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Root Beer Pulled Pork with Root Beer BBQ Sauce

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This Root Beer Pulled Pork with Root Beer BBQ Sauce is amazingly simple to throw together and feeds a crowd!

Root beer pulled pork sandwich on a red serving tray

Why You’ll Love Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork

  1. Tender and Flavorful Meat: The slow cooking process allows the pork to become incredibly tender, practically melting in your mouth. Additionally, the combination of the pork’s natural juices, root beer, and dry rub spices with the sweetness of the root beer barbecue sauce creates a perfectly balanced flavor. 
  2. Unique Twist: Root beer adds a distinctive flavor to the BBQ sauce, without being in-your-face. It’s a more if you know, you know flavor than one that you can pin point immediately. It’s both nostalgic and unique!
  3. Ease of Preparation: Slow cooker recipes are beloved for their convenience, and root beer pulled pork is no exception. With just a few simple steps, minimal prep time, and the ability to let the slow cooker do the work, this recipe is perfect for busy families or anyone looking to simplify their dinner time routine.
  4. Versatility: Root beer pulled pork is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways. Serve it on hamburger buns or sandwich rolls for a classic pulled pork sandwich, or use it as a filling for tacos, sliders, or a baked potato. The possibilities are endless, allowing you to tailor the dish to suit your preferences and creativity.
  5. Crowd-Pleasing Appeal: Whether you’re hosting a party, tailgating, gathering with friends and family, or simply enjoying a weeknight dinner at home, root beer pulled pork is sure to be a hit. 
A pulled pork sandwich on a brioche bun with extra BBQ sauce on top

Pulled Pork Ingredients

 The ingredient list for this recipe is simple. You have two separate recipes here as well: one for the pulled pork and one for the BBQ sauce. Both can be enjoyed on their own, but they’re even better together! The full recipe card is at the bottom of the post with all the measurements and instructions, so make sure scroll down to the bottom to print it out! 

  • Onion. I use white onion in the recipe, but you can use Spanish/yellow onion or even Vidalia onion. The onion simply adds a layer of flavor to the pork!
  • Garlic. You can finely chop or mince the garlic for this recipe. It is a flavor-maker! You can use fresh or the pre-minced, it’s totally up to you!
  • Dry Rub Mixture: Salt, pepper, and dark brown sugar. I like the depth of flavor that dark brown sugar brings to this recipe. If you only have light brown or granulated on hand, it’s no problem, just add in a tablespoon of molasses to the slow cooker!
  • 4 pounds boneless center-cut pork loin (also known as center loin roast or a pork center rib roast). I prefer using boneless for ease of prep. You can use a bone-in if that’s what you have too. The bone actually adds a bit more flavor to the pulled pork, just remove it before shredding! And to be honest you could even make this recipe with chicken too!
  • Root Beer. You will pour a bottle of root beer right into the slow cooker with the pork. The flavor of the root beer permeates through the meat and the juices giving it a hint of sweetness and a lot of flavor!

Root Beer BBQ Sauce Ingredients

There are a lot of the same ingredients in the barbecue sauce as in the pork recipe too which makes the pairing of the pork and the sauce perfect!

  • Root beer. You will only need 1 cup of root beer for the sauce. 
  • Ketchup. Ketchup is the base for most bbq sauce recipes and this one is no different!
  • Dark brown sugar. You can also use light brown sugar or even granulated as well just add a an extra tablespoon of molasses. 
  • Apple cider vinegar. The acid in the vinegar is important for BBQ sauce, so don’t skip it. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar you can use red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar in its place. The apple cider vinegar is nice in this, though, because it adds a little sweetness!
  • Minced garlic. This is simply a flavor layer!
  • Molasses. Don’t skip the molasses, it adds a depth of flavor to the bbq sauce that you can’t replicate. 
  • Spices: Crushed red pepper and smoked paprika. I love smoked paprika in bbq sauce and the red pepper is to add a little heat, which I love. Use as much or as little as you prefer!

How To Make Root Beer Pulled Pork

You’ll need to use your Crock Pot/slow cooker for this pork recipe and a sauce pan for the bbq sauce. Those are really the only two tools you will need!

I like to use Boneless Pork Center Cut Roasts for my pulled pork because it’s not as fatty as other cuts that typically are used. I have even made this recipe with Pork Tenderloin and it’s been fantastic. But if you do use a fattier cut, like pork shoulder, pork butt, or picnic roast just trim the excess!

Just whip up a quick dry rub. I just used dark brown sugar, salt and pepper….but you could absolutely throw in some cayenne pepper if you like things a little spicy!

Pork roast topped with dry rub on a white cutting board

Coat your pork roast with the dry rub and then put that in the slow cooker on top of a chopped up onion and some garlic and pour a whole bottle of root beer around the sides of the pork. 

Root beer added to pork in a slow cooker

Let it simmer for about 4 hours on high in your slow cooker and shred it up. I like to keep it in the juices so it stays moist.

Shred the pork with two forks in the slow cooker, or you can also shred pork in your stand mixer and then add it back to the juices. 

Pulled pork in a crock pot that is shredded with the juices

How To Make Root Beer BBQ Sauce

If you want to go a step further I highly recommend my Root Beer BBQ sauce to along with it. It’s incredible with this pulled pork, but it could also simply be your go-to new favorite BBQ sauce recipe!

You simply add all the ingredients into a saucepan, bring it to a simmer for 10 minutes and you’re done! It will last about 2 weeks in your refrigerator stored airtight. 

What Can You Use In Place Of Root Beer?

Ultimately this is a Root Beer pulled pork recipe, so using root beer will always be my first and best suggestion. BUT in a pinch you can sub it out with other soda:

  • Coca-cola/Pepsi. Coke gives the same vibe just a little less of the root beer spiciness. 
  • Dr. Pepper. This is probably the best substitute if you don’t have root beer. 
  • Ginger Beer/Ginger Ale. This is another good substitution in place of root beer.
  • Beer. While it’s not a soda, and will lack that extra sweetness the root beer brings, a beer (the darker the better) will work nicely in this recipe, but will ultimately alter the desired flavor profile the root beer brings. 
Root Beer Pulled Pork served to eat on a sandwich

How To Serve Root Beer Pulled Pork

  • Serve the root beer pulled pork on hamburger buns or sandwich rolls, topped with barbecue sauce.
  • Pair it with your favorite sides like coleslaw, macaroni salad, potato salad, or pickles for a complete meal.
  • Top a baked potato or baked sweet potato with this pulled pork for a hearty and easy dinner idea!
  • On nachos!
  • Top your favorite mac and cheese with a scoop of this! YUM!

More Pulled Pork Recipes You Will Like

Print

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Description

This pulled pork recipe is so easy to make and the root beer BBQ sauce is absolutely delicious!


Pork:

  • 1 white onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 pounds boneless center-cut pork loin
  • 1 (12- ounce) bottle root beer

BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup root beer
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  1. Prepare the pork: Place onions and garlic in the bottom of a slow cooker. Combine the sugar, salt, and black pepper in a bowl and coat the meat with dry rub mixture. Place the meat in the slow cooker on top of onions and garlic.
  2. Pour the root beer around the sides of the slow cooker and cover with the lid.
  3. Cook on high for 4 – 5 hours (or on low for 8 – 10 hours) until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily. When the meat is done, shred it with a fork and mix it in with juices to keep it tender.
  4. Prepare the BBQ Sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine all the sauce ingredients: root beer, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, molasses, red pepper, and paprika. Stir until smooth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  5. Mix the BBQ sauce into the pork if desired, OR drizzle the BBQ sauce on top of the pork sandwiches to serve.

Notes

Store sauce airtight in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Keywords: pulled pork, crock pot pulled pork, root beer BBQ sauce, slow cooker pulled pork

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