Pulled Pork Sliders have become a staple menu item at our annual kick-off-to-summer party. My boys (and many of their friends) especially look forward to this dish, particularly when it's doused with a smoky BBQ sauce. (We've done the vinegar-sauce variety, too, but we're not big fans.) I smother the pork with a dry rub and let it absorb the deliciousness for anywhere from 3 to 24 hours. While I love the flavor when it's slow-cooked on the grill with wood chips, it requires a lot of attention. My alternate method is to slow cook it in the oven* until the meat is melting off the bone (which, I've found, happens most successfully when the internal temperature reaches 195°F). Those with bigger appetites like large sesame-seeded buns, but I prefer to pile the pork on Eli's small brioche buns (shown above). Our favorite toppings: sliced jalapeño, coleslaw (recipe below), pickled red onions and cilantro. While the recipe here (which I think I found on Epicurious many moons ago) is for one 5-7 pound pork butt, I typically make three or four for our summer soirées.
*Note: You can also cook the pork in a low oven overnight. First, preheat oven to highest temperature. Put the pork in your preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until it's beginning to brown, then turn your oven down to 250° and cook the pork for 9 to 12 hours, until the meat is soft and falling off the bone.
Ingredients for Pulled Pork
Makes about 10-15 servings, depending on bun size
- 5-7 pound bone-in pork butt covered with thick layer of fat
- 2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce
- Buns of your choice
- If using grilling method: 6 cups of hickory chips, soaked in cold water for an hour and drained
For the rub:
- 1 tablespoon mild paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Combine all rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub the spice mixture evenly over the entire pork to coat. Cover and refrigerate for as little as 3 hours or, preferably, overnight. When ready to roast the pork, bring the meat to room temperature and place in a roasting pan, fat side up.
- Preheat oven to 300°F and slow cook for 6 to 7 hours. If the pork begins to brown too much, place a piece of foil loosely over it or lower the heat.
- If roasting on the grill, place wood chips in a smoker box and preheat grill to high. When smoke appears, reduce heat to 300°F. Turn flame off just beneath the pan for indirect grilling. Cover loosely with foil if it begins to brown too much.
- Once internal temp. reaches 195°F, remove pork from the heat and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
- With two large forks, pull the meat apart into small slices or chunks. It should literally melt off the bone.
- Toss with the BBQ sauce. If you need to thin out the sauce, add a little warm water to the meat and mix well.
- Serve on buns with jalapeño, cilantro, pickled red onions and coleslaw.
Ingredients for Coleslaw
- 3/4 cups mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 head cabbage (I use half green/half red), sliced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
- 4 scallions, sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- Place mayo, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and caraway seeds in small bowl and whisk together well.
- Place grated carrots, cabbage, sliced scallions and parsley in a large bowl and combine.
- Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and serve (or chill until ready to serve).