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This slow cooker pulled pork with root beer is sure to be an absolute hit at your next BBQ. No oven, no fuss, just cooking it low and slow in the crockpot. The pork is cooked in a rich sauce of root beer, BBQ sauce, and the perfect combination of seasonings for extra flavor until it is fall-apart tender. Pile it on a soft bun and top with crunchy coleslaw for the ultimate pork sandwich.
Need a dish that works for any season or occasion? This recipe for slow cooker root beer pulled pork is just the ticket. Everyone asks for seconds, and it’s so easy to whip up. Just combine root beer, a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce, and a tasty blend of seasonings and spices to cook the pork roast in.
Cooking pork low and slow in the crock pot is a sure-fire way to get pork that’s succulent, tender, and melts in your mouth. The root beer also helps tenderize the meat and adds sweetness and that “wow” factor to the flavor. Make it for your next backyard BBQ, game day, or potluck!
And if you love an easy recipe made in the crockpot, you should give my Slow Cooker Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich a try. It’s a sweet and spicy sandwich with just the right amount of kick. Or if you’re looking for a twist on a classic, my Slow Cooker Mississippi Pork Roast is smothered in gravy and packed with flavor.
Ingredients for Root Beer Pulled Pork
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Boneless Pork Roast — I used a boneless pork shoulder butt roast. This cut of meat is perfect for pulled pork because of its high fat content, which melts down during slow cooking, creating tender, juicy, and flavorful meat. But any boneless pork roast of the same approximate size will work for this recipe as well.
- Root Beer — Root beer isn’t just for sipping on a hot summer day! It lends a sweet flavor to the pork, and the carbonation works wonders for tenderizing the meat.
- BBQ Sauce — Use any type of BBQ sauce you want. Try a bottle of your favorite sauce (ours is Sweet Baby Ray’s) or homemade BBQ sauce to add bold flavor and stick-sweet goodness to the pulled pork.
- Onion Powder — It adds depth of flavor to the dish.
- Garlic Salt — This nifty two-in-one ingredient adds garlic flavor and salt. Use garlic powder if you’re trying to cut down on sodium.
- Cajun Seasoning — Give that pork a little bit of kick!
- Smoked Paprika — This ingredient gives the pork a smoky flavor that mimics using a smoker or grill.
- Buns — Pile the root beer pulled pork on a soft, sweet bun.
- Coleslaw — Add coleslaw to your pork sandwiches for creamy, tangy flavor and a bit of crunch.
Equipment Needed for Crockpot Root Beer Pulled Pork
Here’s what you’ll need for root beer pulled pork in the crockpot:
- slow cooker
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- two forks or a hand mixer for shredding the pork
How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork With Root Beer
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray to prevent sticking and make cleanup easier. Place your pork roast in the slow cooker.
Step 2: Next, sprinkle your meat with onion powder, garlic salt, Cajun seasoning, and smoked paprika.
Step 3: After seasoning, pour your can of root beer into the slow cooker. Then, drizzle half of your BBQ sauce over the pork roast. If you’re using homemade barbecue sauce, you’ll use about 9 ounces for this step and 9 ounces right before serving.
Step 4: Put the lid on the slow cooker and let it work its magic for about 8-10 hours on low. You’ll know it’s done when the meat is so tender that it’s falling apart.
Step 5: Remove any remaining fat from the pork after it slow cooks, and then shred the meat in the cooking liquid using two forks, meat claws, or a hand mixer. Pour the rest of your barbeque sauce onto the shredded pork and stir everything together to ensure all the meat is coated with the sauce.
Step 7: Serve this delicious pulled pork on soft hamburger buns, and top with coleslaw, if desired.
Pair this delicious pulled pork with some yummy sides to round out this meal.
A creamy coleslaw is a no-brainer — it gives you that great crunch and freshness to balance out the richness of the pork. Baked beans are a classic side that never fails. And if you’re a fan of potato salad, our old-fashioned recipe is always a crowd pleaser.
Of course, you can never go wrong with a heaping pile of mac and cheese for just about any comfort food meal.
Storage and Freezing
Refrigerator: Store leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The flavor is even better the next day.
Freezer: It’s perfect for freezing! Place the pork in a freezer safe container or bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheat: To reheat the pulled pork, place it in the slow cooker, sauce pan, or microwave until warmed through.
Tips and Tricks for Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- Spray your crock pot with cooking spray to prevent sticking and make cleanup easier.
- I recommend pork shoulder or pork butt because they’re higher in fat content and are tougher cuts, which makes them perfect for slow cooking but you can certainly use a different cut of pork or a different size pork roast if you prefer.
- Adjust the cooking time if using a larger roast or leaner cut of pork. To be safe, always use a meat thermometer. For pulled pork, you want the internal temperature to reach 205°F.
- Marinate overnight in the fridge with the root beer, seasonings, and half of the BBQ sauce if you have the time. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat more deeply.
- Shred pork using a hand mixer to speed things up if you don’t want to use the fork method.
- Check for doneness at about 7 hours. Remember that not all slow cookers cook at the same rate — some will take a little less time, and others will take a little more. The pork should be tender enough to easily shred with a fork.
Additions and Variations
Spice it up. Add red pepper flakes, a pinch of cayenne, or a spicy BBQ sauce if your like your pulled pork with a little bit of heat.
Use a different kind of soda. If you’re not a fan of the root beer flavor, you can substitute it with Coca Cola or Dr. Pepper for a similar taste.
Try additional toppings. In addition to coleslaw, try topping the pulled pork with pickled red onions or jalapeños for an extra tangy kick.
Add liquid smoke. Try adding a dash of liquid smoke to the slow cooker to give your pulled pork a deeper, smokier flavor.
Use different meats. If pork isn’t your thing or you want to mix it up a bit, try the recipe with chicken or beef roast. Cooking times may vary.
Root Beer Pulled Pork FAQ
The combination of sweet, spicy, and creamy flavors brings an interesting depth of flavor to the pork.
Root beer does two things when added to your meat. First, it acts as a tenderizer. The acids and carbonation in the root beer help to break down the tough muscle fibers of the pork, making it super tender. Second, the sugars in the root beer caramelize during cooking, creating a delicious, sticky-sweet glaze that’s simply irresistible.
The phrase you’ll most often hear for tender pork is to cook it “low and slow.” Slow cooking over a lower heat allows the fat and connective tissue in the pork to gradually break down and melt. This process tenderizes the meat, keeps it moist, and adds loads of flavor.
Dr. Pepper and Coke are popular choices for this pork sandwich recipe because they also have a sweet flavor that works well with pork. Ginger ale could be another great option. If you’re looking for something less sweet, you might even consider a hearty ale or stout. Just remember, the goal is to tenderize the meat and add a touch of sweetness.
Sure, if you know you like diet soda, you can use diet root beer in this recipe to cut carbs, sugar, and calories.
Easy Slow Cooker Recipes
Love this root beer pulled pork recipe and want more slow cooker recipes for your family dinners? Try one of these favorites:
- Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak — when you’re craving comfort food, this really hits the spot.
- Slow Cooker Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes — kids and adults both love this one!
- 3 Ingredient Crock Pot Pork Chops – dinner doesn’t get any easier than this creamy 3-ingredient recipe.
- Corn on the Cob in a Slow Cooker – tender, perfectly cooked corn that goes well with this and other BBQs dishes.
- Slow Cooker Brisket with Barbecue Sauce — another great recipe for your summer BBQ parties!
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork With Root Beer
- 3-4 pound boneless pork roast
- 12 ounces root beer about 1 ½ cups
- 18 ounces BBQ sauce divided
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- buns optional, for serving
- coleslaw optional, for topping
- Place the pork roast into the slow cooker.
- Cover the pork roast with the seasonings.
- Pour the root beer into the slow cooker.
- Pour half of the bottle of BBQ sauce over the pork.
- Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until the meat is falling apart.
- Discard any remaining fat from the pork. Shred the pork using two forks or meat claws and return to the slow cooker. Top with the rest of the BBQ sauce and stir to combine.
- Serve on buns with coleslaw, or as desired.