Main Dish

Smoked Pork Shoulder Sliders with November Sauce

Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves

9711 West Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448

I love delving into old cookbooks. The soulful history of The Barbecue is amazing and endless. With earth, fire and water all involved, barbecue gets my senses raging. Simply pour yourself a glass of Lily Hill Zin and let the bright fruit flavors mingle with the brined smoked pork morsels of goodness. Zin's uplifting finish with the rich pork makes it a melt-in-your-mouth combination.

  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder, about 7 pounds
  • 1/1 3/4 cup each brown sugar / Kosher salt boiled in 2 quarts water and cooled
  • 1 cup salt/ pepper/chili powder/mustard/cumin/paprika Combined to make the pork spice rub
  • 2 cups organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pint November barbecue sauce Tomatoes/onion/carrots/sweet potato/jalapeno pasilla pepper /cumin / bay laurel / Blended to smooth
  • 1 package sesame or brioche hamburger buns, warmed
  • 1 quart homemade coleslaw
The November barbecue sauce has to do, of course, with the season. This sauce is tomato-based, so the season changes the characteristics. I smoke the ingredients together, add some spices, sugar and love. Then puree and strain. It's fresh the way Californians eat. It can be inconsistent, but it's what i prefer verses using canned ingredients with high-fructose corn syrup or ketchup-based sauces. Please avoid those if buying a jar at the store.


From your butcher, get a whole bone-in pork shoulder (butt), preferably one that has been hanging for a week. Soak the pork in the sugar-salt brine in the refrigerator for 2 days. 

Remove the pork from the brine and discard the brine. Let the pork come to room temperature, preferably on a rack so all of it is exposed to air and it will dry evenly. When it is dry, rub the pork with the spice rub. Don't be afraid to really rub the spices in!

Depending on your equipment that you prefer (a barbecue, smoker or Big Green Egg), the temperature should be fairly low, about 275°F, and cooking time will be 5 to 6 hours. You can go longer; however, anything can be overcooked. The fat content of the shoulder will dictate the cooking time, too. The fatter, the better, I always say.

Place the pork in the smoker with indirect heat and a pan of water for moisture. After 2 hours, check the meat and adjust the fire. Using a spray bottle filled with the cider vinegar, spray the meat all over. Repeat this process every hour.

If the meat is getting too dark and crispy, you can wrap it in foil with barbecue sauce and a dash of cider vinegar, then finish the cooking. I usually slather the meat with sauce on the last basting, but only about 30 minutes before removing from the  heat. (I use a tomato-based sauce for this and if you overcook it, the sauce can become bitter, so use sauce only as a finisher. A vinegar sauce won't get bitter and can be a good baster.)

When the meat is tender, remove it from the heat fire. Let it rest for 20 minutes, then slice or break apart. (I prefer to slice the meat so it fits on the buns I'm using.)

Serve the pork on the buns and add a dash of barbecue sauce and coleslaw, or just enjoy with a fork!

Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves

9711 West Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448