A good pulled pork sandwich makes me happy down to my toes. It's porky and rich, tossed with just enough sauce to tickle the ol' taste buds. Top it with some coleslaw or leave it plain, I don't care as long as I have a napkin to wipe my face. Come summer, pulled pork sandwiches are definitely on the menu.
You can get your pulled pork any way that works for you. Personally, I like to braise a pork shoulder in the oven or the slow-cooker until it's so tender that it starts falling apart on its own. If I had a smoker or even a good grill (sadly, I am an apartment-dweller), I would surely try doing a slow-cooked barbecue version. If you have another source for your pork, by all means take advantage of it.
Pulled pork on its own usually doesn't have barbecue sauce...yet. Some purists devoutly feel that the pork should stand on its own with no need for saucy enhancement. If you taste your pork and like it this way, then by all means serve it sans sauce. However, I usually like a touch of barbecue sauce to give my sandwich some kick. Start with a little, taste it, and add more if needed. You don't want so much sauce that the pork is lost.
The topping (or toppings) for your pulled pork sandwich are also a crucial decision and not to be overlooked. A naked pulled pork sandwich is a fantastic way to experience the full porky goodness before you, but personally, I like to cut all that rich fatty meat with something crunchy and acidic.
Coleslaw and pulled pork are a heavenly match. They're probably married in some food-ruled alter-verse — there's just no beating the cool crunch of that slaw with each bite of pork. I also love a few thin-cut dill pickles and a scattering of picked red onions. If you're feeling adventurous, try some thin slices of grilled pineapple or even some kimchi.
I've given our homemade recipes for all these beautiful toppings below, but there's no judgement here if you go the store-bought route. Pulled pork sandwiches are pulled pork sandwiches — they are going to be majestic no matter how you make them.
Have a favorite way for making pulled pork? Or a favorite way to top them off?
(Image credits: Emma Christensen)