Main Dish

Cider-Braised Pulled Pork Roast with Onions and Apples

Dutton Estate Winery

8757 Green Valley Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2017
  • RECIPE BY: Cynthia Newcomb, Winery Chef
  • YIELD: Serves 8
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Karmen Isabella

This slow-cooked pulled pork is enhanced with the flavor of apples for a comforting winter dish. Made with Dutton Estate cider and Dutton Ranch apples, it pairs beautifully with our fruit-forward Karmen Isabella Pinot Noir.

  • 3 to 4 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds yellow onions, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons apple brandy (optional)
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs, tied together with cotton string
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Using a small sharp knife, make deep slits all over the meat and fully insert the garlic slices into the slits. Sprinkle the pork all over with 1 teaspoon of the salt and season generously with pepper. 

In a large Dutch oven or other heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the pork and brown on all sides by turning occasionally with large tongs and a carving fork, about 10 minutes total. (Alternatively, for added flavor, coat the meat with a little olive oil and perform this step on an outdoor grill over medium heat.) Transfer the pork to a plate. 

Preheat the oven to 325°F. 

Drain the fat from the pot and wipe out with paper towels to remove any burned bits. Set the pot over medium heat and warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 12 minutes. Add the brandy and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the apple slices, cider, mustard and thyme bundle and bring to a boil. Add the pork and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and braise until the pork is very tender, about 3 hours. (Alternatively, transfer all the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.)

Transfer the pork to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat apart with forks. Remove and discard the thyme bundle. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring the cooking liquid to a boil, then boil until the liquid is reduced by about one-third, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Let the sauce cool for at least 15 minutes and then process in a blender or food processor until smooth. Combine the sauce with the meat and reheat to serve.

Serve the meat and sauce over mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes or a mix of both, over noodles, or in rolls as sandwiches.

Note: If making a day ahead, cover and refrigerate the pulled pork and cooking liquid separately. This will allow the fat to coagulate on top of the cooking liquid for easy removal before processing in a blender. Then combine the sauce with the meat and reheat to serve.

Dutton Estate Winery

8757 Green Valley Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472