Slow-cooked, flavour-filled pork, so tender you can shred it with a couple of forks, stuffed into fluffy sandwiches or served naked in all its meaty glory: is this the stuff of dreams, or the magic of pulled pork? It’s both. Stop dreaming about this mouth-watering delight and go pig out with our guide to the best pulled pork in Melbourne.
Housed in a former garage with a mock Tudor facade, this new Melbourne cafe has got folks all revved up about its stunning, lightfilled makeover, friendly service, and carefully crafted menu that'll have you saying “I know we came for breakfast but let's stay for lunch, too.” Smart move, ‘cause then you can try Glovers Station's delectable lemon posset for breakfast and gorge on a pulled pork roll a bit later. A sesame bun's stuffed with Otway pork, salad and crackling and topped with a fried egg; if the place were still a servo, this'd be the premium fuel of choice.
White Oaks Saloon
Sandwiches have come a long way since the tired cheese and Vegemite combos we used to eat as kids. These days, the bread's more likely to be a light, fluffy brioche bun, the filling a moreish twicecooked pulled pork, especially if you're eating at White Oaks Saloon. The Carolina style pulled pork sliders are rich, sticky handfuls that pair well with the range of American beers on offer. You'll be tempted to order another round of both, but you should save some room for dessert—try the S'mores, a biscuit sandwich stuffed with melted marshmallows and chocolate. Who said sandwiches were dull?
Ebenezer Coffee & Wine Bar
Bayside eatery Ebenezer Coffee and Wine Bar is doing seriously great things with pulled pork in the form of its Cuban pulled pork sandwich. This humble sandwich really packs a meaty flavour punch. Slow-cooked for 12 whole hours, then hand-pulled so that the meat itself keeps its juicy texture, and placed between two fresh slices of wholegrain bread with cheddar, rocket, house zucchini and green tomato pickle, it's one of the best pulled pork dishes we've eaten this year. We can guarantee you'll be hankering after a second.
The Gem Bar & Dining Rom
Despite having only been open for a few years, The Gem Bar & Dining Room feels like the kind of oldschool Melbourne pub that's been around forever—unpretentious, comfortable and just the spot for pigging out on some classic pub grub, diet be damned. But sitting pretty alongside the burgers and fish n chips is a tempting range of Texas style BBQ and Southernstyle sides, and you'd be mad not to try 'em. Slowcooked over iron bark, head here for some of Melbourne’s best pulled pork—available in a slider or just on its own. Order a serve of each for a real pig out, and don't forget the bacontopped mac n cheese.
Le Bon Ton
What's a slowly smoked meat without a decent drink or three? We've done the research and decided it's still delicious, but that Le Bon Ton's cocktails are so good you should have a few before tucking in. That way, you can pretend it's drunkenness, not greed, that forces you to order another pulled pork sandwich immediately after finishing the first one. Yep, laced with tangy basillime mayo, with the odd hit of jalapeno cutting though the richness of the smoky meat, they really are that good.
With a meat -heavy menu complemented by meat themed artwork and bacon infused cocktails, Meatmother is a carnivore's dream come true. Leave the vegetarians at home and head in for lunch, when you can order a hitman without landing in jail; it's a hunger-killing helping of pulled pork smothered in gravy and applesauce and served on thick Texas toast. Or go for dinner and try the motherlode—a meat tray piled high with tender, slowly smoked pulled pork, a side dish (if you've always hated sprouts, try Meatmother's fried ones and be converted) and, if you wish, an extra serve of meat. Hell yes you do—why not order more pulled pork!
Next up on our tasty tour of Melbourne’s best pulled pork is CBD gem, Chuckle Park. It's in an alleyway, the food's served from a caravan and the décor features glass jars filled with plants: Chuckle Park bar and cafe is pretty much a microcosm of the Melbourne laneway scene, complete with a short but wellcrafted menu of treats that are popular with the lunchtime crowd. If you're working your way through the menu (hint: you totally should), start with the pulled pork roll. It's a fullon flavour hit, with fennel and apple slaw adding crunch to the ohsotender, slightly spicy pork. Pair it with a cider and you'll still get change from a $20—now that's something to chuckle about.
In case you hadn't noticed (maybe you're living under a rock), Melbourne's having an ongoing love affair with American food, and one of the latest joints to join the ever-lengthening lineup is US style sandwich specialist Mason Dixon. It's in a food court, but this ain't your standard food court fare. Freerange pork is slow cooked for 12 hours before being teased apart and stuffed into the delish pulled pork rolls; laden with mayo-heavy coleslaw and pepped up with juicy, tart North Carolina style BBQ sauce, this is one messy, drippy and utterly delightful way to enjoy American hospitality without leaving the CBD.
Sometimes, you can catch a whiff of smokey, barbecuey goodness as you wander through the city. This is a good thing: it means the Fancy Hanks crew are hard at work slowcooking meat on their Americanstyle pit smokers. Which means you can head over for a rich, smokey, free-range pulled pork sandwich topped with Kewpie mayo dressed slaw. Win.
There are many things Rice Queen gets right: its borderline kitsch Asian-inspired décor, its fast service, and its menu of pan-Asian dishes, including baby bahn mi. Housemade pickles, gochujang (Korean red chilli paste) and Kewpie mayo lift it from your everyday bahn mi—and that's before you've added your protein of choice, ranging from softshell crab to tofu to—you guessed it—pulled pork. So what does Rice Queen get wrong? Well, there's no health warning saying how addictive these little beauties are, and there ought to be!
Image Credit: White Oaks Saloon – Michelle Jarni for The Urban List