The Upstater Pulled Pork Sandwich

The Upstater Pulled Pork Sandwich is what happens when a classic Southern sandwich lands in upstate New York.  It’s unique…and absolutely delicious!

The Upstater Pulled Pork Sandwich is what happens when a classic Southern sandwich lands in upstate New York.  It's unique...and absolutely delicious!As y’all probably know by now, I grew up in the South.  I was born in Texas, but grew up in Charleston, SC and Raleigh, NC.  I’ve also lived in south Louisiana and Atlanta, GA.  Needless to say, I’m Southern through-and-through.  So when my wife got an amazing job offer to move to upstate New York, you can imagine my hesitation.  I was born in the South.  I knew the South.  And now I live a long way from the South.

Despite my initial hesitation, it’s safe to say that I’ve come to really enjoy upstate New York.  Sure, I’m a long way from my family.  And yes, it does indeed snow a lot here.  (I don’t care what anyone says, that first snow of the year is always magical!)  But this area of the country is unique and quite fun in it’s own right.

The Upstater Pulled Pork Sandwich is what happens when a classic Southern sandwich lands in upstate New York.  It's unique...and absolutely delicious!There’s horse racing every summer in Saratoga and beautiful leaves every Fall.  There’s also a ton of craft breweries scattered around upstate New York and Vermont, and I’ve really gotten into visiting these breweries to try different beers.  Oh, and there’s also apples and maple syrup.  My wife and I have talked about moving back South at some point in the future, and when we do, I know I’m going to seriously miss the apple orchards and maple farms that are pretty much right around the corner from my house.

So what happens when a classic Southern sandwich lands in upstate New York?  I think it’s safe to say that apples and maple syrup are involved!  My wife and I created this Upstater Pulled Pork Sandwich a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out to be quite tasty.  So tasty that I knew it needed to end up on Spiced.  I recognize that you might be a bit thrown off by the combination of pulled pork, apples and maple syrup.  But give it a shot! The flavors actually come together quite nicely.  This sandwich is a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet…and it’s a really fun twist on a classic!

The Upstater Pulled Pork Sandwich is what happens when a classic Southern sandwich lands in upstate New York.  It's unique...and absolutely delicious!Instead of barbecue sauce, the Upstater Pulled Pork Sandwich is topped with a sweet and spicy cream cheese spread.  Layer on some pickled red onions, thinly sliced green apples and some fresh arugula, and all of a sudden you’ve got a unique and delicious sandwich that looks like it belongs on a restaurant menu.  (I like to make my own Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork, but you could certainly pick some up at the store or your local BBQ joint if you’re pressed for time.)  Enjoy!

The Upstater Pulled Pork Sandwich


    For the Pickled Red Onions
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • For the Upstater Sandwich
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, halved
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 cups smoked pulled pork
  • 1 cup fresh arugula


    For the Pickled Red Onions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, apple cider vinegar and hot water. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the thinly sliced red onion; stir and ensure that the liquid is fully covering the onions. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. For the Upstater Sandwich
  3. Mix the cream cheese, maple syrup and cayenne pepper together until well combined. Spread the mixture evenly on both halves of each of the 4 ciabatta rolls.
  4. Using a mandolin, carefully shave the Granny Smith apples into very thin slices. Set aside.
  5. Divide the pulled pork evenly across the bottom halves of the ciabatta rolls. Top each with shaved green apples, several slices of the pickled red onions and fresh arugula.


  1. Hi David I am from Utica normally but now live in Florida. I haven’t ever had this kind of sandwich but it is amazing looking! Sorry you had to go to the snow part of the world I could never move back there with all that snow, good luck on your new journey! :) thanks for stopping by FB Page

    • I just went to Utica last week for the first time, Claudia! My wife and a couple of friends went over to check out the Saranac brewery…it was awesome! Yeah, I enjoy the first snow of the year…but after that, I’m pretty much over it. I foresee a move back to the South at some point…but for now, this is a pretty awesome area of the country! Thanks for commenting! :-)

  2. Yeah, David, I’m loving this. A perfect way to marry North and South and for me to get a taste of Vermont in my new home state. Making it and pinning it — win win!

    • Woohoo! The North just isn’t the same without you up here, Mrs. Ninj…but I hope you are enjoying the South. I’m a bit jealous that you get to live back in the South again. :-)

  3. What a unique spin on a classic sandwich. I love the pairing of pork and apple, looking forward to changing it up a bit.

    • Thanks, Karen! Yeah, the pork and apple is what got me thinking about this sandwich. I wanted maple syrup in there, too…so that’s where the spicy maple cream cheese came in. I gotta say–this was a delicious sandwich! It’s almost lunchtime right now, and I kinda wish I still had leftovers.

  4. Ohmigerd… this sandwich looks amazing, Dave! Oh, and I could eat a jar full of those pickled onions. SERIOUS yum up there in New York!

    • Thanks, Becca! I had some pulled pork, and I wanted to come up with a recipe using ingredients that this region is known for…and then, boom, this sandwich appeared on the counter. It was kinda like magic! :-)

  5. Hahha spoken like a true Upstate native :) That first snow is magical….until it lasts till April!!! Love love this sandwich!! PS: You were in Utica?? Heading there tonight for dinner with my sister-in-law!! Next time you driving through let me know :) The CUSE is not far!

    • Haha…thanks, Zainab! We did get over to Utica last week. Some of our friends were in town, and they wanted to visit the Saranac Brewery. That place was awesome! I definitely thought about you when I saw that Syracuse was only like 45 more minutes away. Next time!! :-)

  6. I love pulled pork sandwiches, the spicier the better in my opinion.

  7. Wow, this sounds amazing! Love pulled pork sandwiches, so good! Definitely going to try this out! :)

    • I totally agree, Jess! I think I could eat pulled pork sandwiches every day and be perfectly happy. This is definitely a fun twist on it! :-)

  8. Dude, pulled pork and pickled red onions? This is like the most glorious sandwich of all time!

  9. I am only a Southern transplant but I luurrve bbq!!! Your sandwich with Norther flare looks awesome! Mmmm pulled pork…one of the few things that I will actually crave at midnight other than chocolate!

    • Wait, you aren’t from the South originally? Well, I’m glad you have discovered the pure awesomeness that is BBQ! And now you have me craving BBQ even though it’s only 8am. Thanks a lot! :-)

  10. Loving this sandwich! Pretty much anything with pork is awesome… but adding the apples and pickled red onions?! Score!

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