I love BBQ pulled pork. And it is hard to find good BBQ. We’re military- so every time we move, the search for a great place starts again. And while smoking the meat is obviously the best method, I don’t have a day to dedicate every time I want pulled pork. Plus I don’t own a smoker.
Then I saw this crazy tip of using root beer to make it at home. Tried that, but still wasn’t quite perfect. Then I started researching cuts of meat. Finally, I ended up making 6 of them in two days because I volunteered (clearly wasn’t sane when I did so) to make pulled pork for 50 for an event.
I can now, with complete confidence, tell you how to get great BBQ pulled pork without a smoker. It’s easy, not time consuming, and is better than anything I can find in Washington state. (hey, it’s where the military sent us).
BBQ is a controversial subject. I’ll let you pick your own sauce. I’m sure you’re passionate about it.
As to the cut of meat: I do know those from North Carolina (parts of it anyway) use the whole pig, chop it, and mix it. I’m not a fan of that version. Sorry.
If you only eat smoked pork, feel free to pop on over to “Amazing Ribs”...they have a great article and instructions for smoking it using your grill.
I also like dumping my pulled pork on top of a potato and eating it that way instead of on a bun. Apparently that sounds disgusting to some people? I don’t get it?! It’s great!
First of all- the cut of meat. DON’T BUY A PORK LOIN. Sorry for yelling. But it was necessary. This is one place you want to pay less for meat. Get a pork shoulder or pork butt. You want the fat. Trust me.
Second- gather your ingredients. It’s a long list. (yes, that was sarcastic). Pork butt (5 lb. range), liquid smoke, A&W Root Beer, salt, and pepper. Oh, and a slow cooker. Like I said above, smoking gives it a little more flavor, but this is much, much easier.
Perfect BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe
- 3-5 lb . pork butt or pork shoulder
- 12 oz . A&W root beer must be A&W
- 1/2 Tbsp . liquid smoke per lb. of meat
- Salt & pepper generous dash
- BBQ sauce of choice
- Place pork in crockpot. (Don’t trim any fat off). Season with salt and pepper. Pour liquid smoke and root beer over pork. I usually use about 1/2 Tbsp. liquid smoke per pound of meat, not to exceed 2 Tbsp. (estimate to your taste). It HAS to be A&W root beer. I tried other brands, and it just wasn’t quite right.
- Cook on low for 6 hrs. or until thermometer in thick section reads at least 190 degrees. Can go up more (205 highest)…the thermometer should just slide right in when the pork is nice and juicy.
- Shred pork, removing fat. Really dig into the fat. You may have a piece of fat (say the width of a chunky marker) and think it’s just fat. But dig in there and you’ll find the juiciest meat you can imagine. This does get a bit messy and your hands will get very greasy. But it’s worth the time and effort.
- Stir in desired amount of BBQ sauce. Try it sauceless first, though. You might be surprised.
If you’re looking for information on more traditional, smoked pork (not this crock-pot version, you should check out: Traeger’s article and infographic have all the best tips for cooking pork butt, whether it’s in the smoker, on the grill, in the oven, or even in a slow cooker. The piece also includes flavoring, seasoning, and preparation tips, along with suggestions and recipes for left overs!
Image Source: Traeger Grills.