Inside Staff Meal at Miller Union: Pulled Pork Goes from Nouveau to Back Roads

by Caroline Hatchett
Antoinette Bruno
May 2012


Staff Meal Details

Sous Chef Denver Richardson weighs in.

Staff meal food costs:
The goal is $250 per week.

Size of staff meal:
20 at lunch; 27 to 30 at dinner

Time of staff meal:
10:45am and 4:45pm

Worst staff meal:
Caesar salad with terrible, inedible dressing

Favorite staff meal ever:
Fried chicken

Pulled pork is synonymous with grab and go lunches in the South. And diners are fiercely loyal to their favorite joint’s combination of rich pork, squishy white bun, and dripping barbecue sauce. But at Chef Steven Satterfield’s Miller Union, Chef de Cuisine Justin Burdett puts a farm-to-table twist on his version. Pulled pork gets the white table cloth treatment with house-made fig jam, Dijon mustard, salted butter, arugula salad, and pickled turnips.

Though it’s unlikely in a pork-loving town like Atlanta, but if there happens to be any leftovers at the end of service, Sous Chef Denver Richardson takes the pork back to its red dirt road roots with a Carolina-style mustard sauce to serve at staff meal. An Indiana native, Richardson holds no allegiance to the tomato-based barbecue sauces that are more prevalent in Georgia. And he’s not afraid to slather his defiance all over his pork. “I like Carolina-style barbecue, anything with vinegar,” says Richardson.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Honey-Mustard Barbecue Sauce

For his optimal pulled pork sandwich, he goes for full-throttle mustard, combining spicy Dijon and high-powered Coleman’s with local honey and canola oil. Richardson piles the pork onto day-old H & F Bread Co. buns, originally designated as vessels for burgers and fried fish filets for Miller Union's lunch menu. “If it’s leftover, we staff it,” he says. And on pulled pork days—in family meal rotation with the likes of nachos, fried chicken, and pork belly tacos—those leftovers never tasted better.