Pulled Pork: The Sandwich

Put it all together for a great barbecue meal

Pulled pork sandwich
Ian Collins/Flickr

There are several ways to serve pork barbecue. In many places, you will find it served up without sauce on a plate, but more commonly you will find it served as a sandwich. The sandwich tradition goes back to old tent revivals and political rallies where pulled pork sandwiches were served up by the hundreds or even thousands to guarantee a good turn out. You can still get these sandwiches served at restaurants from the big to the small across the south. In fact, they are starting to turn up in national chain restaurants around the world.

Start off With the Pork

Shredded pork: To make a pulled pork sandwich you need to start off with the pork. It should be shredded fine, with no large pieces. You want it to be loose in the bun and easy to eat. Now if the pork is smoked right it won't be chewy in the least. From here you need a bun. Cheap white bread buns are the bread of choice. Fancy and expensive buns simply won't do. You don't need high-quality or flavorful bread for this sandwich. All the bread does is give you something to hold onto. Simple buns absorb juices and sauce but don't add much in the way of flavor to the sandwich, so the meat is what stands out. 

The Standard Coleslaw

Cole slaw: Next comes the issue of the slaw. For most people, coleslaw is portable salad stuff that gets served in little polystyrene containers with chicken. In some regions of the pulled pork globe, the coleslaw can be on the side or it can be in the sandwich. Either way is fine as long as the coleslaw isn't too strong in flavor. The type of coleslaw used is generally nothing fancy. In fact, we've seen pulled pork sandwiches topped with just chopped cabbage. However, the standard coleslaw is cabbage, mayonnaise, vinegar, and pepper. Like the bun, the slaw should be simple. It adds a tartness and a crunchy texture but allows the meat to remain the star of the show.

Serving These Sandwiches

As for serving these sandwiches, we find it best to let the diners assemble their own. This way they get exactly what they want. Try serving up yours with two barbecue sauces, one hot and one sweet, a simple coleslaw and plenty of buns. Everything can be optional. The last time we served them up we don't think two people put them together in the same way.