Cheesy Grilled Pulled Pork (or Chicken) Sandwiches
There is nothing I love more than turning leftovers into something new and delicious. Sometimes, it enables us to get dinner on the table when we otherwise wouldn’t. Beyond providing time savings, repurposing leftovers saves precious dollars.
For this casual but yummy dinner, I started with the remains of the pulled pork barbecue I cooked in my slow cooker the day before. Using basic whole wheat hamburger rolls, my favorite Sargento Mexican cheese blend, and a little extra barbecue sauce, I grilled to crispy perfection.
While I used a panini grill, these sandwiches may be grilled like your favorite grilled cheese sandwich. Simply weight the sandwich down with a cast iron skillet or another heavy pot to achieve the same squished-yet-crispy result. Three minutes on my hot panini grill is all it takes. On a skillet heated over medium heat, it will take about three minutes per side. Just check for the golden brown color and the gooey, melted cheese. Dip in additional barbecue sauce, if desired.
This recipe may be tailored to whatever amount of pork is needed. As an option, you may substitute chicken. While your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce works perfectly, I love the flavor of the recipe that is linked below; prepare it in advance with basic pantry ingredients. The easy sauce is bursting with flavor and will keep in your fridge for weeks.
Make traditional barbecue sandwiches–delicious with cole slaw–the first night. Enjoy the leftovers on a Tex-Mex salad, as tacos, or as cheesy, crispy grilled sandwiches!
- Pork tenderloin(s) (may substitute boneless, skinless chicken)
- Beer or chicken stock (I have even used root beer)
- Barbecue Sauce (see linked recipe below), or use your favorite store bought barbecue sauce
- For grilled sandwiches: whole wheat hamburger rolls, shredded cheese (Sargento 4 Mexican Cheese Blend or 4 State Cheddar are my favorites here), and additional barbecue sauce
- Place the desired number of tenderloins in a slow cooker along with a 1/2 cup of beer or stock per pound of meat. (Leftovers are delicious, so remember to cook extra!)
- Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
- Pour off liquid, reserving a cup or so of it, and shred the meat. I find this is easiest to do with two dinner forks–on a dinner plate for easy clean up.
- Place meat back in the slow cooker and mix in barbecue sauce, coating to your liking. If desired, you may stir in some of the reserved cooking liquid and thin to your desired level of sauciness.
- Cook on low to heat through, another 30 minutes or so.
- For grilled sandwiches, lightly cover the bottom half of the hamburger roll with your choice of cheese. Top with the shredded meat and a spoonful of barbecue sauce. Sprinkle more cheese over the sauce, and put on the top of the roll.
- If using a panini grill, cook for three minutes or until the bread is golden and crusty. You may also grill as you would a grilled cheese sandwich, weighing down the roll with a cast iron skillet or heavy pot to achieve the same squished-but-crispy effect. When cooking on the stovetop, grill over medium heat for approximately three minutes per side or until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted.
- Serve with additional barbecue sauce and a salad or veggies of choice.
When using leftovers for tacos or salad, top with chopped avocado, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and any other taco toppings of choice.