There's no other man-pleasing meal like pulled pork. I know this for a fact because nothing puts a bigger smile on Cole's face than pulled pork. That's why I decided, on the Super Bowl, the one day of the year where it's required to eat man-pleasing, meaty, beer-guzzling food, to make my Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork.
As much as I'd love to make my pulled pork out of a large, pig-shaped smoker (#lifegoals), making good pulled pork doesn't require a smoker! Anyone can pull off that classic, smoky, slow cooked flavor from none other than a slow cooker. And this recipe is so simple for such a delicious final product – you're going to be hooked!
If you were skeptical from the very get go with the words "Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork", hear me out! I saw some buzz on the interwebs about people cooking meats low and slow with syrupy sodas – either Dr. Pepper, Root Beer or Coke. I couldn't believe what I was seeeing! But then I remembered: the key to succulent, tender pork is acid and sugar. What has a hell of a lot of acid and sugar? Soda! Yes, it's bad for you and I am not endorsing it, but dang does it do some magic on a pork shoulder. Trust me.
So after eight hours of low and slow cooking of this pork (your house is going to smell uh-mazing), that big pork shoulder turns into pure comfort food nirvana. The chipotle peppers and onions are the key to savory, spicy and smoky flavor and the Dr. Pepper is the brains behind the molassey, tender pieces of pork. I dare you to not sneak bites of it when you're finished pulling it. Mmm mmm MMM.
For the big game, I'm serving these Cole's favorite way: on Hawaiian rolls (for a touch of sweetness) with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce and a quick spicy slaw, because if you're enjoying pulled pork on a bun, crunchy slaw is mandatory. Wash it down with a cold beer and you're game-day ready!
If you can manage any leftovers, throw together a pan of enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, tatchos (tater tot nachos), casseroles…the possibilities are quite literally endless.
Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
- 1 pork shoulder roast
- 1 onion, chopped roughly
- 3-4 chipotles in adobo with sauce
- 2 cups Dr. Pepper
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bag cabbage blend mixture
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dijon
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Johnny's seasoning salt
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- Hawaiian rolls
- Spicy slaw
- BBQ sauce, such as Sweet Baby Ray's
Trim excess fat off of pork shoulder. If the shoulder is over 4 pounds, cut into 2-3 smaller pieces. Season each piece generously with salt and pepper. Place onions in the bottom of a slow cooker and set pork pieces directly on top. Place chipotle peppers and sauce on top of pork and pour over Dr. Pepper. Cook on low for 8-9 hours.
In a small bowl, combine mayo, cider vinegar, dijon, sriracha, Johnny's and celery salt. Add cabbage mixture to bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Remove pork from slow cooker and place on baking sheet. Take two forks to pull pork apart until shredded and chunky. If you prefer a spicier pork, shred the chipotle peppers and mix into pork mixture, or discard if you prefer a more mild pork. Drizzle some remaining cooking liquid over pork and bake for 5-10 minutes at 375 to allow pork to crisp. Serve on Hawaiian rolls with spicy slaw and BBQ sauce.