Pulled or shredded pork barbecue sandwiches are great anytime, but their casual presentation makes them a summertime favorite when barbecue grills are out in full force.
This seemingly simple barbecue dish is, in fact, complex in flavor. A good pulled pork barbecue meal is deserving of a world-class cocktail, wine, or beer pairing. There are many ways to prepare pulled pork—centering on regional differences, there are Texas, Memphis, Carolina, and southwestern styles, to name a few.
For the wine, cocktail and beer pairing suggestions here, the inspiration was a slow-cooker pulled pork barbecue recipe that uses your preferred, favorite barbecue sauce as the base.
For a tangy barbecue pork recipe, you might want to opt for a refreshing rosé wine. Rosé is a versatile wine and can handle just about anything you throw at it—from the salty to the sweet flavors of a barbecue sauce to the onion, pepper, and clove spice added into the mix. Specifically, you might want to consider a Montes Cherub Rosé, a varietal of Syrah and Grenache grapes; the wine has an intense and fruity nose with aromas of fresh red fruits.
The daring, bold flavors of barbecue pork require a refreshing drink filled with light, airy flavors and a darker spirit base. Aged whiskeys and rums are excellent bases for this pairing. When topped with soda, the darker spirits add freshness to the meal. A few suggestions include the whiskey-based John Collins, Lynchburg lemonade, or the simple highball. For a rum drink, the Anejo highball–mixed with ginger beer–is a perfect choice. The ginger beer makes this drink the darkest selection of the bunch.
Although this is a relatively simple dish to make, pulled pork has an intense variety of flavors. The savory meat, sweet onions, and garlic are complex enough, but then the addition of barbecue sauce takes the flavor profile to another level.
The barbecue sauce you choose to add to your recipe has a great influence on the dish. What flavor dominates? Is it tomato, spices, heat, or smoke? No matter the choice, this recipe will be bursting with many tastes and aromas. The varying flavors in the sauce, plus the fat from the pork, suggests that the dish needs a contrasting flavored beer. A beer with comparable flavors would get lost in the taste of the pork and be little more than just wet.
Perhaps the best pairing choice is a bright and citrusy American pale ale. The strong hops notes will likely dance with the spices of the barbecue sauce, and the malt from the beer should match up with the savory meat. The bright notes of the beer will nicely cleanse the palate. Although an American pale ale is similar in style to American India Pale Ale (IPA), IPAs are stronger and more assertively hopped. Stick to a simpler American pale ale.
Some classic examples of American pale ales include Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale.