Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork is a mouthwatering dish that combines tender pork shoulder slow-cooked with a delightful blend of BBQ sauce, Dr. Pepper, and spices. Whether served on sandwiches or over rice, it promises a perfect harmony of sweet, tangy, and smoky flavors that will satisfy any palate.


  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (try our homemade recipe!)
  • 12 ounces Dr. Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder


1. Preparing the Slow Cooker

Start by spraying a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Pour a small amount of BBQ sauce into the base of the slow cooker and set it aside.

2. Mixing the Sauce

In a small bowl, combine the remaining BBQ sauce, Dr. Pepper, paprika, brown sugar, black pepper, and kosher salt.

3. Assembling the Ingredients

Add the sliced onions to the slow cooker. Place the pork shoulder on top of the onions and pour the BBQ sauce mixture over the pork.

4. Slow Cooking Process

Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. For the best results, cooking on low heat is recommended to achieve tender, flavorful pulled pork.

5. Shredding and Serving

Once fully cooked, carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker. Using two forks, shred the meat, discarding any large pieces of fat. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker to keep warm, or assemble sandwiches immediately, topping them with additional BBQ sauce from the slow cooker.

Nutrition Information

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
  • Servings: 8

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Tips:

  1. Sandwiches: Serve the Dr. Pepper pulled pork on soft hamburger buns or crusty rolls for a classic pulled pork sandwich. Top with coleslaw for added crunch and creaminess.
  2. Tacos or Wraps: Use the pulled pork as a filling for tacos or wraps. Add toppings like shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime for a fresh twist.
  3. Over Rice: Serve the pulled pork over cooked rice or quinoa for a hearty and filling meal. Garnish with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice for extra flavor.
  4. Salad Topping: Use the pulled pork as a protein topping for salads. Pair with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a drizzle of ranch or BBQ sauce dressing.
  5. Side Dishes: Pair with classic sides like baked beans, cornbread, potato salad, or roasted vegetables to complete the meal.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Store leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. This allows the flavors to meld together, making it even more delicious for reheating.
  2. Freezing: Pulled pork freezes well. Place cooled pulled pork in freezer-safe containers or bags, ensuring to remove as much air as possible before sealing. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  3. Reheating: Reheat pulled pork gently to prevent drying out:
    • Oven: Preheat oven to 325°F. Place pulled pork in an oven-safe dish with a splash of broth or BBQ sauce. Cover with foil and heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Microwave: Place a portion of pulled pork in a microwave-safe dish, cover with a damp paper towel, and heat on medium power in 1-minute intervals until warmed through.
    • Slow Cooker: Place pulled pork in a slow cooker with a bit of broth or BBQ sauce on low heat for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meal Prep: Consider batch cooking and freezing pulled pork in smaller portions for quick and easy meals throughout the week.
  5. Flavor Enhancement: Before serving leftovers, consider adding a splash of Dr. Pepper or BBQ sauce to refresh the flavors.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can enjoy the delicious flavors of Dr. Pepper pulled pork whether freshly made or as a convenient leftover meal option.


Explore these creative twists on the classic recipe to customize your Dr. Pepper pulled pork experience:

  1. Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork:
    • Add chopped jalapeños or a dash of cayenne pepper to the BBQ sauce mixture for a spicy kick. Serve on sandwiches with pickled jalapeños for extra heat.
  2. Honey Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork:
    • Replace brown sugar with honey in the BBQ sauce mixture for a sweeter flavor profile. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve in lettuce wraps for a lighter option.
  3. Apple Cider Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork:
    • Substitute Dr. Pepper with apple cider for a seasonal twist. Add diced apples and a pinch of cinnamon to the slow cooker for a cozy fall-inspired dish.
  4. Root Beer Pulled Pork:
    • Replace Dr. Pepper with root beer for a slightly different flavor profile. Serve on toasted brioche buns with a slice of melted cheddar cheese for a comforting meal.
  5. Asian-Inspired Pulled Pork:
    • Use hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and a splash of rice vinegar in place of BBQ sauce. Add grated ginger and minced garlic to the sauce mixture. Serve in lettuce cups with shredded carrots and cilantro.
  6. Pulled Pork Pizza:
    • Spread a thin layer of BBQ sauce on pizza dough. Top with pulled pork, sliced red onions, and mozzarella cheese. Bake until the crust is golden brown and crispy.
  7. Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes:
    • Serve pulled pork over baked sweet potatoes. Top with sour cream, chopped green onions, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika for a satisfying and nutritious meal.
  8. Pulled Pork Quesadillas:
    • Layer pulled pork, shredded cheese, and sliced jalapeños between flour tortillas. Cook in a skillet until the tortillas are golden brown and the cheese is melted. Serve with salsa and guacamole.
  9. Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese:
    • Stir pulled pork into your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe. Bake until bubbly and golden for a comforting and indulgent dish.
  10. Pulled Pork Sliders with Slaw:
    • Serve pulled pork on slider buns with a tangy coleslaw topping. Mix shredded cabbage, carrots, and mayo-based dressing for a refreshing crunch.

These variations offer exciting ways to enjoy Dr. Pepper pulled pork, catering to different tastes and meal preferences. Experiment with ingredients and flavors to create your own signature dish!


1. Can I use a different soda instead of Dr. Pepper?

  • Yes, you can experiment with other sodas like Coca-Cola, root beer, or even ginger ale. Each will impart a slightly different flavor to the pulled pork.

2. How do I know when the pork shoulder is fully cooked?

  • The pork shoulder should be fork-tender and easily shredable. Cooking times vary, but generally, it takes 8 to 10 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high in a slow cooker for optimal tenderness.

3. Can I use a different cut of meat for pulled pork?

  • Pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) is best for pulled pork due to its marbling and connective tissue, which break down during slow cooking. You can also use pork loin, but it may not shred as easily.

4. Can I make this recipe in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker?

  • Yes, you can adapt this recipe for an Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for about 60-90 minutes, depending on the size of the pork shoulder, then use the natural release method.

5. How should I adjust the recipe for a smaller portion?

  • Halve the ingredients if you’re cooking for fewer people or if your slow cooker is smaller. Adjust cooking time accordingly, checking for tenderness towards the end.

6. What should I do if the pulled pork turns out too dry?

  • Add a bit of additional BBQ sauce or a splash of broth when reheating to add moisture back into the pulled pork. Covering it with a damp paper towel in the microwave can also help.

7. Can I freeze leftover pulled pork?

  • Yes, pulled pork freezes well. Store it in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

8. How can I use leftover pulled pork besides sandwiches?

  • Use it in tacos, wraps, salads, pasta dishes, quesadillas, or as a pizza topping. Pulled pork adds flavor to various recipes and is versatile for meal planning.

9. Is this recipe gluten-free?

  • To ensure it’s gluten-free, use BBQ sauce and other ingredients that are certified gluten-free. Serve on gluten-free buns or over rice for a gluten-free meal.

10. Can I prepare this recipe ahead of time?

  • Yes, you can prepare the ingredients and assemble them in the slow cooker insert the night before. Store it covered in the refrigerator and start cooking it the next morning for a convenient meal.

These FAQs address common concerns and provide helpful tips for preparing and enjoying Dr. Pepper pulled pork, making it easier to create a delicious and satisfying meal every time.

Indulge in the rich flavors of Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork, whether you’re planning a family meal or entertaining guests. This hearty dish offers a satisfying and impressive meal that is sure to become a favorite. Try it today and savor the irresistible blend of sweet Dr. Pepper and savory BBQ goodness!