Sweet & Spicy Pulled Pork

by Her Happy Balance on January 22, 2014

I have a weird confession to make: I’m not really a fan of barbecue sauce. BBQ grilled chicken? Meh. A rack of ribs? I’ll pass. But there is just something about meat in the pulled, juicy form that gets my mouth salivating…

I wanted to come up with my own version of pulled pork that would have a greater flavor profile <– a sign that I watch too much of the Food Network. I feel like a lot of pulled pork recipes use the pork as a vehicle to just eat barbecue sauce. No thank you, I would like to actually taste the meat as well as the other flavors. And because I’m a grandma and don’t actually go out on the weekends – at least not this one past – I had plenty of time to research different pulled pork recipes. I think I read about six different recipes and ended up picking and choosing ingredients from each one. I put this in the crockpot over night, then woke up, stood in front of the pot, and shamelessly ate it with my fingers. I got my fingers out of the pot just long enough to take a photo of it 😉

Sweet & Spicy Pulled Pork

Sweet & Spicy Pulled Pork
Serves 8
A delicious pulled pork with a subtle heat to it!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
9 hr
Total Time
9 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
9 hr
Total Time
9 hr 10 min
  1. 4.5-5lb Pork Butt
  2. 1 Medium Sweet Onion
  3. 1.5 Cups Barbecue Sauce
  4. 1 Cup Root Beer
  5. 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  6. 1 Tbsp. Liquid Smoke
  7. 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  8. 2 Tbsp. Liquid Aminos (or Soy Sauce)
  9. 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  10. 1.5 Tbsp. Minced Garlic (about 4 Cloves)
  11. 1.5 Tbsp. Ground Mustard
  12. 1 Tsp. Sriracha
  13. 1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  14. 1 Bay Leaf
For The Rub
  1. 2 Tsp. Cumin
  2. 2 Tsp. Cinnamon
  3. 2 Tsp. Celery Salt
  4. 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  1. Chop up the onion and place it on the bottom of the crock pot. Next, place the pork on top of the onions in the crock pot. In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients (except for rub ingredients) and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients and then sprinkle on top of the meat and use your fingers to rub them into it. Take the bowl of the root beer and BBQ sauce mix and pour it over the meat. Cover your crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours. After 8 hours, I used a fork to pull the meat apart, then I let the meat simmer in the juice for another 1 hour before serving. Serve with slaw or banana peppers (optional) on a bun, enjoy!
  1. I used Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. And I did not trim the fat on the meat first, but I would highly recommend doing that as it makes the pulling part later a lot less messy.
Her Happy Balance http://www.herhappybalance.com/
Pulled Pork on a bun

And this makes lots and lots of pork. You can use it on top of salads, in tacos, on nachos, or as the traditional sandwich.

What’s your favorite crockpot recipe? Feel free to leave links 😉
Do you have a favorite type of BBQ sauce?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Jessie January 22, 2014 at 8:12 am

Dear, this sounds delicious. I’m not sure I”ve ever seen a recipe involving Root Beer. What a clever addition.

Her Happy Balance January 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Thanks, Jessie! I felt like getting a little crafty in the kitchen 😉

Alex @ therunwithin January 22, 2014 at 9:27 am

oh man that looks good, I swear I can smell it. I actually have never slow cooked meat before

Her Happy Balance January 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Try it! It just falls apart it’s so tender, nom nom nom.

Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne January 22, 2014 at 9:57 am

This recipe will be only reason I ever get a Crock Pot!

Her Happy Balance January 23, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Get a crock pot, peer pressure! haha 🙂 They’re awesome. And relatively cheap, too!

Caitlin January 22, 2014 at 11:11 am

Mm I LOVE pulled pork! And anything that you wake up to and immediately stick your fingers in sounds amazing in my book 😉 I do like bbq sauce though and put it on top of most bbq sandwiches. My favorite brand is made by our local grocery store…not too sweet with a nice touch of smoke 🙂

Her Happy Balance January 23, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Locally made things just always end up tasting the best! It’s got to be why the farmer’s markets finds always taste wayyy better than grocery store finds.

nicole @ simply nicole January 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm

this looks like the PERFECT recipe for bryan! going to have to show him this one.

Her Happy Balance January 23, 2014 at 12:40 pm

If Bryan makes it he will have lunches for days! 😉

Mary January 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm

I just came upon your blog listed on Pennsylvania Bloggers! Looks like a picked a good day too. I am not a big fan of anything BBQ’d either. EXCEPT pulled pork sandwiches (with coleslaw on top!). I am printing this recipe to try this weekend. I have not had much luck with making pulled pork but will not give up!

Her Happy Balance January 23, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Woot woot! So glad you found me, Mary! What part of PA are you from? 🙂 I hope the recipe turns out well for you! Let me know what ya think 😉

Stacie @ Simply Southern Stacie January 22, 2014 at 6:44 pm

I’m not a huge pork person, but I love some pulled pork! This recipe is getting pinned for sure! Is that root beer I see? I seriously would have never thought to add root beer!

Her Happy Balance January 23, 2014 at 12:41 pm

It is root beer, indeed! 😉 I thought that was the cool part. It works out really well, i promise! You could substitute in cola or dr. pepper, too.

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