The Necessary Crunch for Pulled Pork

Pulled pork sandwiches with homemade coleslaw

Whether you serve pulled pork in enchiladas, on a bun or in a chili dish, you can balance its rich texture and flavor with zesty, crunchy coleslaw. Homemade coleslaw from scratch takes a good knife or food processor, a large cutting board and just a few minutes. Use whatever cabbage your and your family prefers, red, green or a combination of both. Buy a 14 or 16-ounce bag of shredded cabbage to speed up the coleslaw operation on a busy night or if you're in a hurry on your way to a potluck or picnic.

This vinegar-based slaw cuts through the fat in the meat with spiciness and the fresh taste and texture of carrots, onions and cilantro. Add a tablespoon or two of mayonnaise to the basic recipe if you want a richer version. Leave out the cilantro if your family prefers a more classic coleslaw.


Some recipes call for salting the cabbage and letting it sit for 10 to 30 minutes to drain and release some of its moisture. But if you plan to serve the coleslaw soon after you make it, this step is not necessary.

Total Time: 15 minutes | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, about 2 cups
  • 1 cup carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, whole


  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper until the ingredients are well blended and the sugar has dissolved. Taste the dressing and add more of any ingredient you think it needs. Set the dressing aside.
  2. Using a large knife, slice the cabbage into thin slices. You should end up with about 2 cups of cabbage.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, onions and cilantro leaves with the dressing.


Serve coleslaw either on top or on the side of a pulled pork sandwich or on the side for any pulled pork dish. Add additional or unusual ingredients and spices to personalize your slaw. Experiment with minced garlic or fresh ginger, currents or raisins, thinly sliced red bell pepper, toasted sunflower seeds, orange segments or crumbled feta cheese. Or try caraway or celery seeds, bacon bits, thyme or red pepper flakes.