Friday, October 5, 2012

Slow Cooker Coke Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Coke Pulled Pork, often called Three Ingredient Pulled Pork, because it's typically made with a pork roast, barbecue sauce and most often, either Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper or root beer. Pictured here with homemade fries and my Apple Coleslaw

Slow Cooker Coke Pulled Pork

I know, I know, it's supposed to be Fall, well... according to the calendar at least, that is. Although we got another nice blast of slightly cooler air again this week here in the Deep South, blink and we're right back into mid to upper-80 degree temps during the days and, well... it's still hurricane season for us anyway. It's pretty much still summer here, far as we're concerned. The nice parts of summer though, that we love so much here - beautiful blue, sunny skies and warm temperatures - but with that highly coveted lower humidity. Finally come out of the house without melting, nice to be outdoors weather!

Honestly the weather is flat out gorgeous right now y'all - perfect for our big annual Cruisin' the Coast event starting Sunday. If you're a classic car buff and you've never been, you really should make a trip down to check it out! It's a very big deal along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and a site to see.

Photo Credit: Crusin' the Coast
Anyway, while we love this time of year here along the Coast, unlike many of you who are actually getting a real taste of Fall, we're still a bit hesitant to get real excited just yet about apple and pumpkin desserts, or soups and stews. Now, pulled pork? Yeah, I can get behind that anytime of the year, and besides... it's always a great addition to those football parties anyway, right?

I titled this recipe 'Slow Cooker "Coke" Pulled Pork,' but, if you're from The South, you know what that means.

Couple goes to KFC while out on errands. Wife tells her husband she would like a pot pie and a coke and her husband waits for the order while she grabs a booth. He hollers from across the room:
"Hun, whatdayawanna drink?
   A coke please.
What kind of coke?
They don't have Coke.
  Okay, then Dr Pepper.
They don't have Dr Pepper. They have Pepsi.
   Okay {sigh}, Pepsi then."
True story. Yes, that, in fact was me and The Cajun when we stopped at a KFC while out and about on errands recently. If you're a Southerner you understand this "what kind of coke" conversation completely. Pretty good pot pie too by the way - first time I've ever had a KFC pot pie. I am so fast food sheltered. Well, you couldn't tell it from my ... well, nevermind.

Where were we? Oh... in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not really in the Pepsi generation. I'm more a 'like to teach the world to sing' Co-Cola gal, and have been my whole life, but in the absence of a good ole genuine Coca-Cola, I will take a Dr Pepper. Or a Pepsi ... if I have no other choice. Coca-Cola is indeed King in the Deep South, but if you live where I'm from, your coke of choice just might be a Barq's root beer, in the bottle.

Because Deep South Dish is visited by folks from all over the U.S. and, even the world, I don't generally tend to use the term "coke" quite as loosely here on the site as we do regionally in our virtual lives - and though it pains me to have to say soft drink, I know y'all know what I mean when I say that - where the generic term of coke would probably just confuse everybody. Just know that When in The South, the term "coke" might mean Coca-Cola, but it could mean Dr Pepper or even root beer... the three most commonly used cokes at my house for this pulled pork recipe. In fact, the pork pictured here was made with Dr Pepper, and while some folks have ventured off into other flavors, those are the top three for me. They are all equally good.

So enough of the foodlore about our use of the word coke. Hey, we've got our ways, us Southerners and about all I can say about that is, well, if you're not from here, just get here as fast as you can!

This is a recipe that's been around for years, and is often referred to as three ingredient pulled pork, since the base is simply pork, some kind of coke and some kind of sauce to finish it with - pretty much a 'dump and go' recipe. Y'all ought to know by now that I rarely leave well enough alone though, right? Not that I like to randomly add ingredients just to trip y'all up or anything like that - I just like bumping up the flavor is all!

Here's how to make it.

Firstly {is that a real word? I don't really know - I just wanted to say it!}, I like to season and sear the meat. Just a little salt, pepper and Cajun will do it, but use your favorite pork rub, or whatever you want. This piece was bone-in and I cut it up around the bones to make it fit better in my pot.

Scatter some onion on top. Not a massive amount, just enough for some flavor.

I also like to combine the coke with a little barbecue sauce to add some more flavor to the pork along with the coke.

Cover and let it go all day. Or about 8 to 10 hours. Uncooked on the left, cooked on the right.

Here's that neat shredding tip you may have seen making the rounds on the internet thanks to Pinterest. Dump the chunks of meat into your stand mixer.

And, using the paddle attachment, beat it on low a few seconds until it's shredded. It's a cool tip really... if you don't mind having to clean the stand mixer. Truthfully, I usually just dump the meat into the container I intend to serve or store it in, grab tongs and a fork and get to work pulling the meat.

Sauce it up and dig in!

Recipe: Slow Cooker "Coke" Pulled Pork

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 10 hours | Yield: About 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 (4 to 6 pound) pork butt or shoulder
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Cajun seasoning, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced (about a cup)
  • 2 (12 ounce) cans of Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper or root beer
  • 1 cup of homemade or commercial barbecue sauce, plus more for dressing

Cut meat into large pieces to fit the slow cooker, if needed. Season all over with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning; rub in. Sear in oil, then add to slow cooker, scatter onions on top. Mix the root beer, Dr Pepper or Coke with 1 cup of barbecue sauce and pour over and around the pork. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until meat is tender and shreds easily. Shred the meat, toss with additional barbecue sauce or serve the sauce on the side.

Cook's Notes: I used a 6 quart slow cooker. Cooking time will be dependent on the size roast you use and whether it is bone-in or boneless. If possible, turn the meat every few hours. Pork butt or shoulder is always the least expensive and most flavorful cut to use for pulled pork, although it is possible to substitute a pork loin in the crockpot. It is a much leaner cut however, and the result will be more dry and less flavorful than a butt or shoulder. Can also use this recipe with beef roast or chicken; adjust cooking times as needed.

Tip: If you have the time, transfer some of the drippings to a large pot and boil until reduced at least by half. Skim off any fat and use the reduction to flavor the shredded meat.


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Posted by on October 5, 2012
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  1. Hi Mary, it was ironic to pop in here and see you doing pulled pork. Looks good!! It is 3:00 am here and just put a cider injected pork butt on my pellet smoker for about a 12 hour cook. Hope it is as good as your's looks! Smokin Don

  2. Oh My! Pulled Pork AND Dr. Pepper? You are singing my tune. I have a recipe that I use for the slow cooker, but I may have to give this a try.

  3. Looks great! My husband is from the "frozen Nawth", that is north of I-20, Oklahoma and they say "pop". Makes me shutter! I am from just outside Baton Rouge, where we live now. It is all coke to me!
    We are also going to Cruising the Coast next weekend. Where are good places to eat? That is usually the main thing on my mind anyway. Thanks for your great recipes.

    1. The weather is so perfect for Crusin' - you'll have a ball. So many places to eat - just follow the crowds!

  4. Oh Mary, this whole "coke" discussion has me laughing right out loud! I hail from a part of Nebraska where Pepsi is king! Growing up we would say "I'll have a soda." That way whether it was Coke or Pepsi it was just served as soda. When I moved away from the area and I would order a "coke" and the server say, "is Pepsi okay" at this point I just say "ya, whatever." For sure if I order a Pepsi I will hear "we don't have Pepsi, is Coke okay? Ya, whatever. Have a blessed weekend, Catherine

  5. LOL!!! I love the Coke dialogue. I am a Southerner now living in Nebraska where all coke is "pop" and wretched Pepsi is everywhere!! I have this same dialogue almost weekly with my Yankee husband always ending with "they only have Pepsi" and me rolling my eyes. Thanks for a slice of the south and helping my husband understand our true cultural differences! :) Now to get Yankees to understand the true power of a well made biscuit with butter and sorghum!

  6. I am in the West and we have a classic car show called "Hot August Nights" first week in August, over 5000 classic cars, 26th year, and it is a blast!!
    I am a Coke girl, my entire life, if they only have Pepsi, I pass, can't stand Pepsi!
    Loved Pulled Pork, haven't ever made it with Coke, I am definitely trying this one, thanks!

    1. I bet those folks head over here after Hot August Nights!! I think this is year 16 & I'm not sure how many cars they had last year but I just love seeing all the vehicles!!

    2. We have a '56 Chevy Truck and it's so much fun, love the cars!

  7. I am totally a "COKE" girl--pepsi ruins my day! I've try something with just the Dr. Pepper, not the bbq sauce, but that sounds good, so I'll give it a try. Love that it's crockpot weather again!! anne

    1. LOL Anne! I am definitely a Coke gal for sure. Pepsi is okay in a pinch, but there is a difference!

  8. I am soooo happy to have found this site! ALL my favorites recipes from home! I am from Texas then have been living in Alaska for the last 36 years. I am a good cook & love to see the variations on my childhood favorites. Goog job on this great site!

  9. Oh, my! This must be totally scrumptious! Can't wait to try it!

  10. Looks very good Mary and I like the mixer tip for shredding it.

    1. I can see how it comes in handy if you have a lot of pork to pull, but I pretty much stick with the tongs and fork thing.

  11. Here in Canada it's all called pop. Hearing 'soda' or 'soft drink' sounds strange. Also, not summer at all. Already had snow here.

    1. Whew - it is VERY much still summer down here in the southern part of the U.S. Al, but then I think that Canada does actually have 4 seasons - even if some are shorter than ours here in the U.S. We are mostly summer with a few days of fall, winter or spring thrown in for good measure!

      Pop is also the term used in the U.S. in the upper northern states - from the Midwest all the way over to Oregon. Soda is most often used in the Northeast, around St. Louis and also in California, while other areas use the term soft drink. In the southern-most states of the U.S. however, from the east coast to west Texas, it's all coke and that is primarily because the headquarters for Coca-Cola is in Atlanta GA. Apparently we southerners just like to lay claim to things that tie us together and calling your pop coke down here is one way we do that.

  12. Growing up in central IL, it was always "pop." Now, in St. Louis, which isn't that far away from Central IL, it is "soda."

    My sister and her family live in Memphis, her husband has lived there all his life. This is where I first heard the "coke" conversations. And I was confused and befuddled. When my nieces and nephews refer to 7-up or Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew as "coke" they always get that "what???" look from me! Going to restaurants with them and hearing the exchange with a server always makes me laugh!

    It is good to be true to who you are!!!! I gave up saying "pop" years ago - these St. Louisans can be mean and make fun. But here's the kicker - they can't say "forty." or "four". It comes out "farty" and "far." What is up with that???

    Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Yes in our family coke is the generic word for carbonated soft drink.

    I just pull pork by hand but a lot of the guys who make tons of it at a time use a long attachment on a power drill and a food safe 5 gallon bucket. It's entertaining at least.

  14. Mary, I LOVED the coke conversation. Sounds like one of many I had growing up in TN. We now live in the Heart of Texas and I rarely hear it here, mainly because everyone is ordering Dr Pepper. :)

    Can't wait to try this recipe, using Coca Cola. :) Pinning it so others can see it and try too. Thanks!!

  15. well i cant wait to try this out with my friends u see in the UK i dont think i know of anywere that dose pulled pork and i watch a lot of U.S cooking and i love the look of the ribs and pulled pork so i have now been and got the stuff that i can and will be cooking this for the first time tomorrow for some of my friends and my 3 boys so wish me luck

  16. Amazing recipe! Thank you!

  17. I love the ongoing soda struggle. Even though I’m from NYC, now living in SC, Coke has always been my beverage of choice. Besides, who ever heard of a ‘rum and Pepsi?’ That is just so wrong on so many levels.
    I love Dr. Pepper. And Sweet Baby Ray’s? I could eat that on my Wheaties. This recipe sounds like a must try. It also sounds like something I could used to feed 180 people at the end of this month when our church hosts the Synod of the Anglican Church of the Carolinas.
    I like the idea of the Kitchen Aid to shred the pork. I have used commercial tools for mixing stuff. For whipping 30 lbs. of potatoes in a 5 gal. pot, I've used what’s called a “mud mixer.” It’s a 3’ long chrome plated mixer head, connected to a 1/2” drill, used for mixing spackle and plaster. In the restaurant we used a similar device made by Hobart. Mine is a Home Depot.
    BTW, I’m sure you’ve all heard that the VP of Pepsi’s Marketing Division was fired last week.
    Yeah… he tested positive for Coke.
    God Bless.

    1. I've seen more than one power tool used in the process of cooking! The KA is handy for when you have a lot of butts to pull. Funny joke :) though folks around here would affectionately say "you ain't right!" :)

    2. Funny, my very dear friend and Vicar, a born, bred and raised Charleston, SC boy, say’s the very same thing, “You just ain’t right son.” ;-)

  18. As an Illinois farm boy transplanted to the South I have my own experiences with BBQ. Growing up, BBQ was Sloppy Joes or hamburgers and hot dogs from a charcoal grill. I was happily introduced to proper pit smoked pork BBQ in southeastern South Carolina. Over the next 30 years I lived and worked in Tidewater Virginia and a couple parts of North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, Western Kansas, Southern California and Northeast Arkansas. Everywhere had their own version of smoked meat they called BBQ. Most of it made for a very good meal. Not to offend anyone, smoked beef brisket in the southwest can be very good but it’s a distant second to good smoked pork! You can restart the Civil War with a discussion of BBQ sauce in the Carolina’s; they take their BBQ traditions very seriously. I have become very fond of the dry rub, little or no sauce BBQ we make here north of Memphis.
    The moral of this is: considering how few ingredients and how little effort this BBQ recipe requires its dang good. I used Sweet Baby Rays original sauce and I’ve paid good money in restaurants for BBQ that was drier and had less flavor. Keep up the great work, you are a blessing to all us wanna-be cooks out there.


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