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Cranberry Chipotle Pork Sandwiches

My husband’s family is from North Carolina, so I thought I would make a little southern-style holiday family lunch of Cranberry Chipotle Pork Sandwiches using a traditional western North Carolina BBQ sauce which is ketchup based, but with some cranberries and chipotle for a little holiday and West Coast kick!

Also, these sandwiches are a quick lunch to make! Instead of being slow roasted and pulled, the pork is quickly cooked and sliced. With the twins, I don’t have time to slow roast anything. Even with a slow cooker, I just don’t have that kind of attention these days, so I have to make something work in about 30 minutes or less. While you can make the entire meal in about 30 minutes, you can also split it into parts. You can make the BBQ sauce a day or two ahead. If you wanted to slow roast the pork, you could. And then you would simply just need to assemble the sandwiches when you’re ready to serve lunch. Or, make it all at the same time!


North Carolinians are very particular about their sauce and I did a lot of research before prepping this recipe before ultimately deciding to make my Cranberry Chipotle BBQ sauce from scratch using a vinegar ketchup base. You see, western NC uses ketchup as a base for their BBQ sauce, whereas eastern NC does not. 


Also, I totally used a pre-sliced slaw mix to top these sandwiches. Sometimes you gotta make something from scratch (like the BBQ sauce), and other times you just gotta get a little help from the store. I technically made my own coleslaw, because I mixed all the ingredients together myself, but getting the veggies pre-sliced really helps when you’re trying to prep a quick meal!


I served my sandwiches on a brioche bun with a pickle and homemade potato chips on the side! This is a perfect, quick, holiday lunch that is great to eat before going holiday shopping, to get a Christmas tree, or a late lunch/early dinner before driving around to look at holiday lights!





Cranberry Chipotle Pork Sandwiches

Cranberry Chipotle Pork Sandwiches

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • • BBQ Sauce:
  • • 1 cup ketchup
  • • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • • 2 Tbsp hot sauce
  • • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • • 1 Tbsp mustard powder
  • • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • • 1 tsp salt
  • • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • • Pork Sandwiches:
  • • pork tenderloin
  • • 3 cups coleslaw veggie mix
  • • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • • 1 tsp celery seed
  • • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • • 2 green onions, diced
  • • 1/4 tsp salt
  • • brioche buns


  1. First, make your BBQ sauce by combining ketchup, cranberry sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, hot sauce, lemon juice, mustard powder, chipotle powder, salt, and pepper in a saucepan and bring to a high boil before reducing the heat and allowing it to simmer for 10 minutes. Then, remove from heat and divide between a bowl (if immediate basting pork tenderloin) and a jar.
  2. Optional: Strain the sauce to remove any large chunks of cranberry.
  3. While the BBQ sauce is simmering, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare your pork tenderloin in an oven safe dish or on a foil covered baking sheet.
  4. Once the BBQ sauce is done, use it to baste your pork tenderloin and cook for 18-20 minutes until the meat reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit on the meat thermometer.
  5. While the meat is cooking, combine your coleslaw veggie mix, mayonnaise, celery seed, ground mustard, onions, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.
  6. When the meat is done, remove from the oven and slice into thin medallions.
  7. Top your buns with 3-4 pork medallions and cover it with more chipotle cranberry BBQ sauce. Then, top it with a helping of coleslaw and the top of the bun.
  8. Serve with pickles and potato chips.
  9. Enjoy!
What’s your go-to holiday-style lunch? Do you have something you like to prep for lunch or dinner before doing any family traditions like cutting down a Christmas tree or driving around to look at all the holiday lights? Let me know in a comment below!

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