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The Very Best Coleslaw For Pulled Pork Tacos

The aroma of smoky pulled pork, the tang of vinegar-based coleslaw – these are the hallmarks of a true Southern barbecue feast. This iconic pairing, a staple of the American South, is a testament to the region’s culinary ingenuity and love for hearty, flavorful food.

From Humble Beginnings to BBQ Royalty

Coleslaw, a dish of shredded cabbage and dressing, has roots in 18th century Europe. It migrated to the American colonies and quickly gained popularity in the South, where it found a perfect match in the slow-cooked, tender pulled pork. Pulled pork, a technique for preparing pork shoulder, likely originated in the Caribbean and was brought to the Southern states by enslaved Africans. The combination of these two dishes, born from diverse culinary traditions, became a symbol of Southern hospitality and a cornerstone of BBQ culture.

A Symphony of Flavors and Textures

The magic of this pairing lies in the interplay of flavors and textures. The sweet and smoky pulled pork, often bathed in a rich BBQ sauce, finds a perfect counterpoint in the tangy, crisp coleslaw. The creamy dressing of the coleslaw, whether mayonnaise-based or vinegar-based, further enhances the richness of the pork. The contrasting textures – the tender, juicy pork against the crunchy, refreshing coleslaw – create a truly satisfying dining experience.

Variations on a Classic Theme

The beauty of this pairing lies in its adaptability. Coleslaw can be customized with different dressings, from creamy mayonnaise-based to tangy vinegar-based, often incorporating ingredients like Dijon mustard, celery seed, and even a touch of sweetness. Pulled pork, too, can be dressed in a variety of BBQ sauces, from sweet and smoky to spicy and tangy, each adding its own unique flavor profile.

This is a Tangy Coleslaw for pulled pork from All recipes. I absolutely love the color yellow and red thanks to the dry mustard.  

Spicy and Sweet Jalapeno Coleslaw. This is from No Spoon Necessary. This is ideal for pulled pork sandwiches. I like the green jalapenos that are on the coleslaw. 

Overhead shot of Spicy & Sweet Jalapeno Coleslaw on a white and gold trim platter with a fork and spoon tucked into the slaw and a ramekin of coleslaw sauce on the platter; with a purple linen, two glasses of beer and two small ramekins of salt and sliced jalapeños surrounding the platter.
No Spoon Necessary

Kim’s cravings have what they call their best coleslaw recipe. This again is ideal for pulled pork sandwiches. Look at the picture with the guy holding the sandwich. It looks absolutely flavorful. It is delectable. 

a white bowl filled with the best coleslaw recipe
Kim’s Cravings

Sweet Baby Rays has the BBQ Pulled Pork and Apple Coleslaw. This coleslaw looks tempting. Right on top of the barbeque sauce, this recipe is a must try. 

BBQ Pulled Pork and Apple Coleslaw
Sweet Baby Ray’s

Crafting the Perfect Coleslaw

To create the perfect coleslaw for your pulled pork, choose a firm, crisp cabbage and shred it finely. The dressing is key – a good balance of tanginess, creaminess, and a hint of sweetness is ideal. Experiment with different ratios of mayonnaise, vinegar, and seasonings to find your perfect combination.

Homemade Delights:

Making your own coleslaw and pulled pork is surprisingly easy and incredibly rewarding. For the coleslaw, simply shred cabbage, combine it with your chosen dressing, and let it chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. For pulled pork, slow-cook a pork shoulder in a flavorful broth seasoned with herbs and spices. Once tender, shred the pork and toss it in your favorite BBQ sauce.

Beyond the Plate

Coleslaw and pulled pork are not confined to the traditional BBQ setting. They shine in tacos, wraps, and sandwiches, adding a layer of flavor and texture to any dish. Their versatility makes them a favorite for potlucks, picnics, and casual gatherings.


Coleslaw and pulled pork are a classic pairing for a reason. The combination of flavors, textures, and versatility makes it a crowd-pleaser, a symbol of Southern hospitality, and a culinary experience that continues to delight generations. Whether enjoyed at a backyard BBQ or incorporated into creative dishes, this match made in BBQ heaven offers a taste of the South that is both satisfying and delicious.

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