Before making the slaw for these pulled pork sandwiches, I did not know what a kohlrabi was. I was at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago, picking up some of my favourites - brussels sprouts, cranberries, and sweet potatoes - and I saw a bin of these round, bumpy, knotty, alien-vegetable looking things. The girl standing next to me asked if I knew what they were or how to use them, I didn’t and neither did she. She decided to take the plunge and pick one up to experiment with, I decided to think about it a bit first. Back home, a quick google search told me that kohlrabi is similar to cabbage, and could be treated as such. So, my mind was made up, I would make pulled pork sandwiches with kohlrabi slaw the next week.
Intimidating as it may look, the kohlrabi is actually quite easy to work with and tastes great. You simply need to chop off the outer layer, which is easy to do relative to something like cutting through a winter squash. It tastes similar to cabbage, but has a great peppery bite to it. So, it’s basically cabbage, but more flavour. Perfect for making slaw. This slaw is made with sour cream rather than mayonnaise. Something about eating chopped vegetables coated in mayonnaise just isn’t appealing to me, and when it's being paired with a rich pulled pork mixture, it’s the acidity and crunch that you want from the slaw anyway, not the richness.
This pulled pork is insanely easy, because it uses the slow cooker. You rub the pork with spices and pop it in to cook for the day - couldn’t be easier. I used to shy away from taking shortcuts like this. As someone who believes in making things from scratch, this felt like too much of a cheat. But, I’ve come around to the slow cooker as a time saver that means getting more home cooked food on the table. It is also insanely good. Trust me. Make these.
For the Pulled Pork:
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
4 pound shoulder pork roast
2 cups apple juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/4 cups bbq sauce
For the Slaw:
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 small red cabbage
Package of hamburger buns or sandwich rolls
In a small mixing bowl, combine salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Place pork roast in a 9x13 baking dish and rub the spice mixture into all sides of the roast. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine apple juice, apple cider vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. Set Aside.
Chop the top and bottom off the kohlrabi to create a flat surface. Chop down around the kohlrabi to remove the outer layer. Slice thinly on a mandolin (or, with a knife) and then chop the slices into matchsticks.* Cut cabbage into quarters, slice into strips with a mandolin or a knife. Chop carrot into matchsticks.
Place kohlrabi, cabbage, and carrot into a large mixing bowl with the chopped red onion.
Mix sour cream, sugar, rice vinegar, and salt and pepper into the slaw. Set slaw aside.
Remove pork roast from the fridge and transfer to the slow cooker. Pour the apple juice mixture into the slow cooker, and spoon some over the top of the roast being careful not to remove the spice rub. Cover the slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours.
Remove roast from slow cooker and shred the meat with a fork. Return shredded meat to the slow cooker and continue to cook for another half hour. Remove meat from the slow cooker and mix with the bbq sauce.
*Alternatively, you could shred the kohlrabi and red cabbage finely with a grater, if you would prefer a more finely cut slaw.
**The pulled pork mixture freezes beautifully.