Hans Muller is a second-generation baker in Fort Worth, but he’s no stranger to smoking meat. His lunch menu at the Swiss Pastry Shop includes a smoked cuban sandwich, the Fort Worth Cheese Steak made with smoked prime rib, and he’s now working on a recipe for homemade pastrami. If you’re lucky, the specials board just inside the door might include something smoked like the Hillbilly Pacifier, a dish I found there last week.
On its face, it appears to be a pulled pork sandwich, but it’s so much more that that. Muller and chef Peter Kreidler pull smoked pork butt and mix it with a house-made barbecue sauce. They then top the monster sandwich with a Sriracha bacon pimento cheese. “I like to be able to play a little after the holidays,” Muller told me. (His shop in famous for its Black Forest cakes, and the holidays are a particularly stressful time: they make close to 2,000 cakes in the month of December alone.)
The pulled pork sandwich is a labor of love, and one Muller says he can’t do all the time. He gets to work at three in the morning to make the pies, cakes, and buns for all the sandwiches on the menu, so finding the time to prep and tend an overnight smoke is hard. (When the Swiss Pastry Shop has the pulled pork on the menu, smoking has to be done the evening prior.) To help save a little more time, Muller also quarters the pork butts, to allow them to smoke more quickly. “I don’t have the time to be up until midnight smoking whole butts,” he told me.
After lunch at the bakery, the meat goes into an all-wood smoker, which Muller says is run on “pecan, and when we can get it, the whiskey barrel lids from F&R Distilling.” It smokes for eight hours, until it’s about eighty percent done, then Muller finishes it in the oven for sixty to ninety minutes before lunch. “That still gets me to bed at 8:00, and they’re good and tender,” Muller says, adding that baking is his full time job, after all. “I’m not trying to compete with the barbecue guys about how much I can punish myself.”
The sandwich is tall, but not hard to tackle. The smokiness comes through along with the subtle sweetness of the sauce. The pimento cheese makes for a rich sandwich, but then you can pair it with the lighter potato leek soup on the side. You can’t do that at many barbecue joints. The combination has proven to be quite popular. So much so that Muller admitted “before long, it’s going to be on the regular menu.” Until then look for it as a special, and grab a slice of that famous Black Forest cake for dessert.
Swiss Pastry Shop
3936 W Vickery Blvd.
Fort Worth, TX 76107