Fall in the South is different. I don’t mean this in any negative way – there is just something peculiar about late October’s temperatures in the mid to high 70s. And where the heck is the fall foliage?
Pumpkin spice and pumpkin flavored everything are still shoved in your face, like in any other city in the United States – particularly at Starbucks. And here in the South, you will still find pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks, etc. awkwardly displayed at your local supermarket as if there is a reward for the most elaborate contrived indoor harvest scene.
While it may feel like August (in the Northeast) outside, I’ve turned our apartment into autumn. It first started with the obligatory fall decorations, candles, and baked goods, but recently I’ve been craving and subsequently cooking warm, hearty meals in the slow-cooker (most likely because we’ve been blasting our air conditioner so I can wear slippers and flannel shirts). Last week, we decided to make slow-cooker pulled pork sandwiches with homemade coleslaw, and they were amazing. I got the warmness from the pork, yet the cool coleslaw was a perfect topping – especially since it was 75 degrees outside.
The pulled pork sandwiches were the perfect balance of warm, fresh, and savory ingredients. The pork came out flawlessly tender, and with the fresh coleslaw as a topping, the sandwiches’ flavor was both delectable and dynamic. We had a bunch of leftovers and the sandwiches proved to be a great game-day feast, as well. If you can spare an extra ten to fifteen minutes in the morning, the slow-cooked pulled pork could be ready by your dinnertime. If you’re not a morning person, this is a great meal to cook and enjoy on the weekend.
Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Coleslaw
Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
-1 5lbs pork shoulder (standard size)
-1/4 cup of brown sugar
-1 tbsp chili powder
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-3 dashes of cayenne pepper
-1 tsp onion powder
-1.5 tbsp kosher salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-1 onion, sliced
-1 tbsp course ground mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
-1/2 cup of ketchup
-1.5 cups apple cider vinegar
-Add water as needed to submerge the pork shoulder (do so after you have added in the rest of the ingredients)
-Buns for you sandwiches
-Place the sliced onions on the bottom of the slow-cooker as evenly distributed as possible.
-In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, also known as the rub.
-In a pitcher or large bowl, combine the liquid ingredients (mustard, ketchup and apple cider vinegar).
-Pour into the slow-cooker about 2 tbsp worth of the dry rub ingredients. Next, pour in about ¼ cup of the liquid ingredients.
-Place the pork shoulder in the slow-cooker.
-Take the remainder of the dry rub and rub (yes, actually rub) on top and sides of pork shoulder until well covered.
-Pour the remainder of the liquid ingredients into the slow-cooker. CAREFUL, make sure you pour down the side of the pot because you DO NOT want to wash off the dry rub from the pork.
-Add in water as needed until the pork shoulder is just submerged. Again, make sure you pour the water down the SIDE of the slow cooker.
-Cover and let cook for at least 8 hours. If you can cook longer, I suggest the ten hour setting because it leaves the meat that much more tender.
-Refrain from lifting the top of the lid. You do not need to stir the contents; just let the slow-cooker do its job.
-When finished cooking, shred the pork with two forks. Remove the bone (this is extremely easy). It can be done in the slow-cooker, or if you prefer, you can transfer the pork shoulder to a large bowl. If you shred the pork in a separate bowl, make sure you place the meat back into the liquid.
-When the shredding is done and the pork is back in the slow-cooker, strain off half of the liquid.
-Also, before serving, strain as much liquid as possible from the meat so your sandwich doesn’t turn out soggy. I used a strainer and a slotted spoon to most efficiently remove excess liquid.
*The dressing yields quite a bit, so think about adjusting the ingredients if you don’t want the coleslaw generously dressed.
-4.5 cups of cabbage, shredded
-3 cups of red cabbage, shredded
-1.5 cups of carrots, chopped or shredded
-1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt
-1 cup of mayonnaise (if you want, you can use all mayo or all Greek yogurt — up to you and your taste buds)
-2.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
-2 tsp of sugar
-1/2 to 1 tsp of celery seed
-1/4 tsp of salt
-Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar, celery seed, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together until well incorporated and then cover with a towel and set aside.
-To chop and shred the cabbage, remove the cabbage core. In essence, a triangle shape should be cut out from the bottom of each cabbage. Cut the cabbage into fourths.
-Slice the cabbage at its finest point and continue to thinly slice until you have enough. Lightly chop once you’ve sliced off the desired amount of cabbage so the pieces aren’t too long. Place in a large bowl
-Cut the red cabbage the same exact way and mix it in with the green cabbage.
-Chop or shred your carrots and add them to the bowl.
-Pour your desired amount of the yogurt/mayo dressing over the cabbage salad and stir/mix until well incorporated. I used about 1 ¼ cups of the dressing and had some left over.
-To assemble the sandwich, take your desired amount of pork and place it on the bottom bun (remember to strain some of the liquid). Next, add on your desired amount of coleslaw. Top with the bun and enjoy!