Serve up your next BBQ hit… from the slow cooker! Root Beer Pulled Pork is tender, fall-apart boneless pork shoulder in a tangy sauce featuring root beer, your favourite BBQ sauce, and a few extra seasonings. Pile this BBQ pulled pork high on soft hamburger buns with coleslaw and serve!
When there’s a hungry crowd to feed, nothing is simpler than a meaty ‘dump and go’ slow cooker recipe. These satisfying ‘budget stretcher’ dinners feed many people by combining a protein with noodles or serving it on a bun.
Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork
Friends, I’m absolutely thrilled to bring you yet another easy crock pot dinner featuring pork. This time it’s for a Root Beer Pulled Pork recipe that is sure to be an instant hit with your family and friends.
They will love the mouth-watering pull-apart pork roast and the fun root beer barbecue sauce. The caramelized pork is fork tender, but not too sweet, with an addictive tangy-salty kick.
As I mentioned, slow cooking a large pork butt is a great way to feed a crowd. However, it’s also an economical way feed a family for a few days. Once your family has enjoyed it as pulled pork sandwiches, there are always leftovers to play with.
We love the leftovers with rice and beans in burritos or scattered on top of nachos (instead of chicken). I’ve even made it into a ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ featuring pork instead of lamb. I love the challenge of developing new and exciting leftover recipes!
Pork, the Other White Meat
While it is sometimes marketed as “the other white meat”, pork is considered red meat as it contains more myoglobin protein than most white meat. Nutritionally, pork is a rich source of B6, B12, selenium and thiamine as well as minerals like zinc, iron, and phosphorus.
To maintain a balanced diet, we choose lean unprocessed cuts of pork (such as tenderloin) for regular consumption and enjoy large cuts of fatty pork such as pork shoulder or butt roast in moderation.
Pork is still one of the most affordable proteins in these days of rising grocery prices. Affordability, along with great flavour, makes this inexpensive protein a popular choice for large gatherings and special occasions.
What Does Soda Do to the Pork?
Slow cooking with soda pop (also known as ‘pop’ here in Canada) isn’t a new thing. In fact, one of our family’s favourite ham recipes is a honey and mustard rubbed whole ham cooked with a can of cola in the slow cooker.
Soda contains a lot of sugar which encourages caramelization of the pork as it cooks. As we all know caramelization = flavour! Soda also contains a fair amount of acidity which acts to soften and tenderize the pork during the long cooking time.
Can I Make Root Beer Pulled Pork in my Instant Pot?
Some slow cooker recipes can be adapted for the Instant Pot. However, this slow cooker pulled pork recipe caramelizes and tenderizes over the long cook time. It will not taste the same if it is cooked in a pressure cooker.
Ingredients for this Recipe
Other than the obvious (root beer) you’ll need a few basic ingredients for this recipe.
- Pork Shoulder Roast
- Root Beer
- Barbecue Sauce
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Salt
- Cajun Seasoning
- Smoked Paprika
I prefer to use a pork shoulder roast or pork butt because it produces the most melt in your mouth results. However, if you prefer a leaner cut of pork, you can use boneless pork loin or even pork tenderloin. Note that it may not shred as nicely as a fully cooked pork butt.
Root beer lends a sweet, somewhat vanilla spice caramelized flavour to this pulled pork. You can get a similar effect with any cola. Feel free to use any brand; Coke, Pepsi, or an off-brand cola for this recipe.
For this recipe, use your favourite barbecue sauce. Everyone has different tastes, from hickory smoked sauce to a sweet style, maybe even featuring more cola. If you choose your favourite, you’re going to love this pulled pork even more.
While I always prefer to use fresh garlic and fresh onions in recipes, this is the ONE recipe where I use the powdered versions. There is a long cook time for this pork and the flavours of the garlic and onion rehydrate and fuse with the meat during this time. Go for it!
Sweet or spicy smoked paprika will work in this recipe. Use the style of paprika you prefer.
Lastly, let’s talk Cajun seasoning. If you are not familiar with this seasoning, it’s a lively blend of spices that can vary from cook to cook. In general Louisiana Cajun style spice consists of paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, white or black pepper and oregano with or without added salt.
Other herbs may include are cumin, coriander, thyme, basil, celery salt, and parsley. You can make your own and customize the blend according to your taste preferences.
How to Make Root Beer Pulled Pork
You will be amazed at how easy this mouth-watering slow cooker recipe is! To begin, place the pork butt roast in the slow cooker insert. Next, sprinkle the pork with all of the dry seasonings so that it becomes evenly coated.
Carefully pour the root beer into the slow cooker around (not onto) the pork roast then pour half of the BBQ sauce over the pork.
Cover and cook the pork on low heat setting for 8 hours, or until the meat is easily pulled apart.
Discard any large pieces of fat from the pork then use two forks or special pulled pork claws to shred the meat while it is still hot. Drizzle the meat with the rest of the BBQ sauce or serve it on the side.
Serve the shredded root beer pork on buns with a side of coleslaw or potato salad. Refrigerate any leftovers and consume within 4-5 days. Alternatively, this pulled pork will freeze well for up to 3 months.
If you make this Root Beer Pulled Pork recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
Root Beer Pulled Pork
Serve up your next BBQ hit... from the slow cooker! Root Beer Pulled Pork is tender, fall-apart pork shoulder in a tangy sauce featuring root beer, your favourite BBQ sauce, and a few extra seasonings. Pile this pulled pork high on soft buns with coleslaw and serve!
- 3 - 4 lb boneless pork shoulder butt roast
- 12 oz. root beer
- 18 oz. bottle BBQ Sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Place the pork butt roast in a slow cooker.
- Sprinkle the pork with all of the dry seasonings so that it becomes evenly coated.
- Pour the root beer into the slow cooker (not over the pork).
- Pour half of the BBQ sauce over the pork.
- Cover and cook the pork on low heat setting for 8 hours, or until the meat is easily pulled apart.
- Discard any large pieces of fat from the pork then shred it.
- Add the rest of the BBQ sauce to the shredded pork or serve it on the side.
- Serve the shredded root beer pork on buns with a side of coleslaw.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1308Total Fat: 86gSaturated Fat: 32gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 46gCholesterol: 390mgSodium: 967mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 105g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.
So I’ve been on adventurous recipe kick lately. And as wild as root beer and pulled pork sounds.. I’m so here for it! Definitely going in the rotation.
Sweet! I’m glad you loved this pulled pork so much and thank you for letting me know.
Saving this recipe for our next bbq! Cajun seasoning sounds yummy with the pulled pork , need to try this asap!
mmmm hmmm! you’re going to love it Laura!
How amazing to see that with just a handful of ingredients you can cook some amazing dishes. Lovely flavour and and texture!!
Thanks for stopping by Hayley.
Yummo this looks delicious! I never thought to use root beer with pulled pork. Thanks for the tips.
You’re welcome Megane, enjoy!
What a unique way to make pulled pork. I love the idea of using root beer.
It sounds crazy, I know but it really makes a difference to the flavour and texture.
This is a great idea for Summer BBQ party! I bet the beer brings so much flavor to the pork, cannot wait to try it 😉
It really does. Bring on Summer BBQ parties!
So much flavor in this recipe and I love that you can set it and forget it!
oh yeah. That’s my favourite kind of recipe for sure.
I have this meat cooking in the crock pot right now! So excited to have this for supper tonight! Thanks for the recipe share!
Excellent! I hope everyone enjoys this pulled pork.
I agree: pork is still an affordable proteín. I love the idea of making a root beer sauce. I’m making this recipe after lent. It looks so yummy!
oh great! I hope you love it as much as I do Enri.
My kids LOVE root beer. Me? Not so much. I was skeptical about making this for dinner last night, but I’m so glad I did. The root beer really mellowed out and married so well with the other ingredients that I had seconds!
I know… it sounds crazy but it works!! I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed this recipe Marta.
I have never cooked or baked with pop/soda. Looks like I have to change that. This pork recipe sounds delicious.
It’s crazy, but it works!