Shredded BBQ Pork Sandwiches

It's Superbowl weekend and although we're not doing anything for the the big game specifically, my husband is hosting a birthday gathering for his friend Joon tonight. Of course, when there's a party, I'm the first to jump at the chance to prepare something for guests! In deciding on a menu, I wanted to serve up satisfying eats that I knew the guys would appreciate. But there's a kicker... I needed to create a menu that I could prepare in advance and have my husband warm up before the guys arrived. Since it's a special night for the guys, I'm spending the weekend in our suburban home today while they have fun in our city pad. It's like the 'No Girls Allowed' rule was in force... especially if the girl is pregnant - ewww! Lol.

So for a make-ahead 'Guy's Nite' menu, I knew my crockpot would come into play. That's when I decided on these Shredded BBQ Pork Sandwiches. The homemade BBQ sauce recipe in the 'Ultimate Barbequed Ribs' recipe I made was used because I loved how the bacon added a smoky flavor. The sauce in itself is finger lickin' good with just the right amount of sweetness so there was no doubt it would be delicious with shredded pork. For added convenience, the sauce could be made in advance and stored in your fridge until ready to use as a condiment or in the following recipe.

It couldn't be any more simpler - pour in the homemade BBQ sauce in a crockpot, add your seasoned pork and let it cook for a few hours. After it's done and your kitchen is filled with an amazing aroma of BBQ, shredd the pork and make yourself a sandwich to enjoy. I found that the recipe could be made a day in advance and doing so allows the pork to absorb the BBQ sauce for a more intense flavor. But it doesn't stop there. Feel free to top the shredded BBQ pork sandwiches with your preferred toppings like a cool and crunchy coleslaw or even cheese! Leftovers can be frozen too, making it a great recipe for freezer meals.

Shredded BBQ Pork Sandwiches
recipe inspired by Tyler Florence

3-4 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
8 hamburger buns (toasted if preferred)

BBQ Sauce:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 bacon slices, diced
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
1/2 onion
3 smashed garlic cloves
2 cups ketchup
1 cup peach preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika

Season your pork shoulder or pork butt with salt, freshly ground pepper and garlic powder.

Heat a 2-count of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon and render the bacon fat. Add the onion, garlic and thyme leaves cooking slowly for 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, stir and simmer. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Pour BBQ into your crockpot and add your seasoned pork shoulder or pork butt.

Cook in your crockpot covered, on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.

While in the crockpot, shred the pork with 2 forks. Place the shredded pork in between two hamburger buns and serve hot.

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