We drove the beautiful windy road up Chinook Pass looking for a hike, a change of scenery; a little adventure. The Naches and American Rivers winked and popped as water ran lazily in some spots and rushed in others over shiny black rocks and wet mossy logs. The aspen trees lining the road shimmered with a hint of gold, waving and glinting in the sun as we drove along.

We reached the top and tumbled out of the van, pulling on sweatshirts against the surprisingly cool air. The earth smelled a little damp and the fragrance of the trees filled our noses. We hiked and lolligagged. We argued a little, took pictures, stopped for snacks, water, to tie shoes. We finished our hike renewed, any bad feelings or grumpy thoughts finally falling away. We loaded up, headed back down the windy road, marveling again at the golden leaves, the red bushes, the bubbling river.

When we arrived home it was time to eat something good and enjoy a cold beer while we peeled off our dusty socks. The kids ran wild in the yard like they hadn’t just clambered up and down rocks and through muddy trails all day. The pulled pork I’d left cooking in the oven filled the house with its savory goodness. Pulled pork sandwiches and an ice cold beer after a long fun day never tasted so good on this early fall day.

This pulled pork recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and savory with a tiny bit of smoky heat. Perfect for sandwiches or wraps or in a big chef salad, this is an easy recipe you can adapt and use again and again. I prefer to cook my pork in the oven but you can certainly use a crockpot or InstantPot. Just follow the recommended cooking times for a 4-pound piece of meat. The coleslaw is the perfect crunchy flavorful addition to the pulled pork. The zippy dressing cools and complements the pulled pork. Store extras in the refrigerator for leftovers all week long.

Sweet and Smoky Pulled Pork

1 large yellow onion sliced

3 cloves garlic smashed

4 pound boneless pork shoulder or butt

11 ounce container apricot preserves

2 chipotle peppers in adobo

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

¾ teaspoon black pepper

12 ounce beer (preferably a pilsner or other mild flavored beer)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large dutch oven with a lid, combine the onion, garlic, apricot preserves and chipotle peppers in adobo. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for about five minutes, stirring often to combine.

Cut pork into four pieces. Season liberally with salt, pepper and smoked paprika on all sides. Add to the dutch oven and seer on each side, cooking for about one to two minutes per side.

Stir in dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, bay leaf and beer to the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and move to the oven. Cook in the oven for about 4 hours or until the pork is cooked through and easily falls apart when pierced with a fork.

When the pork is finished cooking, remove pot from oven. Allow the meat to rest for about 15 minutes then use two forks to shred the meat in the pot.

To make pulled pork sandwiches scoop meat onto one side of a hamburger bun. Spoon coleslaw over the meat and top with the other side of the bun. Serve immediately.

Zippy Broccoli Apple Coleslaw

12 ounce bag packaged broccoli slaw mix

8 ounce bag shredded purple cabbage

1 Cosmic Crisp Apple grated or thinly sliced

1 fennel bulb thinly sliced

3/4 cup dried cranberries

Juice of 2 limes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a large bowl combine broccoli slaw, purple cabbage, cosmic crisp apple, fennel and dried cranberries. Use a wooden spoon to mix and combine ingredients. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and mustard. Pour over slaw mixture and stir to combine. Season with kosher salt, mix, taste and adjust flavors if needed. Add a little extra salt or an extra squeeze of lime if needed.