Pulled pork sliders are the ultimate party bite. Juicy, sticky, super tender pulled pork is piled onto soft buns and paired with a crunchy slaw, creamy aioli and sweet chilli jam. They’re easy and perfect for prepping ahead of time.
This pulled pork recipe is truly DELICIOUS – it’s loaded with all my favourite Asian style flavours – soy sauce, gochujang paste, miso, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger and star anise and I really urge you to give it a try. I like to make the pork in my Instant Pot because it cuts the time RIGHT down (think 45 minutes instead of hours in the oven) but I’ve included directions in the recipe card below for making it in the oven too.
These are excellent to serve at parties, picnics or, basically, any time you’re entertaining. When I’m making these for parties, I like to make the pulled pork at least a day in advance and chop the cabbage and spring onions for the slaw the day before. Then you can just heat the pork (or put it in an Instant Pot on the ‘warm’ setting), mix the sesame oil and rice vinegar through the slaw and you’re ready to assemble.
You can also definitely use pre-made pulled pork to make these sliders if you like, or mix through a traditional smoky barbecue sauce at the end. It’s up to you! You can also make larger burgers – just replace the slider buns with burger buns.
It might look like there are a lot of ingredients here but actually, the majority should be things you already have in your cupboard, or will be easy to find at a store.
- Pulled pork. Pork shoulder or Boston butt are the best cuts for pulled pork, and I’m using pork shoulder here. The marinade uses all my favourite Asian-style flavours – soy sauce, gochujang paste, miso paste, hoisin sauce, sweet chilli jam, garlic, ginger, star anise, honey, lime zest and rice vinegar. We’ll also start with a dry rub of salt and allspice to really up the flavour. You could switch out the gochujang for more miso or hoisin sauce if you’re worried it’ll be too spicy.
- Slaw. Red cabbage and spring onion make up the veggies in the slaw, and you’ll also need sesame oil and rice vinegar to form the quick dressing. You could also use white wine vinegar in place of the rice vinegar, white cabbage or lettuce in place of the red cabbage, or use a store-bought slaw mix.
- Aioli. This provides a gorgeous creamy element to the sliders – I love using my egg-free vegan aioli – but just use whatever you like, or a plain mayo. If you love spice, my 2 minute gochujang aioliis EXCELLENT with these sliders too.
- Sweet chilli jam. Pulled pork marries well with sweet, spicy flavours and the sweet chilli jam adds an extra element of that on the sliders. You could also use regular sweet chilli sauce, but I’m using my favourite sweet chilli jam recipe.
- Slider buns. You should be able to find these easily at the store, they’re basically mini burger buns. You could also use regular burger buns to make a large burger rather than sliders.
How to make them
Start with the pulled pork. I’m making it in my Instant Pot for ease, but you can cook it in the oven too (I explain how in the recipe card below). Slice the pork shoulder into large chunks (I normally cut it into 4 pieces). Mix the salt and allspice and rub it all over the pork. Set your Instant Pot to ‘saute’, then brown the pork chunks in a little oil on all sides. Remove them, then add all the marinade ingredients into the Instant Pot. Put the pork back in, turn to coat it in the marinade, seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
PRO TIP: Your life is going to be A LOT easier if you use quality, sharp knives for this recipe. Not only for slicing through the thick pork, but also to shred the cabbage super thinly, slice the spring onions very finely and cut through your slider buns without squashing them. I was very lucky to recently be sent an incredible 3 piece knife set by Sous Chef and honestly, the three knives in the set are really all you need in the kitchen. They are PERFECT in this recipe and I used all of them. I can’t tell you how much of a difference using a good quality knife actually makes – it cut through the thick pork like butter!
Remove the pork from the pot, then drain the cooking liquid through a mesh strainer (keep the liquid – strain it into a separate container). Discard the garlic, ginger and star anise, then place the container with the cooking liquid in the fridge to cool. The reason we’re doing this is that once it cools, the fat will solidify on top of the liquid and you’ll be able to easily scoop it off. If you don’t want to wait for it to cool, try to scoop off as much of the fat as you can from the top of the liquid while it’s still warm. Using two forks, shred the pork. Transfer it back into the Instant Pot (on the ‘warm’ setting) and pour in 1 cup of the cooking liquid and stir it through the pork.
Finely slice the red cabbage using a good knife, then finely chop the spring onions and get them in a bowl. Once you’re ready to make the sliders, mix the sesame oil, rice vinegar and a little salt through the red cabbage and spring onion. Slice the slider buns in half, and give them a quick toast in a pan with a little oil. Spoon aioli onto the exposed sides of the buns, then pile on the pulled pork. Top with the slaw, a drizzle of chilli jam and then spoon more aioli onto the top bun and place it on top to create the sliders.
Seven ideas for using up leftover pulled pork
- Loaded them onto soft, garlic flatbreads with a crunchy slaw and 2-minute gochujang aioli.
- Replace the grilled chicken with pulled pork in these easy poke bowls.
- Pile it onto creamy, super smooth hummus with smacked cucumber and a drizzle of green tahini sauce.
- Switch out the beef for it in my Middle Eastern-style nachos.
- Stuff them into tortillas to make pulled pork tacos with creamy avocado and edamame hummus and Asian slaw.
- Turn it into a delicious pie filling – replace the mince gravy with pulled pork in New Zealand style mince and cheese pies.
- Swap sausage for pulled pork in this spinach, ricotta and sausage pizza.
Got a question?
You can prep all the elements in advance, then just assemble them when you’re ready. The pulled pork will keep well for 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge (and actually tastes even better after sitting in the cooking juices for longer). You can chop the slaw ingredients 3 days in advance and then just toss through the sesame oil and rice vinegar when you’re ready to assemble.
You can cook the pork in the oven! Instead of adding the marinade ingredients to an Instant Pot, get them into a large oven-proof dish, add the pork and 1 cup of water, then cover tightly with foil and cook for 3 hours at 140C/280F fan or until super tender. You can check on the pork about halfway through and top up the water if it’s getting low – not much should evaporate if the foil is tightly around the dish, but check just in case.
You sure can! Just replace the slider buns with burger buns.
You could go for a typical mayo-based coleslaw, add a slice of cheese (cheddar, Havarti or gruyere are lovely), smashed avocado or guacamole, jalapenos, caramelised onions, double the pork with some crispy bacon, lean into the Asian-style flavours and add some kimchi, or keep them plain with just the pulled pork.
Pork shoulder or Boston butt are both great – pork shoulder is easier to find so that’s what I normally use. Boston butt is a fattier cut and often comes with a thick fat cap so if you do go for that cut, cut most of that away before starting to cook.
Yes! Sear the pork on all sides in a pan first, then transfer the pieces to your slow cooker along with the marinade (though you can skip the searing if you like). Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours until SUPER fall-apart tender. Then just remove the pork, shred and add it back into the slow cooker to absorb all the lovely juices.
Like this recipe? Here are some other fun entertaining ideas
If you make these sliders, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print