Sweet & Spicy Root Beer BBQ Pork

Although I live in New England at the moment, I’ve moved around a bit. I won’t get into all the disadvantages of moving frequently and will instead share one of my favorite advantages. I love learning new recipes and discovering new food in different parts of the country! One of my favorite things about living in the south was the BBQ restaurants everywhere! Oh how I miss the BBQ!

Although I always enjoyed pulled pork, I really started to LOVE it while living in the south. You can spend all day smoking your pork. I’ve done it, and it’s great, BUT it’s a huge time commitment and a lot of work. It’s a true labor of love which I don’t mind, but I realize it’s not for everyone. So if you’re not one for an all day smoking adventure, pull out your crockpot! It might not taste quite as good, but it’s still REALLY good and so easy!!!

Here’s a picture of the pork before putting it in the slow cooker.  You can use any size of pork you want but just make sure it fits in your slow cooker.  If it doesn’t fit, cut it into pieces.  You can season the pork with salt, pepper, and your favorite seasonings but since I was going to mix it with a lot of BBQ sauce I didn’t bother.

Pour the root beer in the bottom of the slow cooker then place the pork on top.  You can also use chicken broth or your favorite cola instead of root beer.

Cover the pork and cook all day. You’ll know it’s done when it’s very tender and falling apart.  Drain off the liquid and place the pork on a cutting board.  Use 2 forks and shred the pork.  It should pull apart really easily.

While the pork is cooking you can prepare the BBQ sauce or prepare the sauce ahead of time.  Place the tomatoes, tomato paste, and onions in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

After you process the tomatoes and onion pour the mixture in a large saucepan and mix in the rest of the ingredients.

Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.  Stir occasionally and let the sauce simmer for about an hour or until desired thickness and consistency.  You can see it reduces quite a bit.  It will thicken a bit as it cools.  Refrigerate the sauce for a few hours or until ready to serve.

You may need to adjust the ingredients in the sauce a bit to your family’s liking.  If you want more of a root beer flavor, add a little root beer extract.  The sauce freezes well so freeze any leftovers in a freezable container.

Mix some of the BBQ sauce in with the pork and/or serve on the side.  I like to serve the pork on rolls with coleslaw, but the pork and sauce is great all by itself!

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Sweet & Spicy Root Beer BBQ Pork
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Recipe type: Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: Serves about 8-12 (depending on size of pork); BBQ sauce makes about 6-8 cups (depends on how long you let it simmer)
Homemade root beer bbq sauce and pulled pork.
Ingredients
Pork:
  • 1 (12oz.) can root beer
  • 1 (4-7 lbs.) pork butt (pork shoulder or boston butt)
Sweet & Spicy Root Beer BBQ Sauce:
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans no salt diced tomatoes (don’t drain)
  • 1 (6 oz) can no salt tomato paste
  • 1 small onion, chopped (~ 1 cup)
  • 1½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 (12 oz) cans root beer
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • Serving suggestions: rolls & coleslaw
Instructions
  1. Pour 1 can of root beer in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place the pork in your slow cooker in root beer (if the meat is too big for your slow cooker you can cut it into pieces). Cook on low about 8-10 hours or until pork is very tender. Discard liquid from slow cooker and pull pork apart with 2 forks until shredded.
  2. While pork is cooking, prepare BBQ sauce. Place tomatoes, tomato paste, and onion in blender (or food processor) and process until smooth. Pour into large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add vinegar, 2 cans root beer, brown sugar, molasses, liquid smoke, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and chipotle to pan and whisk to combine.
  3. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook about 1 hour or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate sauce for a few hours or until ready to serve.
  4. To serve, combine desired amount of BBQ sauce with pork and serve. Serve with rolls and coleslaw if desired.
Notes
SNAPPY TIPS:Make sure you buy a piece of pork that will fit in your size slow cooker. I would suggest buying the biggest piece that will fit. You can cut the meat into chunks if it won’t fit in as one piece. Pulled pork in BBQ sauce freezes great, so make a big batch! The BBQ sauce also freezes well so whatever you don’t use can be frozen in a small container. If you would like the root beer flavor to be more pronounced add a little root beer extract.

SNAPPY SUBSTITUTIONS: You may have to alter the ingredients in the BBQ sauce a little for your family’s personal taste. You can add more/less chipotle to adjust the spiciness and more/less sugar or molasses to change the sweetness. White vinegar can be substituted for the apple cider vinegar.

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Comments

  1. 1

    This looks amazing! Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. 3

    There is nothing my family likes better than pulled pork. I”m with you, I love it on the grill but the crock pot is great for ease of preparation. I’ve also used Ina Garten’s method of rubbing a pork roast down with my favorite spice blend and then cooking it uncovered in the oven at 300 degrees all day or until it falls apart, which ever comes first. I love the addition of root beer. This looks fantastic!

    • 4
      Snappy Gourmet says:

      Thanks Karen! Yes, I love using the grill or smoking it, but since I’m the only one tending to it, it’s a long day at the grill for me! :)

  3. 5
    Joan Slusher says:

    I will be making this one Lisa for sure. Bobby said “print that one and lets make it S O O N. I told your Mom and Dad how great you are doing and just how much I have enjoyed your recipes.

    Sent your info to my sister and my Daughter, Angie.

    Have a great day and Happy Easter. Joan

  4. 6
    Snappy Gourmet says:

    Thanks! Hope you and Bobby enjoy it!

  5. 7

    Awesome recipe! Everyone in my family loved it – and this includes four kids between the ages of 2 – 12. Love the coleslaw combo too. Thanks!

    • 8
      Snappy Gourmet says:

      So glad to hear your family enjoyed the Sweet & Spicy Root Beer BBQ Pork! It freezes great too if you have any leftovers. :)

  6. 9
    Andrew says:

    I finally had a chance to try this recipe this weekend and it turned out great!! I have plenty of Root Beer BBQ sauce to enjoy in the future as well as pulled pork. I was shocked how easy this turned out to be. Thanks again!!

    • 10
      Snappy Gourmet says:

      Thanks so much Andrew! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the Root Beer BBQ sauce! It does definitely make a lot but it freezes well so easier than making multiple smaller batches. It’s great on burgers, sandwiches, salads, and all sorts of stuff. Thanks again for letting me know you enjoyed it! Always love getting nice feedback! :)

  7. 11

    The sauce was perfect! It was much lighter than a typical BBQ sauce and didn’t overwhelm all the other flavors of the meal. I used an extra lean pork tenderloin and it was still just as juicy and melt-in-your-mouth as any roast I’ve ever used. Thank you!

  8. 13

    As usual we are browsing your recipe. Wow, make your own bbq sauce!?!
    We love bbq and will try this recipe for sure. I need to buy a slow cooker though!!!!

  9. 14

    This sandwich is begging to be eaten. And I like the creative use of the root beer.

  10. 16

    I was intrigued and gave this a try. I am not a pork fan and I liked. The response from the peanut gallery was best pulled pork ever. It made the house smell wonderful as well.

    • 17

      recipe for the best ribs:1. get baby back ribs2. apply rub- salt, pepper, grliac, cayanne, onion salt, etc. (be liberal with rub)3. rap in tin foil4. bake at 250 degrees for two hours in oven5. take ribs out of tin foil and place on CHARCOAL grill.6 apply barbecue sauce and flip, apply bbq sauce and flip, Constantly flip7. grill for 5-10 minutes.8. EAT THE BEST RIBS U EVER HAD

  11. 18
    Kelli Reppert says:

    what?!?! how did I miss this recipe? I have got to try this!!!

  12. 19
    Kim Taylor says:

    I know I am a little slow on the uptake but I am making this recipe tomorrow (I am not even sure if you will see this post in time) but can I cook the pork longer than 8-10 hours? If I do, will it get dry? I am SUPER excited to try this and I am so glad you shared it with us :) I will let you know how it turns out!

    • 20

      Hi Kim! I would think you could easily leave this in your slow cooker for longer. Pork butts have a lot of fat (a good and bad thing!) so it shouldn’t dry out. Hope you enjoy it!

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