This easy Pulled Pork recipe is made with pork shoulder (or butt), pantry spices and coke to tenderize the meat and add sweetness to the seasonings. The result if perfect, tender and juicy pork cooked in the oven, slow cooker or instant pot! 

Serve pulled pork in a sandwich, with nachos, tamales, tacos, burritos, or quesadillas.

A pile of pulled pork on a white plate.

Whether you’re planning food for a party, BBQ, or a simple weeknight dinner, this pulled pork recipe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Serve it with BBQ sauce and your favorites side dishes, or serve it in sandwiches, tacos, nachos and more. If you’re cooking for a larger gathering or party see my tips in the post for how to calculate how much pulled pork you’ll need per person.

How to make Pulled Pork:

  • Trim fat: To make pulled pork you will want to buy a pork shoulder (sometimes called pork butt or Boston butt) roast. I prefer boneless, but you could buy bone-in. Trim pork of excess fat and cut it into 4 pieces. Combine spices in a small bowl and rub all over the pork. (This can be done the night before).
Four cut pieces of raw pork roast, seasoned, on a tray.
  • Sear (optional): Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and sear for a few seconds on all sides.
  • For Oven Pulled Pork: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Pour coke around the pork in the Dutch oven pot. Cover pot with lid and cook for 3 hours. Remove lid and cook for an additional 1-2 hours, until pork is tender and easily pulls apart with a fork.
Cooked pulled pork in a dutch oven pot, before and after it has been shredded.
  • For Slow Cooker Pulled Pork: Place pork in slow cooker and pour coke around it. Cover and cook on LOW (recommended) 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours, until pork is tender and shreds easily with a fork.
Cooked pulled pork in a slow cooker before and after it has been shredded.
  • For Instant Pot Pulled Pork: Place pork in instant pot and pour coke around it. Cook on Manual/High pressure for 70 minutes. When timer beeps, allow the pot to naturally release pressure, about 15 minutes longer.
Instant pot pulled pork cooked in the pot, then shredded.
  • Shred meat and add BBQ sauce, if desired.

How much pulled pork per person?

If you’re wanting to estimate how much pulled pork you should make for a party or event you should keep these two general rules in mind:

  1. One pound of pulled pork will feed approximately 3 people (about 5 ounces per serving).
  2. Cooked pulled pork will loose about half of its weight as it cooks (so a 5 pound raw pork roast will cook down to 2.5 pounds of meat).

So, follow this simple calculation to figure out how much pork you’ll need per person:

  • # of guests multiplied by .33 (⅓ pounds of meat per serving) = amount of cooked pulled pork you will need. 
  • Times that number by 2, since the meat will cook down 50%.

For example, if you want enough pulled pork to feed 50 guests.

50 X .33 = 16.5 lbs cooked pulled pork needed

16.5 X 2 = 33 pounds raw pork butt needed

Other factors to keep in mind when calculating how much meat you’ll need include:

  • Ages of those eating (young children wont eat as much)
  • How the pork is being served. If served as the main dish with lighter sides, you’ll need more than if it’s served in sandwiches or tacos, or if there are other heartier sides to go with it.
Cooked pork on a cutting board with two forks shredding the meat.

Storing and Freezing Instructions:

To Store: put leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

To freeze: Pulled pork can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Reheating Pulled Pork:

To reheat in the Oven (preferred): Preheat oven to 250°F. Add the pork and leftover juices to an oven safe container (add water, apple juice or broth to the meat if it’s too dry). Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 20-30 minutes or until warmed through to 165°F.

To reheat in the Slow cooker: Add the pork and leftover juices to slow cooker (add additional liquid if needed–apple juice, broth or water– to keep is moist). Turn to warm setting or LOW and cook until warmed through to 165°F.

To reheat in the Microwave: Add the pork and leftover juices to a microwave safe bowl (add additional liquid if needed–apple juice, broth or water– to keep is moist). Place a damp paper towel over the meat and heat in one minute increments until warmed through to 165°F.

Pulled pork sandwich served in a bun with bbq sauce, on a plate.

How to serve it:

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Recipe

A pile of pulled pork on a white plate.
Prep 20 mins
Cook 5 hrs
Total 5 hrs 20 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
 
 

  • 4 lb pork shoulder , or butt
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (optional if searing)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 ounces coke (not diet)
  • bbq sauce for coating meat optional

Instructions
 

  • Trim pork of excess fat and cut into 4 pieces.
  • Combine spices in a small bowl and rub all over the pork. (This can be done the night before).
  • Sear (optional): Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and sear for a few seconds on all sides.
  • Oven Method: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Pour coke around the pork in the Dutch oven pot. Cover pot with lid and cook for 3 hours. Remove lid and cook for an additional 1-2 hours, until pork is tender and easily pulls apart with a fork. Remove from oven and shred meat. Toss in barbecue sauce, if desired.
  • Slow Cooker Method: Place pork in slow cooker and pour coke around it. Cover and cook on LOW (recommended) 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours, until pork is tender and shreds easily with a fork.
  • Instant Pot Method: Place pork in instant pot and pour coke around it. Cook on Manual/High pressure for 70 minutes. When timer beeps, allow the pot to naturally release pressure, about 15 minutes longer. Remove lid and shred the meat.

Notes

Coke: The coke adds sweetness and tenderizes the meat (Diet soda wont produce as great of results). Root beer would make a good substitute. If you don’t want to use soda you can substitute another acid, like ½ cup apple cider vinegar mixed with one cup of apple juice.
Store leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Find reheating instructions above in the post. 
Serving size: This recipe will yield about 2 pounds of cooked pulled pork; enough to serve about 6 people (5 oz per serving). See the post above for my tips for calculating how much pulled pork you’ll need for a larger group. 

Nutrition

Calories: 310kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 36gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 554mgPotassium: 667mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 406IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 3mg

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HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?! 

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

Originally published May, 22nd, 2020. Republished May 16th 2021.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. What is your favorite method of cooking the pork? and what usually yields the best results? I really love your recipes!!

    1. Honestly, it just depends how much time I have! As long as it gets a good sear, all methods work great. I usually stick it in the slow cooker because it can cook for several hours without me babysitting at all, and once it’s done cooking it can stay on “warm” until we’re ready to eat.

  2. can Dr pepper be used instead of cola ? I bought the Dr.P for another recipe but now will be making youra! TY for all the info you included in this post !

  3. 5 stars
    This is the best recipe I’ve come across for pulled pork! And it was so easy, will definitely be my new go to!

  4. I just made that. I used to use another recipe but this was so much better! I’ll not go back to the other one! Thank you very much. I still have sauce left over. Is there a use for it before I dump it?

  5. 5 stars
    Excellent! Delicious! This will be my go to recipe for Pulled Pork from now on! Perfect crowd pleaser! Yummmm!!!

  6. 5 stars
    My family absolutely loved this recipe…and the slaw was the perfect addition! Now I want to make this for a neighborhood get-together for about 15 people. I use my slow-cooker. Would you recommend making this recipe twice or putting 10 pounds of meet in the slow cooker? I appreciate your help!

  7. Hi Lauren,

    Making this recipe today for a church group. Pork should be done around 5…..what do I do with the juices left over….Im excited about having used coke for a sweet taste. Thank you… Viki

    1. You can keep the juices in the pot or slow cooker with the shredded pork to keep warm until serving, or you can discard.

  8. 5 stars
    Best flavor of shredded pork I’ve ever tasted, it doesn’t need barbecue sauce for sure. So moist and delicious. Wish I could post a pic!! Yum….

  9. 5 stars
    Recipe was very clear and comprehensive. My family enjoyed meal very much. Kept some meat without bar-b-sauce for fajitas, the rest was used with sauce. The spice combination was perfect for both versions .

  10. 5 stars
    I don’t like to cook but this was so easy my 6 grandchildren and friends loved this. For them to all agree was so amazing.

  11. 5 stars
    Pulled pork is one of my fave dishes. This recipe looks easy & delicious! I think I’ll try it. Thanks!

  12. 5 stars
    Quick, easy and flavorful! I used the slow cooker method on high for 5 hours on a 5 lb pork shoulder and it was falling off the bone – so good!

  13. 5 stars
    This was the first time I made this. It was so delicious! It’s pretty easy, just needs to cook for a long time. I did the oven version. I thought I would be adding BBQ sauce, but my kids and I tasted it and it was so flavorful, you don’t even need additional sauce. This recipe is a keeper! Thanks

  14. 5 stars
    I have a small party and making pulled pork so I have decide to do 2 roast’s, 1st one I did with Apple cider vinegar/apple juice crock pot 8.5 hours Oh my God it is so good. 2nd roast I am doing with the coke will let you know hw it turns out,