Serves a Crowd

Cuban Adobo Pulled Pork and Slaw Sandwiches

June  4, 2010
Author Notes

Here’s a spin on my mother’s much-loved “19th hole pulled pork,” which has been enjoyed by my extended family over the years, especially during summer gatherings on the Outer Banks. It holds well and freezes beautifully. Like most braises, it tastes even better the next day. My mother used to make enormous quantities of her pulled pork, which she froze in large boxes and took to the beach in an ice chest filled with other frozen things she'd made. You could just as easily make this one evening while you're there. When we go on vacations when I'll be cooking dishes like this, I always measure the spices and herbs in advance, putting them together in small plastic boxes labeled with a small piece of freezer tape. In this recipe, I'd add the sugar, too, if not bringing brown sugar separately. I also fill my insulated picnic bag - the one I'd take out to the beach during the day - with staples, spice mixes, and other ingredients I know I'll need. The big eaters in my household like this on whole wheat sesame buns; corn or wheat tortillas and phulka rotis provide a nice alternative. Enjoy!! ;o) —AntoniaJames

  • Serves 8 to 12, depending on portion size (total - about 8 cups / 1700 grams)
  • Braised Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • 3 ½ pounds pork butt or shoulder (with bones, if possible; use 3 pounds if boneless)
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard (I use a coarse mustard with horseradish)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed (freshly roasted and ground, if you can)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, and crumbled
  • 2 cups crushed plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Whole grain buns
  • The Slaw
  • 1 medium cabbage - about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (preferably unfiltered organic)
  • 3 tablespoons organic mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or coarse brown mustard)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup grated jicama or apple
  • 2 tablespoons celery leaves, chopped (measured before chopping)
  • 1 carrot, grated, optional
  • 1/4 cup roasted chopped pecans or pumpkin seeds
In This Recipe
  1. Braised Pulled Pork Sandwich
  2. Heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Make the sauce: Thinly slice the onions; sweat them for a few minutes in the oil in a Dutch oven. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two, until it becomes soft but not brown.
  4. Add the brown sugar, mustard, spices, bay leaves, oregano, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and 1/2 cup of water. Stir well. Simmer gently over low heat while you cut the pork.
  5. Braise the pork: Cut the meat into 2" cubes; put them in the Dutch oven with the sauce (and the bones, if using them).
  6. Tightly cover and braise for 2 1/2 hours, or longer if necessary, until the meat can easily be pulled apart with a fork. Check after about two hours, as ovens vary quite a bit. (You can also braise in a slow cooker; I'd put it on high and check after 2 hours, or on low and let it go for 4-5. Be sure to check it though, so the meat does not overcook.)
  7. As soon as you remove it from the oven, push the meat aside in the Dutch oven and stir the sage and cilantro into the sauce. Let sit for a few minutes, covered. Pull the pork apart, using two forks. Combine well with the sauce.
  8. Allow this to sit, covered and refrigerated after cooling, for at least eight hours before serving. The next day, or 2 days later, it will taste even better.
  9. Before serving, heat through over medium heat on the stove or in the microwave. Check for salt and pepper, and correct, if necessary.
  10. Serve on soft multigrain buns, or corn or flour tortillas, with slaw. See recipe below. Enjoy! ;o)
  1. The Slaw
  2. It's best to start this at least 2 hours before serving. Trim, quarter and finely slice the cabbage. Coarsely chop it after slicing, if you like. Put in a large bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Let it sit for at least one hour.
  3. In a small non-reactive bowl, whisk the vinegar, mayonnaise, crème fraiche, maple syrup, mustard and lime juice well, until fully blended.
  4. Add the chopped cabbage, carrot, jicama or apple, celery leaves and carrot. Toss it well and let it sit for at least an hour. Add a good pinch of freshly ground pepper.
  5. Before serving, toss again and test for salt and pepper, correcting if necessary.
  6. Immediately before serving, add the chopped pecans or pumpkin seeds, if using.
  7. Enjoy!!! ;o)

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Recipe by: AntoniaJames

When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)