Slow Cooker Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork in the slow cooker! Sweet and spicy. Just a pork shoulder, a can of Dr Pepper, your favorite BBQ sauce, and some spices. Needs 8 to 10 hours in the slow cooker.

  • Prep time: 40 minutes
  • Slow cooker time: 8 to 10 hours
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings (about 8 cups shredded)


  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions, cut into slices
  • 1 12-ounce can Dr Pepper (or any other cola-type soda you prefer)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, any favorite variety
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon chili flakes, depending on how spicy you like it
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcester sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional for extra smoky flavor)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

Special equipment:


1 Spray the inside of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

2 Season the pork: Combine 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle it thoroughly over the pork, using extra salt and pepper if needed to generously cover all sides

3 Sear the pork: Warm the oil in a large pot, Dutch oven, or cast iron skillet over high heat. Be sure to turn the vent on and throw open the windows as we’re going to create a lot of smoke.

Once the oil is glistening, add the pork. It should sizzle immediately. Sear the pork for 3 to 5 minutes on all sides -- you want a nice golden-brown crust on each side. Don’t force it along. If the pork sticks to the pan, wait another minute or two until it releases easily before turning.

Transfer the seared pork to the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

4 Cook the onions: In the same pot used to sear the pork, add the onions and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook until the onions soften up and begin to take on bit of color, about 5 minutes. Use the liquid the onions release to scrape up the delicious browned bits on the bottom of the pan as they cook.

Transfer the cooked onions to the slow cooker with the pork.

5 Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker: In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, the Dr Pepper, brown sugar, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, honey, mustard seeds, chili flakes, Worcester sauce, and liquid smoke (if using). Pour this over the pork and onions. Scatter the crushed garlics around the pork.

At this point, you can cover the pork and place it in the fridge overnight, or until you're ready to start cooking.

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

6 Cook the pork: Place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook for 8 to 10 hours on LOW – the longer the better.

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

7 Shred the pork and serve: Once the cooking is done, transfer the meat to a large serving dish using tongs. Scoop up all of the cooked onions and smashed garlic as well, as they’ll add a lot of flavor.

Use a pair of forks to tear and shred the pork apart. Stir in some of the cooking liquid, one tablespoon at a time, to make it extra saucy, and serve.

Leftovers will keep for 1 week refrigerated, or up to 3 months frozen.

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

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  • Ro

    Instead of pork shoulder, I used two loins of pork. (They were on sale at Costco and I thought Why Not ). Fabulous outcome! I froze the pulled pork in individual portions using my Food Safer – a delicious “I need it now” treasure in my freezer. My grandson, home on break from college, and getting something from my freezer said, “Grandma you have pulled pork ready to go in your freezer! How great is that!” Perhaps a learning lesson for a someday college grad on a limited budget?


  • Kay

    I’m from NC and used our local soft drink, Cheerwine! Turned out great.


  • shawn

    Excellent… used Pepsi, but will try the Dr Pepper next go-around.


  • Debra

    My slow cooker has high and low; what is the rule? Since it’s slow should I use the low setting?

  • Jeff McNeal

    Instead of making beans or throwing away the cooking liquid, I just strained it, put in a 12″ fry pan (for surface area) and reduced it by 2/3’s. Made the perfect BBQ sauce to put on the sandwiches because it matched the flavor profile of the meat!

  • Erin

    We often use orange soda or root beer in our crockpot when making BBQ pulled pork. We’ve also used lemon lime soda and cola. So good!! We’ll try the Dr Pepper!

  • Jessi

    Wow, that dish looks so good. Never made a dish with Dr Pepper. Have to try making it this weekend.

  • Marci Loehner

    I’ll have to try this version! I’ve got a version as well, but, it has some heat behind it. I’d love it if you’d try my pulled pork recipe and let me know how you like it!

  • Timothy Ray

    Great recipe!

    But there’s no period in Dr Pepper. FYI.