Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Cabbage Slaw / momskitchenhandbook

Flipping through the channels one night last week I stumbled upon the World Series. Confession: I didn’t know the Series was even being played. Worse still, prior to seeing it live, I couldn’t have told you if I’d missed it entirely, or if was weeks away. I know, I know. Shame on me.

That fact is, I’m just not much of a spectator sports fan beyond watching my own kids at a Saturday morning game. On the odd occasion that my hubby manages to get me to a professional or college stadium, I’m more focused on the company I’m keeping and the offerings at the concession stand than what’s happening on the field (love the hot roasted peanuts, hate the garlic fries). So, when I made these fork-tender pulled pork sandwiches in my slow cooker recently, it occurred to me that they are just the sort of distraction I’m looking for on game day. Plus, they’re a whole lot healthier than the typical greasy line up of nachos and chicken wings.

Pulled pork is usually made using the shoulder, also known as the Boston butt, a heavily marbled cut, which is what makes it so darn juicy when cooked low and slow. My version isn’t as rich and decadent as the classic, but tasty enough that I managed to wolf down a whole one while standing in my kitchen at three in the afternoon. I later had to explain to my crew why I wasn’t hungry for dinner.

You start by cooking the tenderloin in apple cider and barbecue sauce for several hours in the crock pot until the meat is fall-apart tender. Then, shred the pork and coat it in some of the cooking liquid and more barbecue sauce. By swapping out the pork shoulder for pork tenderloin, you cut out about three quarters of the fat. Adding a generous helping of nutrient-packed cabbage slaw makes it even healthier and adds an appealing crunch. The recipe makes a generous portion of slaw, enough to have extra as a side salad.

Sports fan or not, no need to wait for the next big game to eat this. It’s just a suitable for a weeknight supper since it requires very little time in the kitchen. The sandwiches also work great in a lunchbox if you happen to have leftovers. Simply assemble and heat a sandwich (minus the slaw) in the toaster oven and wrap in foil. Pack the slaw in a separate container to be added at the lunch table. The combination of pork, cabbage, and whole grain bun make it a one-dish meal.

I still don’t know who won the World Series, but at least I know what I’m going to cook when the Super Bowl rolls around…that is, unless I miss it entirely.

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  1. Renee
    11.01.2011 at 12:11 PM #

    I don’t have a crockpot (it’s on my wishlist) so can you suggest a temp/cooking time for a covered roaster in the oven? Want to try this soon!

    • katiemorford
      11.01.2011 at 12:43 PM #

      Hi Renee
      I would expect this would work in the oven using a heavy pot with a tight fitting lid at a low temperature…maybe 200 degrees. I haven’t tried it myself so can’t vouch for it. Keep an eye on it to be sure there is enough liquid in there and to check for doneness. Let me know how it goes!

  2. Tiff
    11.01.2011 at 12:38 PM #

    That looks wonderful. I’m sure it would go over well in my house.

  3. Renee
    11.01.2011 at 4:14 PM #

    Thanks, Katie, I’ll make sure to give you the full report!

  4. Vicki Penny
    11.02.2011 at 8:54 AM #

    Katie – Would this recipe work with chicken for my non-pork eating husband? Also I saw a recipe for pumpkin mousse that uses uncooked eggs. What is your opinion on serving uncooked eggs to kids? Thanks

    • katiemorford
      11.02.2011 at 11:17 AM #

      I would try it using skinless, bone-in chicken thighs. Cook them flesh-side down. The timing may be different. As for raw eggs….touchy issue. There is a small risk of salmonella with raw eggs. The government advises against it completely. It’s a personal call. Certainly they should be avoided for young children, elderly, pregnant women, and anyone who is immune compromised. If you do use raw whites, I’d say choose good quality, local organic eggs over ones from a factory farm.

  5. Renee
    11.06.2011 at 12:46 PM #

    I made the slow cooked pork on Friday night and it was amazing. Unfortunately, my schedule that day didn’t really allow a long, slow, low heat roasting, so am excited to try it again so the meat will just fall apart. Having said that, I cooked two tenderloins at about 300 for about an hour and half and lowered it to 200 for another hour or so. I sliced/pulled the meat into pieces and returned them to the juice in the roaster for about half an hour before putting them into sandwiches. I used King’s mini Hawaiian sweet bread rolls (which I love with pork) and served the sandwiches with the slaw, which I actually made with red cabbage since I already had it. Delicious. We had a friend over and each of the adults ate four (!) sandwiches and James ate two. And I admit that I just ate some of the apple cider roasting juice with a spoon. Thanks for a great recipe that was voted a keeper at our house!

    • katiemorford
      11.06.2011 at 4:47 PM #

      Awesome. So glad it worked out doing this in the oven.

  6. Starla
    12.04.2011 at 7:22 AM #

    These were easy and yummy! My kids (2 and 5) loved them! My hubby says this recipe is a keeper. Katie, you are like a great new friend!

    • katiemorford
      12.04.2011 at 7:58 AM #

      Yay. Victory. Thanks for letting me know….you are so sweet, Starla. xx

  7. Alison
    02.06.2013 at 8:16 AM #

    We love this recipe an I was thinking about making it, freezing it and taking it up to have during an upcoming ski trip. I don’t freeze a lot of things so do you have any tips for doing it properly? Thanks. It is great to have your blog as a resource!

    • katiemorford
      02.06.2013 at 9:13 AM #

      Probably the easiest for travel is to cool the cooked pork completely and then put it into a freezer bag. Press out all the air before sealing it. You could also use a lidded container, just pick one that just fits the volume of the pork without a lot of extra room. Cooling is important because its unwise for hot food to come in contact with plastic.

  8. Alison
    02.06.2013 at 12:59 PM #

    Thanks Katie!

  9. Pam H
    10.01.2013 at 4:36 PM #

    I finally made this dish many many months after planning to. It was delicious, but even for 4 we needed more meat. I bought a 1.5 lb tenderloin and there were no leftovers as everyone ate every bite. Also, the pork was finished at about 4PM and so I reheated it a few hours later over low heat with almost 3/4 c. of the braising liquid and the extra sauce. One of my girls was literally drinking the leftover juices. Yummy! It’s a keeper.


    • katiemorford
      10.02.2013 at 8:55 AM #

      Totally forgot about this recipe. I’m adding it to my “to do” list for next week. My kids love it too.

  10. felicia
    10.23.2013 at 10:33 AM #

    Made this last night Katie for family and friends and it was wonderful! But I think I especially loved bragging to my kids and neighbors about you, your cookbook, and blog. Can I be more prouder of the young woman I met as my Desmond dorm-mate? :) xoxo Bean

    • katiemorford
      10.23.2013 at 10:53 AM #

      If you recall, I did cook up a pretty mean pot of popcorn back in the day.

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