BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches With Homemade Coleslaw

Barbecue is one of the simple pleasures that comes with summertime – we're talking good company, sunny weather, and great food. These sandwiches made with spicy BBQ pulled pork and tangy homemade coleslaw come together to create a flavor experience that is anything but simple. We'll warn you now: These pulled pork sandwiches are messy eating, but they're also too delicious for anyone to care. It's probably a good idea to have some napkins on standby, though you might pass on them anyway just to lick your fingers!

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty Level: Moderate

You'll Need:

For the BBQ pulled pork:

  • 1 whole pork leg
  • 1¼ cups apple juice, divided
  • BBQ spice rub
  • ¼ cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey

For the BBQ spice rub:

  • ⅓ cup paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper

For the coleslaw:

  • ½ head of cabbage, grated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the cabbage brioche buns:

  • ½ head of cabbage, grilled & diced
  • 1 tsp butter
  • ½ onion, diced 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 3⅓ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup heavy cream, warmed
  • 1 whisked egg for the egg wash

Here's How:

1. Fill a marinade injector with some of the apple juice and inject it into the pork leg. Pour the rest of the apple juice into a spray bottle. Score the top of the pork leg in a crisscross pattern with a scalpel. Combine the ingredients for the BBQ spice rub, rub it into the skin on both sides of the pork leg, and refrigerate the seasoned pork leg for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight. Place the seasoned pork leg on the grill and sear over high heat. Close the grill lid and cook over indirect heat for 3 hours. Spray the pork leg with apple juice every so often to moisten the meat.

2. For the coleslaw, cut the head of cabbage in half and remove the stalk. Using a vegetable peeler, grate one of the cabbage halves into fine strips and place them in a bowl. Add the salt and knead everything by hand for about 5 minutes. Grate the carrot over the bowl, add the white wine vinegar, lemon juice, mayonnaise, cream cheese, mustard, and brown sugar, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.

3. For the cabbage brioche buns, grill the other cabbage half for 30 minutes and then carefully dice it. Melt some butter in a pan over medium heat and sauté the diced onion until translucent. Add the ground cumin, paprika, and water to the pan, stir to combine, and remove the pan from the heat. Once everything has cooled down slightly, dissolve the dry yeast in the mixture and pour the mixture into a bowl. Add the flour, maple syrup, salt, diced grilled cabbage, and warmed heavy cream to the bowl and use the dough hooks on a hand mixer to knead everything into a smooth dough. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Knead the dough again and portion the dough into 4-6 dough balls. Shape the dough balls into buns and let them rise for 20 more minutes. Place the buns on the grill over indirect heat, brush the egg wash over them, close the grill lid, and cook for 30 minutes.

4. Remove the crust from the grilled pork leg and, if needed, place it back on the grill to cook longer. Remove the meat from the bone, place the meat in a bowl, and use 2 forks to shred the pork. Add the BBQ sauce, hot sauce, and honey to the pulled pork and mix well.

5. Slice a cabbage brioche bun in half widthwise and top the bottom part of the bun with arugula, BBQ pulled pork, homemade coleslaw, and some of the grilled pork crust. Place the top part of the bun on top of the BBQ pulled pork sandwich and secure with a wooden skewer if needed.

Injecting the pork with apple juice ensures that the meat stays nice and juicy, making it super easy to pull apart. Once you taste this BBQ pulled pork in combination with fresh brioche buns and homemade coleslaw, your taste buds will be taken on a trip straight to flavor town!


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