“Town” & “Country” Pulled Pork Panini

by on August 23, 2008

It’s a twofer, folks – my indecision is your gain!  Pulled pork panini, two ways.  Can you really go wrong?

The concept for “Town” and “Country” panini comes from a little restaurant up in Irvine called Jackson Barne.  An unassuming place in a strip mall, my co-workers and I used to lunch there often back in the day.  On Jackson Barne’s menu they’ve got a “Town” side, with lighter options like grilled chicken breast sandwiches and veggie burgers, and a “Country” side, featuring comfort items like patty melts and grilled cheese.  Suffice it to say, I ordered off of the “Country” menu more often than not, but what a great idea to offer two sets of options for varying “food moods”.  After going back and forth forever in my mind, trying to hone in on the single tastiest way to make pulled pork panini, I remembered Jackson Barne and saw no reason why I couldn’t just make two versions.

My “Town” version, while not healthy per se,  offers a kind of California twist on a pulled pork sandwich with creamy goat cheese, sweet caramelized onions and fresh cilantro.  The “Country” version – tossed in tangy BBQ sauce and nestled amongst sweet-and-sour coleslaw and a blend of melted cheddar and monterey jack cheeses – is more like the classic southern favorite.  Plus cheese. 🙂

This was actually my first time making pulled pork at home.  I found a great recipe for it over at Under the High Chair, which was adapted from Martha Stewart.  What was particularly appealing to me was that it only took 2-1/2 hours to cook rather than all day.  Now don’t get me wrong, I most definitely value the flavor and texture that low-and-slow can deliver.  I just couldn’t wait that long!  Maybe one of these days I’ll do a head to head comparison and determine whether an additional 5 hours would have made a significant difference, but I’ll say that this “quick” recipe produced some rather succulent results.

Did I have a favorite among the two sandwiches?  I’d have to give a slight nod to the “Town” one, just because I really, really like caramelized onions and I thought their sweetness really brought out the sweetness in the pork.  My husband, on the other hand, preferred the “Country”.  He liked the crunchy texture from the coleslaw and the smoky flavor of the BBQ pork.  The cheese on that one kind of made the sandwich like a BBQ melt – yummy!

“Town” & “Country” Pulled Pork Panini

Each recipe serves 4



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
Salt and pepper
4 pita breads
1-1/2 lbs pulled pork (there is a good recipe for it at Under the High Chair)
4 oz. goat cheese, cut into 1/4″ slices


In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Season onions with salt and pepper and sauté in the olive oil for 15-20 minutes until caramelized.

Preheat panini grill to medium-high (375 degrees).

For each sandwich: Heat a pita in the microwave on High for 15-20 seconds so that it is malleable enough to fold without breaking.  Add onions to the lower half of the pita.  Top with pork, goat cheese and cilantro (to taste).  Carefully fold the top half of the pita over the fillings and place the sandwich on the grill.  Grill for about 3 minutes until the cheese softens and grill marks appear on the pita.  Serve immediately and enjoy!



3/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)
1 8 oz. package shredded cabbage and carrots (coleslaw) mix
1-1/2 lbs pulled pork (there is a good recipe for it at Under the High Chair)
Barbecue sauce
4 pita breads
4 oz. shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese blend


In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar and poppy seeds.  In a large bowl, toss cabbage mix with just enough dressing to coat.

In another large bowl, combine pork with a generous amount of barbecue sauce, to taste.

Preheat panini grill to medium-high (375 degrees).

For each sandwich: Heat a pita in the microwave on High for 15-20 seconds so that it is malleable enough to fold without breaking.  Add coleslaw to the lower half of the pita.  Top with pork and cheese.  Carefully fold the top half of the pita over the fillings and place the sandwich on the grill.  Grill for about 3 minutes until the cheese is melted and grill marks appear on the pita.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

>Ready to buy a panini press? Check out my Panini Press Buying Guide for the features to look for.

>Want more panini recipes? See my Recipe Index for a list of all recipes on Panini Happy.

>Traveling to a new city soon? Browse Panini Happy’s Great American Sandwich Guide to find the best sandwiches across the country!

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rachel August 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Wow! This look great. I would marry pulled pork if I could.


2 sharon August 23, 2008 at 3:53 pm

you continue to amaze me with the most delicious looking sandwiches! I love everything about this recipe – bbq sauce, pita, cilantro….oh yum!


3 Hal B. August 23, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Nice to meet you, too. Your paninis are INSANE! Every recipe makes me hungry.

I might have to try to win that contest of your just so I can test all your recipes.


4 Kim August 24, 2008 at 4:42 am

I adore pulled pork and this would so be my kind of pannini! Thanks for the two choices. Splendid meal!


5 Natasha August 24, 2008 at 4:43 am

Oh my! The country panini is calling my name! Although I wouldn’t say no to the town version either!


6 DanGarion August 24, 2008 at 7:26 am

It’s 7 AM and I’m starving now that I saw those pictures…


7 Tom Aarons August 24, 2008 at 7:57 am

What a brilliant idea. And you’ve replicated it with such (delicious looking) flair, too!


8 noble pig August 24, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Gee I think i like em’ both, depending on my mood! Thank you!


9 Jenny August 24, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Wow, 2 fabulous looking panini’s! I think I am going to splurge and buy one of those presses. Your recipes look too good to not have one!


10 HoneyB August 25, 2008 at 1:45 am

Oh my, they both look great to me but I have a feeling Grumpy would really love the country one! I just found a recipe to make those Pita (that Elle just posted about) for!!!


11 grace August 25, 2008 at 2:21 am

this settles it–i’m country, through and through. 🙂


12 Lo (BURP! Where Food Happens) August 25, 2008 at 10:38 am

I’ve got to agree… this blog definitely makes me hungry each time I visit. Those are both fine looking panini!

We always seem to have a plethora of pulled pork in the freezer (when I make it, I make scads), so I’m thinking you’ve just given me an idea of what to do with part of it!


13 Nate August 25, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Both of these sandwiches look awesome. I think I’m a “country” person but dang, that “town” one sounds tasty!

Saved to delicious and putting you in my RSS reader.


14 Arlene August 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm

I’ve always believed anything worth eating could be made into a sandwich, or better yet, a panini. Both versions sound wonderful.


15 robinsue August 25, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Yup you are brilliant coming up with 2 versions: a town and country. Fantastic! Both sandwiches look awesome, now I know what to do with my leftover pulled pork. Thanks!


16 Susan August 26, 2008 at 12:20 pm

i love pulled pork. i actually never had it until this year and love taking it to family gatherings.


17 Mikky August 26, 2008 at 7:20 pm

that panini looks sooo good… thanks for sharing… 🙂


18 Elle August 26, 2008 at 8:33 pm

I’m torn between the two! The crunchy cole slaw or the sweet caramelized onions…I’m sure I’d have to taste both. Yep, that’s the only solution!

these look so good!


19 Madeline August 27, 2008 at 2:02 pm

While the “Town” sounds delicious, I’ll have the “Country” please! Mmmm, the coleslaw, the BBQ sauce, the cheese, you just can’t go wrong.


20 Kevin August 29, 2008 at 6:19 am

Melted cheese and pulled pork…mmm…


21 Sandie August 29, 2008 at 6:54 am

What a great site you have going on here—love the panini-blog concept and original recipes! The only trouble is…I can’t decide between the “Town” or “Country” version featured in the post. Is it possible to get a combination of them both? 😉

Thanks for your comment on my blog! I hope you’ll visit again soon (perhaps I could feature one of your original breakfast paninis?)

In the meantime, I think I have to go see if I can register to win that panini grill. I’ve always wanted one of those, maybe this is my chance!


22 Kristen August 29, 2008 at 11:51 am

Hubby is smoking a pork shoulder this weekend and you can bet what I’m going to do with some of that meat. Town and country are both calling my name! Mmmmmm!


23 Nicole August 29, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Kathy, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed meeting you last week at the Foodbuzz dinner. It was so fun.

Your food looks great. I think I’ll go for the “town” style panini!


24 Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy August 29, 2008 at 6:41 pm

This is perfect! I’m going to christen my Big Green Egg this weekend by making some pulled pork. I was just looking for some interesting recipes today. These are great!


25 Pam August 29, 2008 at 10:14 pm

It’s hard to pick which one looks better…I think I would like half of each please. They both look outstanding. You have me thinking about sandwiches now.


26 Rosa August 30, 2008 at 3:21 pm

OMG, that looks ever so scrumptious! A gorgeous idea!




27 Susan from Food Blogga September 1, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Oh, this reminds me of when we lived in North Carolina, where pulled pork was a mainstay of every bbq. Yours looks perfect, Kathy!


28 Dragon September 1, 2008 at 6:18 pm

I wish I could grab that right out of the computer and devour it. YUM!!!


29 Jude September 2, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Such a creative post 🙂 I’d probably be more of a ‘country’ person from the looks of it


30 Heather September 4, 2008 at 10:31 am

This looks wonderful, and I’ve forgotten all about Jackson Barne! I’ll have to find a time to get back there for the meatloaf sandwich. (Hey, have you done that one panini style?) Mmmmm.


31 Rosanna April 14, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I just made the “Country” pulled pork panini recipe. My family loved it . . . even the most picky of all eaters. It was absolutely delicious.

Rosanna’s last blog post..Grilled (All The) Cheese Panini on Dark Rye


32 Ellen September 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Oh, wow. I made the “town” version of this recipie today, and it’s absolutly delicious. Well worth the work of making the pulled pork. I’m excited to try “country” tomorrow with the leftovers!


33 Kathy September 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Hi Ellen – That’s so great to hear! Really glad you enjoyed it. Hope all goes well with the “country”. 🙂


34 Tiki September 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I wanted to let you know that I have been using these recipes and the one you linked to for the past year and a half. I LOVE them!


35 Kathy September 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Thank you so much!


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: