slow cooker bbq pulled pork on a bun

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x

Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork is sweet, savory and crazy delicious. Classic cherry soda caramelizes and tenderizes this addicting slow cooker pork recipe!



  • 5 pound bone-in pork shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 45 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 cup Dr. Pepper (or cherry flavored soda)
  • 1 cup honey bbq sauce (your favorite brand)


  1. Season pork shoulder with the salt, garlic powder and onion powder and black pepper.
  2. Add the sliced onions and garlic cloves to the bottom of a 6-8 quart slow cooker. Place the pork shoulder on top of the onions and garlic.
  3. Pour the Dr. Pepper over the pork shoulder, cover with the lid and cook on on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours. Our preferred method for cooking this pulled pork is on the low heat setting.
  4. Remove the pork shoulder from the slow cooker and place onto a board to cool. We also like to remove the garlic cloves if they are still in tact, if they have broken up just stir them into the pork. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat with meat claws or two large forks. Remove and discard the bones and any large pieces of fat.
  5. Use a ladle to remove about half of the juices from the slow cooker into a bowl and set aside. Do not discard the juices as you may need them for reheating the pork. Add the pulled pork back into the slow cooker with remaining juices and onions. Pour in the barbecue sauce and toss to combine. At this point, if you’d like a more juicy or saucy pulled pork, you can add some of the reserved juices and/or more barbecue sauce to your liking.
  6. Cook the pulled pork for another 30 minutes on the high heat setting and then serve or keep on the warm setting until ready. This is an optional step, but we like the deeper flavor that the additional 30 minutes brings to the meat.

Oven Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the slices of onion and smashed garlic cloves in the bottom of a large dutch oven.
  2. Season the pork shoulder with the salt, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper and then place on the bed of onions and garlic. Pour the Dr. Pepper over the pork shoulder. (Optional: for extra flavor, sear the pork shoulder on all sides until brown before adding to the pot.)

  3. Cover and cook for 3 1/2 hours and then remove from the oven. Baste the pork shoulder with the juices from the pot and then place back into the oven for another 1 1/2 hours (checking after an hour) until the pork is fork tender.

  4. Remove the pork shoulder to a board and let cool. Shred the pork with meat claws or two large forks (being careful to remove and bones and large pieces of fat) and then place back into the pot with the juices. Pour in a cup of honey barbecue sauce and stir to combine.

Recipe Notes

Store: Store pulled pork in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Freeze: Freeze pulled pork in freezer bags with the air pressed out for up to 4 months. Pressing the pork in the bag so that it lays flat is a great way to save space and also allow for faster defrosting.

Reheat: Quickly reheat pulled pork in the microwave, or for larger portions you can add it to a baking dish and place in the oven at 350 degrees until warmed through.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American