Pulled Pork with Apricot Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Combining bourbon and apricot jam in a sauce for this Pulled Pork with Apricot Bourbon Sauce makes for one of our favorite sandwiches!

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Apricot Barbecue Sauce and Coleslaw  

Pulled Pork with Apricot Bourbon Sauce are on this blog today for one reason and one reason only. I made them. I loved them. I wanted to remember them and share them with others. Guess that’s more than one, oops!

Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email & I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, get great new recipes from me every week!
Save Recipe

They do evoke for me some memories of the South I loved and why I’ve put coleslaw on them, but North Carolinian’s would have my head for putting a tomato based sauce on pork so there is no story there. Hmm, what else could there be so that I could share this fabulous sandwich? Where’s the story, morning glory?

For me, there isn’t always a story; a drama that ties the food into some aspect of my life’s history and I know I’m not alone. The impetus for the website I started with just recipes way back in 1995 has morphed into this blog that I manage today.

Although I usually keep it pretty light here; if you’ve read this blog long enough you’ll know that sometimes something will get under my skin and I will use this space to howl at the moon.

I recently noticed some grumbling about the quality of food blogs based on one person’s criteria which for her was the lack of quality ‘food writing’ and I really want to know…who the heck is making up the rules for food blogs and even more importantly? Who is the ultimate judge and jury?

I really love to cook. It is an extension of my creative nature and I thought putting recipes online would be a great way to catalog and share the results of the dishes I made.

As efforts to satisfy my own needs took flight and readers began to enjoy that effort, it became a space to not just share a recipe but often to share a tidbit of life; the history of the recipe, the reason for making it…whatever.

There is no doubt that the capability for readers today to leave comments has added an element that can’t be disregarded and this effort is most definitely improved with the notion that people are reading, enjoying, communicating and yes, even making the dishes I love.

Pulled Pork with Apricot BBQ Sauce-apricot-bourbon-sauce-1-Rev1

Want a bite?

Most often it’s an easy effort for me to make something that sounds good; years of cooking and reading and trial and error make experimentation a given and that part is fun. I have learned to love the photography part too but I’ll admit, the writing part is a job and if I’m honest not one I totally enjoy.

It’s not that I suffer from writers block or find it hard (I might have even majored in English!!), it’s just not something I crave like ‘writers’ do especially when my primary focus is to share a recipe and I offer no apologies for my personal bent.

The Internet is such a hugely creative space and I love and appreciate those that so willingly share the bounty of their experience but in that, I would hope that those that write blogs for other reasons would not find fault with mine or with others who do what we do simply because we love the culture of food; the preparing of it, the sharing of it and of course the eating of it!

I don’t spend hours trying to memorialize a recipe with the perfect experience or even the most perfect of adjectives. I’m not here to write a story filled with someone else set of rules; I’m simply sharing a recipe.

For me I rather imagine you are sitting at the counter in my kitchen, sipping from a cup of coffee or even a cocktail and we’re chatting during the process. If I wanted to write a short story I could and I would but I don’t.

I still don’t know who is making up those rules but I do know this. For this blog the ultimate judge and jury are you, the readers.

If you prefer that I wax poetic and create a short story with every post that is published about the food I make then you’ll probably decide to not stick around and I get that; your needs are better met by someone who enjoys that process more than I do.

Pulled Pork with Apricot BBQ Sauce-apricot-bourbon-sauce-1-Rev1

That being said? You might want to stick around just long enough to lick this page…wait, wait…I meant print this page! I know I have a reputation when it comes to putting booze into food and I’m OK with that. That single addition often elevates something that would already be good to great status.

Funny; I love my fun cocktails but I most often use bourbon for cooking; there is something about it that just melds so nicely with so many flavors. Cakes, breads and ice creams are elevated whether vanilla or chocolate based and I find that conjuring up a barbecue sauce almost requires it!

This sauce is actually courtesy of Fine Cooking; I saw them tweet a recipe the other day for Ribs with an Apricot Bourbon Sauce; of course my eyes popped out of my head…you just know that’s calling MY name, right? I made some slight revisions but I think good ones…just a bit more of the apricot jam and the addition of some molasses.

I really love the combination of sweet, spicy and a teeny bit of heat that is the end result. I could absolutely eat this sauce with a spoon; however, adding it to slow cooked, shredded pork resulted in an ‘Oh My’ moment for sure.

Enjoy this with or without the coleslaw but I simply love the combination of the two. It really does take me back a bit to somewhere southern so I can’t help myself; Hey Y’all…how y’all doin?

PIN IT! ‘Pulled Pork with Apricot Bourbon Sauce’

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Apricot Barbecue Sauce and Coleslaw

Pulled Pork with Apricot BBQ Sauce-apricot-bourbon-sauce-1-Rev1

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Apricot Barbecue Sauce and Coleslaw

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apricot Bourbon Barbecue Sauc

Creative Culinary
Pulled pork is flavored with a fantastic blend of bourbon and apricot jam; it's terrific on a sandwich with coleslaw.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Course Pork
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 1034 kcal


For the Coleslaw:

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp horseradish
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 5-6 cups of shredded cabbage or package of coleslaw mix, one of my few Sandra Lee moments but SO convenient!

For the Pork:

  • 2-3 lb pork tenderloin
  • 2 cans of Dr. Pepper I had it so I used Diet Dr. Pepper

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 large jar 18 oz apricot preserves
  • 1 cup 12 oz jar Heinz chili sauce
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbs. bourbon
  • cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp mustard Dijon, spicy or wholegrain preferably
  • ½ - 1 medium Serrano or jalapeño chile seeded and finely chopped


  • To Make the Coleslaw
  • Mix all ingredients except the coleslaw mix with a whisk until smooth.
  • Put coleslaw mix in a large mixing bowl; pour on the dressing and mix well to combine. Chill for at least an hour before serving..
  • To Make the Pork
  • Put the tenderloin into a crock-pot and cover with the Dr. Pepper. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. (I wanted to cook mine overnight so did it on the lowest setting of warm for 10 hours.
  • Remove from the crockpot and dispose of the Dr. Pepper. Allow to cool a bit until it can be handled.
  • Put the meat on a cutting board and using 2 forks, shred the meat, Start by putting your forks in the center and pull them both to the outer edge of the meat; It should come apart easily; if it does not, it needs to be cooked longer.
  • To Make the Sauce
  • Melt the butter in a 3 qt heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and saute for at least 5 minutes until they start to brown.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
  • Add the remainder of the ingredients except for 1 Tbsp of bourbon. Cook for 20-30 minutes on low until well blended and thickened. Remove from heat and add the remaining Tbsp of bourbon. Mix well.
  • Cool slightly and add to the shredded pork. Depending on how much pork you have, you may have extra sauce; store any extra in fridge.
  • To Prepare the Sandwich
  • Layer pork and sauce on a fresh bun, top with a big spoonful of coleslaw and top with top of hamburger bun. Serve with additional slaw and chips.


Nutrition Facts
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apricot Bourbon Barbecue Sauc
Serving Size
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Pulled Pork with Apricot Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Similar Posts


  1. Oh how perfectly put my friend! Seriously, who is judging food bloggers? We have our own way, and create unique treats for OUR blog:-) Continue doing what you do, don’t change EVER change a thing! BTW – I had coleslaw on my pulled pork sandwich when I moved to NC…..OH MY WORD!!! It is my favorite, and now I need to have hubby make some for me this weekend:-) Hugs, Terra

  2. Before starting a blog we should all swear to `blog and let blog´. It´s so easy to do your thing and leave others to do theirs. If I´m not interested in what a blogger has to say, I just don´t visit it! It´s quite simple really. I don´t like jumpsuits either but, unless you´re trying to force me to use one also, I don´t care if you go to the beach wearing them; it´s your life!
    Now to the important part, I´m getting into this pulled pork thing and of course getting as addicted as everybody else. The apricots sound incredibly interesting! And I just sent the coleslaw recipe to a friend (translated into spanish) who was asking me `about that cabbage salad that I see everywhere´.

    1. I agree with you Paula but it’s amazing how many feel comfortable openly harping on others that don’t do it their way. I might sometimes have a ‘momma bear’ thing going on I can not deny; I have so many friends who are newer to blogging and can get discouraged easily; thinking they have to follow someone else rules is absurd. I’ve been doing this for almost two decades…hey, maybe I should be making up the rules! 🙂

      I was just a bit anxious making this; I had a piece of pork tenderloin in the freezer and so many places insist on a fattier piece of meat. I’m glad I did it…the pork preparation was beyond easy and it tasted good by itself but it was the sauce that made it anyhow. And that slaw…just love a touch of horseradish which reminds me that I need to put that on a grocery list…thanks for the reminder!

  3. Wow! This looks amazing! I found your blog from Reluctant Entertainer and I’m sooo excited to try out this sandwich. I too love coleslaw, and have started making my own. I’m looking forward to trying this BBQ sauce – I usually cheat and use store bought. Love the idea of the Dr. Pepper – we usually just use a can of beer 🙂

    BTW, Agree totally on food blogs being about food. And it’s your blog, so write however you want about it. As long as the food is good, it’s a good food blog 🙂 I do admit, I like some that have the silly stories thrown in, mainly for entertainment. Not for the quality of food – hence me MAKING your recipe and merely READING the other blogs.

    1. Once you make your own Tracie you will never go back! You know for me; if there is a story I’ll tell it, but sometimes there just isn’t and the pressure to feel a need to include one (not just me, everyone) is nuts. I’m bucking the trend a bit and excited about my new ‘Whatever Wednesday’ where I’m going to do just what I said; a photo, a recipe, maybe the occasional small giveaway…just something easy peasy with a great recipe…ahh, the relief! Thanks so much for stopping by!

    1. Thanks Liz; I make no secret of the fact that I think the art or hobby or whatever of food blogging is being bastardized by the quest for money or fame and sure seems to involve a lot of petty arrogance. It’s a shame that an arena that surrounds food; one of the most fundamental of our needs and most often associated with nurturing and care giving has to be affected so adversely. Yes, I just sighed. 🙂

  4. This is the first post of yours that I’ve read (found you via food gawker). Love it, you’ve got a new follower!

  5. Yeah, who cares what people think. You have a lot of fans for a reason, and I’m sure there are many people that believe you’re doing them a great service… others may disagree, but if that’s the case, then bye bye to them. 🙂 I <3 your blog!

    1. Thanks Rachael…I have to admit I probably got fired up mostly because of a DM message from someone on Twitter who saw the same exchange; she indicated that comments like that made her feel intimidated when it came to writing her post. I might have a tendency to react more in defense of someone than worry about it for myself; I say it was years of single parenting that got me there…you know, the mother bear syndrome? 🙂

  6. I don’t know where to start! Firstly, I LOVE your blog and your wise words! I personally don’t have the time or confidence for personal, long winded tales to accompany every blog post. Nor do I always want to read them! I write as I speak which is grammatically incorrect but I am who I am and I can’t pretend otherwise, I also don’t feel I should be made to feel bad about that. You are right, there are no “rules”, blogs are very personal and therefore will be very different, as they should be, after all what’s the point in dozens of the same thing?
    I love the idea of your simple blog posts on a Wednesday, look forward to seeing them and delving into your archives!

    1. Jayne you know you are a woman after my own heart right? I love that phrase, ‘I write as I speak’ as that is so what I try to do…made up words and all. Some fussy editor would have a field day with me but I think there is a difference between not knowing proper grammar and knowing it and using your own sometimes…right?

      I also…oh my gosh…use the word DELICIOUS; food writing sin #1. 🙂

        1. Let us sin together. I have made up some of my own words when I worry about the ‘Delicious Police’ but not sure they would love YummaLummaDingDong any better, do you? 🙂

  7. I totally agree with you….who made the rules for food blogs? I go to food blogs to read the recipes and get inspiration for trying something different. So you’ve got my vote of confidence for continuing what you’ve been doing….for all these years.
    Wordless Wednesdays….I’m excited that you will be sharing your recipe archives from all the years you’ve been blogging. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next week will bring!

    1. And you know that’s a point I didn’t even make…it’s why I visit blogs too! I don’t have time for lengthy tales, most often I’m simply looking for dinner. 🙂

  8. A blog is an extension of ourselves. I operate my blog for the same reasons you expressed. It’s no one’s place to criticize the content if we are simply expressing ourselves. I sense that jealousy may be at the heart of some of the criticism.

    1. It was easier before this was a business; when revenue and fame came into play and then people started to measure themselves against others. Sometimes I think the greater problem for me is that there are those who are trying to define this realm to suit their business purposes…and that is pure crazy. It’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to, write what I want to!! It’s my party too. 🙂

  9. This is your place of creativity and you can use it in the manner you choose to use it. You could write two lines and present your scrumptious pulled pork sandwiches or you could write a 2 page essay on something totally different and somehow tie in your sandwich to that story. I think there is room for all the different sort of bloggers. It is our luxury as a reader to have the freedom of choice to either read and leave a comment or not. Love this sandwich! It’s very summery and I’m always ready to eat homemade coleslaw.

  10. I couldn’t agree more with what you said. First off, it’s our blogs, our place to express ourselves. Who said what we write must adhere to the rules of creative writing 101? There is not one way to write. I cook/bake whatever the ‘bleep’ I want on my blog..talk about whatever the ‘bleep’ I’m feeling (obviously lol), and if I put up a post with one word or 2000, it’s my choice to do so. With that said, these pulled pork buns with that luscious sounding BBQ sauce and slaw, need to be eaten…by me…now.

    1. Absolutely. I sort of figure instead of publicly lamenting that blogs don’t fit your personal criteria (as if they don’t measure up); why not just stop reading them? All I promise is I’ll try to put some good food on here, well, and drink too! 🙂

  11. Here! Here! Love how you howl at the moon Barb. You keep doing exactly what you are doing with this blog and to heck with someone’s rules about *foot writing*. I come to *visit* you here because I enjoy the company, the words, the photos and the recipes. What you see is what you get at Creative Culinary and the fact that there is no *gussing up* taking place in this space is why it always feels so comfortable for me. There no pretension here, just connection and it is real. I know if I met you in real life there would be no surprises and that is so refreshing for me.

    1. That’s exactly what I would hope Paula. It’s just me chatting. Although I’ve been tempted to do some ‘food writing’ just to make a point for fun, I’ve not bothered with the artificiality that often seems inherent with that exercise. I’ve seen a couple of food bloggers change over the course of the past couple of years and their prose is now so evidently filled with what they think they must say to sound ‘food writerish’ that I know I’m not alone when I say this, when you can tell, when it’s that evident…then I cringe for them. I prefer authenticity over artifice any day. And I know if and when that days comes for us…we will chat like schoolgirls!

  12. I love your recipes… and your photos … and your blog. Keep doing what you do – it works for you and for your readers which is the MOST important thing. Who cares about some other bloggers’ rules … and whether you abide by them … it’s your blog … that means your rules are the ones that apply. 🙂

    Are all your older recipes available online somewhere ?? 15 years of recipes at one recipe a week will take a LONG time to plow through … sounds like a gold-mine of recipes to me… 🙂

    Your pulled pork sandwich looks so delicious – my stomach is growling … I want one please …

    1. So you got me thinking…I should just put that old site back online as a folder to this one and then remembered why I haven’t. It was built in a different platform and I have to make a change to all of the pages but I might just do that!

      Thanks…you know as much as anything it was a message from another blogger about how she is intimidated by food writers that makes her blogging experience difficult when she saw the same interaction I did. I do have a tendency to speak up more in defense of others than myself but I won’t deny, they notion that my blog doesn’t measure has me wondering…who is creating that standard of measure anyhow; it seems to me there is room for anyone to do it however they want and if someone doesn’t like how they do it then don’t read them! 🙂

      1. I totally agree Barb! And remember that you’re a mama bear that defends others …

        yours is one blog that I come to over and over and over again …
        is there a way to automate the change(s) that would need to be made to each of the pages to make it a folder to this site ?

        1. I’m going to try and do just that. Right now the pages end in .asp and need to be .html; asp is a Windows environment and my site is hosted on a Linux server now so every page has to have that change made. I don’t know if I can find a process to change the file name extension; I might just have to do each one separately. Bleh huh?

          And yes, I’m OK with being the mama bear; it’s been a role I played for many years with my own kids as a single mom; maybe that’s why I feel such a strong need to speak up when I hear things that hurt others?

          Thank you Doreen…that comment about coming back over and over. Beyond making my day…makes what I do worthwhile. XOXO

  13. Love all you said here, Barb, and I couldn’t agree more! Just keep sharing whatever you feel like and I’m happy. Your recipes are always a treat, as evidenced by this one here. I’m a bourbon girl myself, so this sauce is going on my “to make” list.

    1. Thanks Hannah…and this really is a treat. I have some left over; hmm, wonder if I could just call it jam? 🙂

  14. I saw a food writer/blogging “expert” recently make the statement that you shouldn’t post a recipe unless you had something new and interesting to add. She says, in other words, that no one should ever post another chocolate chip cookie recipe unless they have something unique, never before seen, to add to chocolate chip cookie recipes. I could not disagree more. Following that logic then, there would never be another cookbook published which contained a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, right? So what if I’m a new cook and I missed the original publication of chocolate chip cookies back in 1888? A silly example, I know, but you see my point I hope?

    Use your blog the way YOU want to use your blog. Who are these people who feel they have the authority to make up rules for us? My blog is just a place where I share what I’ve been cooking. There’s not always a “story” to go with it, or the “story” is simply that I felt like making this recipe today.

    And, oh yes, love the barbecue sandwich and sweet tea! You knew I would 🙂

    1. Personally I think too many print media folks have moved to the web with their rules and seem to think we should now all follow their course and if we don’t…well, then we have no business being here. Ahem…you know how I feel about that, right? Not to mention…I was here first (said in my most grownup voice!). I’m with you Lana; room for everyone and disrespecting how others operate sure doesn’t seem the way to be successful.

  15. Holy cow, Barb! This Carolina girl is loving this pulled pork!!! That sauce sounds divine. I have perfected my own over the years but yours makes me want to stray from my tried and true. As for your writing, I would come to your site for a story or just a recipe no matter what because I love the food you make!

    1. Perfect…that truly is what I strive for; coming up with foods I hope people will love! I hope you do try it, it was dang good!

  16. People read for different reasons. Some just skip to the recipe. I don’t think it matters. You’ve been doing this long enough and if it’s working than go with it! Love the Dr. Pepper. I used to do brisket with Coke. Thanks for posting.

    1. I hear that all the time Abbe and I know that often that is all I’m after too. I’ve heard of using Coke or Dr Pepper and I had the latter. I didn’t add anything else so was actually both surprised and delighted at the end result even before the sauce. SO easy.

  17. Sorry to hear that someone rubbed you the wrong way recently but, I must say, I learn so much about food blogging and about you when you jump off of your usual posts and add a bit of personal feelings to your posts. I think his post, like every other one of yours that I’ve read, sets the standard in food blogging, a standard I’d be happy to strive for on my blog.

    This recipe had me running for a favorite Williams-Sonoma cookbook of mine, The Art of Preserving, to find a recipe I made last summer and NEED to make again: Pulled Pork with Spicy Peach-Mustard Sauce. Yes, it includes bourbon too. I made it enough times last summer that I was embarrassed to return to the liquor store so soon asking for more bourbon!It’s never a great feeling when the man working there asks why a mother dragging two children into his store needed MORE liquor already…

    1. That guy at the liquor store saw you with two children and that was probably enough…it would surely have made HIM drink!

      Um…would love to see your recipe too Holly; I just LOVE making my own BBQ sauces.

      In truth, I think I got a bit riled because I wasn’t the only one who saw that exchange and heard from a friend how comments like that intimidate her. I’ll more often speak up if someone I know is hurt than if something bothers me; still have some of those Mother Bear tendencies I guess huh? And you are SO sweet, thank you for the very kind words.

  18. Can we just rename you the bourbon queen? I think the name fits! These look so darn good. In fact, I do want a bite. Right now! And honestly, who gives a bleep who makes the rules. I’m here to break the rules and write my own. 🙂

    1. Yes ma’am although I wonder if tequila would be upset? See I love you more and more…you are a woman after my own heart. Hand me some rules and I’m more inclined to want to break them!

  19. Well said Barb. I have always said that my blog is my own little land to which I am queen of al things and if you don’t like it, well . . . off with your head. I don’t know a person that pushes the publish button that doesn’t put a whole lot of work into what they say, so they have may admiration for that alone.

    You have my admiration for these great pulled pork sandwiches. Who wouldn’t love to bite into one of these?

    1. I would expect no less from you my Anglophile friend! Love that analogy and will remember it in the future.

  20. That BBQ sauce sounds amazing.

    Honestly, I find the whole story aspect of blogging to be tiresome quite often. I’m in the business of creating and sharing recipes. I don’t always have a witty or moving tale to accompany them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.