Game Day Apple BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe

Time to strategize for your BIG GAME party! 

Check out the stats on this meal:

  • A $16.00, 9-pound cut of pork shoulder makes enough pulled pork for 25+ sandwiches!
  • 8 hours of hands-free cooking in your slow-cooker makes this pulled pork super easy, tender and juicy!
  • Apple + BBQ sauce are the co-captains of this dish - The pork is braised on a bed of apples + onions with apple cider and BBQ sauce.  Then it's topped with more BBQ sauce and tangy apple cole slaw!  mmm - just wait until you smell the apple, BBQ braised pork goodness!

Score!  You'll be the MVP of your party!

Lol, seriously though, these sandwiches are amazing whether you're having a big party or not.  I fed my small team of 4, pulled pork sandwiches for dinner, then froze 4 more containers each with enough pulled pork for another meal.  I just pulled one container out of the freezer a few days ago and made pulled pork enchiladas.  That's the beauty of pulled pork, you can make so many things with it: sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, nachos, tortilla soup…okay now I'm getting really hungry!

Apple BBQ Pulled Pork and Apple Cole Slaw:

Apple BBQ Pulled Pork & Apple Cole Slaw Recipes:

Christina Verrelli -

Makes 25 servings

Pulled Pork Ingredients:

1 (9-pound) whole pork shoulder (blade roast)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 medium sweet onions, peeled and chopped

2 firm apples (I used granny smiths) peeled, quartered and cored

2 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 cup apple cider

2 cups BBQ Sauce, divided, plus more for topping sandwiches (I used Sweet Baby Ray's Original)

Pulled Pork Directions:

Rub pork shoulder with salt and pepper.  Arrange chopped onions, cut apples and garlic in bottom of large 6 1/2 quart or larger slow-cooker.  Pour 1 cup apple cider and 3/4 cup BBQ sauce over apples and onions and stir to coat.  Place seasoned pork (fat side up) over apples and onions.  Brush top with 1/4 cup BBQ sauce.  Cover and cook on high for 8 hours or until fork tender and easy to pull apart.  

Remove pork to cutting board and allow pork to cool about 10 minutes.  Pour juices from slow cooker through a sieve placed over a bowl.  Add cooked onions back to slow cooker.  The apples will have "melted."  Discard any bone and fat pieces.  Allow the strained juices to settle.  You can pour off some/all of the fat.  Pull apart/shred the pork into bite sized pieces and add them back to the slow cooker with the onions.  Discard any bone and fat pieces.  

Add and stir in 1 cup BBQ sauce and about 1 cup reserved juices (or until moist enough).  Reheat pulled pork and keep warm in slow cooker or transfer to containers to refrigerate/freeze.  Reserve the remaining juices to add if more moisture is needed.  (I even freeze in little containers to use with any leftovers.)   

Apple Cole Slaw Ingredients:

3/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellman's Light)

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon mustard (I used Gulden's Spicy Brown)

2 teaspoons celery salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (14-ounce bag) cole slaw mix (about 6-7 cups)

1 cup apple cut into julienne/thin strips

Apple Cole Slaw Directions:

Whisk together the first 8 ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.  When ready to serve, in a large bowl, toss together the cole slaw mix and the apple strips.  Stir in about half of the dressing or until dressed to your liking.  Reserve the rest of the dressing to add if needed.


Set up a self-serve area with:

  • soft hamburger buns* (I used the potato roll variety)
  • warm pulled pork
  • apple cole slaw
  • extra BBQ sauce 

Note* If you have time to butter and toast the buns cut side down in a skillet, it makes the buns extra yummy!

Printable Recipe Link: Game Day Apple BBQ Pulled Pork and Apple Cole Slaw

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Thank you for spending some time in the cloud with me!  I hope you enjoy the recipes!  Tina ( :

Sweet Baby Rays was nice enough to send me some awesome BBQ sauce samples to test out for this recipe!  They're running a fun Game Time Smack Talk Contest at the moment if you're interested you can check out all the details here.  You could win a year supply of Sweet Baby Rays!

Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Turkey Chili Recipe

I am thankful I was not born a pilgrim...

Life in Plymouth, MA in the early 1620s was definitely not an easy one.  If you even survived the long voyage and the first few months on land (2-3 pilgrims died each day, possibly, from scurvy or pneumonia),  you had to build your life and home entirely from scratch in a completely foreign land.  You had to grow and hunt for your food (my brown thumbs would not have been handy) and spend the better part of the day preparing, cooking and preserving the food in pretty sparse and oftentimes harrowing conditions.  

There is one thing, however, that I may have enjoyed…it seems pumpkin or "pompion" was a readily available ingredient and was served throughout the day as depicted in this early verse:

"For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon."
Pilgrim verse, circa 1633

Now granted they weren't having pumpkin lattes, pumpkin ravioli and stuffed pumpkin cupcakes, but there was pumpkin home-brewed beer and this recipe for Pilgrim-era Stewed Pompion sounds pretty tasty despite the noted side-effects:

“The Ancient New England standing dish.
But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew'd enough, it will look like bak'd Apples; this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c.) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh: It provokes Urine extreamly and is very windy.”
Josselyn, John. An Account of Two Voyages to New-England, Made during the Years 1638, 1663. Boston: William Veazie, 1865.

I've enjoyed creating recipes with pumpkin over the past few years, branching out from the usual pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread that we all grew up enjoying.  I love pumpkin in both savory and sweet preparations and I'm not alone; pumpkin flavored anything is huge right now.  I do occasionally cook with a fresh whole pumpkin, but canned pumpkin is pretty handy and is still very healthy as it's loaded with Vitamin A, fiber, potassium and iron.  Canned pumpkin puree is the ingredient I use in this savory pumpkin turkey chili.  

This chili is perfect for a cool autumn evening.  The pumpkin lends a nice body to the chili and when combined with pumpkin pie spice adds a wonderful warm aroma and flavor to the dish.  I brown (tan?) the turkey and then combine it and the rest of the ingredients in a slow-cooker - so it cooks itself.  No all-day cooking over an open hearth for me!  We love it served with a squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and some crumbled tortilla chips, but you can top it with whatever you like!  So, I dedicate this recipe to those brave and steadfast pilgrims who paved the way for us to have an easier life full of freedoms. That is something we can all be thankful for.  

Slow-Cooker Pumpkin Turkey Chili:

Pumpkin Turkey Chili Recipe:

Christina Verrelli -

Makes 8 servings


2 tablespoons oil (I used safflower)

2 pounds ground turkey breast

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 (15.5-ounce) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Rotel)

1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon Tabasco

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Optional Toppings:

lime wedges to squeeze in

chopped fresh cilantro

sour cream

tortilla chips


Add oil to large skillet over medium heat.  Crumble in turkey, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up as it cooks, until no longer pink or opaque.  About 10-12 minutes.

Add cooked turkey and all other ingredients to slow cooker.  Stir and cook on high for 4 hours or low for  6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.  Taste and season with more salt if desired.

Printable Recipe Link: Pumpkin Turkey Chili

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Stuffed Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe

Warm spiced pumpkin cupcake stuffed with gooey chocolate chip cheesecake filling...

Variety is the spice of life, so pumpkin or chocolate stuffed cupcakes - What are you in the mood for?

I set out to make a pumpkin version of the chocolate stuffed cupcakes I just posted yesterday.  I thought the gooey chocolate chip filling would be amazing nestled down in a moist spiced pumpkin cupcake.  On my first try, I assembled them just like the chocolate version; dolloping the filling on top of the pumpkin batter.  I discovered that because the pumpkin cake batter is denser than the chocolate, the filling never sank into the middle of the cake.  It just lay on top - mocking me.  On my second try, I layered a little batter in the bottom, a dollop of filling next and topped it with a little more batter.  That technique worked!  Moist pumpkin cupcake concealing a cream cheesy chocolatey surprise!  WooHoo!

Stuffed Pumpkin Cupcakes:

Stuffed Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe:

Christina Verrelli -

Makes 12 cupcakes



1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 ounces mini-chocolate chips

Cake Batter:

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

2 large eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup oil (I used safflower)

1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan with liners.

Filling:  In medium bowl, mix well, cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Cake Batter:  In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and sugars.  In medium bowl, whisk together, eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined.

Fill the bottom of the 12 cups with about 2 tablespoons of the cake batter.  Add a generous dollop of the filling on top of the batter. (about 2 tablespoons each.)  Using the rest of the cake batter, evenly spoon a final layer of cake batter over the filling (about 2 tablespoons each.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake part comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Printable Recipe: Stuffed Pumpkin Cupcakes

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Thank you for spending some time in the cloud with me!  I hope you enjoy the recipe!  Tina ( :