While right at home nestled between two pieces of bread, pulled pork can be served dozens of ways. Freshly cooked or leftover pulled pork makes a great addition to everything from nachos to a frittata to soup to macaroni and cheese. Use the seasoning to determine which dishes to add the pulled pork to. While a neutrally seasoned pulled pork pairs well with most any dish, one that is drizzled in barbecue sauce has a few limitations.
Pulled Pork Seasonings
- Neutrally seasoned pulled pork: Pulled pork simply seasoned with salt and pepper and a few other ingredients such as garlic or onion powder makes a versatile ingredient as you can easily alter the flavor and incorporate it into a variety of dishes.
- Smoky pulled pork: Smoky pulled pork has either been slowly cooked in a smoker or flavored with liquid smoke to achieve a deep, penetrating smokiness that makes it a welcome addition to a variety of appetizer, side and main course dishes.
- Sweet pulled pork: Seasoned with granulated or brown sugar or another sweetener like honey, sweet pulled pork is sweet and savory and best used in dishes that benefit from this flavor combination.
- Spicy pulled pork: Cayenne pepper or hot sauce adds heat, resulting in a pulled pork that can be used in a variety of dishes were a bit of spice is welcome.
- Barbecue pulled pork: Slathered in barbecue sauce, this type of pulled pork has somewhat limited applications but this saucy variation can be creatively incorporated into a variety of dishes where the bold flavors and sauciness prove complementary.
- Asian-seasoned pulled pork: This type of pulled pork could be seasoned with a variety of Asian ingredients including soy sauce, ginger, chili or hoisin sauce, or Chinese five-spice powder. This distinctly flavored pulled pork can be used to add an Asian flair to classic dishes.
Appetizers and Sides
- Nachos: Topping nachos with pulled pork makes for a quick and easy snack. Whether it is neutrally seasoned, smoky or spicy -- or even pulled pork seasoned with Asian spices -- the shredded pork is a worthy addition that allows you to be creative with the accompanying nacho toppings. Top Asian-style pork nachos with serrano chilies, shredded red cabbage and scallions.
- Egg Rolls: Asian-spiced pulled pork is a no-brainer for egg rolls, but spicy and sweetly seasoned pulled pork can also be used. Pair with shredded cabbage, scallions and carrots to create a fantastic egg roll appetizer.
- Dumpling or Empanada: Dumplings or empanadas are a tasty snack and pulled pork makes a great filling. Pair Asian-spiced pulled pork with shredded cabbage and scallions; spicy versions with bell pepper and garlic; and sweet, brown sugar-laced variations with onions and jalapeno.
- Salads: Perk up a simple garden salad by adding pulled pork directly on top, or incorporate it into cold pasta salads. Spicy and smoky versions complement creamy salads, while neutrally spiced pulled pork works well with both creamy and vinaigrette salads.
- Omelette or Frittata: Pulled pork makes an excellent addition to breakfast, especially when teamed with eggs. And the best part is you can add any ingredients you wish: Bell pepper; onion; mushrooms; leeks; sausage; fresh herbs, like thyme and rosemary; garlic; and even other leftovers, like rice, are all welcome accompaniments. While saucy pulled porks won’t work well here, you can use nearly any seasoned pulled pork to create a unique omelette or frittata dish for breakfast.
- Hash: Hash is a great opportunity to use up leftover pulled pork. After you’ve browned your hash browns, simply stir in the pulled pork and cook until hot. Bell pepper, onions and garlic can be used to mix up the flavors. Saucy, barbecue pulled pork is right at home in the dish, as are neutral and spicy versions.
- Burritos, Tacos and Quesadillas: Freshly prepared or leftover pulled pork makes an easy addition to burritos, tacos and quesadillas. Seasoned any which way, choose complementary ingredients to make the pulled pork stand out. Pair pineapple and onion with smoky and barbecue pulled porks; jalapenos with sweeter versions; and shredded cabbage, freshly grated ginger and Thai chilies with Asian-seasoned pulled pork.
- Pizza: Barbecue-slathered pulled pork makes a fantastic pizza topping. Onions, bell pepper, mozzarella cheese, garlic and diced tomatoes are excellent accompaniments. And if you happen to have any leftover barbecue sauce, you can slather it right onto the crust.
- Soups: If you’re looking for an easy way to use up that leftover pulled pork, add it to a soup. Spicy pulled pork is a welcome addition to green chili and tortilla soups. Or, try a twist on a classic like chicken noodle soup by using pulled pork instead.
- Macaroni and Cheese: Next time you make macaroni and cheese, toss in some leftover pulled pork to instantly elevate the dish. Add the pulled pork at the end if you’re making it on the stovetop, or incorporate it into oven-baked versions. Neutrally spiced pulled pork is ideal, but spicy versions add a welcome heat.
- Meat Pies: Many meat pies typically call for beef, but pulled pork is a suitable substitute. Paired with potatoes, carrots, peas, onions and whatever else you’d like; everything from potpies to shepherd’s pies benefit from pulled pork. Smoky, spicy and barbecue pulled pork are great options.
Christina Kalinowski is a writer from the Twin Cities who began her career in 2011. She contributes food and drink related articles to The Daily Meal. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from Purdue University.