I tend to be someone who views recipes more as inspiration than gospel. I’m a bit more strict with baking, but when cooking dinner, it’s pretty much a free-for-all. That’s why I was ecstatic to find this recipe for the “Best Ever Pulled Pork Sandwiches” on Pinterest. It only has four ingredients, but you can make an endless number of versions by switching things up.
- 2-3 lbs pork. You can use a pork butt or loin roast; pretty much any big boneless chunk o’ meat will work.
- 1 12-oz can of soda. I usually use Coke, but you can sub in whatever kind you like. Even root beer! I’ve been meaning to try it with Sprite to see how that works, or maybe ginger ale, since I’ve cooked ham with that.
- About 12 oz barbecue sauce. The original recipe calls for half a bottle, but doesn’t specify what size bottle. I’ve found it works best if you have at least as much sauce as soda; otherwise the finished sauce is pretty thin. This is where you can really decide what kind of flavor you want. I usually go with a Key Lime BBQ sauce from a local chain, but I’ve also added in some Stubb’s Honey Pecan when I didn’t have quite enough of the Key Lime and they mixed together surprisingly well. You could use a spicy sauce, a garlicky sauce, absolutely anything you like.
- Seasoning salt.
Let’s get cookin’
Add the barbecue sauce to your slow cooker, then pour in the soda. Rinse your pork, then give it a generous coating of seasoning salt on all sides. Put it in the slow cooker with the fatty side down (if there’s a significant difference; with some cuts it won’t matter). Cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 160-180°, which will take about 2-2½ hours on high or probably double that on low. It’ll be done at 160°, but considerably easier to shred at 170-180°.
Remove the cooked pork to a cutting board and let it cool enough that you can handle it without scorching your fingers, about an hour or so. You can turn off the slow cooker or set it to warm if yours will allow that. When the pork is cool, shred it into tiny pieces and dump it back into the sauce. I discard as much of the fat as possible because the texture wigs me out, but you do you. The original recipe claims you can shred the pork with two forks, but I can rarely make that work and wind up cutting off big chunks and ripping them up by hand. It doesn’t have to be pretty! If you shut off the slow cooker while the meat cooled, turn it back on to low or warm until you’re ready to eat. I also usually dump in a ton more seasoning salt at this point because a bunch of it gets discarded with the fat and I freaking love seasoning salt; you may not want to do this or may want to add your own herbs and spices. It’s a very forgiving recipe!
There are so many different ways to serve the pork once it’s done. You can wrap it in a tortilla or make a sandwich. The sauce goes ridiculously well with challah bread!
It would probably also be great with mac ‘n’ cheese, potato salad, or over rice, though I haven’t tried those yet. My personal favorite way to eat it is piled on top of a nice buttery baked potato. SO delicious!
The best part of the recipe is that you’ll have a ton of leftovers, so you can try out a few different sides! What do you like with your pulled pork?