Pulled Pork Barbecue Sliders with Hot Slaw

Pulled Pork Barbecue Sliders with Hot Slaw

Eating a good barbecue sandwich is as close as I’ve come in this life to reaching nirvana. With a bow of respect to my yoga instructor, I just can’t seem to tumble into the same state of bliss in meditative poses as I can when I sink my teeth into a perfectly constructed barbecue sandwich. The hedonist in me revels in that smoked pork flavor in a lip-smackin’ sauce topped with spicy Hot Slaw and sandwiched in a (I’ll repent tomorrow) soft white bun.

There is nothing fast-food about this recipe. I’m just so anxious to share this bite of heaven that I hope you’ll forgive it’s longevity. The Hot Slaw can, and should, be made the day before. With Labor Day around the corner, you may have more time than usual to keep a watchful eye on the pork butt as it smokes.

I have, in fact, simplified the family recipe. My brother marinates the pork 12 hours in advance in a citrusy Goya bottled marinade. It adds another layer of delicious complexity but I don’t bother. Also, instead of making my own barbecue sauce, I use a favorite store-bought barbecue sauce. Use whatever sauce your family prefers, but avoid overwhelming the lovely smoky pork flavor with excessive sauce, especially excessive sweetbarbecue sauces.

Hot Slaw is just a variation of cole slaw that is similar to a relish (or chow-chow) and is typically loaded up with hot sauce. Hot Slaw tastes best after sitting, refrigerated, 24 hours. If you prefer a milder sandwich, use whatever cole slaw recipe you prefer, be it mayonnaise or vinegar-based. If you’ve never paired barbecue and cole slaw on a bun, you’re in for a treat!

I would absolutely recommend barbecuing the pork in a smoker or charcoal, kettle grill. I discuss the “Art of Smoke” in a previous dinnerFeed (July 30) you may enjoy reading if you’re not familiar with smoking food on the grill. It’s also a good smoked pork tenderloin “starter” recipe as it takes less time and fuss.

I’m terribly jealous  if you own a smoker. I smoke in my Webber kettle and it’s harder to maintain the consistent temperature needed (hovering around 225°) for a long, slow barbecue. I manage with delicious results but I have a good supply of soaked wood chips and refueling charcoal at the ready to maintain my low, slow, smoky temperature. You also need that precious commodity, time, to properly smoke the pork. This recipe is for the kettle charcoal grills but if you own a smoker, follow that particular smoker’s instructions for pork butts.

Any 2-inch white roll makes a nice sized slider bun. Busch’s bakes a good basic roll which works well as a small slider. Any good-old-fashioned hamburger bun does the trick and Zingerman’s, wouldn’t you know, makes the ultimate classic bun.

Recipe: Pulled Pork Barbecue Sliders with Hot Slaw


  • 6-7 # Boston butt (aka pork shoulder)
  • 1/3 cup rub* (recipe below)
  • 1-2 disposable aluminum or metal drip pans for placing under the pork butt
  • 1 kettle (charcoal) grill or smoker
  • Charcoal, as needed
  • 4-6 cups wood chips (I prefer hickory with this recipe), soaked at least 1 hour
  • Cooking thermometer
  • 4-6 cups barbecue sauce
  • 25-35 small rolls or 15-20 regular-sized hamburger buns
  • 1 recipe for Hot Slaw (below)


  1. Massage rub into pork, wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator 8-24 hours.
  2. Remove from fridge and let sit at room temperature 30-60 minutes, prior to grilling.
  3. Place 1-2 water pans in the bottom grill grate. Fill pan(s) halfway with water. You want the pan or pans to use about half the space at the bottom of the grill.
  4. Surround the pans with charcoal and, with a chimney starter or lighter fluid, heat coals to hot heat. Coals should be red hot and lightly covered with white ash. Sprinkle several handfuls of soaked wood chips over the hot coals.
  5. Place the top grill grate on the grill. Position the grill grate so if you are using a hinged grill grate, one of the hinged areas lifts up over the coals so you can easily add coals when needed.
  6. Put the meat on the grill away from the coals. Lay the meat over the water pans as far away from the coals as possible. Do not let the meat rest directly over the coals.
  7. Cover the grill, positioning the vent on the cover directly over the meat. This helps direct the smoke over the meat. Close all vents, including bottom vents, to keep the temperature low. If your vents and cover are extremely snug, open one vent.
  8. If your grill lid has a thermometer, it should read about 300°. Ideally you want the temperature at the meat level around 225-250; heat rises and a lid thermometer will show the temperature at the lid, and not at the meat level. If your kettle grill does not have a thermometer built-in, put a meat thermometer into the cover vent and check it occasionally.
  9. If the temperature rise higher than 325°, open the lid and let the coals burn off a bit. Then add some more soaked wood and close the lid again.If your temperature begins to drop below 225°, open the vents. If the temperature does not rise, open the lid and add more coals and soaked wood.
  10. Regardless of temperature, add additional soaked wood, charcoal and rotate pork every 60-90 minutes.
  11. Your meat is ready when it temps at 200° and is easily pulled apart with a fork. Wrap in foil and allow it to sit in a 200° oven until ready to serve. Then remove from heat, and in a large bowl, shred with a fork and thoroughly mix pork with barbecue sauce, adding sauce to taste.
  12. To serve, place barbecue pork in a slider or bun and top with Hot Slaw.

*There are dozens of prepared barbecue rubs on most grocery shelves in town. You may have the ingredients to make your own signature rub just by using what you have on hand. The recipe below is a guideline and makes a flavorful rub.

Time: (cole slaw): 40 minutes

Time: (rub and marinate time): 6-24 hours

Time: (smoking pork butt): 7-9 hours VIP: Smoking time varies considerably so allow yourself a couple more hours than you think you’ll need to smoke your pork. You can always wrap your pork in foil and keep it in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Number of servings (yield): 12-15 cups barbecue: 25-30 sliders (or 15 regular-sized barbecue sandwiches)

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Recipe: Hot Slaw (can be made up to 24 hours in advance)


  • 4 cups cabbage, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups shredded carrots
  • ½ red minced bell pepper
  • ¼ cup minced sweet or red onion
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1-3 teaspoons prepared brown mustard (I prefer Gulden’s)
  • Hot sauce*
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil


  1. Layer the vegetables in a large glass bowl in the following order: Cabbage, carrots, bell pepper and onion. Do not combine.
  2. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar and 1 teaspoon of the mustard. Add additional mustard, hot sauce, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and pour over the layered vegetables. Do not combine.
  3. Heat the oil in a sauté pan until it begins to smoke. Carefully and evenly drizzle the hot oil over the slaw. Do not toss. Let sit 10 minutes for the flavors to combine. Toss well and refrigerate until serving.

*Most Hot Slaw fans prefer it extremely spicy so I take a heavy hand with the hot sauce. However, you can put it in, but you can’t take it out. My suggestion would be to add enough hot sauce so the slaw at least lives up to its name, then let your guests add more according to their palate’s endurance.

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

Recipe: Pork Rub Ingredients (simply combine)


  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic or onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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