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Hard apple cider pulled pork sandwich

Hard Apple Cider Pulled Pork with Roasted Apple Barbecue Sauce

Hard Apple Cider Pulled Pork with Roasted Apple Barbecue Sauce is tender pulled pork with plenty of tangy, apple flavor. It's a win for Game Day and busy weeknights!

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For the pork:

  • 3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 22 ounces hard apple cider

For the roasted apples:

  • 3 small Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2" chunks
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

For the barbecue sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • dash of liquid smoke about 1/4 teaspoon


Prepare the pork:

  • Place the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, brown sugar, cardamom, onion powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl and stir to combine. Rub the pork generously with the spice rub (you will have some rub left over), and place in the refrigerator uncovered for a minimum of 2 hours but preferably overnight to dry brine.
  • When ready to cook, place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker and pour in the hard apple cider. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the meat shreds easily with a fork. Remove from the slow cooker, shred, and set aside.

Prepare the roasted apples:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the apples with the olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom on a large rimmed baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Roast for 15 - 20 minutes until softened. Set aside.

Prepare the barbecue sauce:

  • Place the ketchup, honey or agave, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, dash of liquid smoke, and salt to taste in a small saucepan and cook over medium low heat till bubbly. Continue to cook another 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture into a blender with the roasted apples and mix until smooth. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and sweetener to your preferences. Toss the pork with the preferred amount of barbecue sauce, and enjoy!


  • The pork is most flavorful if it's allowed to dry brine in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
  • Expect to use about half of the spice rub on a 3 lb. pork shoulder.
  • The apples and barbecue sauce can be made in advance.
  • I suggest starting with 1/2 cup of sweetener in the barbecue sauce, and if you like it on the sweeter side, 3/4 cup should do the trick!


Calories: 595kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g, Cholesterol: 143mg, Sodium: 2252mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 26g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

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