Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork With Dr Pepper Recipe

Long, slow braised pulled pork with Dr. Pepper takes only 10 minutes to prepare and will leave your house smelling amazing.

Close-up of slow cooker pulled pork with Dr. Pepper sandwich

Serious Eats / Stephanie Stiavetti

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.

July 2013

Recipe Facts



Active: 10 mins
Total: 8 hrs
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 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


  1. In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides. Transfer roast to slow cooker. Return pan to stove.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Fill burger buns with pork and serve immediately.

Special Equipment

Slow cooker

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
381 Calories
5g Fat
73g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 381
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 1428mg 62%
Total Carbohydrate 73g 27%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 36g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 131mg 10%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 340mg 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.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)