Make Root Beer Pulled Pork in a slow cooker! It’ll save you time AND give you tender, juicy meat that’s perfect for sandwiches!
Pulled meat truly makes the best sandwiches for a cookout or summertime party! It doesn’t matter if you use pork or beef; when red meat cooks for a long time at low heat, the tough connective tissues inside literally melt away.
What’s left is the juiciest, most tender meat possible. There is simply no comparison to slow cooking pork shoulder or beef roast!
How to make Root Beer Pulled Pork
For this particular recipe, you’ll be slow cooking pork shoulder in a crock pot, with a combination of root beer and barbecue sauce as the cooking liquid.
Pork shoulder is sometimes marketed as pork butt. You’ll need a boneless cut, about 4 pounds. Boneless pork shoulder comes packaged in cotton netting.
As it slow cooks, the meat will fall apart into the juices, where it will soak up the flavors of the root beer BBQ sauce.
The result is sticky sweet meat, and it is fantastic for pulled pork sandwiches, especially with a topping of peachy southern coleslaw!
After you shred the pork, you’ll cover it with a bit of root beer reduction. Trust me, the root beer glaze adds a flavor punch that will have you going back for seconds!
The best part is, you don’t have to step into the hot sun to grill or smoke the meat, and your oven stays off, too. So, you and your kitchen will remain as cool as a cucumber salad!
Best seasoning for pulled pork with root beer
There’s a lot of sugar in root beer, so a dry rub for pork is really the best seasoning for root beer pulled pork. It balances and compliments the sweetness.
However, both of those recipes call for brown sugar, which is not what you need when you’re making rootbeer pulled pork. The extra sugar would be overkill.
Ingredients for pork dry rub
I think that brioche sandwich rolls work the best. They are perfect for holding the juicy root beer pulled pork and sauce without falling apart or being too heavy.
For a bit of crunch in your sandwich, make my Southern coleslaw recipe to serve on top of the meat. The tangy vinegar slaw is a perfect foil to the unctuous, sweet root beer glaze.
There are plenty of alternatives! You can use any cola of your choice, even sugar-free root beer or cola. Dr. Pepper is another popular choice.
You could even use beer or hard cider.
Yes, you sure can! To make this recipe in an oven, use the ingredients shown in the recipe card below. Then, follow the cooking instructions shown in my pulled pork tostadas recipe.
Need ideas on what to serve with slow cooker root beer pulled pork? Here are a few ideas!
- Bacon Mac and Cheese Casserole
With crispy bacon, cheddar, mozzarella and cream cheeses, this is the perfect cheesy pasta dish. Topped with crunchy Panko breadcrumbs and baked to a bubbly, golden brown it’s an undeniable indulgence.
- Classic Potato Salad
This potato salad has the perfect balance of sweet and savory, creamy, tender yet firm potatoes, and not an overload of mayonnaise. This is sure to be your new go-to recipe.
- Mexican Watermelon Salad
Talk about refreshing! This salad recipe uses only four ingredients, and it’s made in minutes! It’s the perfect fruit salad to bring for any picnic, potluck or weekend barbecue!
- Root Beer Baked Beans
Slow cooked, tender, sweet and savory sums up this baked beans side dish. I use two different beans, root beer and lots of pantry staples with bacon for an out of this world, perfect side dish.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! For more pulled pork recipes, scroll down below the recipe card!
Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork
- 4 lb pork shoulder also called pork butt
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 tsp ground fennel seed (See Note 1)
- 1/2 tsp celery seed
- 1 large onion chopped
- 24 oz root beer (2-12 oz bottles)
- 24 oz Kansas City Style BBQ sauce or your favorite recipe or store brand
- Mix the chili, garlic and onion powders, salt, dry mustard, paprika and ground fennel and celery seeds together with a whisk in a small bowl. Rub the pork shoulder all over and press dry rub into the meat. Set aside.
- Chop an onion and place in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the dry rubbed pork shoulder on top of the onions and pour 1 bottle of root beer and your favorite BBQ sauce over the pork. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours.
- Pour 1 bottle of root beer in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and turn to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until reduced to about 1/3 cup of syrup.
- Remove cooked pork to a plate, remove any bone and pull the pork (shred). Set aside.
- Pour the onion, root beer and BBQ sauce mixture from slow cooker into the saucepan with the root beer reduction and either use a hand immersion blender or pour it into a blender and purée. Cook and reduce until it is a catsup like consistency and pour over the pulled pork.
- Serve the glazed pulled pork on a roll or bun of choice with coleslaw.
- Add the chili, garlic and onion powders, salt, dry mustard, paprika and fennel and celery seeds to a spice grinder or food processor and pulse several times to blend if you only have whole fennel seeds to start with. I keep ground fennel seeds on hand in a small airtight container for different spice blends.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Other Pulled Pork Recipes
- Southern Pulled Pork
SUPER tender meat and a sauce made with orange juice, zest, cinnamon and cloves. It’s perfect for dipping.
- Classic Pulled Pork Sandwich
Succulent, BBQ slathered meat stacked high on a toasted bun with coleslaw and pickles.
- Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
These sandwiches start with a slow roasted pork shoulder, dry rubbed with spices and basted with a delicious balsamic and honey sauce. Layered on buttered sourdough bread with lots of cheddar cheese, they are pan fried for the ultimate grilled cheese!
- Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich with Pineapple
After pulling the meat, it’s stuffed in a ciabatta roll with a layer of mashed black beans, a drizzle of Mexican crema, cilantro and diced pineapple. One of those messy-but-worth-it sandwiches!