100 Favorite Dishes: House-Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich at the Universal

Pulled-pork sandwich at the Universal in Sunnyside
Pulled-pork sandwich at the Universal in Sunnyside
Linnea Covington

No. 15: House-Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich at the Universal
You'll find some of the best pulled pork in town in an unlikely location: nestled in a Sunnyside mini strip mall at breakfast and lunch spot the Universal. The origin of the dish stems from Seth Gray, the founding chef who helped open the restaurant and create the menu. He's long gone, but luckily for diners the sandwich stayed on , largely thanks to owner Steven Sharp, who has kept it a staple at this well-lit, roomy daytime eatery.

In fact, this southern-style restaurant has served the item since it opened in 2012, where it has remained one of the most popular items next to the Universal's famous grits and biscuits. The sandwich's consistent residency is for a good reason too; after all, to make this meaty wonder, the kitchen sticks to the North Carolina bible of barbecue pork.

To start with, the slow-roasted swine is smoked in-house, so it has the required charcoal flavor one craves when searching for tantalizing barbecue. The sauce proves bright and vinegary, the perfect tool to cut the pile of fatty, rich meat. To cool the heat, the dish, is topped with crisp Napa cabbage coleslaw, an addition that helps give the soft sandwich added crunch. Then, you have the buttery, griddled brioche bun, which soaks in the sauce and juices, completing the sandwich. Served with your choice of lemon-garlic potato salad, baked macaroni and cheese, collards or a whole slew of other tasty options, it's a lunchtime steal for $10.25.

Head here during the day and take a seat either next to the big, open windows surrounding the space or cozied up to the roomy, modern bar where you can watch your server pour beer and coffee while you wait for your food. Keep in mind, you can only get the sandwich for lunch, which is served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We're counting down the best dishes in the city in advance of Westword's Dish event on September 20 in Sculpture Park at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, where many of our Best of Denver winners — along with other favorites — will congregate to serve up small plates. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section, or shoot us an e-mail at cafe@westword.com.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our countdown are linked below.

No. 100: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta
No. 99: Gurage Kitfo at Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant
No. 98: Cochinita Pibil at Work & Class
No. 97: The Greggers Tongue Sandwich at Olive & Finch 
No. 96: Baum Cakes at Glaze by Sasa
No. 95: Goat hot pot from Viet's
No.94: Head cheese from Beast + Bottle
No. 93: Kettle Chips from Amerigo Delicatus
No. 92: Pork Belly Confit at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar
No. 91: Tacos Campechanos from La Calle Taqueria
No. 90: Biscuits from Denver Biscuit Co.
No. 89: Clams and Chorizo at Gozo
No. 88: Aburi Sushi at Sushi Den and Izakaya Den
No. 87: Kimchi and Sausage Torta at City, O' City
No. 86: Mar y Tierra Molcajete at Paxia
No. 85: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top
No. 84: Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall
No. 83: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico
No. 82: Scallop Crudo at Stoic & Genuine
No. 81: Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana
No. 80: The Lambada Torta at La Torteria
No. 79: Pork Bulgogi at Dae Gee
No. 78: the Pulled Pork Pig Pen Sandwich at Boney's
No. 77: IPA Mac & Cheese at Hops & Pie
No. 76: Chiles en Nogada at Chili Verde
No. 75: Udon Noodle Bowl at Bones
No. 74: Cinnamon Rolls at the Duffeyroll Cafe
No. 73: Smoked Turkey Croque-Madame at Acorn
No. 72: Pickled Lake Michigan Perch at Trillium
No. 71: Oysters at Jax Fish House Glendale
No. 70: Venezuelan Tostadas at Empanada Express Grill
No. 69: Tahini Cauliflower from Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs
No. 68: The Ham and Cheese Tartita from Maria Empanada
No. 67: Ronnie's Favorite from Rosenberg's Bagels and Deli
No. 66: Shoo-fly Pie from the Long i Pie Shop
No. 65: Czech Potato Pancakes at Sobo 151
No. 64: Fried Chicken at the Post Brewing Co.
No. 63: Braised Brisket Sandwich at Masterpiece Delicatessen
No. 62: The Scotch Egg from Argyll Whisky Beer
No. 61: Butternut Squash Ravioli at DiFranco's
No. 60: Sesame Balls at Vinh Xuong Bakery
No. 59: Curry Puffs at Suvipa Thai Food
No. 58: Diavola Pizza at Pizzeria Locale
No. 57: Chorizo Breakfast Stew at DJ's 9th Avenue Cafe
No. 56: The Rare Beast Sandwich at Salt & Grinder
No. 55: 48-Hour Short Ribs at Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery
No. 54: Marrow Bone Brulee at Mercantile Dining & Provision
No. 53: Prawns and Pork Belly at Blackbelly Market
No. 52: Belgian Waffles from Waffle Up
No. 51: Nashville Hot Chicken at Lou's Food Bar
No. 50: Breakfast Burrito from Chickee's Lil Kitchen 
No. 49: Monkfish and Romanesco at TAG
No. 48: Cabeza Tacos at Taqueria El Trompito
No. 47: Pupusas Revueltas at Pupuseria San Salvador
No. 46: Sesame Pockets at Golden Plate II
No. 45: Tuna Mousse at Cart-Driver
No. 44: Tavern Tots at the Highland Tavern  
No. 43: Carne Asada Fries at North County
No. 42: Pho at Wonderbowl
No. 41: Shredded Bison at Tocabe
No. 40: Nachos al Pastor from Tony Guacamole
No. 39: Prosciutto Pop Tart from Bakin' Bakery
No. 38: Ham and Egg Congee at Onefold
No. 37: Lao Sausage at the Asian Cajun
No. 36: Pan Bagnat at Fuel Cafe 
No. 35: Meatloaf Sandwich at City Bakery Cafe
No. 34: Okonomiyaki at Kobe An
No. 33: Farrotto Piccolo at Basta
No. 32: Fried Gizzards at Catfish King
No. 31: My Wife's Donuts at Osaka Ramen
No. 30: Foie Gras Bonbons at Milk & Honey Bar Kitchen
No. 29: Gnocchi Maison au Canard Fume at Z Cuisine
No. 28: Mysore Thali at Masalaa
No. 27: The Papa Bear at Cub's Q Barbeque
No. 26: Xiaolongbao at Shanghai Kitchen
No. 25: Bake Rice With Porkchop at Hong Kong Cafe
No. 24: A Burger at Bob's Atomic Burger
No. 23: The Emma Farms Wagyu Beef Burger at Edge Restaurant & Bar
N
o. 22: Parma Italia Pizza at Blue Pan Pizza
No. 21: Purple Cow Ice Cream at Little Man Ice Cream
No. 20: Colorado Striped Bass Crudo at Beatrice & Woodsley
No. 19: Mongolian BBQ Duck Buns at Linger
No. 18: Pink Lady Roll at Sushi Sasa
No. 17:
Fried Green Tomatoes at Sassafras American Eatery
No. 16: Deep-fried Cornbread at Sons of Scullery 

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