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Chopped Pork Sandwich

This classic comfort food is a staple along the banks of the Lower Mississippi. The practice of slow-cooking cuts of meat to bring out their heavenly textures and succulent flavors was well established in the American South by the 19th century. Memphis especially is renowned for its pulled pork, which is seasoned to create a perfect balance of sweet and savory notes.

Chopped Pork Sandwich

Ingredients

BBQ Sauce:

  • 1½ C (338 g) ketchup
  • ½ C (126 g) yellow mustard
  • ½ C (120 g) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 med cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 T (45 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T (45 ml) Worcestershire
  • 2 T (21½ g) Cajun seasoning
  • ½ C (118¼ ml) water

Pulled Pork:

  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 med cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 C (473¼ ml) chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 T (32¼ g) Cajun seasoning
  • 1 T (15 g) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 4½- to 5-lb (2- to 2¼-kg) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed

Coleslaw:

  • ½ head red cabbage, finely shredded
  • ½ head green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 lg carrots, finely shredded
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • ¾ C (172½ g) mayonnaise
  • 3 T (45 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T (24 g) sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Assembly:

  • 15 soft hamburger buns

Directions

BBQ Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium. Bring to a boil, stirring until ingredients are completely incorporated; reduce heat to low and simmer gently until sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Pulled Pork: Preheat oven to 275°F (135°C). Spread out onions and garlic in an even layer in a roasting pan; pour in chicken stock. Combine Cajun seasoning and brown sugar in a small bowl. Pat pork shoulder dry with paper towels, then rub all over with spice mixture. Set pork on top of onions and garlic and cover roasting pan with foil; transfer to oven and cook until pork is fork tender, 6 to 8 hours. Transfer pork to a cutting board to cool; strain cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve. If pork has a bone, remove and discard it. With two forks, shred meat into bite-size pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat; return shredded meat to roasting pan. Add 2 C BBQ Sauce and a bit of reserved cooking liquid if too dry.

Coleslaw: Combine red and green cabbage, carrot, and red onion in a large bowl. Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper together in a medium bowl, then add to cabbage mixture; mix well to combine. Taste for seasoning; adjust with more salt, pepper or sugar as needed.

Plating: Serve pulled pork on buns topped with coleslaw.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes.
  • Cook time: 6 hours 45 minutes-8 hours 45 minutes.
  • Makes 15 servings.