Mix kosher salt, smoked paprika, brown sugar, cayenne, and black pepper and “rub” all over outside of pork butt. Wrap pork with plastic wrap; enclose in resealable bag and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat a large oven-safe pot*** over medium-high heat. Add bacon, if using, and cook until crispy. Add barbecue sauce and water to bacon in pot and bring to a simmer. Remove pork butt from bag and plastic wrap and add to pot. (For faster cooking, you may cut the butt into large cubes before adding.) Return to a simmer; cover pot and place in oven for about 4 hours (fewer if butt is cut in cubes) or until fork-tender and pulls apart easily. Turn meat once during cooking time.
Prepare pork: Let meat stand 20-30 minutes. Using two forks, “pull” the meat apart, until it is shredded. Leave in sauce until ready to serve. Recipe can be prepared to this point up to 5 days in advance and refrigerated.
Make coleslaw: Lightly salt cabbage with a tablespoon or so of kosher salt, and place in colander. Drain in sink for a few hours. Rinse well under cold water and drain well. (Although this step is optional, it produces a creamier, crisper coleslaw.) Mix mayonnaise, celery seeds, mustard seeds, horseradish, lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar in bowl; season with salt and pepper. Mix with cabbage and shredded carrots. Can be made one day in advance and refrigerated.
Heat griddle or large sauté pan over medium heat. Butter one side of each bread slice. Place 4 slices, butter-side down, on griddle. Top each with 1 slice of Fontina, some shredded barbecue pork, coleslaw, pickles, onion slices, and another slice of Fontina. Place 1 slice of bread on top of each, butter-side up, and grill until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, turning once during grilling.
*Bacon adds an authentic smoky flavor without using a smoker.
**Prepared coleslaw mix may be substituted.
***Slow cooker may be used; follow directions for pork butt cooking times.
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 3- to 5-pound pork butt
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) smoked bacon, optional*
- 1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
- 2 cups water
- 1 head red or green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced**
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Kosher salt
- Salt and pepper
- 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
- 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 8 slices buttermilk bread (or other firm white bread)
- 8 1-ounce slices Wisconsin Fontina cheese
- 2-3 pickles, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced about 1/8" thick