We're using apple juice and whiskey to produce one of my favorite versions of pulled pork. Which, by the way, we're not pulling it, it's more like smashing. Speaking of smash, the name comes from the fact that this was originally made with Jack Daniels®, but you can use any whiskey you want, like I did, or not at all. This is served with a very mustardy and acidic slaw specifically made to pair with the sweet pork.


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

20 mins
2 hrs 25 mins
8 hrs
10 hrs 45 mins

Everything about the name of this recipe is misleading. It sounds like the pork might be cooked with an apple brandy, but it's not. If it were, it would've been "Applejack" pulled pork, but the meat is actually stewed in apple juice and whiskey. That whiskey was originally Jack Daniel's®, but I used a local bourbon, so that part of the name is disingenuous as well. Hey, at least the pulled pork part is accurate. Just kidding. It's smashed, not pulled.

Recipe title-related artistic license aside, this is one of the most delicious "pulled" pork preparations I know, and one of the easiest methods ever. I love traditional pulled pork, where the whole shoulder is slowly smoked, and then pulled into succulent shreds, as long as it's done properly. That's a hit or miss proposition, as it's often dry and over-smoked. This method produces moist, flavorful pork every time, with much less effort and in significantly less time.

As I mentioned in the video, this particular recipe is on the sweet side, which I thinks works perfectly with the sharply-flavored slaw I topped it with, but if you want to dial that back, you can simply use less apple juice and replace it with water or broth. No matter how you adjust the ingredients to your taste, I do recommend you make it the day before. There is just something magical that happens to stewed meat, pulled or otherwise, when you reheat it, so if you have the time, that's definitely the way to go. Either way, I hope you give this a try soon.


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist
For the Mustard Slaw:


Instructions Checklist
  • Cut pork shoulder into 2-inch chunks. Transfer to a stew pot. Add onion, garlic, kosher salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and cayenne. Pour in bourbon whiskey, apple cider vinegar, and apple juice. Stir to combine.

  • Place over high heat and bring to a simmer; stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer until meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours.

  • Use a spider strainer to transfer meat mixture to a bowl and set aside.

  • Turn heat back to medium-high and reduce cooking liquid to about 75%, skimming the fat off of the top if desired.

  • Reduce heat to low, stir in reserved pork, and use a potato masher to break pork into smaller pieces. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, to heat through and make sure pork absorbs sauce, 2 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

  • For best results, refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.

  • Meanwhile, combine cabbage, peppers, green onions, mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and cayenne for slaw in a large bowl. Mix very well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours.

  • Reheat pork the next day over medium heat, stirring often. Stir in chopped chives.

  • Mix mustard slaw well and drain off any excess moisture. Serve pork with mustard slaw on sesame seed buns.

Chef's Notes:

Use any kind of onion you prefer. You can use apple cider or part water, part apple juice for a less-sweet version.

You can use hot peppers instead of sweet for the mustard slaw.

You can serve the pork immediately instead of chilling overnight.

Nutrition Facts

530 calories; fat 23.3g; cholesterol 89.2mg; sodium 1172mg; carbohydrates 42.2g; protein 30.5g. Full Nutrition