Make Ahead

Cuban Adobo Pulled Pork and Slaw Sandwiches

October  4, 2022
1 Ratings
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 3 hours
  • Serves 8 to 12, depending on portion size (total - about 8 cups / 1700 grams)
Author Notes

Here’s a spin on my mother’s much-loved “19th hole pulled pork.” For the non-golfers out there, the 19th hole is the bar in the clubhouse at the end of the links. My mother made a more classic pulled pork - North Carolina style, with a lot of vinegar. She'd make enormous quantities of the stuff, freeze it, and then haul it down to the Outer Banks, where we spent many wonderful beach weeks with our extended family. We looked forward to that pulled pork as much we looked forward to going out on the beach. My version takes this in a whole new direction, inspired by a recipe for Cuban adobo that I stumbled on in one of Jerry Traunfeld's books on cooking with herbs. Who would ever have thought to add sage to an adobo mix that also uses oregano? Trust me, it's brilliant! Since posting this recipe nearly 10 years ago, I've gotten - and use all the time -- an Instant Pot, which makes cooking this a snap. I've updated the instructions accordingly. The big eaters here like this on whole wheat sesame buns. Corn or wheat tortillas, or phulka rotis provide a nice alternative, for more of a taco experience. Enjoy!! ;o) —AntoniaJames

What You'll Need
  • 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, or corn or wheat tortillas, or phulka rotis (freshly cooked when serving)
  • 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 Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or coarse brown mustard)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup grated jicama or apple
  • 1 carrot, grated, optional
  1. Braised Pulled Pork Sandwich
  2. Heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. * * * BUT NOTE - There's no need to heat the oven if using an Instant Pot or other multi-cooker. Also, the template for loading this recipe doesn't allow for a range of cooking times. If making this using an electric pressure cooker to cook the pork, the total cook time is about an hour and a half, more or less (the majority of that is hands off), depending on whether you let the pressure release fully on its own.
  3. Make the sauce: Thinly slice the onions; sweat them for a few minutes in the oil in a Dutch oven - or on the saute setting of an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two, until it becomes soft but not brown.
  4. Stir in the brown sugar, mustard, spices, bay leaves, oregano, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer gently over low heat (saute set at "low" on your multi-cooker/pressure cooker) while you cut the pork.
  5. Braise the pork: Cut the meat into 2" cubes; put them in the Dutch oven or the pressure cooker 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. If using an electric pressure cooker, lock down the lid, set it on high pressure for 60 minutes, and then let it release naturally, or with a manual release after 10 minutes. (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 or open the pressure cooker as noted above, push the meat aside and stir the sage and cilantro into the sauce. Let sit for about a half an hour, 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. Use any slaw you like, or make some using my 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 well the vinegar, mayonnaise, crème fraiche or Greek yogurt, maple syrup, mustard and lime juice, until fully blended.
  4. Add the chopped cabbage, carrot, jicama or apple, and carrot. Give it a good toss and let it sit for at least an hour. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.
  5. Before serving, toss again and test for salt and pepper - and vinegar (!) - correcting if necessary.
  6. Enjoy!!! ;o)

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Recipe by: AntoniaJames

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2 Reviews

CHER June 10, 2022
This was delicious. I've always loved the combination of pulled pork and slaw.
Horto June 9, 2014
don't eat pork, might try this with chicken thighs, sounds like a fun summer meal