Slow Cooker Rootbeer Pulled Pork Recipe

Rootbeer pulled pork is a slow cooker staple that many people make right away when they first unwrap their brand new crockpot.
Stop thinking about it -- you know you want to know what all the fuss is about! Give it a try -- it has the sweetness of barbecue without the gloppy sauce -- enjoy!

slow cooker crockpot rootbeer pulled pork recipe
 This is a reader recipe sent in by Monique, who calls this particular dish her "one successful slow cooker recipe."

Your pork is MUCH MORE than successful, Monique---it's out-of-the-ball-park wonderful. I served 5 kids and 3 adults sandwiches with this meat (with a side of tater tots) and EVERYONE cleaned their plates.

Thank you, Monique!!

The Ingredients.
serves 6 (adult-size servings)
rootbeer pulled pork crockpot slow cooker ingredients

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast (butt)
1 large yellow onion, sliced in rings
1-2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce (start with 1, then season to taste after cooking and tasting)
1 cup chili sauce (near ketchup in the grocery aisle. if you want to make it, use 1 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1 tsp chili powder---it's not identical, but pretty darn close)
2 cups root beer
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 hamburger buns or soft rolls (I make them myself, or use toasted Udi's white bread to keep it gluten free)

The Directions.

Use a 4-quart slow cooker. A 6-quart is fine, but your meat will cook faster.

Put the meat into your pot, and add sliced onion. top with Tabasco sauce, chili sauce, root beer, and vanilla. cover and cook on low for about 8 hours, or until pork shreds easily with a fork. 

I plopped my pork in fully frozen, and it took 10 hours on low to be shreddy.

Serve over rice, or on toasted breads or buns.

The Verdict.

This is such a quick and easy recipe that makes everyone in the house happy. 

The rootbeer has a nice sweetness that really brings out the hint of ginger from the chili sauce. 

PS: you can also make this with Dr Pepper for another great dish!  (but then you'd have to change the name... ;-)  )

It's easily adaptable spice-wise, and is a great way to feed a houseful of people on a limited budget. 

Thanks again to Monique for sharing her secret to slow cooking success!

Rootbeer or Dr. Pepper pulled pork is a crockpot slow cooker staple and this super easy and simple dish is naturally gluten free. I think you'll be surprised how much your family loves this crazy simple dinner!!

2008 Flashback:

March 1 Vegetarian Curry (have too many cans of chickpeas?)
March 2 Mediterranean Chicken (sounds fancy, tastes fantastic, beyond simple to prepare)
March 3 Barbecue Beans & Weenies (good for your heart)
March 4 Use Your CrockPot as a Rice Cooker (who needs another appliance, anyways?)
March 6 White Chili 
March 7 Bananas Foster (cruise ship not needed)
March 8 Broccoli Beef (one of our favorite takeout fakeout dinners)
March 9 Seafood Alfredo (3 years ago I didn't know how to make a proper roux. now I do. :-0 )

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at April 20, 2017

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What they say about this article

  1. I do a slow cooker pulled pork with only orange soda, then I drain, shred and add BBQ sauce. It's divine! I'll have to try this one out though too. thanks!

  2. Root beer and vanilla with pork? Who'd have thunk. I will have to try this!

  3. I'm so excited to try this recipe!!! We had pulled pork sandwiches at a family reunion around Christmas and it was my first time ever having it. So yummy. Can't wait to try this.

  4. Donna Lachance3/09/2011

    Oh! I want to try it, but I don't have rootbeer. I have Coke and Sprite. Do you think it's worth a try, or do I need to run out to the store?

  5. Hi Donna, the coke will work. But you might need to change the name. :-)

  6. Rootbeer ANYTHING: yum.

    Cabbage soup? Not so much. Blech.

  7. I LOVE your use of the word shreddy, and the recipe for chili sauce, not to mention the featured recipe, which I plan on trying ASAP. Thanks!

  8. i was gonna ask for a sub for root beer as we dont have that in NZ or maybe we call it something else, i dont know, but coke we do have so will use that

  9. Can there be too many recipes for good pulled pork? I don't think so. ;-) Root beer is making the rounds. Wonder if this root beer pulled pork and Kim's (Cook IT Allergy Free) root beer beans together would be too much. Hmmm. Might have to see!

    Thanks, Steph! xo,

  10. This sounds like something my fiancé would absolutely devour! Quick question though, do you think subbing in Diet Root Beer would work? He is diabetic, and I don't want to kill him with regular soda. :) I ask because I saw another root beer recipe that specifically said not to use diet.
    Thanks! I'm a new reader, but I love my Crock Pot and I love your recipes!

  11. Looks yummy.
    And easy.
    Just my cooking style...

  12. Allie, I don't see at all why diet root beer wouldn't work. I've got a few other "add soda" recipes, and readers have successfully swapped the regular out for diet.
    The flavor will be just fine, and no one would know the difference unless you were doing a side-by-side comparison.

  13. Do you think this would work with a beef roast? I am swimming in beef roasts and I think I'd freak if I went out to buy a pork roast while I've got all these beef roasts running around.

  14. Hi crittermom, I'd use a beef roast if I already had a bunch in the house. You may need to "help" it get shreddy near the end of cooking time by cutting the meat into chunks and return to the pot to soak up more liquid. The meat will then fall apart the way the pork does.

  15. I would love to try this recipe, but I can't get rootbeer where I live. Is there some sort of substitution I can use? Thanks for sharing!

  16. oops, sorry! I just read through the previous, and I have the answer to my question! I'll try a cola drink and see what happens. Thanks!

  17. TwoDiffSocks3/10/2011

    Hi Ya'll,

    we dont drink any soda in my household, so is there something we can sub for the rootbeer/cola?

    Thanks in Advance

  18. We made this today and it was great. I think tomorrow I will use the leftovers in enchiladas.

  19. Anonymous3/13/2011

    TwoDiffSocks, I think the soda has acid in it that helps to break down the pork and give it some sweetness at the same time. You can get a bottle of cheap root beer for the recipe even if you throw out the rest of it. But I have also seen recipes that use vinegar and BBQ sauce.

    I will have to try this!

  20. We are having this for dinner. I was sold when you said it was out-of-the-ballpark wonderful. It is in the pot as I type. Thanks for the recipe! I am intrigued. :-) I love your blog. I am new to blog-following and am totally obsessed. ;-)

  21. Yet another happy coincidence! We have root beer in the house that I was looking to get rid of, and I happen to be in a BBQ mood. I'm using boneless country pork ribs, since that's what I've got in the house, but I'm sure it will work great! Thanks again!

  22. Just made this last night and it was fabulous! Even my pickiest eaters ate it and liked it. I have tried with Coke, but love the sweet tang of the Root Beer much better. I am using the leftovers for baked potato night tomorrow night. I WILL be making this again!

  23. I am so glad I stumbled upon this. I am a new crockpotter...(don't think that is a word) I am married and soon to be mommy and the crock pot is amazing when I get home from work and dinner is done. I can't wait to try some recipes from here!!!

  24. Anonymous3/15/2011

    My husband loves root beer, but I don't like the taste. I'm curious how "root beery" this is.

  25. Anonymous3/16/2011

    I've made this before and people were SHOCKED when I told them
    It was made with root beer so I think it's safe to say it's not "root beery". It gives it a nice sweetness. I soak my pork in root beer overnight in the pot (just put the pork in and dump the root beer on). A word of advice: use nonstick spray because the sugar from the root beer is a pain in the neck to clean once it crystalizes on the pot.

  26. Anonymous3/18/2011

    I made this last night and it did not go over well with my four kids. Two out of four wouldn't eat more than a bite and the older two did eat a bit more than that but not as much as a normal dinner. I was disappointed. I didn't love the flavor as much as everybody else who commented seemed to. Granted it was easy, inexpensive, and I got to play outside on our first spring like day instead of standing over a stove making dinner but like my husband said after he ate, "I think this dish was a waste of root beer." Sorry. I wanted to love it but it just wasn't that good.

  27. Stephanie3/28/2011

    I made this yesterday and it was delicious! I don't care for chili sauce, but I couldn't really taste too much of it. It was a nice mix of sweet and tangy. My 5 yr old daughter didn't eat her sandwich (and was hungry for the rest of the night!) but my 1 yr old son loved it.

    I didn't shred the pork, but left it chunky and it seemed to make the sandwich feel more substantial.

    It made for a perfect spring lunch with chips and soda. ((Oh, and I cooked mine for 4.5 hrs on high))

  28. I have this in the crockpot right now. Can't wait to get home and try it!!

  29. I made this over the weekend and it was delicious! Some of my guests liked it as it was, others preferred it with BBQ sauce. Either way, it was a winner. One question - my version came out much darker than the one in your picture. It almost looked like beef. I did use the ketchup-based substitute for chili sauce, could that be it?

  30. Anonymous4/07/2011

    Finally made this yesterday. Very very tasty, although to me, it's missing something. I think the next time I make it, I need to throw some garlic in there or something.

    That said, totally a keeper.

  31. Oh my goodness! This is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!! I made your BBQ pulled pork before and I thought nothing could top it. Well, this did. I can't even describe how incredible the flavor is! I'm glad I used a 5 lb roast instead of 2 :) I'll be eating this all week...ok, if it'll last that long. I have a feeling it'll be gone by Saturday morning. WOW!!!

  32. Thanks, This looks amazing ..I really enjoyed the pulled pork.

  33. Yum!! This was wonderful! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  34. Hi, we are gluten free too. We were told that Root beer -the caramel coloring -contains gluten. Which brand do you use? Thanks, love your site.
    Lara Parker in North Idaho

  35. Hi Lara, I think that's not true. You should certainly do your own research ---- but everything I've read has pointed to root beer being gluten free, and that the caramel coloring concern is an Urban Myth. Here is more info.

    good luck to you!

  36. Do you think Pepsi would work?

  37. Hi Amy,

    Yes! Pepsi will work just fine! The flavor will be different, but you will still have a beautiful, moist meat.

  38. Neither my husband nor I liked this — too sweet. Kids loved it though, and my 10-year-old is super picky