The Best Wine for Pulled Pork

You don't have to forgo wine during the barbecue

A pork shoulder cooked low and slow over hickory? Sounds delicious, but what wines can you pair with this BBQ classic? We’re not opposed to a cold beer while tending the smoker, but we love the challenge of pairing wines with whatever dish lands on your table. A purist, enjoying the meat on its own? Try a Cotes-du-Rhone. Typically a grenache-based blend, these classic French wines have the versatility to refresh between bites and let the character of the meat you worked so long and hard to achieve shine through. For a domestic pick, try zinfandel. The jammy and peppery notes of a zin will practically sauce the meat for you. If you have a very spicy rub, be careful, as the high alcohol levels of some zins can fan the flames.

But how many of you enjoy pulled pork without accompaniment? Usually there’s sauce, slaw, and a bun involved. If you cannot resist the lure of the pulled pork sandwich, try to find a wine that complements all of these flavorful components together. How about a still or sparkling rosé? They have enough red wine character to handle the savory meat along with the zip and zing for a vinegar-based slaw. Lambrusco, whether bone-dry or with a touch of sweetness (depending on the sauce you choose), would also be a fun partner with your pulled pork sandwich. There’s nothing wrong, however, with still craving a big red like petite sirah. Just try putting a slight chill on it to mellow out the oak, tannin, and alcohol influence.

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