It took me forever to have pulled pork for the first time – as in, I’m pretty sure I was 27 or 28 by the time I took my first bite of a pulled pork sandwich. It really was love at first bite, as they say, and from that point on I’ve been a pulled pork convert, making this recipe in my slow cooker ever since.
I’ve played around with a few recipes and then really settled on how I like to make pulled pork. It all comes down to the toppings. I like a spicy topping – like those super spicy pickles from Trader Joe’s, jalapenos, a little touch of siracha. So because I like a lot of heat on top of my sandwich, I like to make the pork sweet. Balance, right?
To make this recipe, you can definitely leave out the sugar, and you can use a lower carb BBQ sauce if you want, and really just take the method and make this your own – who am I if not one to give you a you do you boo recipe basically every day? I place the pork shoulder in the crock pot and rub it down with salt, pepper, 1/3 c brown sugar, oregano and a little red chili pepper flake. Then I top it with 3/4 a bottle of bbq sauce and 1 bottle of root beer. The result, a delicious, sweet pulled pork ready to serve up on football Sunday!
For the bread, my go-to lately has been the Hawaiian King Bread original mini buns. They’re not pre-sliced so give yourself a little prep time to cut them. I take the buns and toast them up in a pan with a little butter allowing them to cool before serving. If you cool them completely and then wrap them up in saran or a ziploc bag, you can prep them ahead of time!
To serve, I will put out:
- Extra BBQ sauce
- Hot sauce, such as siracha
- Spicy sliced pickles, sweet sliced pickles (we have more than one spice-hatin’ friend!)
- Pickled onions
- Coleslaw (I’ve been known to sneak a poblano pepper or sliced jalapeno in my coleslaw)
And for a little pro tip: this works really well with chicken, too! I just use 1/4 cup brown sugar instead of 1/3 cup!
Brown Sugar & Root Beer Pulled Pork
- 9 lb bone in pork shoulder
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp chili flake
- 1 bottle bbq sauce
- 1 bottle root beer
- 45-60 mini slider rolls
- butter for toasting rolls optional
- toppings, such as jalapenos, coleslaw, pickles, etc.
- Spray crock pot with cooking spray; place pork shoulder in the slow cooker with the meatiest side up.
- Combine sugar, salt, pepper, oregano, chili flake in a bowl; stir to combine.
- Rub the pork shoulder with the seasoning mixture.
- To the crock pot, add 3/4 bottle of bbq sauce and the bottle of root beer.
- Set on low for 8 hours.
- Once finished cooking, skim any fat off the top, shred the pork and remove the bone. Leave on warm for serving.
- Toast buns with a little butter in a pan. If making ahead, toast the buns with butter, allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container or ziploc bag until ready to serve.