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Root Beer Pulled Pork

This root beer pulled pork is sweet, smoky, and so tender, it melts in your mouth!

If you think root beer is only good for quenching your thirst, trust me, this recipe will change your mind.

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Served in between two buns and some coleslaw, root beer pulled pork is the most stunning summer dish!

Barbecues have never been this good. You won’t be able to resist having seconds.

Pulled Pork Sandwich with BBQ Sauce and Fries

And that’s not even the best part! This recipe is so effortless, anyone can pull it off.

Thanks to the slow cooker, you can simply place all the ingredients in the pot and forget about it.

Are you ready to have your mind blown? Let’s start cooking, shall we?

Root Beer Pulled Pork

Root beer pulled pork is a tender and juicy dish packed with a ton of flavor.

The pork is simmered in the slow cooker for hours in a root beer and barbecue sauce, giving it a ridiculously amazing flavor and texture.

You may be wondering, what’s the point of adding soda to pork? Well, it does wonders for enhancing the flavor of the meat!

Root beer gives the pork notes of vanilla, making it taste so delectable.

While it’s easy to make, the hard part is waiting. Once the smell of the root beer and barbecue sauce fills the kitchen, you’ll count down the minutes until it’s ready!

That’s why I like to make it before heading to work. That way, it’s ready when I get back home, and I don’t have to suffer inhaling that heavenly aroma.


  • Pork – The recipe calls for tenderloin, but you can also use pork butt or shoulder for a fattier, more tender meat.
  • Root Beer – Root beer gives the pork a deeper flavor. Other types of soda work too, such as Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and ginger ale. Each soda will give a different flavor, so feel free to experiment.
  • Barbecue Sauce – Use your favorite! 
  • Buns – Any kind of bread works!

Tips for the Best Pulled Pork

  • Let’s start off with the cut of pork. This recipe calls for tenderloin, but you can use other, much cheaper cuts, too! Pick one with a higher fat content for super tender and flavorful meat, such as pork shoulder and butt. Plus, you won’t need to cook these cuts as long as you would tenderloin or neck.
  • Get a cut of meat that will fit your cooker perfectly. Otherwise, you’ll risk over-crowding the pot, which could yield to a longer cooking period.
  • With pulled pork, patience is key. Do not be tempted to switch the slow cooker setting to high! You’ll need the pork to simmer in the root beer and barbecue sauce to give it that amazing flavor and melt-in-your-mouth consistency. 
  • If you want to ensure that all the meat gets soaked in root beer, flip it over half-way through.
  • Apart from the root beer and barbecue sauce, you can flavor your meat further by giving it a dry rub! Try a blend of chili, paprika, dry mustard, garlic and onion powders, fennel, and celery seeds.
  • This dish is already super juicy, but you can never have too much of the sauce. Make a delicious root beer glaze simply by reducing a bottle of root beer in a saucepan until it forms a thick syrup.

Can I Make Root Beer Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot?

Truth be told, nothing matches the flavor and tenderness of a slow-cooked pulled pork.

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But if you’re in a pinch, you can count on the trusty Instant Pot to cook pulled pork in no time! Here’s how:

1. Brown the meat in the Instant Pot. In normal saute mode, heat the oil for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pork and brown it for 3 minutes on each side. 

2. In a bowl, combine the root beer and half of the barbecue sauce. Pour the mixture over the pork. Cover the pot and pressure cook on high pressure for 45 minutes.

3. Let the pork sit for 10 minutes and switch to quick pressure release. 

4. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it cool. 

5. Meanwhile, switch the Instant Pot setting to high saute. Let the sauce simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick. Add the remaining barbecue sauce to the mix.

6. Once cool, shred the meat with two forks. Place it back into the pot and toss to coat. 

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Barbecue Sauce

What to Serve With Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is the ultimate summer picnic treat. That said, it’s best served with popular barbecue sides. Here are some suggestions:

  • Mac and cheese will give your sweet and smoky pulled pork a rich, creamy, and cheesy contrast. It’s very hearty too, so it’s perfect if you’re feeding a hungry crowd.
  • Potato salad is another starchy, filling side dish that pairs beautifully with pulled pork. You can’t go wrong with the flavor contrast of rich and creamy + sweet and smoky!
  • If you’re looking for something light, opt for a salad. Load it with your favorite summer fruits to make it extra sweet and refreshing!
  • Coleslaw is a great option, too. Apart from the creaminess and the crunch, I love the cool contrast it gives the hot pork and buns. You can either serve it on the side or in the buns. 

What Kind Of Buns Are Best?

Regular bread or hamburger buns work, but if you want to elevate your meal, use brioche sandwich rolls.

They’re soft, moist, and can hold the juices of the pulled pork without breaking apart.

Whatever bread or bun you use, the most important part is to toast it slightly to get that wonderful golden crisp exterior. Yum. 

Root Beer Pulled Pork



Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 (2-pound) pork tenderloin

  • 1 (12-fluid ounce) canned or bottled root beer

  • 1 (18-ounce) bottle of barbecue sauce

  • 8 burger buns, split and lightly toasted


  • Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker. Pour the root beer over the tenderloin.
  • Cover the pot with the lid and cook on low heat for 6 to 7 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender. Note that the length of cooking may vary depending on the type of slow cooker.
  • Drain the meat well. Add the barbecue sauce and stir until the meat is well-coated.
  • Serve over burger buns. Enjoy!
Root Beer Pulled Pork

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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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