Slow Cooker North Carolina–Inspired Barbecue

Cooking the pork in beer with apples adds a German influence to these sandwiches. The North Carolina influence comes from the vinegar-based coleslaw served as the condiment on the sandwiches. To continue the comfort-food theme, serve with baked beans and warm German potato salad.

Serves: 12Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 6 hours 30 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 12


  • 3 lbs. pork Western ribs
  • 1 can (12 oz.) beer
  • 2 large Golden Delicious apples
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 cup peach marmalade
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. dried red pepper flakes
  • ¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bag (2 lb.) coleslaw mix
  • Hot sauce, to taste.
  • 12 hamburger buns


  • Add the pork to the slow cooker. (Do not trim the fat from the ribs; itʼs what helps the meat cook up moist enough to shred for sandwiches. A lot of the fat will melt out of the meat as it cooks.)
  • Pour the beer over the pork. Peel, core, and slice the apples and add them to the slow cooker along with the onion, brown sugar, marmalade, black pepper, and salt. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until the pork is cooked through and tender.
  • Meanwhile, make the coleslaw: Combine cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt, dried red pepper flakes, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to mix, and then stir in the coleslaw mix. Add hot sauce, to taste. (This coleslaw is tart by itself; to best decide how to adjust the seasoning, taste it with some of the meat. Stir in some extra-virgin olive oil if you think it’s too tart.) Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Use a slotted spoon to move the pork to a cutting board. Remove and discard any fat still on the meat. Use two forks to shred the meat.
  • Spoon the meat onto hamburger buns. Top the meat with a heaping tablespoon coleslaw. Have the onion slices that were cooked in with the meat available for those who want to add them to their sandwiches.