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The Pulled-Pork Sandwich

This is a bit of a departure from the usual sort of fare I feature here but this experiment will allow me to feature some of the ‘Pulled-Pork’ I had left resulting from my recent Sunday Gravy Project  post.

To be honest, neither my wife or I have been keen on pulled-pork the few times we have been served it but I have always wanted to give it a try in my own kitchen. Accordingly, in this post,  not only will I get to test my own version, I will also get to show you a use for the Sweet Onion Shreds I introduced you to recently and, as a little bonus, share a simple but interesting trick at the same time…

The Makings…

  • A Kaiser roll, split, toasted on a ridged grill pan and buttered;
  • 1 handful Pulled-Pork;
  • ¼ cup (or so) of Sweet Onion Shreds;
  • A few leaves of lettuce;
  • ¼ cup of your choice of BBQ sauce (see below)

The ‘trick’ I mentioned above involves the BBQ sauce. I wanted to a traditional sort of pulled-pork sandwich (which mostly seem to involve sweet BBQ sauces), but I rarely buy commercial versions and didn’t want to be bothered making one for scratch just for this limited use. However, I remember reading somewhere, many years ago, that you can quickly cobble together a pretty serviceable BBQ sauce just by mixing regular ketchup with HP sauce… It’s a simple little trick, but the beauty is that you can adjust the sweetness, or the spiciness, just by varying the ratios to taste!

Actually, in this case, rather than use a commercial ketchup, I decided to use a bit of my ‘Sunday gravy’ instead and mixed it at a 2 to 1 ratio with the HP Sauce. I thought about adding a little sugar to mimic the sweetness of ketchup but then decided do without…

The Method

Beyond toasting the bread, and the actual assembly, the only actual work involves mixing the sauce with the pork and giving it a few seconds in the microwave to get it hot. Afterwards, it is just a matter of placing the lettuce on the bottom of the roll, topping it with the pork, the onions, then the lid and… voila!

The Verdict

Well, as you can see in the first picture, I served this with fries (which seemed a natural) and dug in… On the whole, I have to say it wasn’t the best pulled-pork sandwich I’ve had, but, on the other hand, it was, to my mind,  no worse than any I’ve been served yet either. It was a bit sloppy, as they often are (and this is not a quality I enjoy in a sandwich even though others do), but, most of all, I just couldn’t get excited about the whole taste experience. Aficionados may have all sorts of criticisms of this production but, honestly, I think I did a pretty good facsimile… Ultimately, I just wasn’t converted. Still, I’m glad I gave it a try…


22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mmm… Pulled pork 🙂

    November 5, 2012
  2. I think it looked delicious. In my opinion, the secret to a good pulled pork sandwich is the sauce. Once you get that right, everything else falls into place. The trick is finding the right combination – which unfortunately consists of trial-and-error. Time consuming, yes, but an endeavour worth pursuing. 🙂

    November 5, 2012
  3. NC bbq does not use the sticky red sauces most parts of the US seem to think of as BBQ sauce. The “sauce” in NC bbq is simply cider vinegar, some salt, some sugar, some hot sauce, such as Crystal or Franks, and dried red pepper flakes. That’s it. The pork can be fresh ham done in the oven or better yet, a smoker – slowly done until tender. You start with a good flavored meat and then add the NC sauce… let it gently soak in and further tenderize the meat. then when it is chopped or pulled, more sauce is added. In NC, raw onion is part of the added topping and/or good tangy coleslaw. Fries are’t required but are good. I prefer fried okra or baked beans myself.

    November 5, 2012
    • See my response to crisgzr below your comment 🙂

      November 5, 2012
  4. Living in NC, I had to chime in with Kanzensakura and say they do it differently down here. I take a pork roast, the lowest grade, preferably with a nice bit of what is bad for me, fat, and I cook it slowly at 300 degrees for hours. Eventually, the meat falls apart and can be shredded with a fork. I mix it up with the drippings and allow it to settle, then I scoop it out, leaving whatever fat prefers to stay in the pot. (The bit that coats the meat is very flavorful and explains why we do not eat this as often as our neighbors.) It is then loosely piled on a kaiser roll or hamburger roll, rarely toasted. Then a sprinkle of either NC sauce (as described above) and a plop of very tangy cole slaw. The coleslaw we get around here is a fine chopped cabbage with a mix of vinegar, mayo, sugar and vinegar -it really does pair very well. Husband wants me to point out the Guinness beverage but he has it with every dinner meal and he’s Irish, so not sure that counts LOL

    When we lived in Boston, we had an opportunity many years ago to live in WIlmington NC on the Intracoastal, my husband, then boyfriend lured me down with the promise of a “shrimp burger, which he claimed was the best thing he ever ate. Sadly, the two places that sold it are gone but it was stupidly easy to make although it is better with fresh shrimp! The shrimp boats go out very early every morning and many sit on the side of the road selling their catch in the late afternoon. They pile tiny breaded shrimp on a soft hamburger bun, then it is sprinkle with Pete’s Hot Sauce and the obligatory coleslaw, it really is amazing. I had never tried fresh shrimp and it was so good! Of course, we now live 6 miles away from the coast in the mountains and no shrimp! I can buy some at the restaurant call Calabash Shrimp and make my own though, sadly not as fresh. I’ll do a page for you! It will be good for when my memory goes and I need a reference LOL

    November 5, 2012
    • Sigh, I need coffee! I live 6 hours not miles from the coast LOL

      November 5, 2012
    • I have heard of the NC style sauce mentioned by you and Kanzensakura. I think my lukewarm response to pulled pork is not the manner of cooking or the flavorings/sauces .. it is the fact that the meat is shredded. I have the same thing with crab … I love it steamed in the shell but if the meat is shredded, as in crabcakes or casseroles etc., I find the change in texture takes away something that makes it good to begin with… Otherwise, I *love* BBQ in all its variations 🙂

      November 5, 2012
      • okay, I understand but I wil now destroy your shredded crab phobia LOL

        In fact, I am making this recipe this week, it is one of my “Last Meals before I die” Recipes

        It’s a an old Gullah recipe and is amazing! The trick is to follow the recipe (darn it!) and cook it until you think it will burn, the crab magically turns crispy and sweet!

        I know a lot of people who have an issue with things like textures in foods (Dear Husband, for one!) I never have… although as a child I was terrified of lumps in mashed potatoes -they made no sense to me LOL

        November 5, 2012
      • Actually… that does look good. At the moment though, my choices are canned crab, or frozen snow crab. The snow crab really isn’t worth it… I’ll wait until we have some Alaskan King Crab… it shows up pretty often 🙂

        November 5, 2012
  5. I wish I could beam you to Galax, VA to what I consider the most amazing and friendliest BBQ restaurant. We drive past in the winter to go mush our dogs on the New River Trail. On special occasions, I will call ahead for a takeout order, which is packed and ready to go on our way home!, The Galax Smoke House dot com, the menu and web site might inspire you and if you two ever make it down here…. eating in the restaurant is an education in barbecue southern style! The staff answer all questions eagerly and bring you a selection of sauces, explain each and make excellent suggestions. I call it BBQ University LOL

    November 5, 2012
    • The Smokehouse place does look good. The ribs are amazing ….

      November 5, 2012
  6. It looks great to me! 🙂

    November 5, 2012
  7. It looks good! But I understand what you mean, my husband is a fan of pulled pork sandwiches, and to be honest I am not particularly excited about it either. I’ve tried it once at the St. Jacob Farmer’s Market and it was enjoyable. Maybe I should experiment with it at home…

    November 5, 2012
  8. Glad you buttered and toasted the bread. I wish more BBQ restaurants would do it.

    November 5, 2012
  9. Great that you also share experiments that you’re not completely thrilled about, so your readers can learn ftom them!

    November 8, 2012
    • I’ve had a few even worse than this 😉

      November 8, 2012
  10. Looks great though! And the BBQ sauce with the gravy, perfect. Next time why not add some vinegar and brown sugar with mustard powder…..that’s how I generally make my bbq. Never thought about the hp sauce, which is a staple in my house!

    November 12, 2012
    • I’m making a note of that …. do you cook with it too, or just add it after?

      November 12, 2012
      • Cook with it, start with the tomato sauce as a base, and add as much to taste, whether you like it sweeter or more acidous. The mustard powder gives it a nice spicy kick. I like usinge Cole’s english mustard powder…makes me sneeze but I love it!

        November 12, 2012
      • Ah … gotcha. I may do that with ribs!

        November 12, 2012
  11. petit4chocolatier #

    Looks delicious!

    November 22, 2012

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