Pulled Pork Burgers with Apple and Fennel Slaw

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Pulled Pork Burgers with Apple and Fennel Slaw

Celebrating National Burger Day with Pulled Pork Burgers and Apple-Fennel Slaw

Happy National Burger Day! This year, we decided to elevate our burger game with a mouthwatering pulled pork burger, topped with a crisp and refreshing apple and fennel slaw. The highlight was the slow-cooked pork scotch fillet, prepared on my Hark Chubby offset smoker. At a steady 120°C/250°F, I achieved perfectly tender, smoky pulled pork that took our burgers to the next level.

Making pulled pork is easier than you might think, especially when you embrace the “low and slow” method. Simply season your pork, set your smoker, and let time and smoke work their magic. The beauty of pulled pork lies in its versatility. Whether you prefer a tangy Carolina vinegar sauce, a sweet and smoky Kansas City style, or something in between, there’s a flavour profile to suit every palate. The long, slow cooking process breaks down the meat fibers, resulting in a texture that’s both succulent and easy to shred.

For our pulled pork, we opted for a mix of apple wood and ironbark wood. Apple wood is a fantastic choice for pork because it imparts a mild, slightly sweet flavour that enhances the natural richness of the meat without overwhelming it. The addition of ironbark brings a robust, earthy depth to the smoke, balancing the sweetness of the apple wood and adding complexity to the overall flavour.

Best practice for pulled pork involves a few key steps:

Start with a well-marbled cut like pork scotch fillet, apply a generous rub of your favourite spices, and maintain a consistent low temperature in your smoker. Patience is key, as the slow cooking allows the connective tissues to break down, resulting in that irresistible pull-apart texture. Wrapping the pork in foil halfway through the cooking process helps to retain moisture, ensuring a juicy end result.

To complement our rich and smoky pulled pork burger, we prepared a fresh and vibrant apple and fennel slaw. The crispness of the apple, the subtle anise flavour of the fennel, and a zesty dressing made for a refreshing contrast to the savoury pork. The slaw added a delightful crunch and a burst of freshness, cutting through the richness of the meat and creating a harmonious balance of flavours.

As my partner and I gathered around to enjoy our pulled pork burgers, we couldn’t help but appreciate the layers of flavour and texture in each bite. 

If you haven’t tried a pulled pork burger yet, give it a go – you won’t be disappointed!

Aldergrills BBQ Recipe: Pulled Pork Burgers with Apple and Fennel Slaw

Pulled Pork Burgers with Apple and Fennel Slaw

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Celebrate National Burger Day with our Pulled Pork Burgers! Enjoy tender, smoky pork topped with a crisp apple and fennel slaw, all cooked to perfection on the Hark Chubby smoker.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Australian
Servings 10

Equipment

  • Hark Chubby Offset Smoker
  • Heat Resistant Gloves
  • FireBoard 2 Drive
  • Lump Charcoal, (Hardwood Lump Charcoal)
  • Ironbark Firewood
  • Red Devil Blow Torch
  • Roasting Tray
  • Apple Wood Chunks

Ingredients
  

Pulled Pork:

  • 2 kg pork scotch fillet
  • 1/4 cup mustard as a binder
  • Butcher BBQ Sweet Chipotle Rub
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 100 ml beer (your choice)

Apple and Fennel Slaw:

  • 2-3 apples julienned
  • 1 fennel bulb thinly sliced
  • 1 green cabbage shredded
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Assembling:

  • brioche buns
  • butter pickles
  • TRUFF mayo
  • BBQ sauce optional

Instructions
 

  • Preparing the Pork:
  • Preheat your Hark Chubby Offset smoker to 120°C/250°F.
  • Rub the pork scotch fillet with a layer of mustard (your binder).
  • Coat the pork scotch fillet evenly with the rub.
  • Smoking the Pork:
  • Place the seasoned pork on the smoker grate.
  • Smoke the pork until the internal temperature reaches 77°C/170°F. This should take approximately 4-5 hours, depending on the size of the pork.
  • Wrap and continue Cooking:
  • Once the pork reaches 77°C (170°F), remove it from the smoker.
  • Place the pork in a large foil tray or roasting tin, add butter, honey, and a drizzle of beer over the top.
  • Wrap the pork tightly in the foil and return it to the smoker.
  • Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 93°C (200°F). This should take an additional 2-3 hours.
  • Preparing the Slaw:
  • In a large bowl, combine the julienned apples, thinly sliced fennel, and shredded green cabbage.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the white vinegar, olive oil, honey, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Shredding the Pork:
  • Once the pork has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker.
  • Let the pork rest for at least 30 minutes.
  • Using two forks or Hark Meat Shredders, shred the pork into bite-sized pieces.
  • Assembling the Burgers:
  • Toast the burger buns lightly.
  • Dollop the bottom half with Truff mayo, followed by a layer of butter pickles.
  • Pile a generous amount of pulled pork onto the bottom half of each bun.
  • Top with a heap of apple and fennel slaw.
  • Place the top half of the bun on the slaw and serve immediately.

Notes

PORKInternal Temp °CINTERNAL TEMP °F 
COOKED63145
HAM71159
GROUND71195
PULLED90-96195-205
RIBS90-96195-205
SHOULDER COLLAR BUTT90-96195-205
Cuts of Pork:
  • Pork Scotch Fillet (Pork Collar Butt): This cut is well-marbled and ideal for pulled pork due to its tenderness and flavor. It has a good balance of fat and meat.
  • Pork Shoulder (Pork Butt): Another popular cut for pulled pork, it's slightly tougher than scotch fillet but becomes incredibly tender when cooked low and slow.
  • Pork Picnic Shoulder: This cut includes part of the shoulder and the leg. It has more connective tissue and requires a longer cooking time but yields flavorful, moist pulled pork.
Smoking Wood Choices:
  • Apple Wood: Provides a sweet, mild smoke flavor that complements the natural richness of pork. It's ideal for those who prefer a subtle smoky taste.
  • Ironbark Wood: Adds a stronger, earthy depth to the smoke, balancing the sweetness of apple wood and enhancing the overall flavor complexity.
Temperature Control:
  • Maintain a consistent smoker temperature of 121°C/250°F to ensure the pork cooks evenly. Fluctuations in temperature can lead to uneven cooking and affect the final texture.
Foil Wrapping Technique:
  • Wrapping the pork in foil (also known as the Texas Crutch) at an internal temperature of 77°C/170°F helps to retain moisture, accelerates cooking, and keeps the pork juicy. Adding butter, honey, and beer enhances flavour and tenderness.
Resting Period:
  • Let the pork rest in the foil for at least 30 minutes after reaching 93°C/200°F. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavourful and tender final product.
Shredding the Pork:
  • Use two forks to shred the pork, pulling it apart into bite-sized pieces. Mix in any juices collected in the foil to enhance the flavor and moisture of the shredded meat.
Slaw Preparation:
  • Prepare the slaw just before serving to maintain its crispness. The combination of apple and fennel provides a fresh, crunchy contrast to the rich pulled pork.
Alternative Cooking Methods:
  • If you don’t have a smoker, you can cook the pork in an oven at 121°C/250°F. Use a roasting pan and follow the same wrapping and resting techniques for similar results.
Adjusting Flavors:
  • Feel free to customise the pork rub and slaw dressing to your taste. Add more spices to the rub for extra heat or different herbs to the slaw dressing for a unique twist.
Serving Suggestions:
  • These pulled pork burgers are versatile. Serve with your favourite barbecue sauce, pickles, or additional toppings like cheese, jalapeños, or coleslaw for a personalised burger experience.
Keyword Burger, Low n Slow, Pork

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @aldergrills on Instagram and hashtag it #aldergrills.

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