Tailgating Made Easy: Spicy Pulled Pork Sliders

Pulled Pork Sliders

We take our football seriously in Texas. We take our food seriously too. It’s only fitting then that we love to mix football and food to produce some spectacular tailgating parties. It’s not your typical dogs and burgers at our tailgates. Nope, we take our pre-game food to a whole new level. But of course, just like good picnic fare, good tailgate recipes have to be easy to make ahead, portable, and reheatable on a grill if not able to be served at room temperature. Even with these limitations, it’s still possible to put together some great meals designed to be served stadium-side.

Tailgate parties tend to be multi-hour affairs with contributions from lots of different folks, so I like to make dishes that can be eaten in just a few bites and don’t necessarily need a plate, much less a knife and fork. Sliders fit this bill perfectly because they can be held in one hand and leave room for other goodies of the edible or drinkable kind. I also like shredded meat as a filler for sliders because you can make it ahead and it you can easily keep it from drying out if it has to sit around for a while.

Pulled pork is common filler for sandwiches of all sorts here in our neck of the woods because pork is flavorful and the shoulder is an inexpensive cut of meat that easily feeds a crowd. It’s easy to prepare in a low oven, or as I’ve done here, a slow cooker. Many traditional pulled pork recipes are vinegar or tomato based, which is all well and good, but sometimes a little change is a good thing. This particular recipe uses orange juice and soy sauce in place of the acidic tomatoes and vinegars found in traditional pulled pork, and in keeping with the Asian theme the flavors of garlic, ginger, and red pepper appear as well. The result is a citrusy and spicy pork that tastes great on a soft bun. It’s right at home at a tailgate party, a football watching party in the comfort of your living room, a picnic, or even a casual buffet.

Are you ready for some football? With these sliders you’re sure to have a great start.

Recipe: Spicy Pulled Pork Sliders


  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Makes: 24 sliders
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6-8 hours


  • 2 ½ to 3 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 c. orange juice
  • 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. five spice powder
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ inch ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 24 small rolls


  1. Trim the excess fat from the pork and cut to fit in a slow cooker (if necessary).
  2. Combine the, soy, honey, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, and five spice powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Scatter the sliced onions, peppercorns, garlic, and ginger in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  4. Place the pork on top of the vegetables and pour the liquid over the top.
  5. Cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
  6. Move the pork from the slow cooker to a sheet pan. Remove excess fat and discard. Use two forks to shred the pork and set aside.
  7. Staring the liquid from the slow cooker into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half.
  8. Pour the reduced sauce over the shredded pork and toss to combine.
  9. Serve on buns with fixin’s like pickles and coleslaw.

Recipe for Success

  • You can use either boneless or bone-in pork shoulder in this recipe. If you do get a bone-in shoulder, go for a slightly heavier piece of meat to account for the weight of the bone.
  • You can make this recipes several weeks in advance and freeze the meat in heavy duty zipper bags. Be sure to mix the meat with the sauce before freezing to help keep the pork from drying out. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the slow cooker or on the stove top over medium low heat.
  • If your tailgate party doesn’t have electricity, you can warm the pork in the sauce in a foil-covered disposable aluminum pan set over indirect heat. You may need to add a little water (or maybe a splash of beer) along the way to keep the meat from drying out.



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