I shut down my old blog to focus on my writing, but a lot of my traffic comes from people linking to the Root Beer BBQ Pulled recipe I posted a few years ago, so I thought I’d repost it here and add a forward on the old site just so people aren’t clicking on dead links. So here it is!
Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork
I promised to write up the recipe for our pulled pork for Sandra’s sister. So I thought I’d share.
I use a pork tenderloin from the grocery store. It’s cheep and it shreds up nice. It was the first cut of meat I tried and it was amazing so I’ve stuck with it.
Then I throw that in the crock pot. It tastes better if you let it cook for three, four, even five hours. The longer the better. Though you can get it done in a couple of hours too. It just doesn’t get quite as infused with deliciousness.
I don’t measure anything. I just toss a punch of salt and pepper and garlic powder in with the pork. Sometimes I’ll kind of rub it into the meat, but not always. I put a good sized bloop (that’s a measurement. It means “some”) of BBQ sauce on top of it. This time I grabbed some dried onion flakes as well. I haven’t done that before, but it’ll probably be good. We’ll find out!
Oh, and if you’ve got it, it tastes better to use real garlic rather than the powder, but I didn’t have any and I use the powder more often than not. It tastes fine that way too.
Then you dump the entire bottle of rootbeer (591 ml) into the crock pot along with everything else. I pour it out about half on each side, without actually pouring it onto the meat itself. That way it doesn’t rinse all the incredients off. They’ll come off eventually, but it seems like a good idea to me.
I’ve used Dr. Pepper and Coke before as well, and they both work alright, but I think the Root Beer tastes best. It’s all very subtle anyway. The actual finished product doesn’t really taste anything like Root Beer… it just gives it something with a bite to soak in. Occasionally I’ll get a really quick taste of Root Beer in a bite, but it’s fleeting and not a bad thing at all.
And I don’t even like Root Beer.
Anyway. I put a piece of foil between the lid and the crock pot, just because it’s a little tighter and cooks hotter and faster.
Then you just wait. I started mine around 3:30, and I’ll probably start checking it around five or so. Depending on how hungry we are, I might let it go till six. I started cooking later than I expected to, so this is going to be a more rushed version that I usually like to do.
Here it is after about an hour. It looks kind of gross, because the root beer kind of seperates and evaporates and breaks down, and it smells weird because it still smells like root beer, but it also smells like BBQ sauce and cooking pork. It doesn’t start to smell good until closer to it being done. Also all the fat from the pork starts to melt off and float up to the surface.
Here it is at 6:30 or so, after about three hours. The fat has mostly melted out and the onion flakes are totally melted. Mostly it’s just the pork in porky BBQ water. The Root Beer smell is mostly gone. I usually take the whole thing out of the cooker and put it on a plate or cutting board and start shredding it with a knife and fork or a couple of forks.
Sandra has issues tearing meat with her teeth, so I take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut all the long pieces up. If it was just for me I’d keep em all long and stringy though.
I also save some of the juice (maybe half a cup or so) from the crock pot and dump the rest out and put the shredded pork back in the crock pot. I then put in some more BBQ sauce. A little bit goes a long way. Especially since I like to pour that juice I saved over the meat. It gives it some moisture and it thins out the BBQ sauce a bit and makes it all sloppy and awesome.
I’ve found that my instinct is to put on more BBQ sauce than I need. I’ve learned to fight this impulse, because it doesn’t take much for the BBQ sauce to overpower the deliciousness of the meat itself.
I mix it all up and then put the lid and foil back on the crock pot and let it soak for a bit. At this point it’s pretty much done. I like to leave it in there on low for a bit just because it kind of fuses everything together, but really you can chow down whenever.
And that’s it.
Generally we have them on hamburger buns from the bakery by our house. Tonight we tried something different. Sandra makes kickass homemade tortillas. So I wrapped up a wad of the pulled pork in one of those and tossed it in the oven. It got all crunchy on the outside and squishy in the middle and was friggin amazing.
here’s a picture of one in bun form from a different time I made it:
So that’s the long answer on how to make Root Beer Pulled Pork. The short answer is:
Take a pork tenderloin, throw it in the crock pot with a bottle of root beer, some salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried onion flakes and BBQ sauce. Cook on high till it’s done, dump the juice but save a cup, shred the pork, mix the juice and some more BBQ sauce and eat it.
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