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pulled pork meatball sandwiches

Pulled Pork Meatball Sandwiches with a tangy vinegar slaw, and creamy garlic aioli all packed into a toasted Portuguese bun. These are some serious game-day eats with all the makings of slow cooked pulled pork but served as meatballs instead.

pulled pork meatball sandwiches

These are game-day worthy and a great option any day of the week and any time of the year. Their ready in a fraction of the time that slow roasted pork shoulder would take and can easily serve a crowd. 

pulled pork meatball sandwiches side view

pork meatballs

To get all that pulled pork flavour, I combined ground pork with some classic pork rub spices like brown sugar, garlic, mesquite, and paprika. The meatball mixture is pretty straightforward and your typical meatball making and rolling process. I introduce that BBQ flavour at the end by brushing on some BBQ sauce over the meatballs during the final minutes of cooking this also keeps them moist and stops them from drying out. 

vinegar coleslaw


I love coleslaw in sandwiches, it adds the perfect contrast and gives it a light crunchy texture in each bite bit it’s not overpowering and a little sweet and tangy from the dressing. I opted for a vinegar based slaw instead of something creamy because I chose to drizzle the sandwich with a garlic aioli in the end for a creamy sauce and texture. If you’ve got your own classic coleslaw recipe that you prefer you can swap that in here. You can add some apples if you like as well but I just stuck to a classic version with a mixture of green and purple cabbage, shredded carrots and threw in some cilantro because it works nicely with the pork. To make a vinegar coleslaw you’ll start by heating the apple cider and white vinegar in a saucepan with the sugar. Bring that to a slow boil until all the sugar is dissolved. This way you don’t get any grainy sugar bits and the warm vinegar will help to soften the cabbage so that it can nicely absorb the liquid and tone down that sharp crunchiness. I just toss in the rest of the dressing ingredients right into the saucepot and mix it all up so that it’s nicely incorporated. From there I pour it directly into the large bowl of cabbage mixture and toss that all together so that everything is well coated. pulled pork meatball sandwiches


To cook the meatballs I start them off on a griddle or use a large cast iron pan to get them nicely browned on both sides. This gives a nice sear and crust and helps speed up the cooking process. I like to finish the meatballs off in the oven once their browned so that they cook evenly and don’t dry out on the stovetop. In the instructions there is an option to double sear the meatballs by cutting them in half once they’ve finished cooking in the oven and returning them to the griddle. Place the cut side down to sear the inside and add a nice crust all around. Of course this step is optional and not entirely necessary it just gives the meatballs extra texture. I really like to cut the meatballs in half because they sit much better in the sandwich and don’t fall out. It’s a nice little trick to any meatball sandwich. 

pulled pork meatball sandwiches

We hope you enjoy this recipe! If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it on Instagram! We love to see what you come up with. #thecommunalfeast Follow along our social media account on instagram for quick videos on how our recipes come together!


Pulled Pork Meatball Sandwiches

Pulled pork style meatballs made with ground pork, spiced with smoked paprika, garlic, brown sugar and mesquite served in a toasted bun with a homemade vinegar based coleslaw and creamy garlic aioli.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Burgers & Sandwiches
Servings: 5
Author: the communal feast


  • 2 lb. ground pork
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp mesquite seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • BBQ sauce of choice
  • garlic aioli
  • 5 buns Portuguese, baguette
  • Coleslaw:
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 TBS maple Dijon mustard


  • Meatballs: Combine pork with brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, mesquite, breadcrumbs, cilantro and egg in a large mixing bowl. Mix well using your hands to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Use a 2 inch cookie scoop to form meatballs. Scoop meatballs onto a tray and roll with palms to even out into round balls. Makes roughly 15-`16.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a griddle or oven proof pan (cast iron) brown the meatballs on both sides. About 2 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a baking tray and finish cooking in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • In a medium sized saucepan, heat apple cider vinegar, white vinegar and sugar cooking until sugar is fully dissolved. Mix with the remaining ingredient to make the dressing; oil, salt, and Dijon mustard. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the green and red cabbage, carrots and cilantro. Pour the vinegar dressing overtop and mix to combine. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Drain some of the liquid before serving if needed.
  • Optional: Once the meatballs have finished cooking in the oven, return the meatballs to the griddle. Cut each meatball in half and place cut side down on the hot griddle. generously brush with BBQ sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes until nicely browned. If you don't want to make this extra step, I recommend removing the meatballs from the oven 5 minutes before they finish cooking and brushing with BBQ sauce, return to the oven to finish cooking.
  • To assemble the sandwiches: Lightly toast each bun, load the bottom half with a good amount of coleslaw, top with grilled meatballs and finish with garlic aioli. Enjoy!

Pulled Pork Meatball Sandwiches

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November 28, 2021


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