Simple (dump it and forget about it) slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches with a delicious sweet honey chipotle sauce and an easy coleslaw.
When I was little, purple cabbage terrified me. My mom used to buy the big bags of chopped iceberg lettuce that have the shredded carrots and pieces of purple cabbage in it. I’d never actually tried purple cabbage by itself and when I did eat it from the salad mix, it was DRENCHED in ranch and swallowed as quickly as possible. Followed by a large glass of water I’m sure.
I’m not totally certain why it scared me, but I’m pretty sure I was just copying my older brother who didn’t like it at the time either. One time my older brother snuck his cabbage on my plate and I just could not eat his along with mine. I ended up tattling and his punishment was to eat not only his purple cabbage that was on my plate, but mine too.
I was elated. Clearly so much so that I still remember that dinner from probably 15+ years ago. ?
Fast forward to today and I am obsessed with all things purple cabbage. And I suppose to make up on missed time enjoying this vegetable, it ends up in our dinners + salads all.the.time.
It also has earned a place in my favorite ever coleslaw and trust me, it makes for the absolute best coleslaw ever.
As much as I want to tell you this awesome coleslaw is the star of this sandwich show, it is not. This pork is the absolute best pork I’ve ever had. It’s hands down the husband’s favorite meal that I make and we have it at least once a month in our home. I’ve made this and tweaked the sauce so many times over the past couple of years that I believe it’s absolutely perfect and ready to share.
The sauce is a honey chipotle BBQ sauce, but don’t be scared away from the chipotle. It is so easy to adjust to your desired heat preference. The sauce can either be pretty hot (yesssssss!) or completely mild with barely a kick at all. If you want a hotter sauce, you will use an actual chipotle pepper. Not so hot? Just use a tiny bit of the sauce surrounding the chipotle peppers. Always start with very little and increase after taste testing the sauce. I would avoid omitting the chipotle peppers (or sauce) at all because it does give it a signature smokey depth of flavor, but you can if absolutely needed.
Note that if you do make this sauce in advance (and place it in the fridge), it does get hotter and hotter the longer it sits. I love making the sauce in the morning along with throwing the pork in the crockpot because come dinner time there is literally no prep and both the pork and the sauce have become ULTRA flavorful. ??
RECIPE VIDEO TUTORIAL:
Make sure to SAVE THIS RECIPE to your Sandwich Pinterest boards!
- 2 medium yellow onions thinly sliced
- 2 & 1/2 to 3 pounds boneless pork tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Seasoned salt and pepper
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Seasoned salt and pepper
- 1/2 - 1 full chipotle chile in adobo sauce (+ 2 tablespoons sauce surrounding chipotles)
- Sandwich buns
- 1 cup chopped red cabbage and the coleslaw recipe in the notes section
Grease a large crockpot (I use a 6-quart) with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with the thinly sliced onions (2 medium or 1 very large)
Place the pork on top.
In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, chili powder, minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of seasoned salt, and ground cumin. Rub into the pork. Pour the chicken broth over the pork.
Cook for 6-8 hours on high or 9-11 hours on low.
Once the meat is completely cooked through, drain the liquid and discard (or eat) the onions.
Using two forks shred the pork.
In a blender combine the ketchup, brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper.
Add in chipotle chili sauce (taste for heat with this addition) and then 1/2 to 1 full chipotle chiles (to taste and heat preference. Add VERY slowly because it's always easy to increase if you want more heat. If you are very sensitive to heat just add the sauce around the chiles in small quantities.)
Blend until smooth.
Pour the sauce over the pork and mix until combined.
Top a bun with a generous amount of the dressed pulled pork.
Prepare the coleslaw according to directions (click the link) and add the red cabbage.
Top sandwich with prepared coleslaw and enjoy!
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