The author and cook, Heather

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Brown Sugar Kitchen

This sandwich is a southern staple. No matter where you go, if they make barbecued pork, they put it on a sandwich. The sauce may differ, the condiments may change, but in the end, it's still a bbq sandwich. This recipe makes a sandwich that is a bit different than the usual one you get in eastern North Carolina; here the pork is usually chopped, the coleslaw is more finely chopped and most often has mayo in it, and the sauce is our standard vinegar-based sauce. It's generally served on a soft hamburger bun, though I chose a crustier roll for this sandwich when I made it.

What is YOUR ideal barbecued pork sandwich?

I found this recipe online here:

I made the coleslaw here:

Serving Size1/12 recipe, not including bread or coleslaw
Carbohydrates4g (1g fiber)


[00:00]: [Music]
[00:04]: hello and welcome to cooking the books
[00:06]: with heather
[00:07]: it is super early okay it is not super
[00:10]: early it's about 8 a.m
[00:12]: um but today we're gonna be making
[00:14]: barbecue pulled pork
[00:16]: sandwich from uh tommy holland's
[00:20]: brown sugar kitchen cookbook and this
[00:22]: has to cook
[00:23]: for quite a while well
[00:26]: so there's a problem we think with this
[00:28]: recipe so we have we have some doubts my
[00:31]: husband
[00:32]: um makes pulled pork and
[00:35]: smokes meat all the time and um
[00:39]: for this recipe she has you cook this
[00:42]: huge
[00:43]: chunk of pork which she calls for a pork
[00:46]: shoulder
[00:47]: um i could only find a pork
[00:50]: butt they are similar
[00:54]: from from the same general area of the
[00:56]: animal but they're not exactly the same
[00:58]: cut
[00:59]: i don't know all of the specifics but
[01:01]: both make
[01:02]: really good pulled pork so that should
[01:05]: be fine
[01:07]: but she says to cook this
[01:10]: on indirect heat in the grill she does
[01:12]: not give specific temperatures
[01:13]: if you have a um a smoker like we do
[01:18]: or if you need to cook this in the oven
[01:21]: which you can do you can do pulled pork
[01:23]: in the oven just fine she doesn't give
[01:24]: any instructions for that um
[01:26]: but there are other recipes out there
[01:28]: feel free to use those for the pork part
[01:30]: if if you do not have a grill or a
[01:34]: smoker or anything that you can do and
[01:37]: easy indirect heat for um anyway
[01:40]: so she says to cook this for four to six
[01:42]: hours until it's 150 degrees
[01:46]: my husband who smokes meat a lot
[01:50]: says that that is the stall temperature
[01:52]: at which point um
[01:53]: it will still take hours to get to
[01:57]: the usual temperature of at least like
[01:59]: 195 to 200
[02:02]: ish degrees that you usually pull pork
[02:05]: at
[02:07]: he reads a lot about this stuff and i
[02:08]: know that he usually cooks pulled pork
[02:10]: to
[02:11]: at least about 200 degrees
[02:14]: but this recipe says cook it to 150 and
[02:18]: then to
[02:19]: pull it so my plan here is to cook it
[02:23]: until it gets to 150 degrees
[02:26]: and then we're going to try and see if
[02:28]: it works
[02:29]: if it doesn't work we have options
[02:32]: so we'll let you know about those at
[02:35]: that point
[02:37]: but for now we have our our pork butt
[02:40]: i have um it's not the full one i have
[02:43]: about a half
[02:44]: mine has um no bone because i
[02:47]: had to request it from the butcher and
[02:49]: he asked if i wanted the bone or not and
[02:50]: i said no bone
[02:51]: because more meat anyway either one's
[02:55]: fine
[02:56]: and i'm just going to put kosher salt
[02:59]: and black pepper on it i'm going to try
[03:00]: to keep
[03:01]: this hand this hand clean so i can turn
[03:05]: it with this hand
[03:06]: um but i'm gonna liberally salt this
[03:10]: on all sides and i should probably go
[03:14]: ahead and pepper it
[03:16]: his hand is still pretty clean this
[03:18]: pepper thing
[03:19]: is gonna be a problem
[03:22]: i just have to clean my pepper grinder
[03:26]: so i'm just gonna coat all
[03:29]: of the sides and you'll see that there
[03:30]: is a fat
[03:32]: cap side on this um which is currently
[03:35]: facing you i'm going to cook it with
[03:37]: that fat cap
[03:39]: side up um
[03:43]: she doesn't i just don't think she even
[03:47]: yeah that side up on the grill
[03:50]: um she does say to cook it fat side up
[03:52]: so that's good which is you know
[03:53]: or a standard thing that you do with
[03:56]: this cut of meat
[03:57]: um the pork shoulder often has skin
[04:01]: on it um and also these things can be
[04:04]: called different
[04:06]: things wherever you live so um
[04:09]: in the united states or abroad
[04:12]: you probably have the same cut but it
[04:14]: might be called something else so
[04:17]: what you're looking for is a
[04:20]: a cut of meat with a lot of connective
[04:24]: tissue
[04:24]: that will be a whole lot better when you
[04:28]: cook it low and slow
[04:31]: so i've got quite a bit of salt on there
[04:35]: um it's about five pounds of meat five
[04:37]: and a half pounds of meat so
[04:38]: it needs quite a bit of salt and i've
[04:40]: got my pepper and that is all we
[04:42]: need for this so as i said if you're
[04:45]: using a gas grill
[04:47]: she says to preheat it with the burners
[04:48]: on high but then
[04:50]: use indirect heat so either turn off
[04:54]: one of your burners if you can or turn
[04:55]: the burners down to
[04:57]: um she says you want medium heat
[05:01]: on your grill i'm not sure exactly sure
[05:03]: what that means what you're going for
[05:05]: but on the smoker
[05:06]: you usually go for 225 to 250 degrees
[05:09]: when you're cooking a
[05:10]: a piece of meat like this so
[05:14]: we'll let you know what it looks like
[05:16]: when we've cooked it for four to six
[05:18]: hours or
[05:19]: how long it takes to get us to 150
[05:22]: degrees
[05:22]: we are hoping it does not take forever
[05:25]: which is
[05:27]: um something that often happens with
[05:29]: this kind of cut of meat
[05:30]: it sometimes takes a long time to cook
[05:34]: so we'd like to eat it today so
[05:37]: we're going gonna keep our fingers uh
[05:38]: not this finger i'm gonna keep keeping
[05:39]: my fingers crossed
[05:40]: and uh i hope we'll see you sometime
[05:44]: a little afternoon before two by two
[05:48]: we'll see about 8 15. we'll let you know
[05:53]: my pork is just about done according to
[05:56]: her
[05:57]: i'm not sure about that but it's time to
[05:60]: make the sauce
[06:01]: i was a little confused because she
[06:03]: talks in the beginning about
[06:05]: how they serve pulled pork with the
[06:08]: traditional tomato based sauce
[06:10]: in brown sugar kitchen but b-side
[06:14]: they're beside her um barbecue
[06:17]: side of her restaurant they uh
[06:21]: they have options for different kinds of
[06:22]: sauces um but this
[06:24]: is not a tomato based sauce because
[06:26]: there's no ketchup or tomatoes in it at
[06:29]: all
[06:30]: so um we are going to go ahead and turn
[06:34]: our pan on
[06:37]: medium medium heat we're melting just
[06:40]: some unsalted butter
[06:41]: over medium heat right here butter is
[06:44]: melted
[06:45]: i'm adding a
[06:48]: lot of white onion now most of the onion
[06:52]: that i use is usually yellow onion so i
[06:54]: bought
[06:56]: the large white onion just for this
[06:59]: purpose
[06:60]: it will cook down a lot um but we're
[07:03]: gonna cook this
[07:04]: and then also quite a bit of garlic
[07:07]: minced here um over the medium heat
[07:11]: just until she says five minutes i think
[07:14]: it takes more like ten
[07:16]: for me just until
[07:20]: the onion is tender and translucent so
[07:22]: we're going to be
[07:23]: doing that while i finish gathering all
[07:26]: of the other ingredients that i need
[07:28]: to make this sauce
[07:32]: so while we were making
[07:35]: the sauce our
[07:39]: pork says it's done it's at 150
[07:45]: we don't think it's going to pull but
[07:47]: we're supposed to let this
[07:48]: um rest for 15 minutes and then pull it
[07:52]: apart
[07:53]: so we're going to try we're going to
[07:54]: follow try to follow the recipe
[07:56]: and see if it works so i'm going to
[07:59]: continue
[08:00]: cooking my sauce and making the sauce
[08:03]: while it rests
[08:05]: and then we'll show you whether we think
[08:07]: we can pull this
[08:09]: at its current temperature
[08:12]: my onions and garlic my onions are
[08:15]: starting to get a little translucent but
[08:17]: i'm gonna let them go probably five more
[08:19]: minutes
[08:20]: so a lot of onion in a small pan so
[08:24]: we're gonna let that go my garlic is
[08:27]: starting to kind of stick to the bottom
[08:29]: so i'm gonna call this good for now it
[08:31]: is gonna simmer
[08:32]: for a while before we call it good so
[08:36]: uh they will have a chance to cook a
[08:38]: little bit more
[08:39]: but now i'm going to add all of my other
[08:40]: ingredients so first
[08:43]: we need some vinegar
[08:46]: this is apple cider vinegar the same as
[08:49]: we used for our
[08:50]: eastern north carolina barbecue sauce so
[08:53]: i don't know if that's what this is
[08:54]: supposed to be like
[08:55]: we'll see and now we have uh some water
[08:58]: here
[09:01]: we have some dry mustard i'm using
[09:03]: coleman's because it's what i
[09:05]: have um and
[09:08]: then we have some mustard seeds they're
[09:11]: supposed to be yellow
[09:13]: i only have these sort of brown ones i'm
[09:16]: sure it'll be fine
[09:21]: um and then we have
[09:24]: some cayenne pepper cayenne pepper
[09:28]: powder
[09:28]: onion whatever cayenne um turmeric
[09:32]: and garlic powder sort of put them all
[09:36]: in the same container
[09:38]: we have some uh red pepper flakes
[09:42]: quite a lot of those which again makes
[09:43]: me think of the
[09:45]: eastern north carolina style barbecue
[09:47]: sauce that we made
[09:50]: so there's that let's see we need some
[09:54]: moisture sauce right let me let me do
[09:55]: the
[09:56]: salt and pepper first again let me do my
[09:58]: dry ingredients first
[10:00]: so we need some kosher salt
[10:06]: let's go and then we need some
[10:16]: some black pepper i'm just gonna
[10:25]: there we go
[10:28]: let's see and that is all that i
[10:33]: needed to measure there um so we need
[10:36]: the juice of one lemon here which
[10:40]: i have already cut in half and i'm just
[10:43]: going to
[10:45]: squeeze through
[10:48]: a sieve so i don't put all of those
[10:50]: seeds in my sauce
[10:54]: honey just a little bit of honey so i'm
[10:58]: pretty sure in
[10:59]: our eastern north carolina barbecue
[11:00]: sauce we put more sweetener in it
[11:02]: than this would be so
[11:06]: um and worcestershire sauce
[11:13]: so
[11:14]: go ahead and get that open
[11:19]: a few of these
[11:29]: there we go let me verify that i have
[11:32]: all of my ingredients in here before i
[11:34]: say we're
[11:35]: done with this part
[11:39]: okay that is it so we're going to bring
[11:41]: this to a boil
[11:44]: uh reduce the heat and
[11:47]: simmer until it is thick and flavorful
[11:50]: about 45 minutes so we're gonna
[11:53]: bring it to a boil all right that's at a
[11:56]: boil
[11:57]: and we're going to simmer this and we're
[11:58]: not going to cover it because i think we
[11:60]: want to reduce it
[12:01]: and have it be really thick so i'm just
[12:03]: going to
[12:05]: keep trying to keep this at a simmer and
[12:08]: that'll be good
[12:10]: now is the moment of truth we're gonna
[12:12]: see if we think we can pull this point
[12:15]: so now is the moment of truth to see if
[12:18]: we think
[12:18]: we can pull this port at 150 degrees
[12:21]: it's been sitting for
[12:23]: 15 minutes and
[12:27]: as expected like i can pull that one
[12:30]: little piece off
[12:31]: but can't really pull the rest so
[12:35]: what we're gonna do i talked about
[12:38]: the texas crutch before
[12:42]: um that is basically when your meat gets
[12:45]: to
[12:46]: the stall temperature which is about 150
[12:48]: degrees that's the temperature when all
[12:50]: of that connective tissue
[12:52]: starts to um dissolve and
[12:56]: and that's the temperature it needs to
[12:58]: be
[12:59]: to dissolve and to become
[13:02]: sort of a liquid and go through it um
[13:06]: which is what allows us to pull the pork
[13:09]: uh i'm gonna wrap it that's the texas
[13:12]: crutch and then we're gonna put it back
[13:14]: on the smoker for probably another
[13:18]: couple hours is my guess we're gonna put
[13:20]: this back on the grill and hopefully it
[13:22]: won't take more than two hours
[13:24]: but we'll see this will help it heat up
[13:27]: faster though so
[13:29]: off to the grill we go
[13:32]: all right we got a little impatient we
[13:34]: took it off the grill we needed to use
[13:36]: the smoker for something else so we
[13:39]: wrapped it up in foil and
[13:40]: put it in the oven at like 350 for
[13:43]: another
[13:44]: i don't know hour and a half two hours
[13:47]: but it got up to 195 i pulled it out
[13:49]: it's up over 200
[13:50]: and it is going to pull just fine i
[13:53]: could tell
[13:54]: everything pulled off so instead of
[13:56]: using forks we have these things called
[13:58]: bear claws
[13:59]: so i'm going to try to pull it using
[14:01]: these
[14:02]: and i've got a bowl over here that i can
[14:04]: put any bits in it
[14:06]: in that i don't want
[14:09]: um like they're really fatty bits
[14:13]: but basically i'm just trying to
[14:17]: make it uh like pulled pork
[14:21]: um so we can put it on the sandwich now
[14:25]: uh the recipe calls for
[14:30]: uh putting this back in with the sauce
[14:35]: into a baking dish and putting it in the
[14:38]: oven
[14:39]: at 350 for about 30 minutes
[14:42]: now um i'm not gonna do that my sauce is
[14:46]: warm i've had it sort of on
[14:47]: low most of this time my pork is
[14:50]: obviously very warm
[14:53]: and the sauce is really spicy
[14:56]: i took a little taste of it and it is
[14:58]: very spicy
[14:59]: such that i feel like my kids won't like
[15:02]: it so i'm not gonna put it on all of
[15:04]: this pork
[15:08]: so i may have to get out
[15:11]: we have some gloves with fingers
[15:16]: that i can use to pull out the
[15:20]: bits that we don't want a little bit
[15:23]: easier
[15:26]: the extra fatty bits or the the the
[15:29]: bits that didn't get
[15:33]: dissolved with the the heat
[15:36]: so but i'm just gonna pull this
[15:39]: and then we're gonna make sandwiches uh
[15:41]: i'm gonna let people
[15:42]: add the sauce as they prefer
[15:46]: and we are supposed to put this onto
[15:49]: about a third of a cup of this
[15:50]: i think anyway you put this on a french
[15:53]: roll or a hamburger
[15:54]: bun and then you top it with the spicy
[15:58]: green slaw that i have made previously
[16:00]: and i will link here and
[16:04]: that is your pulled pork barbecue
[16:07]: sandwich and we'll show you what it
[16:09]: looks like when it's done
[16:17]: on this episode of cooking the books
[16:18]: with heather you watched me make the
[16:20]: barbecue
[16:21]: pulled pork sandwich from tonya
[16:23]: holland's brown sugar kitchen cookbook
[16:26]: and i had problems with this recipe i
[16:30]: i knew going in that i was going to have
[16:32]: problems with this recipe because
[16:35]: this is not our first time making pulled
[16:37]: pork in fact we do it
[16:39]: relatively often we did it like a month
[16:42]: and a half ago
[16:43]: i think the last time it's one of those
[16:45]: things where it makes a lot so
[16:47]: if you only have a small family you
[16:48]: don't really have to make it that often
[16:50]: but we make it when we have gatherings
[16:51]: rather often we have smoker we like to
[16:53]: smoke meat
[16:55]: so we do that quite a bit
[16:58]: and when this recipe said to cook it to
[17:00]: an internal temperature of 150 degrees
[17:04]: and then to pull it that sort of
[17:08]: set off some some bells in my head it
[17:11]: really feels like there's another
[17:13]: step missing here i looked online to see
[17:17]: if there was
[17:18]: an updated or a different type of recipe
[17:20]: for this that she had done
[17:22]: um like sometimes a recipe will have
[17:27]: corrections and you know if you or if
[17:29]: you
[17:30]: publish it to uh if you make it on a tv
[17:33]: show and they'll publish the recipe
[17:35]: sometimes there will be changes there
[17:37]: i looked for that everything i found was
[17:39]: either exactly the same as this or
[17:41]: she had one version of this recipe
[17:43]: recipe
[17:45]: where she braised it in the sauce she
[17:47]: braised the
[17:49]: pork in the barbecue sauce sort of
[17:51]: before
[17:52]: making the pulled pork and it was
[17:56]: always except for the braising it was
[17:58]: the same
[17:59]: so we tried it which is you know what i
[18:02]: do here on this channel i try to to make
[18:04]: the recipes as
[18:05]: written but it didn't work so
[18:08]: at 150 degrees not all of the
[18:12]: internal connective tissue has broken
[18:14]: down and it's sort of just
[18:16]: starting to break down and it takes
[18:17]: hours and hours and hours after that
[18:20]: to actually break down at a low cooking
[18:22]: temperature
[18:24]: um so you'll see that we tried
[18:28]: to pull it with forks and like one
[18:30]: little part
[18:31]: on the edge that had some connective
[18:33]: tissue pulled off
[18:35]: but that was it and that's not
[18:39]: everything else was going to be really
[18:40]: tough and really hard to pull
[18:42]: so what we did was we crutched it we
[18:45]: wrapped it
[18:47]: and we smoked it for a little bit longer
[18:49]: and then
[18:51]: at the same temperature and it was still
[18:53]: taking too long
[18:55]: um so we
[18:58]: wrapped it in foil and put it in the
[18:60]: oven at like 350 degrees
[19:02]: for another hour and a half or so until
[19:05]: it got up to
[19:06]: i think in the end we were at about 195
[19:09]: to 200 degrees i pulled it out
[19:11]: at about 195 left it wrapped let it sit
[19:14]: for a bit
[19:15]: and it still kept going up to about 201
[19:18]: i think is what i saw in my thermometer
[19:20]: before i took it out
[19:22]: so that is what you need to plan on when
[19:25]: you are
[19:27]: cooking a pork shoulder roast
[19:30]: it's going to take you hours and hours
[19:32]: and hours now
[19:33]: the size that she has here is about half
[19:35]: of a pork butt
[19:37]: um i couldn't i've cooked pork shoulders
[19:40]: before but i don't know
[19:41]: sort of the size range they come in pork
[19:44]: butt pork shoulder
[19:45]: very similar slightly different
[19:48]: as far as the sizes they usually come in
[19:51]: a full pork butt is usually
[19:52]: like 12 pounds so i got about a half of
[19:55]: one for the five to seven pound range
[19:57]: that this
[19:58]: um suggested and that is going to take
[20:01]: you more than four to six
[20:03]: hours at a low indirect heat temperature
[20:06]: which is what you need for
[20:08]: pulled pork to actually be pulled pork
[20:12]: so i had that problem with this recipe
[20:16]: and i think my
[20:19]: husband who is the smoker in the family
[20:22]: was just very displeased
[20:24]: all around with the recipe and the
[20:27]: results
[20:28]: and everything so there's that
[20:31]: the other problem we have with this
[20:33]: recipe is that we
[20:34]: are smack dab in eastern north carolina
[20:39]: barbecue uh sauce
[20:42]: region it's always
[20:46]: sweet a little bit spicy but not too
[20:48]: spicy and
[20:49]: um apple cider vinegar based that is
[20:54]: the usual brown sugar and apple cider
[20:57]: cider vinegar with some red pepper and
[20:58]: other spices depending on what you like
[21:01]: that like we have made previously with
[21:03]: the um
[21:05]: whole hog barbecue that we made
[21:08]: that is what we are used to that is what
[21:10]: we like
[21:12]: and i did not realize after having read
[21:15]: the intro to this recipe that this was
[21:18]: not going to be the
[21:20]: tomato based sauce that she mentions
[21:22]: there
[21:23]: until i got to making it and realized
[21:26]: there's no ketchup there's no tomatoes
[21:28]: there's nothing like that in this sauce
[21:30]: this turned out to be
[21:31]: much more like a south carolina sauce
[21:34]: which is a mustard based sauce now i
[21:37]: didn't use
[21:38]: it doesn't use any prepared yellow
[21:40]: mustard which is standard in those
[21:42]: sauces
[21:43]: but the main flavors
[21:47]: in it are from um
[21:50]: onion of course but also the mustard
[21:53]: powder the
[21:54]: dried mustard and mustard seeds
[21:57]: so it turned and of course the turmeric
[21:59]: sort of makes it that yellow so
[22:00]: while you're not using prepared mustard
[22:04]: you're using a lot of the ingredients in
[22:06]: prepared mustard
[22:08]: so there's that we
[22:11]: are not fans of south carolina
[22:14]: barbecue mustard-based barbecue sauce if
[22:16]: you are great
[22:18]: you should make this recipe another
[22:20]: caveat is that
[22:22]: with the amount of red pepper flakes she
[22:25]: calls for in this recipe
[22:27]: it was really spicy it was i mean
[22:30]: i could eat it especially on the
[22:32]: sandwich it was great
[22:33]: it was fine because you have the bread
[22:36]: and the
[22:37]: coleslaw and uh and the pork to sort of
[22:42]: mellow it out to spread that out also i
[22:45]: didn't cook it with the sauce like
[22:47]: you're supposed to
[22:48]: at the end i just didn't have time so i
[22:50]: let everybody add the sauce
[22:51]: themselves especially considering i'd
[22:53]: already tasted it and knew it was
[22:54]: really spicy and my kids would not touch
[22:56]: it if i did that
[22:58]: so it's really spicy
[23:01]: if you don't like spice i would back it
[23:04]: down
[23:04]: at least a third
[23:08]: if you like a little bit of spice a
[23:09]: third would probably be okay if you
[23:11]: don't like spice at all
[23:12]: you could still add about one-third of
[23:15]: the recipe so back it down two-thirds
[23:17]: if you're looking at the recipe it'll
[23:18]: make more sense
[23:20]: so i think it calls for a teaspoon and a
[23:24]: half
[23:25]: of red pepper flakes i would back it
[23:26]: down at least a half teaspoon
[23:28]: maybe a whole teaspoon depending a
[23:31]: little bit of spice is good
[23:32]: it was just a little too much spice for
[23:34]: me and we just it's just not a flavor we
[23:36]: like
[23:37]: so we already made the spicy green
[23:39]: coleslaw and you should be able to
[23:40]: to see that up here i'll link it here
[23:44]: and uh we use that on here i did
[23:49]: as i said in that recipe i added some
[23:50]: extra salt to it before
[23:52]: we used it on our sandwiches just
[23:54]: because i tasted it and it really tasted
[23:56]: bland so
[23:57]: all together the sandwich tasted good
[24:00]: it's just not by
[24:04]: it's not the the barbecue that i would
[24:06]: make if i were making my favorite
[24:08]: it's a good change of pace perhaps but
[24:11]: it's not our favorite
[24:12]: if it is your favorite let me know in
[24:14]: the comments down below if you love
[24:16]: mustard-based
[24:16]: barbecue sauce let me know or if you
[24:19]: love just another type of barbecue sauce
[24:21]: let me know i've tried a bunch of them
[24:22]: but i'm sure i haven't tried all of them
[24:24]: and i'd love to try your favorite
[24:26]: if you let me know what that is link me
[24:29]: a recipe
[24:30]: and if you enjoyed watching me make this
[24:32]: please give me a thumbs up
[24:33]: hit the subscribe button and come back
[24:35]: and watch me make something else next
[24:40]: week