Pulled pork sandwiches combine the sweet and delectable flavor of tender and juicy pulled pork with the ideal blank slate for creating culinary masterpieces. Toppings for pulled pork sandwiches can be simple and easy or exotic, letting you create something unique with just a few ingredients. Today, we will look at some of the best toppings you can use to take your pulled pork sandwich experience to a new level.
What Goes Best with Pulled Pork?
Ultimately, the only essential pulled pork sandwich topping is bread. Whether you use a traditional white hamburger bun, sliced loaf bread, or something completely different is up to you – look into the options you've got because something as simple as the type of bread you use can make a big difference in the overall topping experience.
If you are looking for something a bit different from the standard hamburger bun, try making your pulled pork sandwich on a pretzel bun, Hawaiian roll, or even a seeded bun. These minor changes can add lots of unique flavors and textures to your sandwiches.
A West Coast favorite is to use tangy and fresh sourdough bread. The dense loaf typically holds up well to the tender and juicy meat while enhancing the flavors of other toppings. We've also tried using rye bread for an interesting take on a classic Ruben.
Do You Put Cheese on a Pulled Pork Sandwich?
Cheese might not be the first thing you think of to put on a pulled pork sandwich, but it is a totally acceptable option. Rich, creamy cheeses work well. We like to use an extra sharp cheddar that holds up to the pork flavor or we sometimes will use a Jack cheese or mozzarella that adds stringy, gooey, delicious texture and flavor.
And by the way, we have totally used that weird canned nacho cheese, too. It makes a deliciously melty and cheesy pulled pork sandwich that is perfect for game day (or any day).
Our Favorite Pulled Pork Sandwich Toppings
There are few things out there that are better for topping pulled pork sandwiches than good-ol' barbecue sauce. We think that our Bearded Butcher Blend BBQ Sauce is among the finest for bringing out the fantastic flavor of BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. It has just the right brown sugar sweetness and a touch of spiciness that makes it ideal.
Now, we tend to toss our pulled pork in barbecue sauce before putting it on the bun, so maybe BBQ sauce isn't necessarily a topping. One thing that we love to do is to add a few thick slices of red onions to the sandwich. Red onions are the best ones to eat raw, and they add a little oniony kick and crunch that is delicious.
How about a heap of fresh coleslaw? That's right, why relegate it to a side dish when it can star in the main attraction. Tangy coleslaw adds crunch and a perfect blend of flavors to enhance a pulled pork sandwich.
You can make your pulled pork sandwich tropical by adding a nice slice of pineapple. Pineapple slices can be grilled to add smoky sweetness. Combine them with the red onion above for a fantastic way to make a classic island sandwich. Adding some roasted bell peppers is a great way to add color and texture to this style of sandwich.
One of our favorite pulled pork sandwich toppings is to add a few slices of ham and cheddar cheese, then use our burger press to smash it on the griddle. This is a variation on a Cubano sandwich, which is typically made on a slightly sweet roll with pulled pork marinated in cilantro and lime juice. Add some thin-sliced dill pickles for a classic take.
What to Serve with Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Pulled pork sandwiches are ideal when served with a selection of delicious side dishes. We've already mentioned coleslaw as a topping, but it is also a go-to side dish.
A bubbly pot of baked beans with chunks of bacon ends, grilled corn on the cob, and some homemade potato chips make for excellent sides.
Steak-cut french fries sprinkled with our Original blend, are a fluffy, light side that compliments heavier bbq pulled pork sandwiches.
How to Build the Ultimate Pulled Pork Sandwich
Making pulled pork sandwiches begins with the perfect shredded pork. We tend to prefer making pulled pork on the smoker, but you can also use a slow cooker or a crock pot. Once the pork butt is at the proper internal temperature and has had a good, long rest, you should be able to use a fork or specially-designed pulled pork claws to shred it apart.
This is when we like to toss our pulled pork with barbecue sauce, but you can also toss it with our Hollywood blend, or even just adding brown sugar to sweeten it up will work well. We almost always toast our buns a little before piling heaps of tasty pulled Boston butt roast on. Then, we add our toppings. If we are using sliced American cheese, it goes on the bottom heel of the bun before the meat, otherwise, we let the cheese melt on the top.
A simple thick slice of red onion is one of our all-time favorites, but this is the chance to get creative. There really isn't a wrong topping for pulled pork. We aren't shy about dumping on even more barbecue sauce, either. Sometimes we end up with something along the lines of a pulled pork sloppy Joe.
Perfect for Summer BBQs
Pulled pork sandwiches are one of the staples of summertime around our house. Part of it is because it's an easy thing to make that keeps in the fridge well, but pulled pork is also economical and a great way to share a meal with neighbors and friends who drop by on those sultry evenings. We've even had some fun experimenting with vinegar-based Carolina-style BBQ versus Kansas City BBQ to see how different pulled pork sandwiches can be when the only difference is the sauce.
The main thing to remember when making pulled pork is that you can keep the flavor of the pork fairly basic and add flavor later, so you can make anything from mild to wild without having to commit to a huge meal plan. Pulled pork is a great blank canvas for creative culinary experimentation.
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