Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Cabbage Slaw
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 an athletic 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.
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.
If you are fan of pork in the crock pot, you might also like this Black Eyed Pea and Pork Chili
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- ½ cup apple cider or apple juice
- 1 cup favorite barbecue sauce, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, divided
- 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 lbs)
- 4 cups shredded green cabbage (about ¼ of a large cabbage)
- 1 large apple, peeled and coarsely grated
- 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Black pepper to taste
- 4 to 5 soft sandwich buns (whole grain if you can find them!)
Pour the apple cider and ½ cup of the barbecue sauce into the slow cooker and stir until combined. Add the garlic, half of the onion, and the pork to the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook until the meat is very tender and can easily be shredded with a fork, about 6 hours.
Measure out ¼ cup of the cooking liquid and set aside. Transfer the pork and onions to a medium bowl until it is cool enough to handle.
While the meat cools, make the slaw. Mix together the cabbage, apple, carrot, and remaining onion in a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar and sugar, stirring until the sugar is largely dissolved. Pour the vinegar over the cabbage, add a couple of turns from your pepper grinder, and toss well.
Once the meat has cooled a bit, pull it apart with your hands until the whole tenderloin is shredded. Put the meat and onions in a medium bowl and add the remaining ½ cup of barbecue sauce and the ¼ cup of reserved cooking liquid. Stir until the meat is evenly coated with the sauce.
Divide the meat over the bottom halves of the sandwich buns. Pile a generous portion of slaw on top of the meat and cover with remaining bun. Serve any extra slaw on the side.