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The Bend Magazine

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade BBQ Sauce and Sweet Potato Chips

04/29/2021 03:49PM ● By Kayla Butts
By: Kayla & Justin Butts  Photos by: Rachel Benavides

Sometimes you need an effortless barbeque recipe with little or no trouble. Cooking barbeque indoors can work, but only if the results are spectacular, and this pulled pork recipe delivers every time.

For moist and tender pulled pork, you must cook the roast slowly over low heat. We utilize the crock pot for maximum control of tempera- ture and ease of cooking. You can drop this roast in the crock pot in the morning and have supper nearly ready when you get the family home from a busy day at work and school.

The flavor of the pork is in the fat, and local- ly-raised pastured pork is rich in heart-healthy fats. Unlike grocery store pork, the fat from pastured pork is free of hormones, steroids,

or other chemicals. Moreover, pastured pork, which is raised in the fields of South Texas, is higher in omega-3 fatty acids and contains less saturated fat than coconut oil.

The rub takes only minutes to make, and massaging it into the roast infuses the pork with robust flavor. Brining the roast creates tender and flavorful pork. Brining achieves this tenderness by unwinding the protein strands and trapping moisture in the meat. In our farm kitchen, we brine all of our roasts and chops before cooking.

The combination of flavors in the homemade barbeque sauce--the sweetness, tanginess, and spiciness--is the secret to this pulled pork-a- licious sandwich. Kayla adapted this recipe from her grandmother’s sauce who learned it from her grandmother, Nan. This sauce is an authentic taste of the 1800s when the barbeque classics were still being invented.

You can have this sauce on the table within ten minutes of starting. And best of all, you can dial in the flavor to suit your taste. If you like your sauce spicier, add more red pepper flakes; if you like it sweeter, add more brown sugar. Sample the sauce as you go to get it just the way you like it.

In the best Southern tradition, these chips are made with sweet potatoes, which ripen in the black soil of the Deep South. You can give your sweet potato chips a ‘BBQ chip’ flavor with paprika, or a sweeter flavor with cinnamon.

Barbeque is serious business in The Bend, and with this pulled pork recipe, the best barbeque in South Texas will be served up right at your table.


Pulled Pork

This pulled pork recipe requires very little hands-on attention. We let the brining process and slow cooker do the work for us.

Inactive Prep time: 8 hours 

Prep time: 7 minutes

Cook time: 6-8 hours


3 to 5 lb fresh ham roast, uncured

1⁄2 cup salt
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp brown sugar 1⁄4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 cup chicken broth


Dissolve salt in 4 cups water in a large pot. Submerge roast in salt water, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

The following day, rinse the roast with cool running water, and blot dry with paper towels. Combine remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl. Coat entire roast with rub and massage with your fingers.

Place prepared roast into slow cooker with chicken broth. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred roast with fingers or fork. Serve on a Hawaiian sweet roll with thinly sliced Texas 1015 onion, bread and butter pickles, and Nan’s barbecue sauce.


Nan's Barbecue Sauce

This barbecue sauce recipe was adapted from my grand- mother’s recipe, which she learned from her grandmother.

Prep time: 5 minutes 

Cook time: 5 minutes


2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄2 medium sweet onion, finely diced

pinch of salt (to sweat the aromatics)

1 cup ketchup
1 tbsp light brown sugar

coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (more for spicier sauce)

1⁄2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce


Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add on- ions and a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent and they begin to caramelize. Stir in garlic and cook about 30 seconds, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Reduce heat to low and stir in all the remaining ingredients. Simmer on low heat and continue to stir and let mixture bubble until it thickens to desired consistency. If a thinner sauce is preferred, add water until desired consistency is reached. 

Sweet Potato Chips

For a savory twist, reminis- cent of barbecue chips, add paprika to this guilt-free snack. Alternately, cinnamon helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the sweet potato while providing an anti-inflammatory antioxidant boost. Use a mandolin for uniformly thin slices of sweet potato.

Prep time: 5 minutes 

Cook time: 20 minutes


2 sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/8” slices

3 tbsp olive oil
Coarse sea salt, to taste

Optional: 1⁄4 tsp smoked paprika or 1⁄4 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lay sweet potato slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive. Sprinkle with sea salt and optional spices, as desired. Bake chips for 20 minutes, turning them after 10 minutes in the oven.