Summer is almost here! Can I get an Amen?! BBQs and summer holidays like Memorial Day, Father's Day and the 4th of July are right around the corner. What better way to celebrate than with whiskey sliders?!
Don't worry these sliders won't get ya tipsy... we will leave that job to our cocktails (JK!...sorta)! This recipe brings out the delicious flavors of the whiskey without the bite of the alcohol. My husband, Hot Tom, made a very bold statement about this particular recipe, "Not to toot your horn... because what kind of food tester would I be? But I think this is the best thing you've ever made.". Bold. Very Bold.
This recipe features whiskey from a local distillery right here in Minnesota, Panther Distillery. I'm a big supporter of local and small businesses, especially if they sell a killer product. Panther Distillery definitely checks all of those boxes! They handcraft all their spirits using only fresh , locally grown ingredients (jackpot!). Husband Tom likes their Pike Street Bourbon but their Spiked Apple Spirits is my personal favorite. It tastes like fresh crisp apples, cinnamon and a good time. YUM! See for yourself and buy a bottle of Panther Whiskey in-store or online!
The pulled pork is tender and flavorful with a hint of sweet apple from being cooked low and slow in the Spiked Apple Whiskey. Then we have the bourbon cheese sauce... Oh. My. God. I don't even know how to go about describing this liquid gold. In short...
butter + onions + garlic + heavy cream + cheese + bourbon = THE BEST SAUCE EVER
Just the thought of the sweet apple pork and bourbon cheese sauce makes my mouth water but finishing off the slider with lime cabbage and jalapeño rings is what makes this recipe an absolute touchdown. The fresh crunch, zesty flavor and hint of heat perfectly compliment the pork and cheese sauce. This sandwich has it all my friends!
The pulled pork is perfect for BBQs, parties, and weekends relaxing lakeside (or oceanside or poolside) because it is fool-proof and requires very little attention. How so? It is made in a crock pot (can I get a 'hell yeah!')! You basically set it and forget. It doesn't get much simpler than that!
When it comes time to feast on these delicious beauties, to make it easy I put the pulled pork, cheese sauce, buns and toppings out on a tray and let people assemble their own sliders. If you need to keep the cheese sauce warm for an extended period of time just throw it in a little crockpot.
Sweet Apple Whiskey Pulled Pork Sliders and Bourbon Cheese Sauce
Heaven on a slider bun.
Makes: 18 sliders
- 2.5 lb pork roast
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 cup Panther Distillery Spiked Apple Whiskey (30 proof)*
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 Tbsp. paprika
- 1-2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 4 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (1/2-2/3 head of cabbage)
- 3 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2-3 tsp. salt
- 6-8 jalapeños
- 18 slider buns Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 shallot
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. Panther Distillery Pike Street Bourbon (92 proof)*
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)**
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Pork - Prep: In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then rub the spice mixture all over the pork roast. Whisk together the honey, Spiked Apple Whiskey and beef broth directly in the crock pot. Then place the pork roast in the crock pot, careful not to wash off the spice rub.
- Pork - Cook: Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
- Pork - Shred: Remove the pork roast from the crock pot and shred with two forks. Then put the shredded pork back into the crock pot and let it cook on low for an additional hour to soak up all the delicious
- Toppings and Buns – Prep: Thinly slice the red cabbage if you haven't already done so and put in a bowl. Coat the cabbage with the 3 Tbsp. of lime juice and 2-3 tsp. of salt and let marinate while preparing the rest of the meal. Slice the jalapeños and set aside. Toast slider buns if desired (in the toaster, on the grill, on the stove, or in the oven) and set aside.
- Cheese Sauce - Prep Ingredients: Grate cheddar cheese (if not already shredded) and set aside. Mince the shallot and garlic cloves.
- Cheese Sauce - Cook and Reduce: Melt the butter in a deep sauce pan over medium low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Then add the garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes while stirring. Add 1/2 cup of bourbon to the pan. There should be an instant sizzle and steam rising from the pan. Increase the heat to medium. Then let the mixture reduce for 3-5 minutes (keep stirring!). This means the volume of the liquid will decrease. This mixture should be bubbling.
- Cheese Sauce - Add Cream and Cheese: Once the mixture has reduced, add the heavy cream to the pan while constantly whisking the mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium/low and start adding the shredded cheddar cheese 1 cup at a time, stirring the mixture until the cheese is melted.
- Cheese Sauce - Add Whiskey Topper: Once all the cheese has been added and melted, stir 2 Tbsp. of bourbon into the cheese sauce and serve immediately.
- Assemble and Feast: Put the pulled pork on the slider bun and spoon a little of the slow cooker sauce over the pork. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the bourbon cheese sauce over the pulled pork. Then top with the lime cabbage and jalapeño slices. Enjoy my friends!
*Another good quality apple infused whiskey (30 proof) and bourbon can be substituted for Panther's Spiked Apple Whiskey and Pike Street Bourbon.
**Important Note: If possible, buy a brick of cheese and shred it yourself with a cheese grater or cut it into very small pieces. Pre-shredded cheese from the store has a coating that prevents the cheese from sticking together that causes the cheese sauce to thicken up much faster than freshly grated cheese. If you are using pre-shredded cheese, either use 1/2 the cheese or add more cream to help thin it out.