Pulled Smoked Pork Picnic Ham Sandwiches


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, you over there in the corner. Yes, you! I am here to introduce to you a sandwich so sublime, so complete in porcine perfection that it should be named a prince, Nay! A King! Among sandwiches.

I present to you, good Sir or Madam, the smoked pulled pork sandwich. A dish that while it may derive its heritage from humble beginnings, achieves more than many a well-bred meal ever can, or will.

This is a dish with just a few ingredients. A picnic ham, bread and onions are the stars of this show.  Here you will not find pork slathered in a flavor masking sauce intent on bombarding your palate with vinegar or sweetness. That isn’t the way truly great pork rolls. This little piggy stands on his (or her) own, proud in the knowledge that second, or even third servings are not an option, they are an inevitability.

And it all starts with a picnic ham and smoke.

I’m not sure what prices are like in your particular geographic area, but in the last several places I’ve lived you’d be hard pressed to find a cut of pork that is less expensive than a picnic ham. Perhaps this is because most cooks don’t really know what do do with this particularly large and intimidating cut of the animal, but whatever the reason, they’re cheap. In my book that makes them the perfect candidate for a good meal.

And please: If you don’t own a smoker, don’t be put off.  This dish can be approximated without a natural wood smoker.  I’ll tell you in the recipe how to approximate the results in a normal oven.  You can do this. You owe it to yourself to do this. You won’t regret it.

Once the pork is finished, you’ll need to let it rest.  This isn’t due to any need to redistribute juices or to further flavors; It will just be too darned hot to deal with for a half hour or so, which is the perfect amount of time to add the second layer of flavor in the form of caramelized onions and a nice steamed bun. Of these three things, perfection is made.  Trust me.

Better yet. Don’t trust me.  Make this for yourself, then you won’t have to trust me.

But you might just thank me.

What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:

My only complaint this round is that we used Apricot wood to smoke the ham.  We found that it wasn’t quite an aggressive enough smoke for this particular cut, and so would suggest a wood with a bit more of a bite to the smoke, such as mesquite, hickory or apple wood.

Links to other recipes like this:

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