makes 8 sandwiches
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 cup chicken stock, apple juice, or water
8 soft potato burger buns, split horizontally
8 thick slices extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
About 24 bread and butter pickles
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, 1 to 2 inches in diameter
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small scallions, sliced
8 slices thick-cut bacon
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
To make the Cajun Pulled Pork: In a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and celery seed. Rub the mixture over all sides of the meat, pressing it to adhere. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker and add any of the spice mix that didn’t adhere. Add the broth, cover, and cook until the pork is very tender, 6 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
Meanwhile, make the Sriracha Yogurt: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and Sriracha. Set aside in the refrigerator.
About 1 3/4 hours before the pork is done, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Meanwhile, start the Crispy Potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold, well-salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking, make the Maple Bacon: Arrange a wire rack over a large rimmed baking sheet and arrange the bacon on the rack. Bake until the bacon is beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the bacon from the oven and brush it on both sides with the maple syrup. Continue baking until the bacon is nicely browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle, then transfer the bacon to a plate. Pour the bacon fat on the baking sheet into a measuring cup, about 3 tablespoons. Set the bacon, bacon fat, and baking sheet aside.
Increase the oven to 500 degrees F.
Arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet that had the bacon fat and use a spatula to smash each to about 1/2-inch thick. Add enough olive oil to the bacon fat to equal 1/3 cup, and then drizzle the mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle generously with salt. Bake until well browned and crisp, about 35 to 40 minutes. Top with the scallions.
While the potatoes are baking, transfer the cooked pork to a cutting board and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Use two forks to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Moisten/season with cooking juices to taste.
Break the bacon pieces in half and arrange on the bottom halves of the rolls. Top with the pork, cheese, and pickles and Sriracha yogurt if you’d like. Serve with the potatoes and Sriracha yogurt alongside.
bacon recipe source: The National Pork Board, 1776 NW 114th Street, Des Moines, IA 50325