown.
Way #2 – I can cook pork shoulder in my slow cooker for 6 hours until it is nice and tender and slathered in a homemade spiced bbq sauce.
After that I am pretty much helpless in the pork department!
Last Fall, my nutritionist told me that since I have super low cholesterol I needed to start eating other sources in protein besides chicken and fish and that I should add in pork, beef, shellfish and liver pâté into my diet.
Yes, I realize I might just be the only person out there trying to actually eat more foods with cholesterol in them! It’s a funny world we live in.
Needless to say, the liver pâté, hasn’t been attempted yet.
A couple of weeks after this new ‘meat’ diet, I was at a friend’s party and she was serving pulled pork sliders. And there I stood in front of a platter of delicious looking sliders feeling a little uncomfortable because I just don’t eat pork.
But for my health, I needed to give it a try. But before I dove into eating the pork sliders, I first had to have another glass of wine.
I finally took a slider and tentatively put it on my plate, nibbled the smallest bite… and OMG! This was what I missing out on all of these years of not eating pork?!?! Pulled pork sliders are AMAZING!
And while typing this out, I realize I sound just like any annoying toddler saying ‘eww icky, I don’t like ______!!’. I guess we never really do grow up!
I ended up polishing off 4 sliders (and 3 glasses of wine) and deciding that I have some work to do in the kitchen. A delicious and easy pulled pork recipe needed to be in my weeknight dinner repertoire.
After taste testing a ton of different versions of pulled pork, this recipe is my family’s all-time winner! Parker eats hers with no bun and Ellie eats hers with the slaw on the side, but they both love this meal as much as I do. Obviously, they are smarter then their mom in the eating department.
It combines a version of a wet rub/bbq sauce that is full of cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, honey, apple cider vinegar and a little Worcestershire sauce that is all whisked together then poured over a big portion of pork shoulder that is resting on top of a couple of slices of onion in a slow-cooker. The onions are there just to help prevent the bottom of the pork from becoming overcooked and tough.
Because this step takes less then 10 minutes, you can prep it the night before or in the morning. I usually do it in the morning before school drop off.
Then you just let the slow-cooker do it’s magic and cook the pork all day long.
And if your husband works from home like mine does, the smell of pulled pork cooking all day might make him go a little crazy. It smells so good!
Note about meat – while I am trying to eat pork, if pork isn’t your favorite, you can also use 3 pounds of chicken in the recipe. Bone-on chicken breasts or thighs will provide more tender results.
Then all that is left to do is make the apple slaw and shred the pork.
Time to get busy julienning a couple apples, carrots and cabbage. This recipe does require a lot of julienning and shredding, so I recommend you do this right before dinner is being served so you can have a glass of wine while doing all of your kitchen work.
Toss all your julienned gorgeousness with a simple dressing made with greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, honey and a ton of poppy seeds and place it in the fridge to chill for as long as you can.
When the pork is done cooking, or when your significant other can’t take another minute of the amazing aroma coming from the kitchen, shred it into bite size pieces using 2 forks. Mix the pulled pork with however much sauce you like from the slow cooker.
I like my pork sliders dripping with sauce, so I add all the pulled pork back into the slow cooker and mix until everything is happy and saucy.
Layer your favorite slider buns with a big serving of pulled pork and top with a heaping of apple slaw and dinner is served.
Next up… liver pâté. Only kidding, I am 100% positive that will never happen.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Slaw
For Pulled Pork
3 lb boneless pork shoulder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, roughly sliced
8 rolls or buns for serving
For Apple Slaw
2 apples, julienned
2 cups cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, julienned
3 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. In a small bowl, stir the paprika, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, honey, olive oil, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce until well combined.
2. Place the onions at the bottom of a slow cooker, add the pork on top and pour the sauce over it, making sure to cover the entire piece of meat. Some of the sauce may drip to the bottom of the slow cooker.
3. Turn the slow cooker on and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
4. In the meantime, make the apple slaw by stirring together in a small bowl the Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, poppy seeds, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper together.
5. In a large bowl toss the apples, cabbage, carrots and green onions together. Add the slaw dressing and toss until completed coated. Place in fridge and let chill until ready to serve. This slaw will keep for a couple of days and is perfect for leftovers.
6. When pork is cooked all the way through, take it out of the slow cooker and let cool slightly. Shred pork into small pieces using 2 forks. Discard onions.
7. Add some or all of the sauce back into the shredded pork. I like a saucy pork sandwich, so I just added all of the shredded pork back into the slow cooker, but feel free to adjust sauce to your families liking.
8. To serve, cut buns in half, spoon a huge serving of pork onto the bottom bun, top with a spoonful of the apple slaw and top with the remaining piece of bun.
Yield – Roughly 12 slider size or 8 regular sandwiches
Storage – store pork in air-tight container in fridge for a week, for slaw store in air-tight container for up to 3 days.