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Hard Cider Pulled Pork with Apple BBQ Sauce

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Raise your glasses and spatulas this National Apple Cider Day to a delicious take on pulled pork. Sweet cider paired with mouthwatering smoked pork and tangy coleslaw make for a perfect fall meal.  


Makes: 12 servings



  • 1 3 lb. pork shoulder, bone in
  • 2 12 oz. bottles favorite hard cider
  • 1 1/8 cups brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. cumin, ground
  • 1 tbsp. coriander, ground
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg, ground
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 12 brioche buns



  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 tbsp. favorite hard cider
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg, ground
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp. mustard, ground
  • Salt, to taste


  • 3 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 3 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. celery seed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste



  1. To prepare pulled pork, combine salt, ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, to taste, and 2 tbsp. brown sugar, in a bowl. Trim off excess fat from top of pork shoulder. Generously rub all sides with the spice mixture. Place uncovered pork shoulder in refrigerator overnight.
  2. To smoke pork shoulder, please see our helpful video above for gas grill smoking tips, or grill as you prefer. (Hint: replace wood chip packet every hour.)
  3. While smoking the pork shoulder, spray with hard apple cider from a spray bottle every half hour.
  4. About halfway through smoking, remove pork shoulder from grill and place in grill-safe pan. Pour 1 bottle hard cider and 1 cup brown sugar over pork shoulder, seal pan with foil and place on grill.
  5. Check pork every half hour. Once bone can be removed, turn off grill and let rest for about a half hour.
  6. Remove from grill and shred pork, removing any fat or gristle. Then set aside.  
  7. To prepare Apple BBQ Sauce, turn on oven to 375 degrees.
  8. In a bowl, combine olive oil, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss apples in spice mixture until evenly coated, then roast in a single layer on a baking sheet about 15 minutes.
  9. In a medium pan, add ketchup, honey, hard cider, Worcestershire, garlic and onion powders, paprika, ground mustard, cayenne and chipotle powders, and salt, to taste. Cook over medium-low heat until sauce begins to bubble. Once bubbly, cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  10. Pour mixture and roasted apples into blender and mix until smooth. Then toss pulled pork with sauce.
  11. To prepare coleslaw, combine mayonnaise, sugar, white vinegar, celery seed, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a bowl. Then add red and green cabbages and carrots. Toss together and place in refrigerator to marinade.
  12. To serve, add pulled pork and coleslaw to brioche bun. Enjoy!