It’s under 10 degrees Fahrenheit in my area of the world right now, yet I’ve been inexplicably craving one of my favorite summer-time foods: pulled pork sandwiches. Maybe it’s because I’ve been dreaming of days when it’s warm enough to even consider going outside to barbecue, or maybe it’s because I like my sandwiches with extra spice (which would be nice to warm you up on a day like this), or maybe it’s just because pulled pork is so good you don’t ever need an excuse to eat it. Whatever the reason is, I knew I had to have it. Immediately.
Instead of BBQing my pork shoulder, I decided to throw it in a slow cooker, because that didn’t involve me going outside… which was obviously the best choice. Then I considered making a rub and a mop and a sauce from scratch, but it all seemed like a lot of work and, truthfully, I just wanted to eat. Instead, I threw together a few ingredients I happened to have laying around and hoped for the best.
Well, guess what? I wouldn’t change a thing.
The cherries lent additional sweetness to the sauce, and the chipotle gave some heat and smoky flavor. It was well-balanced and delicious, and my family couldn’t get enough of it. Topped off with a Honey Jalapeno Lime Slaw, all of the flavors were amplified and there was great texture contrast. I didn’t even feel guilty about cutting some corners with this Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork recipe.
As you can tell, I enjoyed these delicious sandwiches with plenty of cold beer, and I recommend you do the same. I know it seems counter-intuitive when you’re complaining about winter weather and your toes may be developing a bit of frostbite, but trust me, if you drink enough of them, you’ll start to warm up on the inside. Or so I’ve heard…
- Buns or rolls, for serving
For the Pulled Pork:
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 1 cup fresh or frozen pitted cherries
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the can of chipotles in adobo)
- 1 bottle BBQ sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray’s)
- 3 lb pork shoulder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
For the Slaw:
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1 10 oz bag slaw mix
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine first 4 Pulled Pork ingredients in the bottom of the crock pot. Mix in ½ of the BBQ sauce.
- Season the pork shoulder with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper and place on top of the BBQ sauce mixture. Pour the remaining BBQ sauce on top.
- Cook on low for about 6-7 hours, or until the pork can be pulled apart with forks.
- Remove the pork, pull it, and return it to the crock pot.
- Mix it all together and cook on low for an additional hour.
- As the pork cooks, prepare the slaw by mixing together all of the ingredients. Cover until ready to serve.
- When the pork is done, serve warm with slaw on fresh hamburger buns.
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