I couldn’t help it y’all. I have another slow cooker recipe for you. But I am positive that you will follow me to slow cooker obsession (if you aren’t already there) when you take a gander at this Coca-Cola pulled pork. It’s tender, it’s juicy, it’s sweet, it’s smoky, it’s budget friendly. I mean how much more can you ask of me? We’re also going to talk a little bit about what cut of meat you should be choosing to ensure juicy and tender pulled pork. So grab your pork, grab your Coke (no, not that kind) and let’s make the best pulled pork you’ve ever had.
Pulled pork is so versatile and, with this recipe, incredibly easy as well. I personally love the slow cooker recipes that cook all day, around eight hours, and require zero hands-on efforts at any time during those hours. They are so perfect for people who are away from home or have other priorities during the day because you can literally set it and forget it and come home to a perfect meal. As I mentioned in my slow cooker chicken broth post, one thing I love about my Crock Pot is that it has a warm feature. Once the timer goes off, it automatically switches to the warm setting to keep my food ready to eat without getting overcooked and dry. I’m never home exactly eight hours after I’ve left for work and the warm setting allows me to have zero worry about my food sitting in the slow cooker.
Before we get into the recipe, I want to talk to you about the cut of pork you should be using for any pulled pork recipe including mine. There are some recipes for pulled pork out there that call for using a pork loin, but I must respectfully disagree with using this particular cut of meat for pulled pork. The loin, while delicious when cooked correctly, does not have enough fat or connective tissue to turn out a juicy and tender slow-cooked pulled pork. Tenderloin is extremely lean and needs a relatively quick cooking time so that it doesn’t dry out. A quick cooking time does not give you the texture needed to pull the meat. The only time I’ve seen the loin used successfully as pulled pork is when it is cooked inside an entire pig. The fat and juices from the other parts of the pig keep the loin basted during the slow cooking time. So, if you are roasting a whole pig, feel free to use the loin and definitely be sure to send me an invitation. Otherwise, I would steer clear of the loin for your slow cooking and pulled pork needs.
Instead, I want you to look for a pork shoulder, pork butt, or Boston butt at your meat counter. These three names all identify the same cut of meat, coming from the front of the pig. You can find these with and without the bone and should have a nice layer of fat on the bottom. It’s a tough piece of meat and layered with fat which means it’s the perfect cut to cook low and slow. This cooking technique takes that tough meat and turns it into juicy, succulent, and fork-tender pulled pork. Tough cuts of meat are also very budget friendly which means you can make an amazing meal for very little cash. I picked up a nine pound, bone-in pork butt for about $12 at my grocery store which is reasonable, but I can often find it for a few bucks cheaper than that too. You only need about 3-4lbs for this recipe so I cut mine in half (mine had a bone so one half ended up with the bone, one without) which means I’m getting two recipes worth of pork for those $12. And let me tell you, those 3-4lbs will give you a lot of pulled pork. The huns buns and I enjoyed pulled pork for three nights and still had a few more meals worth to freeze. It’s perfect for a large family or to feed a crowd for a party or football gathering. The leftovers freeze super well so don’t be afraid of making this recipe if you are a smaller family.
While the name of this recipe specifies using Coca-Cola, you can really use any brown soda that you prefer. Except for Pepsi. This Atlantan does not allow Pepsi in her house and I’m certainly not going to encourage my readers to drink it, but Cherry Coke or Dr. Pepper or Cheerwine would also be amazing here! Have y’all ever had Cheerwine? It’s a North Carolina thing though it’s available in most Southern states. It’s like Cherry Coke with the cherry flavor amplified a thousand times over. Maybe two thousand.
Pulled pork is amazing on its own with some simple side dishes like slaw and baked beans but there are so many ways to enjoy it. Throw it in between some chewy, crusty bread for the perfect sandwich. Use it as a topping for nachos or cheesefries or pizza. Mix it in to your mac ‘n’ cheese. Put it in a lettuce wrap with some mango and avocado. Throw some in a tortilla with melty cheese for out of this world quesadillas. Top your salad or sweet potato for a healthier twist. Leave me a comment telling me your favorite way to enjoy pulled pork!
- 3-4lbs pork shoulder/pork butt/Boston butt
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced
- 2.5 cups BBQ sauce
- 1 12oz. can Coca Cola or other dark soda
- Lawry's seasoning salt or other seasoning salt
- Place sliced onions in the slow cooker, covering entire bottom surface.
- Coat pork with a generous layer of seasoning salt. Don't be afraid to really pack it on there and make sure to cover all sides. Sprinkle pepper on all sides as well. Place seasoned pork in the slow cooker on top of onions, fat side up.
- In a bowl, combine BBQ sauce and soda and stir to combine. Pour over pork.
- Place top on slow cooker and cook on low for eight hours.
- After eight hours, remove the pork to a large plate or platter and use two forks to shred pork. Pork should shred very easily. Remove bone at this time as well if present.
- Return pulled pork to the slow cooker, stir to coat in the sauce, and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.
-Do not throw out those onions! They have been cooking down in the sweetest juice imaginable and are amazing on top of your pulled pork sandwiches.
-If your pork is so tender that you can’t even lift it out of the slow cooker without it falling apart (congratulations), just shred it right in the slow cooker. You may just need to fish the bone and some excess fat out.
-Don’t have a slow cooker? Check out the one I love and use here which has the warming feature I spoke about above. The reviews and ratings speak for themselves. Though I will say that if I had to go back and do it again, I would get this particular deal which comes with the exact same Crock Pot plus a mini warmer which is wonderful for dips and even fondue.
More Slow-Cooker Ideas:
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