Crockpot "Sowiian" Style BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Southeast Coast Meets Pacific Islander

9:23 PM

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I used to work with a lovely Southern lady who was my boss at a local school district.  When she retired we had a last potluck party to celebrate her many accomplishments.  When we had staff meetings we often started with “get to know you better” questions.  That is when I learned that she liked North Carolina pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw.  I have never been to the South and in Colorado we have lots of barbeque places, but none that I know of that make a North Carolina style pulled pork.  Quite honestly I never thought about how many different ways there are to make pulled pork, even in North Carolina they are divided about whether or not to use barbeque sauce at all, in Georgia their sauce is made with mayonnaise (huh???) then of course as you come west there is Kansas City barbeque (with a red sauce), I’m sure there is probably a special Louisiana or Creole barbeque (never looked, but should), a Southwest barbeque (smoky and spicy of course), probably a special California barbeque, and of course a Hawaiian barbeque.  I could eat my way across the country just in barbecue!  


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This pulled pork meal is super easy to put together since it is made in the crockpot.  The vinegar style BBQ of North Carolina meets Pacific Islander with pineapple juice to balance out the tangy with sweet. 


I learned that that a North Carolina pulled pork is cooked in vinegar and topped with sweet coleslaw lending a tangy-sweet taste to the entire sandwich.  Sounded oh so yummy to me, so my food contribution for the party was the pulled pork.  Never having made it, I found an easy crockpot recipe on Pinterest to bring to the party and she loved it.  Of course she was a true Southern lady so I’m sure she would never have admitted if it hadn’t been good, but I remember that my crock pot was empty by the end of the day so it must have been successful. 


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Top off your bun with some sweet coleslaw and you have a wonderful, crunchy and messy dinner that is so fun to eat!


It has been many years since I made that recipe, but lately I have had a hankering for pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw thanks to a radio commercial I hear on the way to work every morning.  My entire family knows that when I cook, I make it up as I go.  If there is a recipe, I may follow the basics, but I change anything I don’t like and substitute if I feel like it.  Generally it works out pretty well, sometimes not so much.  But I enjoy the trial and error, it’s a learning experience.  So, when I decided to have my children over for dinner last weekend I decided I needed to make pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, in a semi-Hawaiian style.  I can never go whole hog!  When I looked at Pinterest recipes all the pulled pork sandwiches that were listed under Hawaiian style had ingredients which would make them taste sweet, piled on top of Kings Hawaiian Bread (also sweet) and topped with coleslaw . . .  more sweet than my taste buds could possibly handle.  So I went back to my trusty recipe for North Carolina pulled pork via 'Lil Blue Boo, but instead of adding all of the apple juice required, I substituted some pineapple juice instead.  We called it “Sowaiian” barbeque sandwiches.  We used basic wheat bread buns piled them high with pulled pork and topped them with coleslaw for added sweetness and crunch.  It was just the right amount of tangy-sweet my taste buds were searching for.  They were sloppy yumminess in our tummy swiftly devoured by all.  Even the leftovers disappeared quickly, which never happens in my household! 


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I almost didn't want to stop eating to take this photo!



What would I change if I tried this again you ask?   I might exchange all the apple juice with pineapple juice to see if it brings out that tropical flavor more.   In the alternative I could just use the Kings Hawaiian bread for authenticity and continue using half apple juice half pineapple juice.  I could even add actual pineapple pieces to the coleslaw for that tropical flavor.  One thing I have learned, there is no wrong way to eat barbeque, try experimenting like I did; you never know what new flavor combination you will enjoy!

For the coleslaw, I just mixed together a sweet coleslaw dressing (like Marie's) with a bag of pre-packaged coleslaw.  Let it sit, refrigerated for about 20 minutes before serving.



"Sowiian" Style BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches


Recipe by This Bittersweet Life
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
Total time: 8 hours, 10 minutes
Yield: 8-12

Ingredients
  • 4 lbs Pork Loin
  • 2 White or Yellow Onions
  • 2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1 Cup Apple Juice
  • 1 tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 bottler (about 9 oz) Regular/Classic BBQ Sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. Cut up both onions and place half of them into the bottom of the crockpot. Place the pork loin in the crockpot and cover with the rest of the onions.
  2. Mix together 1 cup of the apple cider vinegar with 1/2 cup of the pineapple juice, 1/2 cup of the apple juice and 1 tsp of the Liquid Smoke (reserve the other half of the 3 liquids for later). Pour over the roast and onions.
  3. Set the crockpot on low for about 6 hours. You'll know it's time to shred the loin when it falls apart when you stick a fork in it.
  4. Take the loin out and shred it and discard the liquid and the onions.
  5. Place the shredded pork back into the crockpot.
  6. Mix 1 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1/2 cup pineapple juice, 1/2 cup apple juice, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, brown sugar and BBQ sauce in a bowl.
  7. Pour this mixture over the shredded pork and cook on low for another 2 hours.
  8. Then transfer shredded pork to a serving dish. Serve on buns with sweet coleslaw.


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