This Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork recipe is sweet, tangy, and downright delicious. It’s perfect for entertaining, and the root beer barbecue sauce alone is worth the make!

This recipe serves 12 people and costs approximately $29.37 to make. That’s about $2.45per serving. 

Summer BBQs and get-togethers are upon us. My Boston Baked Beans recipe pairs nicely with this recipe.

A picture of the pulled pork on a roll on a plate.

Root Beer Pulled Pork

Sometimes pulled pork made with soda can be way too sweet. So to balance out the sweet soda and brown sugar in most recipes, I adapted my favorite Carolina barbecue sauce recipe, that’s a bit tangy, to make it into a spectacular root beer barbecue sauce! It’s sweet and tangy with just the right touch of root beer flavor!

Some excellent sides that go with root beer pulled pork include the slow cooker baked beans I mentioned before and coconut rice, cornbread, and mashed cauliflower.

A 9x13 baking dish with the finished pulled pork in it.

Ingredients and Estimated Cost:

Per Serving Cost: $2.45

Recipe Cost: $29.37

  • 4 Tablespoons paprika: $2.48
  • 3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar: $0.09
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder: $0.16
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin: $0.10
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper: $0.31
  • 2 teaspoons table salt: $0.04
  • 5-6 pounds boneless pork butt: $17.64
  • 2 cups root beer: $0.70
  • 12 Kaiser or hamburger buns: $6.48
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar: $0.30
  • ½ cup root beer: $0.18
  • ¾ cup ketchup: $0.66
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar: $0.11
  • 1 ½ teaspoons liquid smoke: $0.09
  • Salt and pepper: $0.03A picture of the ingredients needed to make this recipe.

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The recipe cost is calculated by the amounts needed for the recipe. Therefore, the actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. I updated the pricing for this recipe in May 2023.

 

How To Make Root Beer Pulled Pork

***For complete recipe instructions see the recipe card below.

This may seem like a more involved recipe, but it’s actually straightforward. 

For the spice rub:

  1. Add all the rub ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

For the pork:

  1. Coat each pork piece with the spice rub.
  2. Place pork pieces into the slow cooker insert, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. When ready to cook, remove the plastic wrap and place the slow cooker insert onto the base. 
  4. Pour root beer over pork, cover, and cook on LOW until pork is tender, 8-10 hours.
  5. Carefully move the pork to a foil-lined cookie sheet. Then, shred pork into large chunks using forks and discard extra fat. 
  6. Cool the pork while you make root beer barbecue sauce.

For the sauce:

  1. While the pork cools, set a strainer over a large saucepan. Pour cooking liquid through the strainer, and skim excess fat from the surface. You should have 5-6 cups of liquid. 
  2. Bring liquid to boil over medium-high and continue to cook to reduce liquid to 1 cup, 30-40 minutes.
  3. While the cooking liquid boils, in a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together vinegar, root beer (be careful because it will foam – that’s why you need a large measuring cup and pour slowly!), ketchup, and brown sugar.
  4. Once the cooking liquid is reduced to 1 cup, pour in the vinegar mixture and simmer for 5-6 minutes to thicken slightly. 
  5. Off heat, stir in liquid smoke and root beer concentrate (optional). You should have about 3 cups of sauce.

To finish:

  1. Pour half of the sauce over the pork, and use tongs to toss to combine. 
  2. Let the pork sit to absorb the sauce for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Season pork with salt and pepper. 
  4. Serve with the extra root beer barbecue sauce standing by!

A picture collage showing how to make this recipe.

 

Recipe Variations and Substitutions

  1. Soda Variation: Instead of root beer, try using cola, Dr. Pepper, or ginger ale for a different flavor twist.
  2. Spice Substitutions: Add a kick to the dish by replacing the paprika with smoked paprika or additional chili powder. 
  3. Meat Options: Substitute pork butt with pork loin, chicken thighs, or beef chuck roast for alternative meat choices.
  4. Seasoning Enhancements: Experiment with additional herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, or onion powder to elevate the flavors.

Storage and Serving Tips

SERVE: As soon as you finish the sauce, you can serve your pork immediately!

STORE: Leftover root beer pulled pork can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

REHEAT: To heat leftover root beer pulled pork, add one tablespoon of water for every cup of pulled pork and heat in the microwave on high until warmed through.

Recipe FAQs

How long does it take to make root beer pulled pork?

This recipe takes about an hour to prep and ten hours to cook in the crockpot.

How many servings does this recipe produce?

This recipe should feed about 12 people. So it’s great for a big dinner!

Should I add the root beer concentrate?

I like adding a teaspoon of root beer concentrate to the barbecue sauce to heighten the flavor without adding more sugar. But, of course, you can leave this out, and it will be every bit as delicious!

Can I cook the pork on high heat if I’m short on time?

I DO NOT recommend cooking this root beer pulled pork on high heat. When it’s cooked on high heat, it’s being boiled, altering the meat’s texture. Trust me, it’s not good. 

A picture of the Pulled Pork on a roll on a plate with potato chip and pickles on the side of the plate.

More Pork Recipes:

●      Instant Pot Pork Chops

●      Chipotle Pork Tacos

●      Easy Pork Loin Roast

●      Skillet Pork Chops

●      Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

A up close view of the Pulled Pork on a roll with coslaw on top.
4.75 from 4 votes

Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork

Author Jillian – a Food, Folks and Fun original!
Recipe Cost $ $29.37
Serving Cost $ $2.45
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 11 hours
12 people
This Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork recipe is sweet, tangy, and downright delicious. It’s perfect for entertaining, and the root beer barbecue sauce alone is worth the make!

Equipment

  • slow cooker
  • small mixing bowl
  • plastic wrap
  • strainer
  • Sauce pan
  • large liquid measuring cup
  • wisk
  • Measuring cups
  • tongs

Ingredients
 
 

SPICE RUB:

PORK:

  • 5-6 pounds boneless pork butt Boston butt, cut into 3 even pieces
  • 2 cups root beer

SAUCE:

FOR SERVING:

  • 12 Kaiser or hamburger buns

Instructions

FOR SPICE RUB:

  • In small bowl add all rub ingredients and stir to combine; set aside.

FOR PORK:

  • Coat each pork piece with spice rub. Place pork pieces into slow cooker insert, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  • When ready to cook, remove plastic wrap and place slow cooker insert onto base. Pour root beer over pork, cover, and cook on LOW until pork is tender, 8-10 hours.
  • Carefully move pork to foil-lined cookie sheet. Using forks shred pork into large chunks and discard extra fat. Cool pork while you make root beer barbecue sauce.

FOR ROOT BEER BARBECUE SAUCE:

  • While pork cools, set strainer over large saucepan. Pour cooking liquid through strainer, and skim excess fat from surface (you should have 5-6 cups of liquid). Bring liquid to boil over medium-high and continue to cook to reduce liquid to 1 cup, 30-40 minutes.
  • While cooking liquid boils, in large liquid measuring cup whisk together vinegar, root beer (be careful because it will foam – that’s why you need a large measuring cup and pour slowly!), ketchup, and brown sugar.
  • Once cooking liquid is reduced to 1 cup, pour in vinegar mixture and simmer for 5-6 minutes to thicken slightly. Off heat stir in liquid smoke and root beer concentrate (optional). You should have about 3 cups of sauce.

TO FINISH:

  • Pour half of sauce over pork, and use tongs to toss to combine. Let pork sit to absorb sauce, about 10 minutes. Season pork with salt and pepper. Serve with the extra root beer barbecue sauce standing by!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 896mg | Potassium: 855mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 1630IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 5mg

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4.75 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. Delicious! Just the thing for my weekend bbq.

  2. Everyone loved the pork. Thanks for the recipe!