Revolutionize Your Labor Day: Effortless Pulled Pork Perfection with Just 4 Ingredients
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Labor Day is supposed to be a day off for those who labor. Traditionally, we’d plan a big barbeque feast with all the trimmings. Now, I’m certainly not opposed to such things, but in the spirit of Labor Day, I’m proposing we go against tradition and prepare a meal that practically makes itself.
It’s time to pull out the easiest pulled pork recipe known to mankind. Requiring only four ingredients, all you need is a big ol’ pork roast, a bottle of root beer (stick with me here, your pork won’t taste like root beer, I promise) salt, and your favorite barbeque sauce. See? Four ingredients. Easy.
What cut of pork?
For tender, juicy pulled pork buy the cheap stuff. Choose cuts labeled “shoulder”, “butt”, or “Boston butt”. Notwithstanding the name, the butt portion comes from the animal’s shoulder. The name is from colonial New England and the way the shoulder cuts were shipped back then. The barrels used for shipping were called “butts” hence the name “pork butts”.
Why root beer?
Science! Root beer with added salt acts like a brine and marinade combined. The salt and sugar are absorbed into deep into the meat, seasoning it, like a brine. The flavors in root beer; sassafras, nutmeg, anise, molasses, cinnamon, licorice, and honey complement the pork beautifully acting like a marinade. Root beer adds a subtle sweetness and complexity that partners with BBQ sauce to make this pork melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious.
Which root beer?
When buying root beer, it must contain sugar, not artificial sweeteners. This is the time to buy a high-end root beer, as you only need one 12 ounce bottle. But if that stretches your budget, purchase one you can comfortably afford. It’ll do the trick.
And now . . . drum roll please!
It’s time to pull out the easiest pulled pork recipe known to mankind.
All you need is a pork roast, a bottle of good root beer (stick with me here, your pork won’t taste like root beer, I promise) a teaspoon of kosher salt and your favorite BBQ sauce. See? Only four ingredients.
Root Beer Pulled Pork
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 8 to 10 hours Yield: 8 -12 servings
What You’ll Need:
- 4 to 6 pound pork roast – how big is your crock pot?
- 1 (12 oz) bottle or can of good root beer – NOT DIET!
- 1 bottle BBQ sauce – you won’t use it all
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pierce the pork roast with a sharp knife. (So all that sweet root beer flavor can get inside and play!)
- Place pork roast fat side up in your lightly greased crock pot. Pour the root beer over the roast.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours. You want the pork to be falling apart tender. When you can easily shred it with a fork, it’s done.
- Remove the pork to a cutting board. Drain and discard the root beer. Shred the pork with two forks, removing any unwanted fat, and return it to the crock pot. Add BBQ sauce to your taste.
Keep it warm in the crock pot until ready to serve. Delish!
You can serve this wonderful stuff over corn bread, polenta or cheesy grits.
Or use it to fill a quesadilla or burrito.
Corn bread waffles are a perfect partner for juicy pulled pork.
But my personal favorite is to serve a generous portion on a toasted bun (Hawaiian rolls are ridiculously good with this) with cole slaw right on the sandwich. Add some corn on the cob, a few tomato slices and you have a proper salute to end of summer cuisine.
For more tips on stretching your meat budget – A Cheat Sheet for S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g Meat
If you need a bigger crockpot to make a big ol’ batch of pulled pork, I recommend this one: Hamilton Beach 33182A Slow Cooker, 8-Quart
4 INGREDIENT ROOT BEER PULLED PORK
- 1 6 to 8 pound pork shoulder roast
- 1 12 ounce bottle of root beer
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups BBQ sauce, divided bottled or homemade, plus more for serving
- Cut the roast into chunks if necessary to fit in your slow cooker.
- In the crock of your slow cooker, mix the root beer with the salt, but grab the kiddies first to watch it fizz up. Wheeee!
- Add 1 cup BBQ sauce and stir to combine.
- Place the pork into the crock, tossing to coat with sauce, cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
- Diva Tip - While the pork safe to eat at a temperature of 165°F degrees, you want the pork to reach 205°F degrees to be falling apart tender.
- Remove pork to a cutting board.
- Reserve 2 cups juices from the crock and discard the rest.
- Shred the pork with two forks, removing any unwanted fatty bits, and return it to the crock pot.
- Add ½ cup BBQ sauce and 1 cup juices, tossing to coat. Add more juice if needed.
- Keep warm in the crock pot until ready to serve.
- Preheat oven to 325°F and follow directions above placing pork in a Dutch oven.
- Bake with the lid on for 3 hours, then remove lid for 1to 2 more hours or until the pork reaches 205°F degrees.