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Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

It may sound crazy, but this Dr. Pepper pulled pork recipe is my favorite way to make pork. 

Not only does it come out tender and juicy, it’s packed with flavor you can’t get anywhere else.

And believe it or not, it doesn’t taste like Dr. Pepper!

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sliders
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Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Pulled pork can technically be made with most pork cuts, but the shoulder is by far the best. 

It has marbling of fat throughout for a super juicy and tender end result.

And incorporating Dr. Pepper into the mix not only adds a ton of flavor, but it also works to tenderize the meat even further. 

Between the pork, sweet soda, and onions, it’s very flavorful.

But you’ll also add mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire Sauce for depth.

It needs a few hours to cook. But when it’s done, it’s melt-in-your-mouth amazing!

Top view of Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork with fries on a wooden cutting board


The ingredients in this Dr. Pepper pulled pork recipe are tried and true. Follow them to the letter for a perfect piece of pork. 

But don’t be afraid to experiment! Once you see how easy this is to cook, you’ll be itching to try different variations.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • Pork Butt/Shoulder – You’ll want a boneless pork roast with some fat marbled throughout. I like to trim the thicker pieces of fat before cooking.
  • Dr. Pepper – Since you won’t really taste the soda, you could use any darker soda. But the spice and fruity flavor of Dr. Pepper makes a really nice change.
  • Onion and Garlic – Is there ever a recipe without this duo?
  • Ground Mustard, Salt, and Pepper – Mustard adds some heat to the dish, and salt and pepper are to taste.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – This will help to further tenderize the meat as it cooks. 
  • Worcestershire Sauce – For some extra salt, if you leave this out, you’ll need to up the salt at the end.
  • BBQ Sauce – Use your favorite BBQ sauce or take the opportunity to try something different.
  • Rolls or Buns – Anything soft will work well with his pulled pork. As much as I love a crunchy roll, I find the filling spills out too much.

What Is the Best Meat for Pulled Pork?

The best meats for pulled pork with Dr. Pepper have fatty marbling throughout.

Pork shoulder is the best cut. Opt for boneless for the juiciest, most flavorful pork roast.

You can also use pork butt, picnic roast, shoulder butt roast, or pork steaks.

Close up view of Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork drizzle with sauce on a wooden board

How to Make Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Since this is a slow cooker recipe, it couldn’t be easier! Everyone loves a fix-it-and-forget-it meal.

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1. Chop the onions. Add them to the slow cooker pot, being careful to cover the whole surface.

2. Add the meat and seasonings. Place it right on the onions, then add the garlic, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and Dr. Pepper.

3. Cook on low for 8 hours. Check that the pork has reached an internal temperature of at least 195 degrees F/90 degrees C.

4. Shred the meat with two forks. Do this on a chopping board, then pop it back in the slow cooker and cook for another hour.

5. Drain the excess juices and stir the BBQ sauce. Be sure it’s all tossed together and fully coated. Then serve and enjoy!

How to Know When Pulled Pork Is Done

It’s best to cook pork low and slow, so the meat has time to tenderize and the fat can render.

You know it’s done when the juices run clear and are no longer pink. It should also shred easily with a fork.

Tips for Making Pulled Pork

This recipe is truly a simple dish. Just place everything in the slow cooker and let it do its thing.

Of course, there are a few things you can do to take it to the next level!

  • Be sure the pork fits in the slow cooker. It should fit comfortably and not be pressed against the sides.
  • Give it a good rub. Rub the pork with your choice of seasonings the night before for an extra kick. 
  • Sear the meat first. This step isn’t required. But seared meat makes such a difference in the taste of the final outcome.
  • Watch the temperature! Use a meat thermometer, and don’t remove the pork until it reaches at least 195°F/90°C. This is when it becomes truly fork-tender. 
  • Use Diet Dr. Pepper: To lighten things up, you can swap diet soda for regular. However, some people may notice an aftertaste.

For more tips and some fantastic options for how to use any leftovers, check out our Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork

Smoked Barbecue Pulled Pork Sliders

Why Cook the Meat and Soda Together

As mentioned, cooking meat in soda helps tenderize it.

But it also brings a wallop of flavor. I’m talking sweetness and even a bit of spice.

Coca-Cola works really well, as does Cream Soda.

That said, you could use ginger ale for a lighter yet spiced finish.

How to Shred Pulled Pork

The easiest way to shred pulled pork is out of the pot.

That way, you can see the chunks and make sure it’s all shredded evenly (unless you like the odd chunk!)

There are plenty of fun meat shredder claws out there. But a couple of forks work just as well.

Insert them together, keep one still, and pull the meat away with the other. Easy peasy.

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork with sauce dripping on a wooden board

How to Store Leftovers

If you have Dr. Pepper pulled pork leftovers, here’s how to store them so you can enjoy them all week.

To Store: Let the pork cool to room temperature before storing it.

Then, portion it out and put it in individual air-tight containers.

Finally, label the containers and store them in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To Freeze: Be sure the pork cools down to room temperature. Follow the steps above for storing, and then place the containers in the freezer. The pork will keep for up to 3 months.

To Reheat: Thaw frozen pork in the fridge overnight. Then, let it come to room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Add a splash of water to the container to keep it from drying out. Reheat using one of these easy methods.

  • Microwave: Heat it on high in 30-second intervals until it’s heated through.
  • Oven: Place the pork in an oven-safe dish and add a splash of water. Bake at 325°F for 20-30 minutes.
  • Stovetop: Add the pork to a skillet with a splash of water. Cook it for 10-15 minutes until it’s heated through.

What to Serve with Pulled Pork

Serve the slow cooker pulled pork with tasty side dishes for a delicious, complete meal!

Mac and cheese: These two go together like peas and carrots! (Or pulled pork and mac and cheese.)

Coleslaw: It can be served on the side or piled high on top of pulled pork sandwiches. Either way, the creamy contrast to the pork is such a delight.

Potato salad: Another BBQ favorite, you can’t go wrong with classic potato salad.

Mexican cornbread: If you’re serving the pork on its own and not in a sandwich, cornbread makes the perfect accompaniment. Use it to soak up the delicious sauce!

French fries: Fries and sandwiches are such a classic combo. Serving them with pulled pork is like eating at a BBQ joint at home.

More Pork Recipes to Try

Honey Garlic Pork Chops
Coca-Cola Pulled Pork
Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork
Pork Cutlets

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Course: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





Try this Dr. Pepper pulled pork recipe and you may never make pork another way again! It’s tender, juicy, and full of classic Dr. Pepper flavor.


  • 1 -3 lb pork butt (also known as a pork shoulder)

  • 24 oz. (2 cans) Dr. Pepper (or any caramel colored soda pop, each will provide a slightly different flavor)

  • 1 medium onion, cut in quarters and then again in half

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoons dry ground mustard

  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

  • 1 cup bbq sauce of choice, or more, to taste

  • 12 rolls or buns of choice


  • Chop the onions and place them into the slow cooker pot.
  • Place the pork on top of the onions. Sprinkle the garlic, ground mustard, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper over the meat.
  • Pour the apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and the Dr. Pepper on top.
  • Cook on low for eight hours.
  • Check that the pork has reached an internal temperature of at least 195 degrees F/90 degrees C. Then, carefully lift it out and onto a cutting board.
  • Place two forks together in the meat and pull it apart, shredding carefully. Once the meat is all shredded, add it back to the slow cooker for another hour.
  • Drain the excess juices and stir the BBQ sauce through the meat and onion mixture until it is all tossed together and coated.
  • Lightly toast the buns under the grill and fill with the pulled pork. Serve with crunchy slaw and sweet potato fries.


  • Rub the pork with your choice of seasonings the night before for an extra kick.
  • Watch the temperature! Use a meat thermometer, and don’t remove the pork until it reaches at least 195°F/90°C. This is when it becomes truly fork-tender.


  • Calories: 389kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 43g
  • Protein: 34g
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 87mg
  • Sodium: 643mg
  • Potassium: 463mg
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 21g
  • Calcium: 84mg
  • Iron: 3mg
Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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