Sonny’s BBQ is synonymous with piles of tasty pulled pork, wholesome interactions with staff and customers, and fingers so sticky the basket of complimentary wipes isn’t enough. As part of their initiative for National Pulled Pork Day (really, a month-long celebration from October 12th to November 4th), Sonny’s is adding scrumptious specialties to their menu.

I was lucky enough to preview these dishes, and holy smokes, I think I died and went to Sweet Tea Pulled Pork Heaven. Seriously, pulled pork and toasted donuts is a combination made for Zeus and Athena. To add to the sweetness, Sonny’s is also hosting a giveaway to win free pulled pork for a year – better start planning my BBQ dishes now.

History of National Pulled Pork Day

To my surprise, I discovered Sonny’s BBQ was founded in Gainesville, Florida in 1968 - it seems so unlikely that our sleepy town is home to Tom Petty AND Sonny’s. Although their corporate headquarters are in Orlando, the first Sonny’s was on Waldo Road (they now have over 100 locations). The old-fashioned sign and wooden walls felt like the kind of comfort only slow-cooked, high-flavor food can give.

Sonny’s created National Pulled Pork Day to celebrate and promote all things pork – after all, they’re the experts on explosive combos and cooking dishes so filling, your taste buds will be in shock. From October 12th to November 4th, Sonny’s will be cooking up something good in the form of special dishes crafted by Head Pitmaster, Bryan Mroczka.

Pulled pork on donuts – pulled pork with queso and tater tots – sweet cole slaw: all your guilty pleasures are available at Sonny’s starting at $7.99.

Let’s Dig Into It

So what are these limited-time dishes? Besides the obvious answers of delicious and divine, the technical names are The Sweeter Carolina, Pork N’ Donut, and Loaded Pulled Pork Tots. When the Pitmaster at the Waldo location, Matt Crews, plopped the Pork N’ Donut in front of me, my pupils dilated.

A heap of “slow-smoked pork drizzled with Sweet Sauce” was sandwiched between a donut bun, the sweet tea icing complimenting the savory pork. I thought the donut was going to be thick and Krispy Kreme-esque, but the thinness and toasted outside suited the heavy meat perfectly. It felt like eating a funnel cake at a festival, an extremely decadent, meaty, and experimental festival.

The Sweeter Carolina was a different – albeit familiar – beast. The same sweet sauce, the same mountain of pulled pork between donuts – it was the toppings that elevated this sandwich from “This is pretty cool” to “I could eat this 24/7 if I had unlimited stomach capacity.”

The mustard and cole slaw paired unexpectedly well with the pork; the slaw was also sweet, but it sliced the icing with a sharp crunch. The sweetness of the slaw wasn’t in a funnel-cake-at-the-fair way – it was textured and sophisticated.

And now for the finale: Loaded Pulled Pork Tots. My stomach was pushing the limits of my high-waisted shorts, but I kept going – when life gives you free pulled pork in donuts and queso, you keep eating. The menu insert describes this dish as “crispy tater tots seasoned with our Signature pork rub, loaded with pulled pork, queso, onion straws, and sweet sauce.”

That is a 100% accurate description, although it should be mentioned that these ingredients are layered like a cake. With the sweet BBQ sauce as frosting and pork/tots as the spongy inside, it’s definitely a mouthful.

So How Do I Win Free Pulled Pork?

After reading those juicy details, I know you’re hungry (I am, and that Skinny Pop for snack didn’t cut it). As part of National Pulled Pork Day, Sonny’s is giving away free pulled pork for over a year in the form of a $500 gift card to Sonny’s. To enter, text PORK to 73165. Good luck!

Overall, dining at Sonny’s was a gratifying experience – I met an interesting storm chaser, Ron, an older lady told me “I’d meet the right man one day,” and I was stuffed with authentic food. To say these specialty dishes were a hit would be an understatement – be sure to go to Sonny’s between now and November 4th to try them yourself!