The best pulled pork sandwiches combine juicy meat with tangy spices and/or sauce. They have springy soft bread. They come with fries or slaw or just plain. They are hearty and satiating. Our five favorite restaurants in the city for pulled pork sandwiches follow. By Jessica Allen.
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You want to hear something crazy? Mighty Quinn’s has locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, and its stand at Smorgasburg has a line all day, every Saturday and Sunday. That’s how devoted people are to the BBQ restaurant’s offerings, including a messy, yummy pulled pork sandwich. As the website explains, the meat is slow cooked, “the old school way,” which includes “plenty of wood and time, adding just the right amount of salt and spice.”
With over six locations around the city, Num Pang has come a long way since its first tiny storefront in Union Square. As is the case with all the Cambodian-inspired sandwiches on the menu, the pulled duroc pork comes on a semolina flour baguette, with cucumber, cilantro, carrots, and the restaurant’s special chili mayonnaise. How’s the pork? Umm, awesome. It’s lightly flavored with spiced honey, just enough to heighten the meat’s inherent sweetness.
The name says it all: this bar and barbecue restaurant, run by Top Chef contestant Dale Talde in Park Slope, Brooklyn, offers several pork dishes. You can get a Porky Melt (pictured, because it’s so gosh darn lovely) with grilled onions, cheddarwurst, and mustard on rye or you can take it up a notch with the Mother Porker, featuring cheddarwurst, grilled onions, fried egg, bacon, pickled jalapenos, and mustard on rye. Then there’s the pulled pork, doused in barbecue sauce and served on a sesame roll with pickles. Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.
There’s just something downright appropriate about getting a pulled pork sandwich in a bar. Maybe it’s because pork pairs so well with beer or whisky or rum. Maybe it’s because the best pork sandwiches are sloppy things, and a sauce-covered mouth seems less out of place in a bar than, say, a four-star restaurant. Post Office, in Williamsburg, is a bar with great food, including a pulled pork shoulder sandwich topped with coleslaw and served on a brioche bun.
Taboonette is a restaurant just south of Union Square that serves what it calls “Mediterranean pocket food,” which really means all kinds of good sandwiches, including a very, very nice salmon and an equally nice roasted cauliflower. But we’re here to talk about pulled pork, so that’s what we’ll do. After being roasted slowly, the pulled pork shoulder at Taboonette gets covered in spicy mayo, a slaw made from jicama, cilantro, and apple, and housemade barbecue sauce, then stuffed into a pita.