(credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

When done right, pulled pork can be one of the best things you can put in your mouth. While you can’t have a pulled pork sandwich without the meat, it’s really the sauce and the extras that make the sandwich stand out. From traditional southern to family friendly, Orange County has some great places to satisfy your craving for pulled pork.

(credit: Gary Schwind)

(credit: Gary Schwind)

Burrell’s Bar-B-Que Pit
305 N Hesperian St.
Santa Ana CA 92703
(714) 547-7441

Tucked away in a residential Santa Ana neighborhood, it would be real easy to go right by Burrell’s. If you do find it, your reward lies within. The chopped pork sandwich is topped with pickles and coleslaw. For a dollar more, you can add the side of your choice (the collard greens are delectable). The tanginess says that a fair amount of apple cider vinegar went into this recipe. The spiciness is enough to linger, but not enough to overpower. In short, this is the kind of barbecue that you not only tell all your friends about but also that you dream about.

Bad to the Bone BBQ sliders (credit: Gary Schwind)

Bad to the Bone BBQ sliders (credit: Gary Schwind)

Bad to the Bone BBQ
31738 Rancho Viejo Road
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 218-0227

With meat that is cooked in pits over hickory chips for 12 to 24 hours, customers of this San Juan Capistrano establishment get to experience delicious savory meats. Served on a ciabatta cheese roll, the pulled pork sliders are a must if you’re a fan of pulled pork. In fact, one bite of the pulled pork sliders and you’ll realize that this place does it right. Offering meat that is incredibly tender, it’ll seemingly melt in your mouth. Pair it with a not too overwhelming spicy sauce, and it’ll add a terrific flavor to each bite. Or, you can try the Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich, with hand-shredded pulled pork, tossed in their vinegar based BBQ sauce on a brioche bun. Add cole slaw on top for extra flavors! Try pairing this with one of the IPAs in the impressive selection of draft beers.

Tustin Brewing Company's pulled pork sandwich. (credit: Gary Schwind)

Tustin Brewing Company’s pulled pork sandwich. (credit: Gary Schwind)

Tustin Brewing Company
13011 Newport Ave. #100
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 665-2337

You might think this is an unexpected place to find a pulled pork sandwich, but they have one of the best around. Featuring a BBQ pork sandwich with shredded pork, tossed in their Red Hill Red BBQ Sauce, it’s topped with crispy onion straws to make for a hearty sandwich. The meat is very tender and the sandwich has just the right amount of tang and spice. Don’t be surprised if you need more than one napkin for this sandwich. Try pairing it with a house-brewed pale ale, which will enhance the spicy quality.

Related: Home-Brewing Tips From An Orange County Craft Brewer

Smokey's House of BBQ pulled pork sandwich. (credit: Gary Schwind)

Smokey’s House of BBQ pulled pork sandwich. (credit: Gary Schwind)

Smokey’s House of BBQ
32860 Pacific Coast Highway #4
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 388-8102

If you want to take the whole family out for barbecue, Smokey’s is the place to go. The restaurant has two “jailhouse” cells where you can enjoy your meal with the kids. The pulled pork is tender and smoky, topped with coleslaw and served as a po’boy sandwich. You get your choice of two sides with this sandwich. The sweet potato fries and baked beans are an excellent choice. The meat is tossed with SLO barbecue sauce, but there is also sauce on every table in case you need more.

Smoqued California BBQ's pulled pork sandwich. (credit: Gary Schwind)

Smoqued California BBQ’s pulled pork sandwich. (credit: Gary Schwind)

Smoqued California BBQ
128 N. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 633-7427

If you’re looking for a non-traditional barbecue restaurant, Smoqued is the place. The pulled pork sandwich here is smoked meat and coleslaw served on a challah bun. The reason the meat is served without barbecue sauce is that Smoqued offers three different sauces (Smoqued BBQ, California Gold and Habanero Raspberry) that you can put on the sandwich in whatever quantity you like. This makes it a good place to go on your lunch break from work or on a date because you don’t have to worry about spilling sauce all over yourself. Smoqued also carries a variety of craft beers to go with your sandwich.

Related: Best Barbecue In Orange County

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.