Why It Works
- Dr. Pepper adds an interesting dimension to the dish that nothing else could possibly provide.
- The recipe takes only about 10 minutes to prepare, then lets the slow cooker to do rest.
- If you don't have a slow cooker, you can cook it in a covered Dutch oven in a 225°F oven for the same amount of time.
When I visited Austin, Texas, I spent most of my time eating at every restaurant I stumbled across. I ate so much barbecue that I swear I smelled like Stubb's bbq sauce for a week afterward. Once I got home from my trip, I was inspired to develop a few barbecue-type recipes of my own. I don't have a lot of experience with the grill, since there's not one handy at my house. I had to think—what else represents Texas food culture that I could make at home, without a grill?
I finally settled on pulled pork, which is something I'd never made before. Funny how you can eat something a hundred times but never think to make it yourself. It was high time I remedied that.
After testing four or five recipes, I came up with one I enjoyed the most. It's got a funny "secret" ingredient that I never would have thought to cook with before: Dr Pepper. Normally I avoid soda, but in this context it adds an interesting dimension to the dish that nothing else could possibly provide. It gives this pulled pork a certain sweetness that just isn't possible with anything but good, old-fashioned sugar. A few other ingredients round out this dish, but really, Dr Pepper is what makes it!
This dish calls for a slow cooker, but if you don't have one, you can cook it in a covered Dutch oven in a 225°F (110°C) oven for the same amount of time the recipe calls for. Either way, it's a long, slow braise that will leave your house smelling amazing, and that's my idea of a perfect meal.
1 small boneless, skin-off pork shoulder roast, about 2 pounds
1 can of Dr Pepper
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups store-bought or homemade Kansas City-style barbecue sauce
6 soft hamburger buns
In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides. Transfer roast to slow cooker. Return pan to stove.
Pour Dr Pepper into pan and deglaze, using a spatula to scrape up all the pork bits on the bottom. Let cook for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom occasionally.
Pour Dr Pepper over meat in slow cooker. Add honey, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
After meat has cooked for 7 hours, drain off any excess liquid and shred meat into small bits with 2 forks. Add barbecue sauce to pork and stir well. Cover slow cooker and cook for 1 more hour.
Add more salt and pepper to taste. Fill burger buns with pork and serve immediately.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 5g||7%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||8%|
|Total Carbohydrate 73g||27%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||7%|
|Total Sugars 36g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||7%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|