Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Cabbage Slaw

Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

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.

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea and Pork Chili

If you are fan of pork in the crock pot, you might also like this Black Eyed Pea and Pork Chili

 

Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

4.67 from 3 votes
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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

The tenderloin here gets cooked in apple cider and barbecue sauce for several hours 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.
Course Main Course
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 to 5 servings
Author katiemorford

Ingredients

  • 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!)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. While the meat cools, make the slaw. Mix together the cabbage, apple, carrot, and remaining onion in a medium bowl.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Comments

11.01.2011 at 12:11 PM #

Renee

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!

11.01.2011 at 12:11 PM #

katiemorford

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!

11.01.2011 at 12:38 PM #

Tiff

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

11.01.2011 at 4:14 PM #

Renee

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

11.02.2011 at 8:54 AM #

Vicki Penny

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

11.02.2011 at 8:54 AM #

katiemorford

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.

11.06.2011 at 12:46 PM #

Renee

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!

11.06.2011 at 12:46 PM #

katiemorford

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

12.04.2011 at 7:22 AM #

Starla

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!

12.04.2011 at 7:22 AM #

katiemorford

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

02.06.2013 at 8:16 AM #

Alison

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!

02.06.2013 at 8:16 AM #

katiemorford

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.

02.06.2013 at 12:59 PM #

Alison

Thanks Katie!

10.01.2013 at 4:36 PM #

Pam H

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.

Pam

10.01.2013 at 4:36 PM #

katiemorford

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

10.23.2013 at 10:33 AM #

felicia

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

10.23.2013 at 10:33 AM #

katiemorford

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

09.16.2017 at 7:13 AM #

MaryAnn Dawson

Sounds good, but how much pork should I use?

09.16.2017 at 7:13 AM #

katiemorford

Just added it to the recipe! I converted my recipes to a new format and there are a few kinks to iron out. Thanks for the heads up. Most appreciated.

09.27.2017 at 1:00 AM #

Angela White

Hi Katie,
I am searching for a wow factor for our year 12 Graduation meal, we catering for approx. 400 people. How much pork would you suggest in kilos.
Much appreciated

09.27.2017 at 1:00 AM #

katiemorford

For that many people, I’d probably do pork shoulder instead of pork tenderloin, because it’s a bigger and less expensive cut. I’d figure how much you need per person and scale up from there.

09.28.2017 at 9:27 AM #

Douw

I find this recipe confusing. Double entries for Cider Vinigar I’m not sure when to use and then it refers to using more sauce later on. What sauce? It looks great though so I’m making it up tonight as I go along. Also the raw meat seems to have too much fat on. Do I cut it off?

09.28.2017 at 9:27 AM #

katiemorford

Hi,

The recipe calls for apple cider for braising the pork and then apple cider VINEGAR is used to dress the slaw. I can see how that might look like the same ingredient, but they are two different ingredients. As for the barbecue sauce, the recipe instructs you to add 1/2 cup to the slow cooker at the beginning. Then, once the pork is cooked and shredded, the remaining sauce gets stirred into the meat before being piled onto the buns. I hope that clarifies things for you.

11.03.2017 at 11:08 AM #

Lee Traut

GREAT!!!!! Not my favorite coleslaw (but I’m from the south!) The pulled pork was great!!!!!

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