Spicy Bourbon-Maple Pulled Pork
with Blue Cheese Slaw
a Weekend Gourmet Original
Ingredients (makes 8-10 sandwiches):
- 3.5 lbs. bone-in pork shoulder
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 cup water + 1 packet beef bouillon, combined
- 1 package brioche hamburger buns
For the spice rub:
- 1 tbs. salt
- 1 tbs. fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning [NOTE: Can use chili powder instead]
- 1 tbs. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. cocoa powder
For the slaw:
- 12-ounce package coleslaw mix
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbs. sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. hot sauce
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
For the BBQ sauce:
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 1/3 cup Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 tbs. hot sauce
- 1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- Salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Combine the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, parsley, onion and garlic powders, and cocoa in a small bowl. Stir to completely combine. Rub the spice blend on all sides of the pork shoulder. Heat the olive oil and brown the pork on both sides. Add the browned pork shoulder to a slow cooker. Add the sliced onion and beef broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours.
Step 2: While the pork cooks, make the slaw. Add the slaw mix, green onion, and blue cheese to a plastic container. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, maple syrup, hot sauce, and parsley to a small bowl. Whisk to completely combine the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the slaw ingredients. Toss well to evenly coat, cover, and refrigerate the slaw until serving time.
Step 3: After 5 hours, remove the pork shoulder from the slow cooker; let the pork cool on a cutting board for 15-20 minutes. Drain the cooking liquid in the slow cooker to remove the onions; reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. When the pork shoulder is cool to the touch, remove the bone and shred into bite-size pieces. To make the sauce, add the ketchup, mustard, Four Roses bourbon, maple syrup, vinegar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt & pepper to a bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the shredded pork, reserved 1/2 cup of cooking liquid, and BBQ sauce to the slow cooker.Step 4: Stir to completely combine the cooking liquid and BBQ sauce with the pork. Cover the slow cooker, and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes. To assemble the sandwiches, place a generous scoop of the pulled pork on the bottom of a brioche bun. Top with the blue cheese slaw and serve -- with lots of napkins!
Y'all...this sandwich is pretty much perfection in a bun! Juicy pork tossed in a spicy-tangy-sweet BBQ sauce, then topped with the crunchy sweet-sour slaw. The finishing touch is the slight pungency of the blue cheese in the slaw. The BBQ sauce is incredibly quick and simple to make, and the Four Roses Yellow Label provides such a smooth depth of flavor. The earthy sweetness of the maple syrup plays nicely with the acidic vinegar -- and the hot sauce provides a gentle, mellow heat. This sandwich is a keeper, people!
I especially love that this can be assembled the morning of your party and left to slowly braise in the slow cooker all day. The ingredient list looks a bit long, but the slaw and BBQ sauce are a snap to make while the pork simmers away. I'm thinking that this BBQ sauce would also be fabulous brushed onto ribs as they cook on your grill -- so maybe consider making a double batch of this spicy bourbon-maple BBQ sauce! To find Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon near you, visit their handy online store locator.
Disclosure: Four Roses Bourbon provided me with a bottle of bourbon and a Whole Foods gift certificate to purchase the ingredients for this recipe. All opinions are solely my own.