The pork for these sliders is cooked in a slow cooker.
Makes 12 sliders
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
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2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce, such as sambal oelek or XO sauce
2 pounds boneless pork butt (shoulder), trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup julienned red bell pepper
1 cup thin, half-moon slices English cucumber
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped, sweet pickled ginger slices (gari, sushi ginger)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon wasabi powder or 1 1/2 tablespoons wasabi paste, or to taste
1 tablespoon water, if using wasabi powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon sugar
To assemble the sliders
12 small slider style (mini burger) buns
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
Cocktail picks, such as bamboo ones
1. To prepare the pork: Mix together the hoisin sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and chili sauce in a large bowl. Add the pork and toss to coat. Transfer to a slow cooker and be sure to get all the liquid into the cooker with the pork.
2. Cook on high for 8 hours, or until pork is fork tender. You can cook the pork ahead of time, then refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat the pork before serving.
3. To make the pickled vegetables: Mix the carrot, bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, rice vinegar, pickled ginger and cilantro together in a medium bowl. Refrigerate for up to 1 hour before serving.
4. To make the wasabi mayo: In a small bowl, mix the wasabi powder and water and let sit for 5 minutes. (If using wasabi paste, you do not need to let it sit.) Mix in the mayonnaise and sugar. Cover and refrigerate.
5. To serve the sliders: Shred the warm pork and toss with 1/2 cup of its cooking liquid. (For a more intensive flavor, reduce all the pork liquid to 1/2 cup.) Heat the buns then spread the bottom of each bun with 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce. Divide the pork between the buns and smear the top half of each bun with wasabi mayo. Top the pork with a pouf of the pickled veggies. Secure the bun with a cocktail pick.
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