Root Beer Pulled Pork

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Root Beer Pulled Pork is meant to be piled onto buns for the best sandwiches!

root beer pulled pork sandwich sitting on a brown and white plate with orange and yellow polka dots

When I have little time for making dinner (or when I don’t really feel like cooking), I turn to my slow cooker to make dinner for us. And I usually make something large enough that will give us a couple of nights of good dinners. It’s a relief to come home to “dinner already done,” and it’s a whole lot healthier than picking up fast food. These slow cooker root beer pulled pork sandwiches are a repeat recipe at my house. Everyone loves them!

pork roast sitting on a cutting board

How to make Root Beer Pulled Pork:

Purchase a pork roast- butt or shoulder cut, and trim it of any obvious excess fat slabs.

pork roast on a cutting board, topped with spices

Sprinkle on an envelope of dried onion soup mix (or some dehydrated onions).

hands rubbing in spices onto pork shoulder

With clean hands, rub the mix into the meat on all sides. Give it a good sprinkle of salt and pepper too.

pork roast topped with spices sitting in a slow cooker getting ready to cook

Place your seasoned roast into your slow cooker.

mug root beer can and a bottle of Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce

In a medium bowl, mix a can of root beer with a half cup of your favorite bbq sauce. I like the Jack Daniel’s brand, but Sweet Baby Rays is pretty darn good too.

pouring barbecue sauce onto pork roast in a slow cooker

Pour the root beer-BBQ sauce mixture over your pork roast. Then let it cook LOW and slow for 10 or 11 hours.

The best slow cooker:

I view the slow cooker as an absolutely essential small appliance to keep in your kitchen. It’s important to have a good slow cooker that has helpful features. My favorite slow cooker is this Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker. I’ve had it for many years now, and it’s still going strong. The features this slow cooker offers are awesome.

  • The lid locks, so it’s easy to take with you if you’re going to a party.
  • Both the insert and the lid are dishwasher safe.
  • It has digital programming, so you can mix and match temperature and cooking times.
  • When cooking time is up, it automatically switches to “warm,” so you don’t have to be home when it’s done.

fork pulling pork on a cutting board

When your roast has reached an internal temperature of over 190 degrees F., the meat should pull easily apart and away from the bone. At this point you can remove the roast to a cutting board and use two forks to pull apart the meat into shreds. It then goes back into the (almost drained) slow cooker with more BBQ sauce and is left to heat for a few minutes.

close up showing hamburger bun with pulled pork in the middle, sitting on a white plate

Serve a good scoopful of pulled pork on a warmed bun. We like ours with potato salad (easy to make ahead) and pickles.

root beer pulled pork sandwich sitting on a brown and white plate with two pickles on the side on an orange and yellow polka dots

And you can see just how very tender this pork turns out to be. Perfect. And easy. And stress-free for those busy (or lazy) days. Enjoy!

Here are a few more sandwich recipes you might like to try:

root beer pulled pork sandwich sitting on a brown and white plate with orange and yellow polka dots
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Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches

These sandwiches are a big time family favorite!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 11 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 334kcal
Course Sandwiches
Cuisine American
Keyword pulled pork, root beer

Ingredients

  • One 5 to 6 pound bone-in shoulder pork shoulder/ butt roast
  • One 2-ounce envelope dried onion soup mix
  • salt and pepper
  • One 12-ounce can root beer
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce, divided
  • buns for serving

Instructions

  • Trim the pork roast of excess fat. It's okay to leave some on there-- just get rid of the large, visible slabs.
  • Place the pork roast on a work surface and sprinkle with the onion soup mix. Use clean hands to rub the mix into the meat, reaching underneath to reach all sides. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place the seasoned roast in your slow cooker insert.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the root beer and 1/2 cup barbecue sauce. Pour over the roast in the slow cooker.
  • Place thee lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW heat for 10 to 11 hours, or until the internal temperature is above 190 degrees F. and meat is tender enough to pull away from the bone.
  • Remove the roast to a cutting board and let it sit to cool for just a few minutes. Pour out all but about 3/4 cup of the juices from the slow cooker. Use two forks to shred the pork, cutting around and discarding any fatty pieces. Place all of your pulled pork back into your slow cooker. Add about 1½ cups of barbecue sauce. Stir to combine and place the lid back on. Heat on HIGH for about 15 to 20 minutes, just until pork and juices are hot and bubbly. Use this time to heat up your buns and get the rest of your meal ready.
  • Scoop the pulled pork onto the buns and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Nutritional information is for pulled pork only (1 serving for 10 servings total). Buns should be counted as extra.
  • *If you don't wish to make such a large roast, you can use the same ingredients for a smaller roast too. You can likely cut down a bit on the cooking time, and use less barbecue sauce when adding it in at the end.
  • *For the most tender pulled pork, I do not recommend trying to short-cut the recipe by cooking it on HIGH heat. Low and slow is best!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 334kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 1152mg | Potassium: 645mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 136IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg
More Pulled Pork Recipes...
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Comments

  • Elena Johnson wrote:

    Iwas gonna making tomorrow but forgot to buy a root beer. My grocery store far away. Do you think it will work with dr pepper instead? Thanks.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I think so!

  • Caren wrote:

    I like to make and shred this a day ahead.  I strain the juices and refrigerate overnight, juice in a container and meat in a bag.  Next day II skim off the layer of fat.  From there I use the recommended amount of juice and bbq sauce, mix with meat and reheat in a kettle.  You can do the same and instead of reheating at that time, you can freeze in a freezer bag, flat, so it is easy to thaw and reheat. 

  • Susie wrote:

    I would like to make this in advance and freeze it and transport it to my daughter’s graduation party. What are your suggestions for serving so it won’t dry out? I’m making this for a crowd and will put it in those Costco foil/sterno chaffing dishes to serve.
    Should I prepare it to the shredding stage, freeze, then add bbq sauce when I heat it to serve? Should I save and freeze the liquid that’s poured off to add a little when reheating?
    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I think both things you suggested make sense… prepare to shredding, but I’d definitely freeze it in a bit of liquid or bbq sauce so it doesn’t dry out. It’s tough to say what will be best. Can you do a test-run, freeze a little and see how it works?

  • Nikki wrote:

    Do you think this would work with diet root beer?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Diet root beer doesn’t have sugar in it to create the flavor you’re looking for here, but I’m sure others have probably used it so go for it!

  • Patti wrote:

    I have made this before and it’s the bomb!! So easy to put together in the morning.

  • Janelle wrote:

    Made 8 roasts for my son’s graduation party. So easy and everyone raved about the delicious pork! Also, it freezes well, as we had two quart size bags left, which was perfect for those busy nights!

  • Sonia wrote:

    We just got a slow cooker but the food has a very different taste..I have tried different spieces but still taste different. I don’t know how to explain except that it is very unique…it’s that normal??? We are going to cook the pulled pork this week and I’ll let you know how it was…

  • Erica wrote:

    This was delicious! This might be the only way I make pulled pork from now on.

  • Sheila wrote:

    Thanks Lori. Turned out great just as the recipe directed. 🙂 Since the roast was so huge I just used a bit of extra sauce.

  • Sheila wrote:

    I have a close to 7 lb bone in shoulder roast. Does the liquid need to cover the roast? I’m not sure than a can of rootbeer and a 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce is going to do the trick for my large crockpot that will accommodate that large of a roast…. Advice?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      The liquid will not cover the roast. I suppose you could always 1 1/2 the sauce portion of the recipe if you’re concerned that there will not be enough.

  • stacy wrote:

    This recipe has renewed my love for BBQ pulled pork. Yum!! I was hesitant about the root beer, but it turned out wonderful. Thank you!

    One thing I did differently – I skipped the final step of draining and adding additional barbecue sauce (husband prefers his without the extra barbecue). We drained the meat as it was served and I dipped mine in barbecue sauce. Everyone was happy and I will definitely make this recipe again!

  • Kathleen wrote:

    Thanks, Lori. I guess that makes the best sense. If I put them on at 8AM, they should be cooked by 6PM and I’m hoping to have everyone sit down at around 7:30. By the time I take it off the bone and heat on High with the barbecue sauce it would be around 6:30. I’m sure it won’t hurt if I have it all ready and just keep it on the warming setting for less than an hour, right?

  • Kathleen wrote:

    This looks wonderful and I think I’m going to make two for a large family gathering. I would like to let them cook in the crock pots overnight, but I’m wondering how to keep them for several hours before serving. I’m thinking they’d be cooked by 10AM, and I would be serving around 7PM. Any ideas? I would certainly not want to risk drying them out!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Can you just cook them in the crock pots during the day and have them ready in late afternoon?

  • Rob wrote:

    These look amazing, I’m going to give them a try! Would it be okay to get it all prepped and in the crock pot the night before to marinate, then just pull it out of the fridge and turn it on in the morning?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Yes, but I think I’d add the bbq sauce/root beer in the morning. Not sure about the root beer sitting in the fridge and flattening. I haven’t tried it that way.

  • JudyL wrote:

    Years ago I had a recipe for rootbeer bbq chicken cooked in a crockpot. It was delicious, but unfortunately I lost the recipe. This looks really similar from what I remember, except that insted of pork, you used cut chicken pieces & omitted the buns.So, I’m glad to see this recipe, may use it both ways! Thanks!

  • LisaA wrote:

    I loved this recipe! It was a perfect work-day meal! I made it on Thursday, and we’re having left-overs all weekend- the whole family loved it. Thanks!

  • CherieZ wrote:

    Oh this sounds delish!!! is it OK for me to post this on my blog and link it back to you??
    have a blessed day!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      @CherieZ, Link & photo, yes… but would like the recipe itself to stay on my site. Thanks for asking first 🙂