The Downtown Farmer: Pulled Pork Sandwich & Persimmon BBQ Sauce

A Delicious Farm-to-Food Truck Recipe from Chef Loreal Gavin

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Pulled Pork Sandwich & Persimmon BBQ Sauce

Total: 5 hours

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 4 hours

Yield: Two-ounce yeast rolls stuffed with pulled pork and pickles for 4 people


Pulled Pork:

3 - 3 1/2 pound pork butt or shoulder

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 dozen yeast rolls ( for sandwiches )

BBQ Sauce / braising liquid:

2 large handfuls of cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

8 cloves of garlic

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 pound persimmons or peaches

3 tablespoons smoked paprika

water for braising liquid


1 large cucumber

1/2 an onion, red yellow or white it's up to you

equal parts water to vinegar


Let’s talk pork! Go to a local butcher and ask for a 3 to 3 and a half pound pork butt or pork shoulder. They are both the same cut of meat they just happen to have two different names. If you aren't into pork, I suggest using a chuck roast or a lamb shoulder instead. You can ask for bone-in or boneless. I personally go with bone-in because of the extra flavor it provides.

Ask your local butcher shop to truss and tie the piece for you, or if you’re feeling fancy you can purchase some butcher’s twine and do it yourself.

Let’s talk persimmons! If you can’t find persimmons, then peaches would be a great alternative when they are in season (May to mid-August). You will just need to peel them and remove the pit. If you have never had a persimmon, they are similar to a super soft silky peach when they are ripe.

Let’s talk braising liquids! Braising is a wet cooking technique that can be used in a slow cooker for minimal effort. Braising means cooking your proteins slow and low in a liquid to allow for tough cuts (like pork shoulder for example) to gently break down into a silky texture. I suggest cooking meats like this for at least 1 hour per pound. In this recipe, cook the pork in a BBQ-flavored braising liquid for several hours, then take the same braising liquid and reduce it until it has a thick BBQ sauce consistency. Use a fork to test the pork. When it’s done, it will fall apart easily and have a silky texture as opposed to a chewy one. Carefully remove the pork from the braising liquid and place in into a medium sized mixing bowl for shredding. Best to let it cool slightly and then shred it with two forks.

The Slow Cooker Method:

Plug in your slow cooking and set it on medium heat. I recommend using a 6-8 quart crock pot for this recipe.

Place the pork butt into the crock pot, then add all the braising liquid ingredients into the pot as well.

You must make sure the pork is completely submerged in liquid. Add extra water until it is covered. Place a sprig of rosemary on top and cover with the lid.

To create the pork braising solution, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, tomato paste and brown sugar, then pour it over the pork in a Dutch oven or crockpot.

I like to keep my crockpot on medium heat for this.

Add enough water so that the meat is submerged in the liquid.

Remove pork from heat and shred while still warm in a bowl.

Discard any bones.

The Dutch Oven Method:

Take a 6-8 quart Dutch oven and turn it to medium heat.

Blister the tomatoes with the oil and garlic until the skin starts to peel away from the flesh, then sprinkle with salt.

Turn off the heat and carefully pour this mixture into a heat-safe mixing bowl.

Stir in the remaining braising liquid ingredients and set aside for now.

Turn the Dutch oven on to medium heat. Let it warm up for about 2-3 minutes.

Salt the raw pork butt, pour the oil into the hot Dutch oven to season it, and then gently place the fat side down so it can start to sear.

Sear all sides for about two minutes each.

Once you have caramelized the meat in the pan, add the bracing liquid ingredients into the Dutch oven right on top of the pork butt.

Next, add enough water so that the pork butt is completely submerged. It’s good to have an inch of water on top of the meat because it will reduce as it cooks.

Place a sprig of rosemary in the pot and close the pot with the lid.

Let this roll for about 3-4 hours on medium-low heat.

Remove pork from heat and shred while still warm in a bowl.

Discard any bones.

For the Persimmon BBQ Sauce:

Once the pork is fork tender, carefully remove it from the crock pot/Dutch oven.

Remove the rosemary sprig and discard it.

On medium-high heat, start to reduce the braising liquid-- whether it be in a Dutch oven, on the stove top, or in the crock pot. You’ll want to reduce it until it becomes slightly thick, like a bottle of BBQ sauce.

Once the sauce has reached the right thickness, set it aside.

For the Pickles:

Cut down the cucumbers and onions and add them to a mixing bowl.

Add in equal parts water and vinegar until the slices are submerged.

Season with salt, pepper and a dash of something sweet like honey or brown sugar.

Let the freshly pickled veggies sit in the vinegar/water bath for at least a half hour under refrigeration before use.

Assemble the Sandwiches:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toast your yeast rolls on a cooking sheet in the oven and give them a butter baste.

Pop a little hole in the yeast rolls so that you can stuff it with the shredded pork.

Pour the BBQ sauce on top, and add a few slices of the pickles.

Serve warm and enjoy.

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